Greenbroke Arab and inexperienced rider PLEASE HELP

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Greenbroke Arab and inexperienced rider PLEASE HELP

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    08-18-2013, 04:02 PM
Exclamation Greenbroke Arab and inexperienced rider PLEASE HELP

Ok, I apologize for the long post in advance. My horse is a greenbroke, stubborn 18 year old Arabian gelding. He was previously neglected (not starving or anything, just ignored) and has little or no training. When I got him, he bucked, he was impossible to tack up (he froze and fell over when you girthed him up), and was ridden in a horrific bit that made his mouth bleed. He was used as a barrel horse, as he is INSANELY fast, but was so crazy they stopped riding him. They dumped him in a 30+ acre pasture, and left him. He was not gelded until he was 10-12 years old, which I think combined with poor handelng caused issues. After purchasing him for $800, I switched him to English. He has stopped bucking and can now be mounted and tacked up. He loves being ridden, and I have worked wonders with him. He is ridden in a d ring snaffle with rubber on the bars, and a jointed mouthpiece. He bolts in the canter, has poor flexion and will not round. Keep in mind I have only had him for three months. He has good ground manners, and I have really bonded with him, and he respects me as the leader. He is willing to please, and very smart and responsive. I switched to English the same time he did. I do have a trainer, and she said we have made excellent progress. She also said I am an intermediate rider, but will be advanced in a few weeks at the rate I am going. Before anyone disses me for buying to much horse for myself, I would like to say that if I hadn't bought him he was being sold to the slaughterhouse. So I really am his last chance. He has beautiful conformation (his head is a bit chunky for an Arab) and was vet approved for hard riding. He is 14 hands even, weighs 850 pounds. I am 5'4 and 116 pounds. Any help anyone can suggest will be greatly appreciated. :)
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    08-18-2013, 04:13 PM
He sounds like fun, if a bit much for you right now But you are working with a trainer, and I can see the attraction to a hot headed arab, I love them.

OK, given that he is vet checked, chiro visited and had his teeth done, so you know that you are not dealing with pain issues, my tip, sloooow it way down. If he is bolting in the canter it could be that he is not ready either mentally or physically to be cantering with a rider, he may be a older horse, but I would be treating him like a green colt.

Make sure that he is quiet calm and listening at the walk, if he responds well to all your aids, and is walking with a quiet rhythmic swing, using his body well, then try trotting. When he can carry himself properly, and use himself at the trot, then introduce small canters. My little Arab mare had stood for a while, and she struggled at the canter, tried to buck and run off, until she had built enough strength and muscle at the slower paces to hold the canter.

Be mindful too, that although 18 is not such a great age for an Arab, he could be starting to get a few age related aches and pains that may affect his performance.
    08-18-2013, 04:21 PM
My advice is also to slow down. If he can't flex at the walk and trot why are you cantering? It sounds like he has made immense strides; however, you may be moving to fast. I think this is the same with you being an intermediate rider and moving on to being and advanced in a few weeks. I personally call that a load of tosh, I have been riding long enough and met enough amazing horse people to know that I will be an intermediate rider for a very very long time. Good horsemanship is the result of hard work, and dozens of years of working with horses.

I understand that you feel that you saved this horse. That said if he is the wrong horse for you (and I am not saying he is), than you really did not do him any favors. Some horses end up on the slaughter truck because they fell on hard times and some horses are on the slaughter truck for a good reason (dangerous to handle, dangerous to be around). My feeling is that if a person saves a horse only to allow that horse to learn bad manners which result in the horse being dangerous/seriously injuring someone than really it was not saving the horse.
    08-18-2013, 04:26 PM
Thanks, that is exactly what I have been doing. I treat him like I treated my friends crazy five year old warm blood mare. I have only recently been cantering, and he is doing A LOT better. At first I coud not center him at all, but now I can pretty much do it safely. And so far as myself (and the assorted horse are experts, chiro and all) can tell, he has no aches or pains. I even had some kinda fancy horse masseuse look at him, and she pronounced him fine.
    08-18-2013, 04:30 PM
Rookie: he is the right horse for me. I agree with you that I will not be advanced soon, I have a long way to go. He has made massive improvements, and he does flex at the walk and trot, but not at the canter. He previously bolted at the trot, but I can now trot him without stirrups safely. Like I said, he is the right horse for me. It may not sound like it, but he is. I am a very experienced barrel racer, so the change was a bit overwhelmingly first. I have ridden dozens of horses, but I have never felt one with as much to give as jitterbug.
    08-18-2013, 04:33 PM
I don't mean to come off as its a horrible situation. I am just saying that you can see a lot of people who get an inexperienced horse and it ends in heartbreak. I have seen it go the opposite way too but you hate to have someone get hurt, because the horse always looses.
    08-18-2013, 04:38 PM
I know, and I realize that it is a potentially dangerous situation. And I apologize if I came off as rude. And another thing I should have said, he is being ridden in a very safe environment with other well trained, well socialized horses. And it also helps tremendously that the BO (and also a close friend) is a trainer, who rides with me. And a question. I don't know if this is most horses or just him, but he LOVES the woods. He does not spook at anything, and transforms into another animal outside of the arena. Seriously he is best, least spooky trail horse in history. And he never seems to tire, no matter hw rugged the trail or how ad the weather is.
    08-18-2013, 04:40 PM
Is this your first Arabian experience?
    08-18-2013, 04:45 PM
Yes, he is the first Arab I have worked with. He is my favorite horse, though. I think I may be hooked on the breed!
    08-18-2013, 04:48 PM
It sounds like he has made great improvements over a very short period of time. Good Job! What exactly is it you want help with? You said he is bolty, stiff and doesn't round. Quite frankly, I am not surprised- he's not there yet, either physically or mentally. Have you seen the training pyramid used in dressage (Training : Orion Dressage Sporthorses has a picture), rhythm and relaxation (aka suppleness) are the basics of training and the base of making a good horse. That takes time, trust, more time, strength and training. A horse is not ready to move into anything past that, let alone being round, until he has those mastered.

How good is he at serpentines at the walk? At the trot? It's going to take him even longer to learn to be relaxed and soft than a youngster, because not only does he have some bad past experiences, but he is older. Therefore he is more likely to be both physically stiff and mentally resistant, and it is going to take him a while in regular work (think months, and more than three) to really build up his cardiovascular system, his muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. Being rhythmic and supple takes a fair amount of strength and confidence. Give both of you a chance to actually get there. If you rush, you invite anxiety and more rushing on his part, which just equals a rushy, bolty, stiff horse. Master the basics before you move on. It's not glamorous to spend weeks and weeks walking and trotting, but worth it in the end.

Once he can do serpentines walking and trotting, while staying nice and rhythmic and relaxed and he is soft and giving to your aides, then maybe start thinking about working on contact. I don't have much advice about his canter, other than that, yes- a horse that is stiff at a trot will likely be even worse at a canter. I would consider doing lots of canter transitions once the trotting serpentines are going well.

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