What are your tips/advice on getting me and my horses back into riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-06-2011, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
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What are your tips/advice on getting me and my horses back into riding

I used to spend a lot of time with my two horses (gelding paint, and palamino + something or other 'mutt' mare). But I started (and now finished) college, got married and moved 4 times. They have been pretty much doing their own thing for about 4 years now. Right now and for the past year, they've been boarded. They spend all their time out to pasture (so they aren't kept in a stall) with a few other horses. They are pretty much joined at the hip though. They hang together and can't even be separated for the farrier.

So my question for you guys is: how do I prepare them for getting back into use? I want to ride them on the trails around the bard where they board. But I am a little unsure where to start. I would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you so much. ;)

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post #2 of 5 Old 11-06-2011, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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Well ground handling would be the first step. Maybe it'd be a good idea to keep your two horses together at first, like stalled nearby, and slowly wean them off of the idea of "we are joined at the hip" Pull each one out of the stall to groom and such.

I'd focus on one at a time primarily because you want your horses to be okay with being away from each other .. and if you put your efforts into one horse until it gets there, then it's much easier on you and your horse as they get one-on-one introduction . They'll feel more confident with their herd leader (you), and they both will know that it's fine to be without their herd buddy.

After they are fine with being handled away from each other, then I'd start working on the ground teaching them basic concepts. Sack them out with pads and the saddle and teach them about pressure and release. Teach them to lead and ho and tie and all that good stuff. Then build a lunging schedule. You should always start out small. Build up what you do during that lunge session but don't overdue it. Lunge bare and then lunge with a saddle. Hand walk each horse around the barn and maybe down some trails if they are close by. All the while your goal is to make sure your horses are RELAXED.

I wouldn't start riding until they are confident on the ground without the other horse nearby. Then since you've been lunging and getting each horse ready to wear a saddle, it'll be much easier for you to hop on and start small with walking courses and learning about cues.

But the basic idea here is you want to kind of give them a huge refresher. You haven't been in a saddle for awhile either so don't push too much at a time. Make sure they feel SAFE, are RELAXED, and that they are FOCUSED.

As for you, I'd start with stretches before you ride because I am sure you will have sore muscles for awhile :p

Hope I helped
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-06-2011, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Thank you very much! I really appreciate this. I will take it slow and do what you said. Now, how often would you recommend going to the barn? Well, what I mean is: What is the minimum time per week that I can work with them in order to make progress? Do you think it would be enough to go once per week? (Honestly.)
I know, I know, ideally it would be as often as possible, right? But I live 40 minutes away from my barn, and it is hard to find the time more then once per week to get out there (and even that is tough). But is that enough? What do you think?
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-06-2011, 10:24 PM
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Once a week will be enough if it needs to be. Just make your time count and really work on establishing the bond with your horse. Just because you can't be thre 24/7 doesn't mean you can't have a relationship. Spend as much time as you can and really work on stuff the horse likes and engaging his/her attention.

Dreamcatcher Arabians is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 11-06-2011, 10:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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Yeah it's more about quality than quantity. Whatever works best for you. It also allows your horses to process the change. When you start riding, then I'd increase more of the time spent there. But for now, start out slow :)
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