Training a green broke horse that hasn't been rode in 2 years

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Training a green broke horse that hasn't been rode in 2 years

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  • How to retrain a horse that hasn't been rode recently

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    10-07-2010, 04:07 PM
Training a green broke horse that hasn't been rode in 2 years

HI! I recently acquired a Paint/Foxtrotter mix. He is green broke, but nobody has really worked with him in about 2 years. He is a very sweet horse, and catches on to things fairly quickly. When I had him on a halter and lead rope, he about ran me off the path, so we had to keep stopping and I backed him up, flipping the lead rope, and I didn't have too much trouble with him after that. Now I have to train him more. Any ideas? I intend to go thru a lot more working and training before I actually get on him. Thanks!!!
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    10-07-2010, 04:28 PM
First off, welcome to the forum!

Good idea starting with groundwork. Everything that you do on the ground to establish yourself as the herd leader with any horse will do nothing but help when you get in the saddle.

In general, just get him moving his feet on your terms. Put him on a lungeline so you have room. You can either use the tail of the line or some kind of whip/NH stick (your personal preference) to get him moving if you need to. Get him yielding his hindquarters in both directions first, crossing his hind legs each step - this is a basic move that will pay dividends if you ever need to shut him down. If he's crossing his hind legs, he can't bolt, buck, rear, anything. Next get him yielding his shoulders out of your space. Each end should swing like a well-oiled door.

Make sure he willingly backs out of your space. I'm not a fan of the NH "swing lead rope and send energy up it until they back" - I've seen too many horses smacked in the face with snaps, and that method's never gotten me anywhere with my own horses - it just seemed to unneccesarily stress and confuse them. Instead, I'll either tap the air, then the chest with the whip to get him back, or put direct backward pressure on the lead rope. Those ways have never failed me yet.

When he's mastered that, try lunging him, starting at the walk, and moving to the trot and canter as he progressively masters each lower gait. I don't know what your plans are with him, but you could either go with natural horsemanship-type lunging or more of a classical-type lunging (side reins, surcingle, etc.). Classical lunging is an art in itself, I won't go into it here as I'm not experienced enough with it to offer meaningful advice down that road. I think there are several threads on NH style lunging, which is basically an extension of the other groundwork.

As far as specific exercise ideas, I start from a lot of Clinton Anderson's groundwork exercises, with some variation here and there. Also, look into some Grooming and Showmanship class patterns - those are a good test to see how much "finesse" you have on the ground.

Recognize your personal space, define it for your horse, and defend it. That alone will go miles into establishing your respectability with him.

Best of luck!
    10-13-2010, 09:52 PM

Thanks!!!! He's a good horse, but just needs work...
    10-14-2010, 05:00 PM
In this case, I would just pretend that you are starting with an entirely green horse that has never been handled. Start from scratch and take your time. No hurry, no rush. Just start from the ground up with everything from leading, tying, brushing, feet handling and move to lunging and desensitizing activities before actually doing anything with a saddle or bridle! Hope it goes well!
    10-15-2010, 04:44 AM
Hi, congrats and welcome! (: I will be doing this in a few months with my new horse, except he is a greenie that hasn't been seriously ridden in 4 years! He is also real sweet and just needs work. I'm planning on doing TONS of groundwork before even attempting to put a saddle on. Once he respects, trusts and follows you on the ground, he will be MUCH better to get back under saddle. Good luck!
    10-15-2010, 01:21 PM
Green Broke
The best thing you can do for the horse, as someone already said, is treat them as if they have never seen a saddle before in their life.

Good for you for realizing that ground work is important! This is a very critical part in training a horse. There are so many things you can do from the ground first, before you ever think about getting into a saddle.

Main thing is to take your time, don't push him faster than he is ready to progress, and always end a lesson on a good note with praise.
    10-24-2010, 02:10 AM
Thank you everybody!!! This helps a LOT!
    04-08-2014, 05:42 PM
I agree with some of the previous posters, treat him like he has never been riden before. It may make it easier though you still have to restore his confidence and get used to him. Maybe take his previous training as help along the way but don't get on and ride him like he is a school master or even quite green broke.

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