Green on Green Success Stories? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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Green on Green Success Stories?

I have been reading through lots of posts on the forum since becoming active again a few weeks ago. All the people saying inexperienced riders with green horses are disasters waiting to happen is making me a little nervous. I mean - I get it; but assumed with patience and the right training, we would do ok together.
Anyone have any green on green success stories they want to share with me?
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post #2 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 04:04 AM
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Not a greenie, but wanted to say you're going in the right direction if you recognize that you're green and are working with someone who does have experience. Kudos to you for trying!
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post #3 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 06:24 AM
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With the right horse and rider combo with a lot of guidance from experienced horse people it can work.

I bought a just turned two horse for my then ten year old novice daughter. At first my trainer thought I was nuts but it took him all of about half an hour to come around to the idea that this might work.

There was just something about the way the two of them interacted with one another that clicked. We gave the horse a year to mature, during which my daughter trained him on the ground daily and sometimes twice a day with short hand walks and going through obstacle courses. Then when he was three, I hired an experienced rider to "back" him. Then, with the oversight of a trainer, my daughter and I started training him; her from the ground in a round pen and I from his back. Once they were both ready, she began to ride him and further train him. He was 3 1/2 at that point.

This is a calm minded, kid friendly horse. Even when he was young, that was the case. He is now 6 and she is almost 14 and they have logged many trail miles together without a problem. She takes care of him and he takes care of her.

A good result of green+green can happen but, IMO patience, proper selection of a horse, developing clear communication, having good guidance from an experienced horse person and laying a solid foundation are key.
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post #4 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 06:50 AM
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Green on green situation here and it's going great. HOWEVER, our horse has been in full professional training pretty much since we got him a year ago. He is ridden 5 days a week by the trainer and I take lessons on him (from the same trainer) 2 days a week. I did try not doing training for a couple of months and quickly realized how much we both still needed it.

Having access to help and training would be the only way this will work in most cases, in my opinion. At minimum, I think it's really important that you take lessons on your own horse if you have a green horse.

Also, I think it's important to have help making a green purchase. My trainer was able to see the potential in our green horse and knew she'd be good for us; I don't think I would have that same good judgment. It would be really easy to make a mistake with all of the cute horses for sale out there. I always want to buy every single horse with a cute face.
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post #5 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 06:50 AM
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I think it's more a warning to be careful & considerate of the factors & consequences, not a 'given'. Not something to be advised, that a beginner buy a young/green horse, because riding on a large, live animal is potentially dangerous enough without adding lack of experience on both sides to the equation. But if you're in that situation, just be aware, take precautions & take it slow & ensure you have a good trainer/instructor to help & teach you, and someone experienced(maybe the same person) to help ride & teach the horse, when needed.

I am quite an experienced horse person, but when I went looking for a first pony for my kids, wanted something 'tried & tested'(not that I was going to be an overprotective mum... until I considered my kids on horses!). But after looking at & turning down many 'bombproof' and experienced 'kids ponies' who didn't feel right, I ended up getting an 11.2hh welsh mountain boy of 7yo... who had been left alone with no handling or care since he was a yearling. The kind of horse I STRONGLY advise a beginner(or parent) doesn't even look at. The current owner only took him, knowing she couldn't keep him, to give him a chance, as he was 'free to a good home' or going to the doggers. She had handled him at home a bit, given him a couple of weeks with a pro trainer, to be started very lightly under saddle, but that was all.

When I brought him home, I found he was terrified of little, erratic people, among other things. Also found he was seriously terrified of any tack aside from halter & lead - testament to little, rushed training I suppose. My daughters were 2yo & 3.5yo when I got him. So I did put in quite a lot of time in further training, getting him used to the kids, taking him out & about with my horse & riding him(I'm too big, but for very light riding...) before the kids were allowed to even be on the ground near him. He was only a lead pony for a couple of years, & was fantastic for that, but I worried how he'd go when I gave my kids 'free rein' as he was very forward and playful. I ensured they had an independent seat, practiced 'emergency stops' until they were blue in the face, learned to control him while I had the lead(as just as a 'safety chain'), before they finally started riding off lead. He has been the BESTEST little pony! From the first time I unclipped the lead, he put his head down, stuck his top lip out in concentration & went so slowly & carefully! He really babied my kids along & helped them gain confidence! He's taken them all over the place, around town, in the bush, through rivers, in traffic, jumping, swimming... standing on him!

My eldest grew out of the little tacker then had to ride my big guy(so I had to walk!), until a few years ago when a 13.2hh brumby (hafflinger type) happened upon us. He was about 5yo at the time, handled a little on the ground only, owned by a client of mine, who decided she didn't have the time to put into him. Again, I started him myself. And my elder daughter was a reasonable rider by then, but nowhere near what I'd call 'experienced' for a very green horse. I figured I'd be happy to have him going well & she could ride him on lead within a couple of months... it was winter & I also didn't have much time to put in then. But I reckon he must have been 'born broke' - he seemed to learn everything well in only one lesson, nothing fazed him, I was on his back within the week and my daughter was within a few. I've hardly got a look-in since! She has taught him herself to jump, to neckrein, and all sorts of tricks - including 'roman riding' - riding standing on his back. He's been dressed as a reindeer at xmas, mobbed by kids at the school(I of course supervised carefully), balloons tied to him, flags carried, whips cracked, he's towed kids on skates...

We started them both in a cart a couple of years ago - something I'd never done before. And about then, kids wanted to do formal ponyclub, and they were both good riders with 'soft hands' by then, so we started the ponies in bits for the first time, because the PC rules stipulated it. They'd only been ridden in halters until then.
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post #6 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 07:09 AM
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Semi-green on semi-green here, and we're doing well. I had horses when I was young, but not for 20 some years. Bought a mare almost a year ago who was supposed to be bombproof. She was not. She was broke, but was unpredictable, spooky, and lacked finesse. However, she was 9, and was a kind mare who tried her best. I had just started riding lessons again, so brought my riding coach, then a trainer who could desensitize her.

When you say green on green, I picture a 16 year old with romantic ideas of riding a mustang and wanting to raise and train a foal all by herself. I have a neighbor like that. Her horse has bitten, kicked, fallen on top of her, reared, stomped on her, name it. She's 16 and has had at least half a dozen concussions. When she decided it would be cute to take him for a swim, he nearly drowned her. Stepped on her head under water. IF this girl survives this horse, he will be ruined for anyone else anyway. He has no respect for her or anyone else. Her parents are terrified that the horse will kill her.

Now, if you're talking about a horse that is green, to me, that means he is broke to ride, but lacks finesse. A green rider is similar. They might not be a total beginner, but they still have a lot to learn. With the help of someone who knows what they are doing, and if the personalities are compatible, it might work. However, I sure am glad we bought a very well-trained horse for my daughter. She was only 11 and while her horse is forward, he has all the buttons and is a really fun ride for that reason! When she learns something new at her riding lessons, she can ask him to do the same, and he knows what she is asking.

For that reason, I think that if a green rider has a green horse, it's important that they also take lessons on a well-trained horse. If you can't "feel" how it is when your horse does the right thing, how will you teach them to do it?
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post #7 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
When you say green on green, I picture a 16 year old with romantic ideas of riding a mustang and wanting to raise and train a foal all by herself. I have a neighbor like that. Her horse has bitten, kicked, fallen on top of her, reared, stomped on her, name it. She's 16 and has had at least half a dozen concussions. When she decided it would be cute to take him for a swim, he nearly drowned her. Stepped on her head under water. IF this girl survives this horse, he will be ruined for anyone else anyway. He has no respect for her or anyone else. Her parents are terrified that the horse will kill her.
A horse that literally stood on my head would be for sale! (of course I wouldn't be dumb enough to swim with a green horse but still). SO scary. How are her parents even letting her keep him?
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post #8 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 08:33 AM
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I would call mine a success story. I hadn't been on a horse for 40 years when I was given an unbacked 4 year old. However, I had a lot of things in my favor.
  • I was very experienced with livestock and with dog training.
  • A friend who is a lifelong horsewoman picked the mare out for me.
  • I have no romantic illusions left, really.
  • I put 60 days of training on her, and meanwhile took lessons on a trained horse.
  • I worked with a riding coach continually, and although I'm doing all the riding, she keeps an eye on me.

My horse had also been brought up right. She came to me having been handled and cared for all her life, with no significant vices. She is also a basically steady-minded horse. She's no slug, but she isn't a hot headed spookaholic either. She's six now. We continue to make progress slowly. She's a long way from being a finished horse, and may never get there.

It's not so much that green on green is always wrong, but that the combination of two ignorances usually is going to need a huge amount of skilled outside assistance to get anywhere good. Admitting that (something it seems many novices have a hard time doing), is the first step.

I believe that the biggest necessity for a novice, and one of the least likely for them to have already acquired, is a developed sense of how to "be" around horses. How to be a firm fair leader, how to stay safe on the ground, how to assess risk, how to read a horse's emotions correctly (and at all times!). This kind of stuff is only accumulated through experience and attentive practice. And that's before you ever swing aboard!

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post #9 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Jan1975 View Post
A horse that literally stood on my head would be for sale! (of course I wouldn't be dumb enough to swim with a green horse but still). SO scary. How are her parents even letting her keep him?
Yes, her father watched the whole thing and honestly thought the horse was going to kill her. It is truly baffling. I can only shake my head. Sadly, it happens. Grandfather gives kid a foal (literally, in this case), parents can't say no, kid watches horse movies and reads books and thinks she can train the horse like she trains a dog... she actually TRAINED the horse to rear. Never wears a helmet. Thinks it's cute that she's the only one who can handle the horse (if you call 6 concussions handling). Seriously, it is a disaster waiting to happen. The horse will probably end up having to be euthanized because he's so dangerous. She'll most likely end up dead or disabled. It's a train wreck, but there's nothing I can do but look away.

My point was though, a broke horse that needs a few more buttons is entirely different from training a horse from the ground up with the hope that the horse and the rider (often a young rider) will "grow up" together.
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post #10 of 40 Old 04-07-2017, 08:47 AM
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I think a lot has to do with the personalities of the person and the horse. If the person is confident and horse is sane , it shouldn't be a total disaster. Having good input from a third party goes a long way in the equation too.

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