5 yr old TWH after 4 months turned out - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-25-2012, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Kentucky
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5 yr old TWH after 4 months turned out

We've got a new one at our farm! I'm so excited!
He's a 5 year old TN Walking Horse, gelding, about 15.2hh, smart, friendly, the works. He's a beautiful mover and he's just the horse we've been looking for.
The downside is that he's coming to me after a 4 month break.

After that long, what do you think would be a reasonable timeframe to have a horse back to where he was before - well mannered under saddle, but inexperienced?
Of course it all depends on the specific horse, and this guy's got a fantastic temperament... I'm thinking about ballpark times, days? weeks? months?

On an average day, I'm usually about to spend about (3) 30 minute sessions out with the horses. More when the weather's nice and the days are longer.

I want to find the right balance between giving him plenty of time to remember his ground manners and getting him back into the routine of being ridden regularly.

Or is this the sort of thing that you just know in your gut that they're ready?
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-25-2012, 08:09 PM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: East , TN
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When I got my 2 TWH's , Cash and Scooter , it had been a WHILE since they had been worked with ! Cash (12) was an old padded show horse that had not been saddeled in 4 years (his feet hadn't been done in that long either ,ugh another story) , and Scooter (21 ) hadn't been under a saddle or anything in god only knows when , maybe 10 years ?? It took me a little over a month to put a saddle on them and when I did , I really didn't have any problems ! Cash rides really good , a little lazy , but he does good . A few months of riding and he was losing some weight and gaining muscle . Now , Scooter on the other hand is a stubborn old man , but he's a good boy to !
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-25-2012, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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My horses get some very cold winter months off. The training is never lost but it sometimes gets a tad rusty ie responses may not be as quick as the muscles have lost a bit of tone and some of the stamina when carrying a rider. Give him a good workout but be mindful if you feel he's starting to lag and end the session with a cool down walk even if he's not sweaty. Lactic acid builds up in the muscles and walking helps disperse it.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-25-2012, 11:56 PM
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If the horse has no health issues, I would expect you'd have him up to speed in a month for sure.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-26-2012, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
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They don't forget anything. If their manners are bad, they have just been handled poorly in between being ridden and now.

On the other hand, how well-trained was he when he was last ridden? He will almost instantly go back to that point once you have reestablished basic manners. We have let mares take 5 or 6 years off to raise babies. When the market crashed for prospects, we quit breeding them and put them back to work under saddle.

Without exception, they just rode off exactly like they rode several years ago. I would saddle one up and let her stand around all of one day while we did everything else. The only thing any of them did 'wrong' was whinny for the herd they had been in.

Second day -- saddled and bridled up again; and as soon as they were settled, not moving around, standing with a hind leg cocked, they were jogged around for a few minutes on a short longe line with several stops and direction changes. If that went well (which it did on all of them) the reins were tied up pretty short to the saddle-horn and they were asked to lope one or two laps on the longe line. Then they were mounted and ridden off. Every single one of them rode exactly like they did 4 or 5 or 6 years ago. I have let them set as long as 8 years.

The main thing is to 'leg one up' slowly and not throw a lot of hard work at one until their legs are back to being ready to work. Long. slow rides do not hurt them at all. I take mares out of pasture and put them back in the trail string four or five times a year when I want extra horses for large group rides like YMCA, Scout, church groups, etc. Otherwise, I use all geldings. I only drag the mares in when I need them. I put Easy-Boots on them and head for the hills.

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post #6 of 7 Old 12-26-2012, 09:37 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Iowa
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I expect him to be back to the way he was manner wise immediatly. His should change after a break. I can give a horse years off and he still acts the same. In physical condition that is a different question.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-26-2012, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 525
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Thanks everybody! I think we're going to be just fine, but it sure is nice to have all of you all here for advice/reassurance/etc.

The way I understand it, for the time he was turned out I don't think he had a whole lot of regular interaction which would explain his slip-ups in his manners.
Working with him everyday, I don't expect any problems there. The main thing for me was when can he be ridden "normally." I haven't really dealt with bringing a horse back up after a long break, even winters - I used to live a lot farther south than I do now!

I'll make a plan for him based on 4-6 weeks, just so I have a starting point, and then adjust it based on how he's doing and how well the weather cooperates.

Thanks :)
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