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  • OLD ARTHRITIC HORSE DOES NOT LIKE WALKING ON HARD GROUND

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    01-02-2013, 03:06 PM
  #1
Foal
Smile Old Horse

My neighbor gave me a horse he got for his daughter about 15 years ago. His daughter went to college about 7 years ago and hasn't been ridden since. My neighbor is a vet and the horse is healthy but how should I go about riding him? He has never liked trailers and there are farms nearby that will let me ride but I would need to ride on a small neighborhood road for about .5 miles. Should I lead him down the road to get him used to the cars again? Any advice?
     
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    01-02-2013, 03:09 PM
  #2
Showing
I'd lead him if you're not sure how he's going to react. Better to have him in hand than be on him if he decides to go ballistic.
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    01-02-2013, 06:17 PM
  #3
Teen Forum Moderator
Wear gloves and a helmet as well, atleast the first few times. That way you have a better grip/don't get rope burn and have protection if he decided to leap sideways or something. If possible, have another person walk with you as well. If he does fine with you leading him, by all means try riding him, but IMO it would be best to try to find someone else with a traffic-safe mount to ride with just incase he needs to be ponied or needs some reassurance.
     
    01-02-2013, 06:37 PM
  #4
Yearling
I would definitely have someone else with you and proper gear, if you're not sure how well he'll do with cars. Especially if you're on the road. Since this is a horse that you don't know, it's best to take some precautions.
Congratulations! :)
     
    01-02-2013, 06:54 PM
  #5
Trained
Regarding how you should ride him, I would be walking him for at least 2 months on a fairly long rein. Active walking, starting with no more than 10 minutes for the first couple of weeks and building up to 30-60 minutes. Start out working him on a nice flat surface, and eventually build up to rides out over varying terrain. Being an older horse, you're going to need to be extremely aware of not pushing him, or you will damage soft tissue and joints very easily. More so than with a younger horse.

After a couple of months of walking, start to introduce very short periods of trot, on straight lines and large curves. Only for a minute or two at a time, with large recovery periods of walk between. As with the walk, you can slowly build up the time spent trotting before introducing canter in the same manner.
I can't stress enough how important it is to take it VERY slowly - it is like asking an unfit, slightly arthritic 60 year old man to start training for a marathon. If he went out and ran hard on the first day, he's got a very high risk of doing an injury.
It is your job to slowly and gently condition the horse's body (particularly the limbs) into work, and being an old horse, this will take a long time.
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    01-02-2013, 07:20 PM
  #6
Trained
Do you have any room at all where the horse is being kept, whether your property or someone else's? I would do ground work with him first at "home" and riding at least at a walk even if it is just around a 1/2 acre lot. Anything at all that you can do with him before you take him onto the road will be beneficial for both of you.

Then, certainly spend time walking him along the roadway before riding it.

You noted that he does not like trailers. This would be something I would address in my training sooner, rather than later if you can. Having a horse that is difficult to trailer is a real problem when for some reason you HAVE to get him in that scarey box.
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    01-02-2013, 07:28 PM
  #7
Showing
Spend a good week just hanging out with him so he can get to know you and begin to trust you. Sit on something fairly comfy and ignore him, let him come to you. Let him sniff you all over if that's what he wants to do. It's telling him a lot about you. Try not to touch him the first few days. If he crowds you just move a few feet away. No treats, nothing, just the two of you.
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    01-02-2013, 07:30 PM
  #8
Green Broke
I'd lead him down the road if you really have no where to ride at home.

Then I'd get on and ride. I'd ask him to do whatever I wished, unless he showed signs of lameness, which it doesn't sound like that will be the case.
     
    01-02-2013, 08:10 PM
  #9
Trained
Boots, generally lameness won't come up for a few days/weeks if you're doing gradual damage to the limbs by working a horse too hard, too soon. It's a brilliant way of breaking down a perfectly good horse and I would never, not in a million years, advise someone to get on an old, unfit horse that has been in a paddock doing nothing for years, to 'get on and do what you want'.
I don't know how old the OP is, but say that to a kid and most of them will be galloping around. Goodbye sound legs on horse!
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    01-02-2013, 09:24 PM
  #10
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Boots, generally lameness won't come up for a few days/weeks if you're doing gradual damage to the limbs by working a horse too hard, too soon. It's a brilliant way of breaking down a perfectly good horse and I would never, not in a million years, advise someone to get on an old, unfit horse that has been in a paddock doing nothing for years, to 'get on and do what you want'.
I don't know how old the OP is, but say that to a kid and most of them will be galloping around. Goodbye sound legs on horse!
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Most horses at pasture aren't in too bad of shape. Even if the pasture is small (5 acres or so).

Very safe to walk, trot, and even lope a soft when bringing them back to work. Can they put in a whole day? Of course not, but then, neither can a lot of riders. If the OP is the type of young person who will gallop too much, s/he is unlikely to listen to anything we say anyway.

I do rehab under the oversight of a group of veterinarians and that has been my experience.
     

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old horse, retraining

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