Contemplating Buying 5 Years of Bad Habits
Like one of the posters on this thread, I am in my 60's and have been looking for a solid trail horse for the last few months. I went out to ride a 13 yr. old Rocky Mountain mare yesterday, who is fearless on the trail and will go through anything. She is great on her own or with other horses.
The problem is this. The current owner, a lovely person, got into horse 5 years ago, took a few lessons, and started collecting horses, mainly Rocky Mountains. For the most part, they just get on these horses, trundle along the trail, and the horses know "whoa" or canter, but nothing in between.
The mare I was riding had great ground manners, solid confirmation, and was very people oriented, but didn't know even the most basic thing, like backing up. I asked her to back up and you would have thought I'd asked to fly to the moon. And the owner simply said, oh our horses don't know how to back up. We rode out on the trails for about 1 1/2 hrs. and although this horse was pretty good about stopping, and letting the other horse get way ahead, she did a lot of head tossing for most of the ride and was agitated over the simplest of things, like me asking her to move off my leg to the right or left.
Obviously this horse has not had the basic training that I would have expected, or maybe had before the current owners bought her, but she is not what I would consider a well broke horse.
My question is, is it too late to get back to some basics with this mare, in an arena setting, and teach her proper head set, and a few other things like backing up and moving off your leg? They're asking $5,000 for this horse which seems like a lot of money to me, for a horse that has had some bad habits for a lot time.
Would appreciate any advice/suggestions.