I loved riding horses-until I bought my own - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 38 Old 10-27-2012, 01:01 AM
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^^^ Excellent post!
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post #22 of 38 Old 10-27-2012, 02:11 AM
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I did exactly what Ponyyy did. I rushed in when I bought my mare, excited by the idea of having my own horse. It doesn't help that loking back, all signs pointed to her being doped... She and I got along wonderfully when I tried her, she was the most obedient 4 y/o TB mare you could imagine. Get her home and that horse is gone. I had 3 rides on her in the time I owned her, and fell off on two of them. The first landed me in hospital, the second worsened my injuries. In my case, I had to admit defeat and rehome her, as I knew that we weren't suited.

It wasn't until last night that I realized something. I'm currently looking for a new horse - but I am terrified of cantering it. My first fall was from a canter turned bolt and, although I have cantered on a trail horse since, I never realized how afraid I now am.

And so, I made a decision. When I buy my horse, I am going to have a minimum of 2 months with no riding faster than a walk. Groundwork only, building up the bond between us and letting me get to know the quirks, and what to expect in the saddle.

I think doing some groundwork would help you wonders, especially long-reining/ground driving and just lunging in general to get to know the feel and quirks of your horse.

Good luck :)
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post #23 of 38 Old 10-27-2012, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KountryPrincess View Post
Good for you for realizing that the horse bonding process is slow and most of us, even those with experience have our growing pains. In my years of experience and observation it seems to take an average of about 3years to really get that bond going, and everything you do during your horses lifetime will make it's mark on that bond, either positive or negative.

Now, looking at your pics, I agree with the stirrup comment, but I also want to make a comment about the bit. It may just be the pic, but it looks like a leverage bit, and IMO those are for experienced hands and an advanced horse. Especially with a bolter, you want a lot of lateral (side to side) control. It is hard to get that with a long shanked bit because it is not a direct line to the horse's mouth......the shank gets in the way and confuses the signal. It may not seem to make sense to you at first, but go back to a basic snaffle, and work work work on lateral control in an enclosed enviornment.

Work first on flexion, then disengaging the hindquarters, then you can start practicing the one rein stop mentioned earlier. Practice it at a walk, then trot, then canter until you can do it in your sleep.

When a horse bolts, you really need to catch them during those first couple of strides that are out of control, otherwise, once they really get going, you will need some space to start circling them down, and you may not always have that. In other words, the horse goes to take off, and you get that head around immediately, disengage the hindquarters, and then decide what you need to do from there. Disengaging the hindquarters shuts them down long enough usually for you to evaluate the situation.

If you feel you are in immediate danger, get off. If you horse was just testing you, put him back to work. Working with a bolter takes some nerve, but most will knock it off when they realize they aren't getting anywhere. As others said also, working with a -good- trainer will also help. Hint: a good trainer will not suggest you put stronger and stronger bits in his mouth.....should be the opposite....going back to basics as I mentioned above. Best of luck to you, and be careful
Thank you for your input kountry. I have him in a copper grazing bit.. which was what the original owner recommended I use. Do you think a snaffle would be better than this?
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post #24 of 38 Old 10-27-2012, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by royalhkay View Post
Thank you for your input kountry. I have him in a copper grazing bit.. which was what the original owner recommended I use. Do you think a snaffle would be better than this?
I do actually. Just a basic moderate thickness snaffle. Make sure you have a curb strap on it so the bit cannot be pulled thru the horses mouth. The curb strap hangs under the chin attached to the bit. It hangs fairly loose but if you really have to put on some lateral pressure to stop a runaway you do not want that bit sliding thru the mouth....that could cause an accident. There are plenty of pics online how to properly attach a curb strap to a snaffle, perhaps someone on here even has one?
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post #25 of 38 Old 10-27-2012, 03:05 PM
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A few comments from someone who bought a horse on a whim 4 years ago, and then started to learn how to ride...

1 - Bolting. Although my horse was sold to me as being great for a beginner, 3 years later the trainer I hired concluded she had never been broken to ride. At all. So the trainer started her at the very beginning, on the theory that part of her fear was caused by having no idea what the normal cues meant. That plus desensitizing - which is NOT about creating a laundry list of things that are not scary - has done wonders for her.

But a big part of what was needed was for me to progress to a point as a rider where I don't freak if she bolts. For me, that meant taking lessons on other horses until I could stay calm at a gallop. Horses don't naturally bolt for a mile. They bolt for maybe 50 yards or so. When they keep galloping past that, there is a good chance that rider fear is causing them to stay scared.

Mia started professional training last November. Over the last few months, she has bolted a few times in a narrow wash. I just ride her until the wash is wider, then turn her and take her back thru the scary place. But to do that, I had to progress as a rider to where I could respond to a bolt with a sigh, followed by figuring out how to stop her.

That brings up #2: One rein stop.

The one rein stop is a learned training response. Like doing some gentle see-sawing on the reins, it only works if the horse is willing to listen to your inputs. It is possible to have the horse's head pulled 180 degrees and the horse still galloping out of control. Been there, done that. If you try breaking your horse's ribs with your legs - and I say that out of personal experience and am not saying you do that - then a one rein stop won't stop them.

3 - Confidence in you. What worked better for me than round penning was simply taking Mia out for walks. On a lead line. Like a dog. At first, we only made it 100 yards before she would panic. In time, we worked up to 3 miles. It is vastly easier to stay calm when you are on the ground. And from my limited experience with one horse, when your horse learns you know what you are doing, they are far more likely to listen when you are in the saddle. I'd guess about 50% of the confidence they get from being led carries over to when you are in the saddle.

4 - One thing worked extremely well in the round pen: getting her to calm down after getting excited. At first, if I pushed her to a gallop, she would then do 12-20 laps of the pen at a gallop while I just stood steady. With repetition, starting at a trot and then moving to a canter and finally a gallop, she learned that it was possible to calm down after getting excited. The trainer was supervising me, and she didn't think Mia was ready for more training until she could calm down from a gallop to a walk in about half a lap.

I don't know if any of that applies to you. It has been a long road with Mia, and we're now working on her learning to go out into the desert without any other horses. She is making good progress. I find I now constantly monitor her attitude, because a big part is learning to recognize when she is about to get scared, and backing her off before she goes bonkers. I've taken my time. A major part of every ride is convincing her that life outside the corral can be boring. Neck almost level (she's Arabian), ears forward, relaxed back - I want that to be a big part of every outing.

Also, I cheat. I use an Aussie-style saddle because it allows me to get my legs down and wrapped around her, while also being a deep & secure saddle. I can do that with some western saddles, but not all. 99% of the time, my Aussie saddle rides like my Bates English AP saddle, but it sure is good for those times when the horse hits the fan, so to speak. I've thought about getting her a barrel racing saddle - deep seat, designed for going fast. I don't care if it is my imagination. At 54, my body doesn't heal very fast. If some piece of equipment makes ME confident, then it will give HER confidence as well. I figure if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying....

Good luck! I know exactly how you feel!

Mia getting ready for a ride this summer:

Bits: I was using a D-ring snaffle here, and sometimes use a full cheek. She currently is using an eggbutt copper snaffle with curb strap attached. I did come close to pulling a loose ring snaffle thru her mouth once. I also see nothing wrong with using a harsher bit, if you have good hands and are working your way down. I've concluded that the switching of bits is endless, so Mia has her quick change bridle on...allows me to change bits on a whim. But if I'm honest, I'm not even sure she cares what bit is in her mouth...
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Last edited by bsms; 10-27-2012 at 03:09 PM.
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post #26 of 38 Old 10-29-2012, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
A few comments from someone who bought a horse on a whim 4 years ago, and then started to learn how to ride...
Similar experience here, though it was more a case of a friend talking me into accepting a "free" horse.

What worked better for me than round penning was simply taking Mia out for walks. On a lead line. Like a dog.
Same here. Again, it's the experience of one novice with one horse, but due to injuries I couldn't start riding Ellie for about two years. The second year was just taking her for increasingly longer walks, and then trot/jogs, as rehab.
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post #27 of 38 Old 10-29-2012, 11:50 AM
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I just brought a new horse home so I have some experience of what you're going through. Any new horse needs an introductory period when he's learning you and you are learning what to expect from him.

One good thing that you did was buy a 12 year old horse. New riders and young or untrained/inexperienced horses = bruises. Or worse. Between the two of you, someone ought to have some experience. If you don't have much, then the horse should have a lot. Good luck!

I'm not a complete idiot--there are parts missing!

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.
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post #28 of 38 Old 10-29-2012, 01:15 PM
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I had a very similar experience when I bought my Gelding Cody (6 years old, almost 7 at the time) almost 2 years ago. Before I bought him I had been riding him for a lady who was unable to ride her horses herself because of a knee surgery gone bad. When she needed to sell her horses she called me first asking if I wanted any of them, or new a good home for them. I ended up buying Cody, and my instructor/trainer took one of her other horses (im still waiting for the reunion lol)

When I was riding Cody at her place we were both confident, he tested me a little but it was always something that I new how to handle and I came out on top, and not on the ground. we were able to walk, trot, lope, back in an open field. and easily walk down roads with little to no spooks.I had been taking riding lessons for 13 years when I bought Cody. The first lesson i learned, and i learned it very quickly, was that owning and riding outside of lessons is ALOT different then within the lesson system.

When I brought Cody to our new barn, everything changed. He slammed my leg into the wall while riding, he tested me tons more then he did before, he was an absolute nut case on the road spooking at everything! It was bad. I blamed it on a new environment and a new home and a new owner. Which very much could be true. However there comes a time when enough is enough and you as the rider/owner need to step up to the plate and say "enough is enough. Your hear with me now. You listen to me now." and that's something i'm STILL learning to do! i'm still re-building my confidence, and he knows it.

I found what helped the most was having my instructor come to my barn and give us one on one lessons. She gave me confidence. and was able to see what was happening, talk me through it, and give me tips. She gave us things to work on until the next lesson which I think helped immensely because it gave me a goal to work towards and a foundation. I can never thank my instructor enough. She's taught me so much, and continues to do so. I can honestly say that i would not be where I am or who I am today, if it wasn't for her.

What we started on originally was ground work. and I don't mean just lunging. I mean basic stuff. Dont walk in front of me, when i move you move, when i stop you stop, wielding the hip, backing up off no contact just body language. She even started teaching me the basics of a one rain stop from the ground which helped both on the ground and in riding, with respect (turn and face me), and being able to pick up his shoulders, and obviously stopping with one rain (saved my butt the one time i dropped a rein LOL)

Then we moved to riding. and we did not lope for the longest time. again work on your basics. moving off your leg, wielding the hip, basic transitions, moving the shoulders etc. Take it slloooowwwwwwwwwww. and by doing so you'll both gain your confidence and your horses respect.

My confidence is still not back up to par. And Cody still takes advantage of that. I found the best things were my trainer, and having a knowledgeable and confidence friend riding with me, so when i go in panic mode. she can snap me out of it. I don't take offence to it. Having her there to snap me out of it reminds me that its not always him, its me. He reads me like a book. If i get nervace, so does he, and we go in an endless spiraling circle of growing fear until we blow up.

Its taken ALOT of time but we have both come leaps and bounds, and though we have a long long long long long way to go! I'm excited to get there, and look back at these times, and laugh about it. Remember, keep calm and carry on

This is us at our first show! It was a huge mile stone for my confidence. and he did great :) Face your fears, sometimes they might surprise you!

Beauty is not diminished by those who refuse to see, hear,feel or in any way sense it. If you refuse to see beauty its you who is weakened.
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post #29 of 38 Old 10-29-2012, 01:40 PM
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post #30 of 38 Old 10-29-2012, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by royalhkay View Post
I bought my first horse a few months ago (a 12 year old gelding). I have ridden occasionally since I was very young and had never been the slightest bit nervous riding, even galloping full speed across a snowy plain in colorado last winter, but everything changed when I brought my new gelding home. I rode him several times before buying him and had no problems and was not nervous riding him.

After I got him home I was happy and excited to be on my first ride around my place with my new horse, only to have him distracted, testy, and bolt across the pasture.........
You are right on target with the concept that your nervousness is a major factor. Horses are amazingly gifted at perceiving their rider's state of mind. Just incredibly so. I have seen it myself: once before a trail ride a horse escaped from the barn and I was the only one mounted and able to quickly respond. My totally calm Quarter horse immediately sensed my heightened state and immediately switched to "cutting/roundup" mode! After we rounded up the escapee (with much Divine assistance) and drove him back into the barn area, my horse was stoked up and I could tell he would have really enjoyed going to find another horse to chase! We had a trail ride to go on, so I made a conscious effort to chill out to see if he would do the same and he did just that, incredibly quickly. He was back in trail riding mode in two minutes.

Also, I recently read of a study that was conducted to investigate this very phenomenon, in an objective manner. They attached wireless heart monitors to a horse and to his rider. They went out on a trail that went between two areas of woods. They then told the rider that they were going to intentionally spook his horse at some point along that corridor. The rider's heart rate instantly went up and the horse's heart rate did the same with no intentional communication from the rider. They rode down the way and after the spook, the rider's heart rate returned to normal and so did the horse's. Once again, with no intentional intervention on the part of the rider.

They're tuned in to us.....no question.

As your confidence goes up and your fear subsides, his demeanor should follow. And there's no substitute for "good hours in the saddle" and lots of 'em.

The bond that you seek will come, and it is a precious treasure indeed! Unspeakably precious.... Whatever you do, DON'T GIVE UP!!! As somebody else said, y'all make a fine looking team...
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...so a horse walks into a bar and the bar tender says "why the long face?"...
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