How do I start him back under saddle safely?
 
 

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How do I start him back under saddle safely?

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    04-05-2009, 10:15 PM
  #1
Yearling
How do I start him back under saddle safely?

Sammy is an older -supposed- Missouri Fox Trotter gelding that I brought in as a rescue in early March. Since then he has packed on the pounds and has become a definite family favorite with his gentle personality and easy-going ways.
Now, my question is, how do I start him back under saddle safely?

The gentlemen I bought him from said he was completely ridable. Semis, ATV's, cars, you name it. He just does not do well riding at night and headlights spook him. I suppose this is because his night vision is poor to begin with and the bright light flat out blinds him completely.
Obviously, I have not tested his riding claim. When I got him I couldn't imagine putting ANYTHING on his back, now however, he is ready to start with light work.


I have lunged him at a walk, and very brief bits at a trot (I don't want to push him to hard). He is VERY responsive, halts properly and on cue and needs little encouragement to get going. He does not pull you around, shy from the whip, or pitch a fit when you ask to change directions.

He IS shod, and his feet are neat and trimmed. He does not limp or show any signs of lameness. He does trot and canter in the pasture (often times because my nine year old is chasing after him -sigh)

He does:
Halter perfectly, I'm working with getting him to come when called and he learns quickly.
Leads fine. I do sometimes have issues with him pulling his head down to eat, but after a firm No (occasionally two) he stops and goes were you point him.
Lunges, as stated above.
Picks up all four feet. I've accidentally confused him once or twice when doing his back hooves. I've cleaned one, then went to do the other but bumped into the already finished one and he's picked it up again, waiting for me to continue.
Allow rubbing all over, top to bottom. You can play with his ears, mess with his tail, examine his teeth without problems.
'Spooks in place' and 'gets things quickly'. I have startled him by mistake, and unlike my younger geldings, he remains in one spot and doesn't go flying off snorting. The first time he heard the rather sudden, very loud, noise of the water hose in the water bucket he did start, but after that was fine with it. My younger geldings? Still race off, no matter how much I forewarn them and assure them it's okay.

He doesn't:
Stand still when tied. He will paw, scoot around, try to eat, and in general be fidgety and annoying.
Listen when I tell him to quit tearing up my pasture and be patient. He will paw (and stomp) when he -really- wants his grain. He has been doing this less often lately, thankfully.



Any advice, links, tips, tricks anyone? Should I start with a bag at the end of the lunge whip? What type of bit should I begin with (the gentlemen I bought him from said he was rode with a hackamore, though he rode with a bit)?
     
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    04-05-2009, 10:55 PM
  #2
Weanling
Sorry- I'm a little confused as to why you didn't take him out for a test ride or see the old owner ride him before purchase? Unless he was a rack of bones or something? From the sounds of it I don't see any reason why you couldn't pop a saddle on him and see how he does. Take him for a couple of circles on the line and if he doesn't seem to mind, hop on and see what he does. He sounds like he is well mannered and sensible and I don't see any reason why you couldn't try. How long has it been since he was ridden?
     
    04-05-2009, 11:03 PM
  #3
Yearling
Onetoomany;

I actually went to look at him at 10:30pm. I had been looking for a good riding horse, and narrowly missed getting one before, and ended up coming home with a rescue. My dads made it pretty clear that I absolutely MUST ride the next one before I buy xD

He really was a rack of bones. Heres a picture I took of him, first day I brought him home: Sammy 4 by ~VMSkullz on deviantART


It would be about a month now since he was ridden. I just wasn't quite sure if I should test him somehow first, or just go out and try it. He really is quite the gentlemen, calm and friendly, but also not constantly right-there-next-to-you-at-all-times.
     
    04-05-2009, 11:15 PM
  #4
Weanling
Oh ok, gotcha. If I trusted the word of the seller that he was indeed broke I would probably just hop on. A month isn't that long of a lay off, especially for a 'steady Eddie' type of horse. If you aren't certain and you think the seller may have been lying, I would start saddling him (going slow and gauging his reactions) and longe him around for a bit to see how he acts. If he doesn't seem to have a problem with anything I would go ahead and get on with someone nearby on the ground just in case. If he was formerly ridden in a hack (again assuming you can take the seller at the word), I would stick with a hack. From the sounds of the horse you won't have to do a lot of messing around.
     
    04-05-2009, 11:36 PM
  #5
Yearling
The seller really was a nice guy, not the most horse savvy, but he really loved his animals and was pleasant to chat with.
Once it warms up a little bit, or at least stops being so windy, I'll just try him out. I do have a hackamore that I bought with intentions of testing it out on my nine-year (but never did). I just gotta hook it up to my bridle.

It really takes a lot to get on this old guys nerves. I caught my three-year old chewing (literally, face pressed against Sammy's rump chewing) on him once while I was haltering him. He acted like there was a fly bothering him, a little fidgety but nothing huge. My nine year old would have kicked the little dude then turned around and bit him back.
     

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