Next Steps with 3yr old - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 09-20-2010, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Next Steps with 3yr old

Ill try to make this short, but its a lot, so work with me.
In the spring (mid april) I rescued a 3 yr old (ish) gelding from the camelot kill pen. I had knew nothing about him. He was very thin when I got him, and had no muscle at all. I couldnt get near him, he was very afraid to be touched. After isolating him for 8 weeks (basically just feeding and watering him, because I didnt want to give anything to my other horses) I started to make friends with him. He quickly learned not to fear my fiance, and then made friends with me. I didnt even know if this horse was halter broken. I worked with him with trusting me, and after 4 weeks he was much more trusting.
I have now started to figure out what he knows. Someone spent a good amount of time with him. He has good ground manners (walks well with a halter, like someone was preparing him for show. Pivots and walks trots and all with me next to him). He does not like a chain though, so im working on that, so if I show him he is ok with it. He gets nervous when I put it over his nose, so I have been doing it every time I lead him so he learns it wont hurt him. He didnt like me on his right side at all, so we worked with that and now he is good. He lounges in both directions, and knows his voice commands, walk trot canter and whoa.
He excepts a saddle and bridle (i have a egg butt snaffle) and I have been on his back 3 times (they said he bucked at the auction, but he hasnt with me). He is very sensitive with his sides when im on him, but listens to me. Mostly I have just been working on lounge work (walk, trot whoa both directions). What are my next steps? I want to add some poles, but have never done that before...I lounge him with his saddle on, with the stirrups hitting his sides, and that doesnt bother him. He is my first "baby". And what about side reins? Or a surcingle/long lines? I have never used them either....
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-20-2010, 06:37 PM
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In all honesty, if you can ride him, then that's what he needs now. Just spend a couple of hours a day on him, not necessarily working him hard, but making sure he is soft and responsive. Work on his turning and his whoa. Get him more comfortable with your legs touching him everywhere from his shoulders to his flanks (I will take his nose to one side and just lightly bump him on alternating sides, sometimes both all over and just let him spin until he visibly relaxes). Get him comfortable and consistent at the walk and trot under saddle, then start loping circles on him.

At least that's what I would do. IMHO, there is no amount of lunging that can teach a horse what he needs to know about being ridden.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-20-2010, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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the hardest part is most of the time im alone at my barn, and hate ridding when im alone. And im a chicken when it comes to ridding him lol. He has never done anything to make me afraid, but I got bucked off another horse this spring and lost my confidence.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-20-2010, 09:11 PM
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At 3, you really don't have to worry about doing too much with him. For right now he just needs to build up a lot more confidence and grow up. After being malnourished so young he is going to take some time before he can handle riding even a few days a week.
When he is 4, then I would go into more of a "training program" but for now he just needs to be a horse.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-20-2010, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
In all honesty, if you can ride him, then that's what he needs now. Just spend a couple of hours a day on him, not necessarily working him hard, but making sure he is soft and responsive. Work on his turning and his whoa. Get him more comfortable with your legs touching him everywhere from his shoulders to his flanks (I will take his nose to one side and just lightly bump him on alternating sides, sometimes both all over and just let him spin until he visibly relaxes). Get him comfortable and consistent at the walk and trot under saddle, then start loping circles on him.

At least that's what I would do. IMHO, there is no amount of lunging that can teach a horse what he needs to know about being ridden.

Ditto.

~And on the 6th day God created the Quarter Horse. On the 8th day, he painted the good ones.~
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-20-2010, 09:28 PM
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I agree with smrobs, but if you are nervous about riding him, I would suggest finding someone to ride him for you a few times. I know a guy where I live who charges by the ride, so if I run into an issue I can't/don't want to deal with, I call him.

Is there anyone you can make a date to ride with? Sometimes that helps. When I can't find anyone to ride with, I turn on the radio. But if you are nervous, I would find someone to ride him or to ride with.

Kudos for rescuing him, and I wish you luck.

Learning never stops
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-23-2010, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I took him to a friends house who is very familier with ridding young horses. I will get pictures soon!!!
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-23-2010, 06:02 PM
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Congrats to you for saving him and doing so well with him.

But at some point you need to face your fears of riding, or you will never ride him. Is there a safe old horse you know that you could get your confidence back on?
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-07-2010, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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oh I have my confidence on my trusty ole rocky mountain. I have to say after watching my friend ride him and he hasnt as much as taken a wrong step I have faced my fears and started ridding. I am not as smooth as her, or quiet in the saddle, but we are learning eachother and he has been very good with me too!
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-07-2010, 07:00 PM
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Glad to hear that you are getting along well with him.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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