Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Southern Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
Rescue horses are not always abused (An actual abused horse is a whole different story; they are emotionally fragile, skeptical, and often very explosive). A rescue can also be a neglected horse, a horse that has been surrendered by it's previous owners (for financial reasons, etcetera), or other situations where it's previous living conditions did not fit it's needs. You can actually find well-schooled rescues.
If you want to bring along a green (or green rescue) horse, do so under the guidence of a coach. Buy a prospect in good condition that is suitable for you and approved by said coach.
Just because you've ridden all the gaits and jumped high, doesn't mean you can train horses. Especially not an abused rescue. Young/green horses in general require endless patience, and knowledge.
Let me speak from personal experiences:
I spent my first four years in Pony Club; my trainers credited me for being "one of the best" and "effective". You know what I found out after I quit and started on real riding?
I couldn't handle anything besides bomb-proof lesson horses.
Freddy is the first horse that has really tested my effectiveness, my patience, and me in general. He's big, flighty, and he plays mind-games you. He's always ready to put up a fight or play if you let your guard down or aggravate him.
I knew nothing useful for training horses:
The first time I got on a green horse, it really showed just how much I would've needed to know if I had continued with him. Sure, I could trot Czar around sort-of balanced for the whole ride. But, I had no clue what to do next with him. What about everything else? And Czar was a calm horse.
All of this was undertaken with experienced coaches.
The biggest reminders of my family's mistakes and inexperience are sitting out in the field. Unrideable, unsellable, and eating holes in our wallets and hearts.
Another example is a girl at my barn. She has gained all of her experience on one horse. A well-schooled and seasoned jumper with an honest attitude. She competed up to 3'9" with that horse, did second level dressage as well. She sold him last year, and bought a well started three year-old warmblood prospect from a good home. Since then, she has been in hospital after being kicked in the face, the horse is an absolute wreck with lameness issues, and both horse and rider's confidence is shattered. She's just starting to realize it now, but the damage has already been done to the horse, and I don't think he'll ever be the same.
Do yourself and horses (because it's not just you that will suffer if you screw-up, it's the horse as well) a favour. Either buy or lease a school-master, go to a barn that will offer lessons and lesson horses, or even ask a trainer if they would allow and guide you through working with a green horse.
So, the bottom line is this: If you really think you are ready to take on a horse, if you are ready to take care of it, ready to pay for the vet bills, the boarding and trainer fees, feeding fees, insurance, equipment, and everything else, then do so.
I'm not trying to sound intimidating or insulting, but a horse is not the same as a goldfish or a rodent. They require a huge amount of care and money. Think of it as having a human baby to take care of. They don't live for only a few years, and they aren't easy to sell or give away if no longer wanted.
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