Imput on starting older horses?

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Imput on starting older horses?

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    12-04-2013, 07:54 PM
Imput on starting older horses?

I am looking into purchasing a 5 year old Quarter horse gelding. But my only concern that he is not broke. He was abandoned by his owner and dropped off an his current owners house. They don't know much about him besides his age. He is super good minded and calm and he is halter broke. I have started many younger horses, but nothing over 3. Anyone have an imput or stories of their own on a similar experience? Thanks!
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    12-04-2013, 08:23 PM
We're currently working to start a ten-year old stubborn, occasionally pig-headed, dominant paint gelding. It's been a challenge because, unlike younger horses, he has had time to develop some nasty habits with the previous owner. But, needless to say, it's coming along well! As long as you have patience, I don't think it should be too much of an issue - especially if this guy has a good, calm mind! (We didn't get the luxury, haha!)

This will be the first horse I've started - with the help of a trainer - so, if you're experienced, I say go for it.(;
    12-04-2013, 08:26 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
5 isn't old at all, and IMO its the perfect age to start a horse because they are at or are near mental maturity and can handle it much better than a 2 or 3 year old. I'd start him like any other horse- plenty of groundwork to make sure he respects you.
    12-04-2013, 08:29 PM
It's basically the same as starting a youngster but better . I honestly prefer starting older horses. Most recently I pretty much started a 6 year old mare a few months ago, she had been ridden but never started. She was just so quiet she let her previous owners children hop on without doing anything wrong. Before that, big memorable ones were a previously neglect case 12 year old mare, a dangerously aggressive 12 year old gelding ( i'm talking charging, biting to the point of stitches then when the guy went down rearing, stomping and breaking ribs dangerous), a just gelded 16 year old who was only just barley halter broke and the list goes on.

If the horse has had any decent handling they're pretty fun to start. You don't have the worry of growing bodies, you've usually got a better attention span, even though they're upstarted they've usually seen more, you don't have to redo anybody elses training etc. The only downfall for myself is the resale, people assume they've had more time under saddle than they do.

I've heard plenty people say it's more difficult and I call bull. If you go through all of your groundwork the same it's no different than starting a three year old.
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    12-05-2013, 09:08 PM
The difference between starting an older horse(I was assuming mid teens from subject line, rather than one that's not even fully mature ) is their previous experiences may mean you also have to 'untrain' some behaviours or attitudes. Younger horses can of course also learn inadvertent 'wrong' lessons too tho. So it could be easier to start with an unhandled 15yo than a badly handled 2yo.
    12-06-2013, 07:30 AM
Super Moderator
Husband (72 years old) is currently riding a 10 year old gelding that he started last year. He was barely halter broke and he is really nice.
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    12-06-2013, 10:33 AM
My mare was almost 9 when I got her and started her. She was gentled as a 2 year old, then left in pasture for 6 years with minimal care (no vet, no vaccines and only trimmed if it affected her). A year later, I am ready to start double bridling her once I find a bit that fits her.
    12-06-2013, 10:38 AM
I find that if they've been handled well and interacted with than no age is too late. Now if they've gone untouched or with bad experiences then it can be a bit more of a challenge. I've worked with a 12 and 14 year olds that are awful because they weren't handled. 5 either way though isn't too bad still enough sense to be retrained and not too set in their ways imo. :)
    12-06-2013, 12:35 PM
Green Broke
I think its like people, as you get older you form more opinions, and are less likely to just take any advice thrown at you. A two year old typically is insecure in the herd, still learning how to use their bodies and how they fit in socially, so they are more likely to not challenge the rules. An older horse, especially a dominant older horse, knows where they stand in the herd, how big they are, and how to use themselves to their best advantage.

If you are starting horses the right way, earning their trust and respect, age doesn't really matter, other than having a physically mature horse you can just put to work, instead of a baby. Also once you've made a point with an older horse, its done. Young horses(like young people) naturally challenge the 'herd' as they are growing up and learning. By starting an older horse you avoid having to deal with the 'teenage' years under saddle.
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    12-06-2013, 01:09 PM
5yo isn't too old to start and the bones are set, so go for it. Look at this as finding a 4th-5th grade age child who has never been to school. You wouldn't want to start teaching concepts that his or her peers were learning. Instead, you want to start with pre-school concepts, then K concepts, etc. The result of rushing bc of age is what is happening with children with bad behavior in public schools. They do not recognize authority and see no value in an education. My DH atty has adult clients all of the time who have been through the public school system, messed around and learned pretty much nothing, except a desire to game the system and get handouts.
FORTUNATELY, horses are wired to be bossed around by a herd leader, so they are comfortable with you as the authority, as a benevolent dictator, the head broodmare, or the head stallion.
More and more I recommend Clinton Anderson's book or DVD's.
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