Do You Let Anyone Else Ride Your Horse'

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I?just posted this question on our Facebook page, and I'm eager to see the answers. I am very picky about who I let ride my horse, and I never ask anyone if I can ride theirs. If they offer, that's different, as we all can improve our riding skills by riding other horses. But I never ask.

This past weekend a friend said her daughter would love to stop out and groom and play with the horses, as if it they were a Jacuzzi (actually, if I had a Jacuzzi I don't think I'd let anyone in it either). I just chuckled and changed the subject.

Since I've had Sally, only two people have ridden her, besides me: my sister and a dear friend who is way more experienced than I ever dreamed of being. I was grateful to my friend for riding Sally because it gave me a chance to see what she looked like with a good rider on her and she gave me some excellent advice about ways to improve her. But both women agree that Sally?s not the type of horse a lot of people should ride, so if someone did ask it was always easy to say, ?No, Sally is too unpredictable,? and that's usually enough to make her less appealing anyway.

But now we have Kelsey and Paz, too. Both are quiet and sweet, and last summer several people rode them both. Paz is my sister?s horse (actually the two of us share all three horses), and we got Kelsey for our nieces to ride. The problem is that Kelsey can be a challenge for a new rider. Actually, Kelsey isn?t tough to ride, but sHe's really smart, and she knows who is on her back and what she can get away with! So my sister (she has a big heart) always offered the person struggling with Kelsey if they?d like to try Paz instead. And they loved riding Paz, as sHe's flashy moves well and is very sensitive to cues. it's easy to get her to do what you want, especially if you're just sort of sitting there and not trying to really ride. Meanwhile, Eileen would ride Kelsey (who behaved perfectly, of course; as I said, sHe's really smart).

The thing is, after just a couple of these incidents, Paz began to develop bad habits, which my sister had to battle and retrain. By the end of the summer, we both decided that it wasn?t worth letting anyone else ride Paz. In fact, I think, it isn?t fair to Paz. The whole scenario reminded me of lesson horses. Have you ever ridden the same lesson horse for months on end, then for seemingly no reason riding that horse becomes a battle' that's because of what they have to put up with! Not every rider has good hands and a strong seat, and it's the horse who pays the price. I also wondered about liability issues, too, of course,?but it's really the fact that I don't think it's fair to our horses to let someone ride one just because they want to.?