We’ve all seen them. Horses that people take “riding lessons” on. So often, these horses look unhappy and have health issues related to taxiing people around to the calls of “heels down” and “get his head into the right position”, I’ve seen many of these horses go inside themselves to survive the hours of thumping incompetence they must deal with. The same is true for dude ranch horses.
Doing this to any horse goes against everything I believe in with regard to horses. What I CAN get behind, and help clients with, is leasing a horse for 3 months or more, with the client as the sole rider of the leased horse. A bond and relationship based on one-on-one interactions can be built. Even half-leasing a horse with one other person doesn’t really work. There is a constant push/pull in the horse’s world, even if the riders have the same philosophy. To me, barns and trainers that use “lesson horses” are sacrificing the horse’s mental and emotional well-being in the name of making money.