Do you let other people ride your horse?

Sometimes people ask if they can borrow my horse. Well, not so much with Freedom as he can be a handful and doesn’t always look like that much fun. Loaning your horse out is a tricky thing — there are liability issues, for sure, but also territorial ones. I know one person who said they’d sooner loan their toothbrush!

In the past I’ve had horses that I’ve “loaned” to a few people. I’m not a big fan of letting just anyone ride my horses — I believe that every time you ride you are teaching them something — but I’ve had friends that I think are good riders and who have good judgment. I didn’t have any problem with letting them ride and sometimes it’s a lot more fun to have a companion when you head out. I do like to watch someone ride before they take a horse out without me and I much prefer to offer than to be asked. Sometimes when I’m asked, I feel on the spot. The rider might not be someone that I would have offered the ride.

It also depends on the horse. Kroni, my Trakehner, had a firmly established sense of self later in his life. He didn’t really care if someone else rode him, he most cared about being ridden properly. If the rider did not live up to his standards (and sometimes that was me), he just ignored them (this was better than when he was young. Then he reared if he didn’t like how you rode him!) He didn’t get upset and he no longer misbehaved. In this regard he was much like my first horse, Bogie, who if he didn’t like his rider would retire to the middle of the ring and stand still until they gave up. Passive resistance worked well for him.

Dezzi, my TB mare, was adaptable. My theory was that she had raced for so long (56 starts, retiring at 7) that she developed a very workmanship attitude toward riders. She tried her best and didn’t make too much of a fuss.

Freedom, on the other hand, is a sensitive and somewhat anxious horse; if a rider gets worried, he is immediately looking for the reason. I suspect that he would be okay with other riders now but when I first got him I thought he needed the consistency of a single rider so that he could learn to relax and trust that I wasn’t going to ask him for more than he could do. I still don’t think that I’d loan him out for more than just a hack.

So what about you? How do you feel about loaning your horse out?

11 thoughts on “Do you let other people ride your horse?

  1. Great question. Now that you ask it, I’m surprised no one’s blogged about it before (that I’ve read). I’ll let good riders, who I know, ride in our arena. I don’t really want others on our horses. I don’t think it’s fair to the horse to put people on them who can’t ride.

  2. I love to watch people ride my horse, yet I am careful on who does. They have to be good riders… not for Sugar’s sake but their own. She can be a handful and gets bottled up real fast if you try to hold her. If you push her when she’s spooky she becomes more confident and thus, stops spooking.

    Now, Freedom is fabulous! I would love to ride him. you are a lucky girl!

  3. My mom and trainer are the exceptions, but I don’t like other people to ride my horse so much now.

    The last person who rode my horse had a nice unintended gallop across the arena. Luckily he stayed uphill and did a nice lead change instead of falling over on his sharp turn, and she was able to stay on thanks to his higher neck set. Last person on my mom’s horse was bucked off.

    Yeah, if I’m not leading the horse I don’t like other people on my horses, just from bad experiences! (And I think both are easy to ride… they just do NOT like riders who grip with their legs!)

  4. I personally can’t stand when other people ride my horse (I’ve only let two anyways). Even if it’s a trainer I’m very skeptical about it. The only person I’m comfortable with riding my horse is my Mom because she knows him just as well as me.

  5. Shorty was like your Bogie. He spent most of his life competing all over the country, ridden by pros and was very tolerant of any rider. But if you didn’t know what you were doing he would give you a short, polite ride and then he was done. He was very tolerant of small children.
    Scotty (who also raced until 7) was probably one of the most adaptable horses I have owned. He could be a runaway freight train on a jump course just because he thought it was fun, but he would let some of the younger kids at the barn exercise him… walk, trot, canter-no jumping…and be perfectly happy. A few older teens showed him and I also taught a couple of nervous adult riders how to ride on him. He was pretty much in charge but he would relax, drop his head and shuffle along slowly, looking like a caricature of a western pleasure horse…17h and 1500#.
    I have only let two other people ride Nina lately (after seeking a trainer), she needs to be ridden by more, but it needs to be a special rider who can handle her without getting in a fight.

  6. I feel bad about my answer: there are only 3 people I know I’d let ride my horse. (And one can’t stand him, nothing personal. They get on each other’s nerves. 🙂

    He’s terrific: very kind and forgiving, great buttons, easy going (ridden him 20 feet from double big rig, not an eye blink), instant whoa. But when he gets wound up, he’s a handful that needs some brain finesse: you have to match him in every way.

    Super responsive, he’s easy to over cue, needing a rider who can stick anything if he were to react strongly or bolt. It’s awkward: if he needed a superiorly skilled rider, I wouldn’t be on him. I have zero worries about him being “ruined” and a lot that he’ll be mis-interpreted, and corrected for something the rider didn’t realize they told him to do. Or rider will fall off.

    I feel bad because so many people have shared their horses with me. If they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here, and I would not own this horse. It’s a terrible feeling to have to say no to people who have said yes to me.

  7. Certain people I know I will let ride certain horses of mine. I have a twenty four year old semi-retired foundation Quarter Horse I will let almost anyone I know one because he was a lesson horse and is a giant baby sitter. My six year old Quarter Horse with a button titled ‘warp speed’ only gets ridden by me, my mother, or the trainer he was purchased from. My eleven year old Paint Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred cross is on the slightly lazy side but also spooky and I would only let someone who I’ve seen ride and know they are good on him. He is a doll for the right person. My last horse is a ten year old Canadian born Thoroughbred who has never raced and I Event on him. He has an attitude and is a handful. The only other person who I know who can ride him is my trainer.
    The only person I would let ride any of these horses when I’m not around is my trainer otherwise I need to be there to feel comfortable.

  8. Well my horse Tyler just passed away, he was a paint, 7yrs old and i originaly sent him to the trainers and she trained him the basics walk trot. i did the rest we were both green horse and green rider. but we learned together so i knew what he could handle. i have only let 2 other people ride him besides me and the trainer. one being my close friend and it was her first time ever and he did great, very laid back and she was very nervous, till she realized he was fine with her. the other one being my friend at the time and my other horse took her for a wild ride so she got on tyler and he would not move for her. lol i thought it was funny but then he threw us both off when we doubled. i deffinitly regret letting her on him because it took me 2wks of training to get him back to normal.

  9. There are very few people on the planet I’d let on my horse anymore, especially after being (semi) forced to let my trainer use him for a student I’d never met 2 years ago (so I could afford board after the price was raised). Awful situation. The occasional friend/family member who is a beginner would be ok under my direct supervision.

    I let a few fellow friends ride my pony when we were children, but she was a school master and used to such things.

    My current horse has been with me since I was a teen – 15 year relationship! I used to akin someone else riding him as to riding in my Porsche – readjusting my seat, mirrors, radio controls etc.
    Now I associate it with letting someone sleep with my husband! No one messes with my boy. (I’m not married so technically he IS my closest & oldest male friend) 😉

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