New horse tossed me...
   

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New horse tossed me...

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  • Groundwork to get my horse to trust me
  • New horse threw me off

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    10-19-2012, 07:09 PM
  #1
Foal
New horse tossed me...

When I was a kid, my mom got me a horse that taught me everything I know today. We had four horses at the same time. She (an older bomb-proof Quarter Horse) and a younger mustang were my personal horses. She was sound and gentle natured and I never had an ounce of trouble from her. The mustang was young, stubborn, and lazy but we had a great bond and he turned out to be a fantastic horse. I had her until the day she died. After she passed, my mom and I went through a financial crisis and had to rehome the remaining three (we were both devastated).
It's been a few years and I just recently got back into horses. I brought home my two new horses two weeks ago - a Quarter Horse and a mustang from a feral herd in Nevada. Both are about 11 years old and broke to ride. The mustang was a premeditated purchase (I had visited the farm that had him several times, ridden him, worked with him, etc.). The quarter horse was a sudden and unexpected purchase but she's a fantastic little mare.
Now, herein lies my situation, and I know I asked for this: One day three after moving both horses, it seemed like they had both settled in very quickly. The mustang had some faint diarrhea that cleared up within 24 hours and that was the extent of it. I was feeling really confident and decided it was time for a short ride on the property after coming home from work. I took the mustang into the round pen with me, brushed him out, saddled him up, and got ready to go. I got it in my head to try to ride him without a bridle (I use rope halters on both horses and had read extensively about riding in one). I thought the transition between bit to halter would go very smoothly - the mustang had always been responsive and gentle under saddle when I rode him at the farm. Every time I had saddled him at the farm, he danced and moved around (nothing too extreme, just boredom or irritation). He stood perfectly still this time in the round pen (we had been working on standing still while being saddled and I think our work together paid off) and waited patiently for me to climb aboard. He took a step forward after I got seated and so I drew back on the reins (no bit) to halt him. My right foot also had not made it into the stirrup so I leaned down to try to fix it. He took another step forward ad I halted him, this time with a little more resistance on his part. And then he started to go through the gate of the round pen and he was off like a rocket! He began to buck rather aggressively and eventually got me off. I hit the ground pretty hard (my leg still bothers me) and it took me a long moment to recover and get to my feet. I was pretty shaken by this time and it looks like he was too. He hung out up in the shelter until I came through to retrieve him (I never yell or am frantic in my actions). He looked frightened and when he saw me, he moved away from me. I finally got hold of him but was too scared to climb back on. I took him back to the round pen, unsaddled him, and lunged him (we've never lunged before this incident). I resaddled him and then we took a walk together (I walked on the ground and we went away from the quarter horse for about 10 minutes). Every time he tried to crowd me or turn back, I circled him or backed him up and then we preceded forward. I took him back to the round pen, handled his feet, unsaddled him, brushed him out, and turned him loose. I haven't been out to attempt to ride him since.
I'm going back out this weekend to try for a ride but I'm really nervous. I was looking for pointers, critiques (respectful, please), or any advise that might help improve our relationship and build my confidence. This isn't the first time I've been thrown but this is the first time I never climbed right back on because I told myself that he was spooked for being in a new place, did not trust/respect me, or was simply stressed. Any helpful insight?

I also would like to say that since he threw me, I HAVE been out to see him almost every single day. We've lunged a few times, I brush him daily, I handle his feet (he never used to let me handled his feet - now I can pick them all up) and he tends to respect me on the ground. He approaches me in the pasture and lets me love on him all I want. He leads well and minds well. I just have yet to resaddle and ride him.
     
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    10-21-2012, 01:06 AM
  #2
Yearling
Sounds like he needs some ground work first before you start riding him and getting him to respect you.
I also ride my horse in a bitless bridle but for 3yrs. I rode her with a rope halter. She had been trained with a bit, she was 3 when I got her with 30 days of riding on her......I took a couple months to just work on her in the round pen making sure I got the whoa, back, turning.......
It shouldn't matter if they are in a new place, if you take them different places to go trail riding they are in a different place and shouldn't act out on it.
I suggest you do ground work with him and gaining his respect. Do you know much about what type of ground work to do?
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    10-21-2012, 08:12 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
Without being mean or nasty it strikes me that you never really though riding the new horses through.
For a starter you should have closed the round pen get before you did anything with the horse. Secondly you are never going to have control in a halter.
Accident waiting to happen.

If you are worried about riding this horse than don't he will sense your nerves and be more worried.

I agree to do more ground work with him.
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    10-21-2012, 08:25 PM
  #4
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
Without being mean or nasty it strikes me that you never really though riding the new horses through.
For a starter you should have closed the round pen get before you did anything with the horse. Secondly you are never going to have control in a halter.
Accident waiting to happen.

If you are worried about riding this horse than don't he will sense your nerves and be more worried.

I agree to do more ground work with him.
Sorry but I don't agree with no control with a halter.......if a horse is going to bolt it will bolt even with a bit. I've ridden my mare for 7 yrs. With no bit, the first three was in her halter and I never once had her bolt on me....yet I've seen horses bolt with a bit in there mouth.

I did alot of ground work with my mare, gained her trust and I trust her......if she did spin to bolt she always stopped when I asked her to.....I guess it really depends on the person and their horse.

I am now training my mare's 3yr. Gelding, he is being trained in a bit and also his halter.......
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    10-21-2012, 08:28 PM
  #5
Yearling
I'd maybe try riding him around with the bridle on until he gets a feel for the place, perhaps even lunge him before hand.
I also agree with the ground work, you can never have enough ;D
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    10-21-2012, 08:32 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Groundwork groundwork groundwork.

That being said, why would you attempt your first ride on a new horse using a method that he may not even have had experience with?

Why even the desire to ride in a halter versus a proper bitless bridle or hackamore?

Yes a horse certainly can bolt with a bit on, but I think it's going to be a lot easier to regain control with a bit than a halter.
     
    10-21-2012, 08:56 PM
  #7
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by DancingArabian    
Groundwork groundwork groundwork.

That being said, why would you attempt your first ride on a new horse using a method that he may not even have had experience with?

Why even the desire to ride in a halter versus a proper bitless bridle or hackamore?

Yes a horse certainly can bolt with a bit on, but I think it's going to be a lot easier to regain control with a bit than a halter.
Like I said, it depends on the horse and also how much ground work you have done too......I am confident enough with my mare with no bit, in just a halter or a bitless bridle (which I do have).....we have ridden with groups of 3 to 20 people and I have never had a problem......with or without a bit I think a horse if it really wanted to it would bolt......
     
    10-21-2012, 09:31 PM
  #8
Trained
If he rode fine with a bit and he dumped you in the dirt with the halter, I would suggest using the bit. No amount of groundwork is going to take the place of riding.
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    10-21-2012, 09:50 PM
  #9
Trained
First off, you did not think this through at all, I totally agree with Foxhunter on that one. From your description, it sounds to me like he moved, you stopped him the first time with the halter. All was good, except he now realized he was in a halter....I am guessing it was a "regular" halter and not even a rope one?......THen I think he realized he had one over on you, so to speak. Stick with the bit until you build up your confidence and his respect as well as know him better. Some horses do great in halters, others not so much.

Thunderspark-you are another story. You have had your horse for a while. It is not a new horse your first time on. IMO you should keep that in mind when you advise folks that they are all good to go without a bit that was working well for them last week, and now they are in new surroundings and new to each other. :-/
     
    10-21-2012, 10:13 PM
  #10
Yearling
I do agree that's it is important for groundwork, also just grooming the horse and getting to know the horse and the horse gets to know you too. When I first got my mare she was 3yrs. Old, she had been out in pasture, brought in and had 30 days of riding on her. She was jumpy/timid/scared of everything! It took me a couple of months just brushing/working with her in the round pen to get her to trust me and not jump every time I move/talk......I spent alot of time just sitting out in the pasture watching the horses. She didn't take long for her to trust me and want to be with me but I earned that trust with her.
Before I even rode her outside anywhere I worked with her in a round pen with just her halter/bareback pad. I wanted to know she would stop when I asked her to, it took a couple of months before I felt comfortable enough to take her out into just the yard, she was nervous but we worked through that.....now she is the best partner I could ask for, she will go anywhere, try for me and she may be small but she's got a big heart!
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