I am in your shoes. Last month I bought a Morab mare and a Paint QH horse. Neither have had any work done on them for the past couple of years and I bought both from a person that was selling them to recoup the board not paid during that time. All they knew about the horses are that they were around 10 years old, (although their teeth look slightly younger than that ) and that they people who owned them rode them over 40 km to get them to the place.
So all I know is they were broke before but not what bits they used or how much training they have had or whether they have been used for trails or what. I feel like I bought them from an auction and am starting from ground zero.
We lucked out really. When we went to pick them up they climbed right on the trailer. I couldn't have been happier. So I know they have been trailered before and remembered it well.
I started out the first week or two with treats and frequent visits to the pasture. Fortunately they are very people friendly and are easy to be caught and lead nicely.
I then spent a few days tying them somewhere they could watch me work. Other than the mare breaking a couple lead ropes this worked out fairly well.
Then I took each and brushed them all down while tied, picked up there feet and just tested how far they would let me go with them, on the ground manners. They were awesome, didn't have any issues.
Next of course was tacking them up. The mare again took a little more time, acted more scared of the blanket and saddle but my gelding took it all in stride. I put Hubby up first. He isn't a rider but I wanted to be able to lead him around and gauge the reaction of the horse having a rider up. Got hubby to put a bit of wait in the stirrups first, and then swung p when neither showed any reaction. Led him around for a very short time and then called it a day.
The next course of action was to tack them up again, after brushing, feet etc. I ran them around the corral for a bit fully tacked up to get some of the energy out of them and then I Got hubby on and let him ride without the lead. Both did well. Although the gelding did a bit better with the curb bit than the mare with the split snaffle, so will have to try her out with a curb and see how she does there. They did so well I also rode them around the corral and let the kids have a try with me leading.
The mission tomorrow will be to take them out of the corral into the smaller pastures and see how each moves while being with a rider in the bigger spaces. Can't wait.
Good luck with yours!
Many people have sighed for the 'good old days' and regretted the 'passing of the horse,' but today, when only those who like horses own them, it is a far better time for horses. ~C.W. Anderson