Green mare--do I need a trainer?
 
 

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Green mare--do I need a trainer?

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  • Lease green horse owner trained horse forum
  • If i have never rode a horse do i need a trainer

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    10-02-2011, 11:00 PM
  #1
Foal
Green mare--do I need a trainer?

I am leasing a green 8-year-old QH mare. She has great ground manners, and she's not spooky. No biting, kicking, etc. She has been ridden off and on for the past few years by three different people, but nobody has committed to "finishing" her. I think she has a pretty long way to go.

I have been riding for 30+ years, but although I "fine tuned" all three horses I owned, I have never trained a green horse. When I last owned horses in the 1980s, no regular person had a "trainer" for their horse. We used to roll our eyes at the kids who did have "trainers," because they were always in the ribbons but you knew the rider/owner had little to do with the success. Someone trained the horse (and rode it in the warm-up ring before the class!), and then the kid would hop on and beat us in the arena. Still, I'd often come in 3rd in a field of 10 for western pleasure, and to me, just a teenager working/training my own horse, that was awesome.

But nowadays things seem different. Everybody has a trainer! At first I was completely confident that I could take this green mare along just fine, but now I'm wondering if I should find a trainer to help. Since I am only leasing, that seems a little crazy. At the same time, so many people--on these boards and elsewhere--recommend getting a trainer. I'm just not sure if I should be going it alone or not.

The goal is to turn this mare into a nice western pleasure horse, but not for the show ring. Just a nice, reliable riding horse. Advice?
     
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    10-02-2011, 11:20 PM
  #2
Banned
Since you're leasing, why don't you just fine a ready-made horse more suitable for your goals? If I was the owner of a leased horse, I'm not sure I'd be too keen on a strange trainer coming in and working with it.
     
    10-02-2011, 11:39 PM
  #3
Foal
Hi 3nicks, if you are questioning your confidence then why don't you go with the trainer maybe then you and horse will both be happy...just a thought




Tanya
     
    10-03-2011, 07:40 AM
  #4
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba13    
Since you're leasing, why don't you just fine a ready-made horse more suitable for your goals? If I was the owner of a leased horse, I'm not sure I'd be too keen on a strange trainer coming in and working with it.
Agreed. Unless the training of the mare is somehow worked into the lease agreement, I'd say the final say on whether a trainer should be brought in, and who that trainer should be, very much belongs to the owner. Unless this is something like a lease-to-own type of situation, in which things might be different?

That being said, are you thinking about hiring a trainer because you are encountering training issues beyond your ability? Or because "everyone has one?" The reason why trainers are recommended so highly on this BB is because a lot of people crop up who ask questions or have problems that honestly need more experienced eyes on site to truly help. Bearing in mind that I don't know you or the horse... if you feel confident to address the holes in the mare's training, or lay that foundation, I would tentatively say that you don't need a trainer. If you are meeting one roadblock after another and having difficulties, then I'd recommend talking to the lessor and discussing what would be best for both of you in terms of either bringing in someone to help (whether the lessor, assuming that they are more experienced with green horses, or a mutually chosen/agreed upon trainer), or you moving on to a horse that is a better fit for you.

Putting myself into what I understand of your situation, I would go ahead on my own until I met a problem, and then discuss the next step with the lessor. But then, I like working with horses like you describe - comparatively older greenies with a few rides and a solid start but not a lot of polish. If she were untouched or had training problems, it would be a different story.

So, after that rambling... do YOU think that you need a trainer's help to teach the mare what she needs to learn for her future job as a reliable pleasure horse? Be honest with yourself, your abilities, and your expectations, and you'll make the right decision.

Good luck!!
     
    10-03-2011, 09:17 AM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoutrider    
But then, I like working with horses like you describe - comparatively older greenies with a few rides and a solid start but not a lot of polish. If she were untouched or had training problems, it would be a different story.

So, after that rambling... do YOU think that you need a trainer's help to teach the mare what she needs to learn for her future job as a reliable pleasure horse? Be honest with yourself, your abilities, and your expectations, and you'll make the right decision.

Good luck!!
This is exactly why I chose to lease this mare. I enjoy bonding with a horse, schooling, and smoothing the rough edges. No way I would get involved with a yearling or any untouched horse because that is well beyond what I've done before. But this sort of "almost there" adult horse seemed right for the kind of things I like to do.

This horse is 8 and basically a family pet. She had not been ignored, but loved and treated well. Fly spray? No problem. Picking up her feet? No problem. All that day-to-day stuff has been taught and learned. Only non-riding problem she's giving me is being caught in the field, but we're working on that. I think she is associating me with work (something she's not used to), so I'm alternating work days with just brushing and love. She is also somewhat stubborn under saddle, and sometimes a little ornery and pushy (wanting to take off when she's supposed to be walking, stopping and refusing to move).

Although she has been ridden over the years, this has been sporadic and not professional. She was purchased to be a 4H project, but the project never got off the ground. LOL! I am just working at walk/trot right now, beginning to teach neck reining, simple exercises in the ring, and short rides. She is out of shape and I don't want to turn her sour to the work.

My biggest issue is progressing through the gaits. I have not asked her to lope because I don't feel she has a great handle on cues. I'm not sure I'd be able to stop her if she did get going (especially since the riding ring is often used as a turn-out ring, where she runs around with her pasture mate). So we're doing walk/trot and working on flexing and listening to cues. She seems to be a quick learner (she may be remembering things she learned a couple years ago) and I haven't had any issues with rearing or bucking or any of that craziness. She remains generally calm, though occasionally sassy. I guess my question is this: can I keep doing walk/trot work for a couple months, then progress to lope? Will she get bored? I feel like I should get her listening really well to cues before I start loping around the ring, but I'm not sure what a trainer's perspective on that would be.
     
    10-03-2011, 09:27 AM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba13    
Since you're leasing, why don't you just fine a ready-made horse more suitable for your goals? If I was the owner of a leased horse, I'm not sure I'd be too keen on a strange trainer coming in and working with it.
Finding a "ready-made horse" is easier said than done. I ride western (although I started with English and spent six years taking English lessons), but live in an area where everyone rides English. I looked for a "bombproof" western horse for over a year with no luck. Everything here is either a TWH, a TB, or a $20,000 draft/TB hunt horse. I came upon the mare I'm leasing by chance. She has been sitting in a pasture doing nothing, and I think the owners were resigned to her being a pasture ornament forever. So it is a win/win situation for us. The owner gets the horse some work/love/attention and I get to work with a horse that I think has a lot of potential. This is a laid back situation, not a high stakes, competitive, don't-touch-my-priceless-horse situation. I am riding at their barn/home, so they can clearly see if I'm doing something they don't like. I'm not, of course. I have much more experience than they do, to be honest. Only one family member rides, and she is away at college.
     
    10-03-2011, 10:00 AM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoutrider    
Agreed. Unless the training of the mare is somehow worked into the lease agreement, I'd say the final say on whether a trainer should be brought in, and who that trainer should be, very much belongs to the owner. Unless this is something like a lease-to-own type of situation, in which things might be different?
The fact that the mare is green was made clear to me from the get go, and there is a stipulation in the lease that I will get first dibs if the horse goes up for sale. The owner has already mentioned that we can discuss my purchasing the mare if I like. This is again why I like the lease deal. My lease is for six months. If over the next few months I think, "You know what, I really want this horse...", I can make an offer to buy. If they turn me down, at least I will know I am ready to buy and can look elsewhere for my own horse.

So this mare is something of a project for me, and gives me breathing room while I decide if I really want to buy right now. If I invest several months into training her, etc., and then buy, I will reap the fruits of my labor. If not, at least I have prepared her somewhat for whatever the owners decide to do. My guess is that they would be happy to have me buy this mare. They love her but simply don't have the time or training to ride her.
     
    10-03-2011, 12:44 PM
  #8
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Nicks    
So this mare is something of a project for me, and gives me breathing room while I decide if I really want to buy right now. If I invest several months into training her, etc., and then buy, I will reap the fruits of my labor. If not, at least I have prepared her somewhat for whatever the owners decide to do. My guess is that they would be happy to have me buy this mare. They love her but simply don't have the time or training to ride her.
That sounds like a great deal! You get to get to know the horse very well before committing to buying, get the benefits of what you put into her if you choose to go that route, and get the experience of working with her if you choose not to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Nicks    
This is exactly why I chose to lease this mare. I enjoy bonding with a horse, schooling, and smoothing the rough edges. No way I would get involved with a yearling or any untouched horse because that is well beyond what I've done before. But this sort of "almost there" adult horse seemed right for the kind of things I like to do.

My biggest issue is progressing through the gaits. I have not asked her to lope because I don't feel she has a great handle on cues. I'm not sure I'd be able to stop her if she did get going (especially since the riding ring is often used as a turn-out ring, where she runs around with her pasture mate). So we're doing walk/trot and working on flexing and listening to cues. She seems to be a quick learner (she may be remembering things she learned a couple years ago) and I haven't had any issues with rearing or bucking or any of that craziness. She remains generally calm, though occasionally sassy. I guess my question is this: can I keep doing walk/trot work for a couple months, then progress to lope? Will she get bored? I feel like I should get her listening really well to cues before I start loping around the ring, but I'm not sure what a trainer's perspective on that would be.
Absolutely get her solid at the walk and trot before progressing to the lope. If her breaks and gas pedal are lacking at the walk, they won't get better with speed. The more walk and trot work you do, the more balanced and prepared she'll be to handle the lope when the time comes, in terms of physical and mental preparedness. As long as you vary the routine within the walk and trot you can definitely keep her from getting bored. You can do a lot without touching the lope - circles and serpentines, transitions, trot poles and cavaletti, obstacle courses, lateral work... it will all go toward getting her light, soft, balanced, etc. You can do a lot of trail riding at the walk and the trot, too. Just because you're staying in one gait doesn't mean that riding has to be boring for the horse.

That's my perspective, anyway... I'm a long way from a pro trainer.
3Nicks likes this.
     
    10-03-2011, 12:52 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoutrider    

...

Absolutely get her solid at the walk and trot before progressing to the lope. If her breaks and gas pedal are lacking at the walk, they won't get better with speed. The more walk and trot work you do, the more balanced and prepared she'll be to handle the lope when the time comes, in terms of physical and mental preparedness.

...
Thank you so much. This info really helps me. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes. If it would stop raining here (almost every day for the past month!), I'd be getting a lot more riding in and making a lot more progress.
     
    10-04-2011, 04:24 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoutrider    
Agreed. Unless the training of the mare is somehow worked into the lease agreement, I'd say the final say on whether a trainer should be brought in, and who that trainer should be, very much belongs to the owner. Unless this is something like a lease-to-own type of situation, in which things might be different?

That being said, are you thinking about hiring a trainer because you are encountering training issues beyond your ability? Or because "everyone has one?" The reason why trainers are recommended so highly on this BB is because a lot of people crop up who ask questions or have problems that honestly need more experienced eyes on site to truly help. Bearing in mind that I don't know you or the horse... if you feel confident to address the holes in the mare's training, or lay that foundation, I would tentatively say that you don't need a trainer. If you are meeting one roadblock after another and having difficulties, then I'd recommend talking to the lessor and discussing what would be best for both of you in terms of either bringing in someone to help (whether the lessor, assuming that they are more experienced with green horses, or a mutually chosen/agreed upon trainer), or you moving on to a horse that is a better fit for you.

Putting myself into what I understand of your situation, I would go ahead on my own until I met a problem, and then discuss the next step with the lessor. But then, I like working with horses like you describe - comparatively older greenies with a few rides and a solid start but not a lot of polish. If she were untouched or had training problems, it would be a different story.

So, after that rambling... do YOU think that you need a trainer's help to teach the mare what she needs to learn for her future job as a reliable pleasure horse? Be honest with yourself, your abilities, and your expectations, and you'll make the right decision.

Good luck!!
Sadly, I have decided not to continue with my lease. I concluded today that this horse needs a pro trainer, or at least someone who can ride and/or work with her five or six days a week, every week.

We've had a lot of bad weather and I've had very little riding time over the past two weeks. I went out to the barn today and everything was fine on the ground. But once I put the saddle on the mare, she became irritable, difficult, tossing her head, chomping the bit, stopping and refusing to move when I was trying to ride her in the ring. Basically back to square one with everything. She's had her teeth checked, so I know that's not the issue. If she was my horse I guess I'd get a vet check, a trainer, and maybe a saddle fitter. But it's not my horse.

I'm getting almost no riding time because when I am at the barn, I spend the whole two hours going so slowly, working on the most basic things. I want to spend my riding time riding, not trying to figure out what's causing this or that, when to be firm and when to go slow, what the mare can and can't do, etc. I am getting discouraged. She's just a little too unpredictable for me. I thought it would be OK, but I've come to the conclusion that she needs more than I can provide. I think she could be a great riding horse, but it's a ways off. I'm glad the owners gave me the opportunity to give it a try.

I need to go back to looking for a finished/bombproof western riding horse, a search that has been fruitless for the last year. Sigh. If I rode English, I'd have many more options.
     

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