Hi Everyone! I have just come across this forum as I am just getting back into riding after about a 14 year hiatus (I'm 25, but I grew up riding- I was on a horse before I could walk, my mom taught english riding). I am lucky enough to have a horse I can used whenever, for free. He's a haflinger around 10 years old, and belongs to a friend who owns the barn he's at (16 box stall barn, with maybe 10 pasture-only boarders, give or take a few, I'm guessing). It's a long story but while she owns the barn and the land, she barely ever rides (maybe once a month in the warmer months, I live in Vermont) and she leases the barn to an adaptive riding program. This is the barn that I rode at as a child and the original family is the one who now runs the adaptive riding program so I'm back among people I know well, are very knowledgeable and treat the horses wonderfully which is fabulous.
The thing is, Lambchop (the Hafie) is overweight, by a decent amount, and the woman who owns him really hasn't consistently worked him. She basically jumps on and goes for a trail ride. I plan on using him mostly for trails anyway so this is not really a problem, but I would like to do some work with him so that after the summer/fall he could be used for the adaptive riding program (they would like to use him as he is short but can carry a grown adult- he's a good sized hafie, 14.3 or so- but as of now he's too headstrong, dare I say stubborn. I'm hoping with some consistent TLC and training he can be used by them in the winter when I'm not going to be able to ride as much). I'm lucky to be surrounded by good go-to people for help, like my mom who is quite knowledgeable about horses (and luckily has a similar situation at the same barn, there's a horse she can ride up there for the summer as well) and my best friend rode competively all through college so she is quite knowledgeable as well, but this is everyone's first time with a haflinger, and I really want to do as much as I can alone with him to hopefully build up a bond between us as I've read haflingers can really get attached. Is there anything in particular I should know?
I lunged him two days ago for 15-20 min, and rode around for a bit today (30 min of mostly walking) and he's fine with you on his back, but he wasn't good in the arena- didn't really get it. Also he gets distracted by other horses really easily.
I'm sorry for the jumble of things in this post I just wanted to include as much info as possible, and any advice/whatever is so greatly appreciated!