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Horse & Rider Weekly #10: Dealing with grumpy horses

Grumpy horses. You’ll come across a lot of them throughout your life in the horse world. As for me, I currently am riding one; Jonty. He’s grumpy, stubborn, sweet, everything at the same time so he’s quite a weird mixture. At any rate, Jonty refuses to walk without a horse ahead of him; he’s more of a follower mentality. He kicks, so you can’t have a horse ride behind of him. AND, he’s grumpy.

Grumpy horses can get quite irritating to ride. The golden law to remember is:

“No matter what kind of horse you’re riding, the first 5 minutes of your ride judge the rest of your ride. If you show your horse in the first 5 minutes who’s boss, you’ll be pretty much okay in the rest of your ride.”

That is vital to remember when you’re riding a grumpy horse. “But,” you may be asking “What exactly is the definition of a grumpy horse?” Well…

“A grumpy horse is that horse, who basically wants to be the boss over the rider and wants to follow his/her own will instead of following the rider’s demands.”

That’s why, you have to be strict the first 5 minutes. As for Jonty, he always tries to get off the circle, trot when you want him to canter, walk when you want him to trot, the list goes on. So, BE STRICT. Remember, a horse judges you by your intelligence unlike a dog, who judges you by your size. If you do foolish stuff on a horse, the horse will think he/she is dominant over you. And that’s when things start to go badly wrong. So, be strict with your horse the first 5 minutes (in some cases it’s even more, don’t stick to five minutes.You have to be strict the entire ride but typically after 5 minutes it starts getting easier) so that he knows that this is not a children’s playground and I have to behave.

Now we’ll go over some key troubles that grumpy horses give and how to overcome them.

  1. My horse get’s very lazy and seems to be immune to my legs
    First, squeeze him, gently. If he ignores, squeeze him harder. If he still ignores, small kick. Still ignoring? Wow, your horse has quite an attitude. Anyhow, kick him HARD with a tap on the shoulder. By now, if he doesn’t move you need to prove him wrong in thinking he can do whatever he wishes. Kick hard with a hard tap on the shoulder, and your last resort should be a smack on the bottom. Jonty bucks if you smack him on his bottom so that’s not an option for me. If he still ignores you, ask someone who’s in the arena to throw some mud at him. He has to go. Still ignoring? Huh, make sure your horse isn’t sleeping.
  2. My horse doesn’t do what I want him to do.
    That’s a common thing with Jonty. He won’t go over a small jump, he’ll try to take it in his stride and that often results in him tripping over. The answer to that is simple. Be hard and bossy. If you’re approaching a jump that he won’t jump, squeeze and/or kick the living daylights out of him.
  3. Ask your instructor or any other qualified personnel for tips
    As always. These tips that I’m sharing are from my experience and from what I’ve read on the web. I cannot guarantee that they’ll work for you!

I hope my post makes sense as I really was just writing whatever came in my head lol.

Thanks for reading and see you guys next time 🙂


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