For a variety of reasons, a horse may dislike being ridden. The first step in evaluating if your horse’s misbehavior is physical or psychological is to determine what the problem is.

To rule out any health issues, get your horse inspected by a veterinarian, farrier, and physiotherapist.

Tack that hasn’t been properly fitted

One of the most common reasons horses dislike being ridden is because their equipment is ill-fitting. Too-small bits and bridles can be unpleasant for the horse and cause him to shake his head.

On the other hand, an ill-fitting saddle will produce pressure points on the horse’s back and discomfort while riding. The presence of white hairs under the saddle suggests a lack of suitable equipment.

Every six months, your saddle fitter should check your horse since musculoskeletal changes may necessitate saddle component revisions. If your horse’s equipment fits and is comfortable, it goes a long way toward making riding more enjoyable.

Excessive reliance on training aids

While riding, you should only utilize the bare minimum of training aids. Whips, spurs, martingales, side reins, and tie-downs are the most used training aids. With rigorous training and skillful riding, all training aids can be avoided.

However, you may discover that employing a training device benefits your horse’s present level of training. Remember that martingales and other accessory straps should only be used for a brief period while your horse recovers from the condition. Many experts believe that the horse will rebel if these training aids are employed for a lengthy period.

Health Concerns

Riding may be tough for your horse if he has several health conditions. The sooner you and your horse figure out what’s wrong, the sooner you can return to riding.

Back and leg pain, musculoskeletal pain, arthritis, and hoof abnormalities are riders’ most common health issues. It’s not always easy to figure out what’s wrong, so get your horse evaluated properly from every viewpoint.

Remember that horses will strive to hide their suffering for as long as possible. Because of this adaptability, they may live in the wild for millions of years. As a result, they are getting a health exam once a year is a smart idea to spot problems early.

To determine whether your horse is in discomfort, utilize the ridden horse ethogram and the equine grimace scale.


Like humans, horses have distinct personalities, and some are unsuitable for riding. Although most horses may be trained to carry a rider, their attitude and temperament determine whether or not they enjoy it.

It’s also possible that a horse isn’t in the mood to ride on that particular day. Horses, like humans, have terrible days, and treating them gently during those times is a kind gesture.

Conflicts in the past

If a horse has been abused in the past, it may acquire a lifelong dislike of riding. It’s usually easier to lose a horse’s trust than to gain it again. To learn to like riding again, a nervous horse will require a lot of time, love, and care.

Because they must perform harder than before, inexperienced horses may detest being ridden at first. They will, however, become accustomed to relying on you daily, and many will grow to like the exercise.

Problem with the Rider

The most significant reason horses dislike being ridden may be the riders. We must constantly develop our talents and fitness as riders to aid horses in transporting us.

The horse may experience a range of issues due to a large or improper rider. According to research, horses can comfortably carry up to 20% of their body weight. Back pain and musculoskeletal problems are unavoidable for a rider who is too big for the horse.

Even if weight isn’t an issue, and unfit rider is more likely to sit imbalanced on the horse, leading to problems like unequal muscular development. As a result, having someone check our riding regularly and alert us if we aren’t sitting properly is a great idea.

Inexperienced, aggressive, uninformed, or fearful riders can also cause issues. If the rider feels terrified, it’s natural for the horse to become agitated or nervous. The reason is that if the rider is restless, there must be something to be concerned about it.