Trying out energetic/spooky horse, ideas?

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Trying out energetic/spooky horse, ideas?

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    12-02-2011, 05:57 PM
Trying out energetic/spooky horse, ideas?

So, I am going to go try out a half arab gelding that is for sale. His owner passed away and a friend is helping to find him a good home.
She said that he is good on the ground, very calm and stands still for you to get on, but once you're on he wants to go. And, that he can be pretty spooky.
He loves being ridden and needs someone who will take him trail riding alot. The ad said that he needs an intermediate-experienced rider.

I have been riding for about 8 years, both english and western. When I am at my home environment I am confident and not scared when a horse acts spooky or wants to go fast, but whenever I try horses out, I am always nervous and end up being not a very good rider.
I know that if he was at the place that I normally ride at, I would love a horse with energy! My horse is also spooky and I actually think it's more entertaining to ride when they have some spark to them, but not so much when I try them out.

They have a 60' round pen that I can try him out in.
Does anyone have any experiences or ideas on how to try out a horse like this? Thanks!
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    12-02-2011, 07:19 PM
Don't assume that something is going to happen. The horse will sense it. Just stay relaxed, calm and positive. The better you feel, the more likely the horse is going to behave well. Take each step as it comes, you'll be fine
    12-02-2011, 09:04 PM
Don't assume that something is going to happen. The horse will sense it. Just stay relaxed, calm and positive. The better you feel, the more likely the horse is going to behave well. Take each step as it comes, you'll be fine
That's really good advice! :] I always try to be relaxed, but I get so nervous when people are watching me.
I have never tried out a horse that is really energetic, most the ones I tried before were quite lazy, so he is definetly going to be trying to go faster, haha.
    12-03-2011, 01:43 AM
My horse is like that, he just wants to go! But, I taught him that it's OK to go slow (: It took a LOT of riding, and patience, but it definitely paid off in the end! Like they say, no time spent in the saddle is wasted (: You might fall in love with this horse when you go try him out, but you have to try and keep things in perspective. Here's what I did. I asked myself, what are the good things about Joker? (my horse) Well, he's very bombproof, he's young (6), he's very sociable, and he gets along really good with other animals. Then I asked myself, what are the bad things about him? Well: He's a cribber, and he doesn't like to go slow. But with such a great personality, how could I pass him up? So I bought him, and let me tell you, BEST DECISION I EVER MADE. At first, our relationship was kinda rocky. He bucked my brother off the first time we rode him at our house, and he tried to take off with me and my sister. So, I had my trainer come out, take a look at him, and she gave me a lesson on him. WOW what a difference that made! With 1 lesson, WE MADE TONS OF PROGRESS. So, I found out that he has some other good qualities: He learns fast, he's eager to please, and he's easy to correct when he's doing something wrong. I took maybe 20-25 lessons on him, once a week, then every other week. I went from only walking and trotting (his trot was super fast and hard to sit!) on the lunge line with him, to walking, trotting, (his trot is much much slower and better now) and loping (super smooth!) both directions without a lunge line in about 12 weeks. It may seem long, but we both worked HARD to earn each others trust and respect. So if I were you, I'd definitely take a good look at this horse, and if you like him, take him on a trial period (maybe 2 weeks?) have a vet check, and take some lessons on him.
    12-03-2011, 04:10 AM
Originally Posted by horseluver50    
That's really good advice! :] I always try to be relaxed, but I get so nervous when people are watching me.
I have never tried out a horse that is really energetic, most the ones I tried before were quite lazy, so he is definetly going to be trying to go faster, haha.
I myself am going to try out an energetic, excitable mare this afternoon. Good luck to us both
    12-03-2011, 01:41 PM
It isn't always an option, but see if you can get a trial period with the horse. Then you can try him out in a relaxed atmosphere and in a place you are comfortable with.

Not every seller will do that as it's kind of a risk for them, but some will. I got my Mustang that way. I got him on a 2 week trial and knew he was the horse for me after one week of trying him out in every riding situation I could think of.

Energetic horses (as long as they are safe) are a lot of fun! My Mustang is my best horse, but my Fox Trotter is the most fun to ride because she moves out willingly.
Sharpie and xxGallopxx like this.
    12-03-2011, 04:15 PM
Allow yourself plenty of time.
Go and collect the horse from the paddock or stable and then give it a good groom. Take a carrot or two to curry favour with the horse.
Run your hand over the horse. Say 'hello'. Talk to the animal.
Groom it with a soft brush. Pick out its hooves. Run a comb through its mane.

Tack the horse up and lead it out into the schooling arena. Walk it around in hand, Let the horse see you close up. Lead it on a loose rein.
Lead it to the mounting block - (if there isn't one, then make one up)
Mount up - ask your friend to hold the horse by the head as you do so.
Gently lower yourself down on the horse's back. Gently does it.

Settle into the saddle. Check the stirrups are adjusted correctly
Take up a light contact - using two hands.
Be careful to keep the body still still - minimal movement.
Ask your friend to let go of the horse's head.
Give a very very gentle squeeze of the under thigh - keep the heels still
Say 'walk on'. Allow some rein. Sit still, yet without being tense.
Walk around the arena. Walk, no more. Feel the horse between your legs.
Ask yourself how it feels. Relax.
Circle the arena at the walk. Stop and stand. Do a turn to the right, then to the left. Turn around and go in the opposite direction. Talk to the horse.
Keep it slow. Whoah. Try a back up.

Then when you think you are ready, ask for trot.
After a circuit or two, change the rein and trot the other way.
Feel for the horse's mouth. How sensitive is it?
How much pressure is needed on the bit? Will the horse neck rein?
What is it's response to the leg? Does it listen?
Spend half an hour feeling eachother out.
Then dismount, untack and lightly groom the horse.
Feed it an apple. Put it away. Say 'Goodbye'

Some riders don't allow for the horse's nervousness about a strange and new rider. The first ride is THE most important. The horse wants to know if you are a sensitive rider. It wants to believe you know what you are doing.

If the horse bolts off around the arena - then maybe you are not a good match for eachother. If the horse appears to accept you and you, the rider, get a good feeling in the crutch, then maybe the pair of you have a future.

A full arab stallion is known to be sensitive and some are even said to be one man rides. So the rider has to be sensitive with this breed - soft hands, good balance, light touch. It is a light intelligent breed,

Just because the horse is said to be sparky that doesn't mean that everything has to be done at the gallop. Before the pair of you go charging off into the distance you have to learn the language of each other.

A couple of days later, go back and do it all over again.

The sensitive horse will take time to settle in at new stables. You have to gain a good insight of the horse where it is established - so that in the coming weeks, if you decide to take the horse, you can recognise when the horse needs time to settle into new surroundings.

Whether you ride Western or English - the principles are the same - except perhaps that the English rider would take up contact, the western rider might ride long and low. But the biq question is whether the pair of you can bond and whether your ability matches the needs of the horse.

The spark in a sharp horse will show soon enough. But if you, as a new rider, come off too soon, then the horse will lose respect for you.

Buying a horse should never be an impulse buy. It is important that horse and rider match in temperament, sensitivity and ability.
Choose wisely.
    12-03-2011, 04:28 PM
Try lunging him on a line for about 15 mins. All of my Arabians have a lot of GO and they understand that they can buck and fart on the line, but once they settle in and get to work, then they come off the line and I mount up and off we go. If they act like they want to bow up once I'm on, I hop right back off and they go back on the lunge for a few more minutes to get their brain back. I put them through their paces, walk, trot, canter, reverse, back, whoa and see how they do. My stallion especially, needs that time to play up a bit then settle in to working. If I'm patient and give him the time, we have an awesome ride. If not, well, he's only 4, so sometimes we have an 'interesting' ride that isn't quite as smooth as I might have preferred!

Best thing I've found for trying out these horses with lots of GO is to get them focussed on me, then when I get on, I let them have as much head as I can give them. If they want to go out at the trot, that's fine, but then we trot until I say we don't trot anymore, and that's always several minutes longer than THEY want to continue. That way I'm not always having to hang on their faces or fight them.

I always take a really deep seated saddle for a trial ride, so that way if they spook, spin, buck or run, I'm good to stick. Now I expect if this boy likes being ridden, and he's used to it, he might be fresh, but I bet he'll be a piece of cake. I can pretty much toss any of my Arabs out into the pasture for 6 months and then go grab one and go for a ride without any trouble, that's just the way the breed seems to be. They are more alert and forward than a lot of breeds, but they were bred to be that way. A dead head in war would get you killed, a sharp attentive horse would probably save your life.

Oh, another thing my Arabians do that no other horses I've ever owned have done: When they spook, they sort of startle real hard and then freeze. I call it the elevator drop spook. They snort, jump and spread their front feet a bit, so the front end drops a little lower and then they freeze solid until they've give the situation a real good look. It's always lasted long enough for me to say, "OOOH OK, it's just................", settle in my seat and collect the reins and let them go on without a fuss. That's the real key to my guys, I settle and say, "OOOOH that's all right, not a big deal." and they listen to my seat, my voice and my legs, if I don't get all tight and worried, they don't either.

I'm claustrophobic so I won't ride in a round pen on a bet. If you're comfortable riding in a 60 ft round pen to start, go for it, but I much prefer to get on and hit the trail, where I feel like we have some room.
xxGallopxx likes this.
    12-04-2011, 06:46 PM
Wow, thank you everyone for the excellent advice! I am not even nervous about riding after reading your posts! [:
I'm thinking that what I will do is ride him in the round pen for a few minutes to make sure that he isn't going to do anything scary, then take him out on the road, so we can have more space.
And possibly ask if we could have a trial for a couple of weeks.

I went yesterday to see him, and take him for a walk. He is very sweet and has really good ground manners. He loves to be with people and when he spooks, he just stops and stares.
I really like him, so hopefully the ride goes good!

Thanks everyone!
    12-04-2011, 09:06 PM
Once in the saddle slowly take three deep breaths and slowly let each one out with a soft low moaning sound. This will often relax the horse as well because it softens your shoulders, back and hips.

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