When someone asks this question, it’s never an easy one to answer.
“How do I know if this is the right horse for me? I feel frustrated. I’m not sure if it’s him or if it’s me. I’m losing confidence. I’m not having fun. I just might quit.
It’s not an easy answer because there are a lot of variables involved.
My first response is, “What do you think?”
And by that I mean, “What’s your gut feeling about your horse?”
Sometimes a horse is just not a good fit for the rider. It’s kind of like (I always laugh about this) all men would not want to be married to me! Ha!
Riding a horse is a partnership. If the partners are not compatible for reasons not clearly defined, the partnership might go south. Sometimes the rider loses confidence or feels guilty for having those feelings.
That doesn’t make the horse “bad.” Of course not. He’s just not the “right” horse for the partnership.
And that’s okay.
Other times a rider absolutely adores a horse, but the training level is not adequate for the intended purpose of the horse. Again, it’s no one’s fault. But so often riders think they are doing something “wrong” and lose confidence. It’s just not the right dance partner for the dance the rider wants to do.
In a different situation, other people may not believe that a horse is “right” but the rider loves the horse and wants to train his or her own horse. That’s perfectly fine, too. However the rider needs to make sure he or she sets up needed mentoring and feedback. Without intensely needed guidance, things go downhill and again the rider loses confidence … unnecessarily. Things however were not set up for success.
I have two main suggestions regarding your horse.
The first … make sure you are safe. Don’t force things when in your heart you know you are at risk and on the edge of safety.
Secondly, set yourself up for success. What are your goals? Where does your horse’s talent, past training and health fit into that equation? Who is going to mentor you either directly or indirectly?
Reflect on your situation and decide how you can set both you and your horse up for success.