* Disclaimer: It is possible that this post may offend some readers. Please be advised that this list reflects solely my opinions and may not match yours! Read at your own discretion (peril?).

These riders are being respectful of each other on the trail.

Looks like based on the last post, we're in a "Top Ten" roll. This time, we will consider actual riding skills rather than character traits and maturity (although those also play a factor in every pet peeve below). Enjoy this tongue-in-cheek list coming from the opposite perspective - things NOT to do while riding!

10. Smack the horse as a reward. Your horse's skin is sensitive enough to feel a fly. There is no need to smack a horse to communicate your approval - instead, give it a soft, long rub with flat fingers. The message is much more comfortably conveyed and as effectively understood by the horse.

9. Loud vocalizations - either in reprimand or reward. First off, the horse can hear voice cues given in a normal tone level - or even calm and low, almost under your breath. Secondly, riders that must announce their appreciation/disapproval appear to be doing it for the sake of others around them rather than the horse. Why else speak so loudly?

8. Ignore the hollow back. It truly is difficult to identify when you are riding a horse with a hollow back, but seeing the hollow back is not brain surgery. Riders must spend time watching other horses as they move. With an educated mentor, notice when a horse is hollow. Then, take the (sometimes difficult) steps to change the riding in order to correct the horse's movement.

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7. Create excuses for stumbling horses. Although correct trimming and shoeing is important, and some tripping can be caused by lamenesses/uneven footing, please do look at the balance of the horse while being ridden. Is he on the forehand and if so, what is the rider doing to help prevent any further damage to the horse's body and joints?

6. Blame the saddle/bridle/pads/farrier for the problem. Absolutely check out the equipment, but please don't stop there! Next, check out the rider - the horse is always only a mirror of the rider!

5. Avoid correcting obvious rider faults. Be one of those riders that rides THE SAME WAY for twenty years! Better than that, because of their many years in the saddle, they are confident enough to criticize others while turning a blind eye to themselves, even if their horses are sending them loud and clear messages.

4. Am I a magnet? Some riders cut off/trail behind/run into other horses on a regular basis. In fact, the harder you try to steer clear, the more determined they seem to be to interfere with your riding space. They don't seem to know the dimensions of their own horse, nor have an outside rein to discourage fading to the outside to prevent near-misses.

3. Stopped riders. When riding in the ring, please keep moving. A halt is different from a stop in that it is a movement. However, if you are going to stop your horse, even in the middle of the ring, please dismount and leave! Let the other riders keep a flow in their riding and not have to dodge you. To take it one step further, move with the flow of the other riders rather than against it.

2. Trail riders who take off in front of you. That is clearly a safety no-no but so many people still do it without thought to the poor soul behind who has the herd-bound or not so trained horse that feels left behind. ALWAYS check with your riding partners before heading into a faster pace.

1. Don't bother listening to the horse. Of course, this one always tops my list!

What are some of your rider  pet peeves?


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Other articles you might want to read:

Why People Are Stupid: Reblogged from SnarkyRider. Warning: the video may be upsetting to some.

Enjoys Being Brushed! Also from SnarkyRider, on how a sale horse is being presented.

A Song and My Very Own Chestnut Mare: Is it true what they say about chestnut mares? Also, enjoy the song by Marie-Lynn Hammond. 

Top Ten New Year's Resolutions for Horse Riding: I know New Year's is long past, but these resolutions can be very long-lived and are worthy to be mulled over again and again.


  1. This is so true and so good. And if you thought a bit more this list would continue on. and on and on. Horses are so patient.

  2. Oh, I know I’ve broken #10 quite often, I just get so happy 🙂

    #9.. definitely me, too. I am almost always alone, so I’m not talking for the sake of others, but man do I have conversations with my horse. When I need a bigger/stronger trot or a canter, my tone goes up, when I need to come down to a walk or halt, my tone goes down.

    #5, sadly.. me too. Well, I don’t ride anymore, but it was me when I did. Hopefully I don’t get into the same problem with driving. Haven’t yet, so we’ll see.

    #1 is probably the best one, indeed. For me, it took time and years to figure out how to properly listen to my horses.

    1. Oh I’ve been “guilty” of doing all of the above at some time or another! Don’t they say, that experience can only be gained through trial and error? #1 – definitely a life-long aspiration.

  3. Most of those I would agree with but I would disagree with no 9 – there are occasions when I will growl loudly at my mare – I don’t tend to ride with a whip and on occasion she will start bouncing and put little bucks in (she’s not trying to dump me, just being fiesty) and as well as leg aids to push her forwards I’ll growl and push her with my voice – she understands that it means she’s in trouble and better move her butt. I’m pretty loud when doing this but it’s entirely for my mare’s benefit and it works well, better than smacking her in my opinion.

    Otherwise I love this!

    1. You are the second person to mention this, and I completely agree. I was thinking more of the riders who – shall we say – “vocalize” without reason or result. There definitely is a place for voice commands and reassurance. Thank you for your comment!

  4. Love the whole list concept, its quick and to the point. Would only add that vocalisation can be a tool. I use fairly strong vocalistion with my young stallion as advised by the breaker as colts can be very voice oriented and a loud growl has worked best at calling his attention back to me when he wants to call to the mares. However, always open to better suggestions. Keep up the good work!

  5. Great list. I’d add not being aware of those who are on green horses, or who are inexperienced riders or for whatever reason are having difficulties out on trail. Yes, you’re responsible for your own horse and how you ride, but when in a group, others need go the pace of the least experienced horse or rider.