When do you think someone is ready to start their own horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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When do you think someone is ready to start their own horse?

I may sound insane, but I've been riding for 3 years... And I recently got an offer for a free horse... Who is not broke to ride. I'm not going to list all the things I can do, all I'm going to say is I've always rode horses who were naughty, meant for experienced riders, but i jumped right into riding with a great coach who has taught me so much. Not just riding but how to fix bad behaviour, lunging green or naughty horses. I've watched her ground drive, and she is currently training a foal who I've been involved with (teaching it to lunge and lead). Anyway I have a great instructor who has taught me so much. I recently switched barns and am now jumping, and I've learned a lot from my new instructor as well, watching her work with green horses. At my old barn I leased a pain in the butt named Chevy, he taught me about how to sit bucks and rears, making sure saddles fit, problem solving (there was always something wrong with him so I had to figure out what that was) and how to tell if horses are lame or sound. My instructor said she was impressed with how well I can pick out exactly what foot is lame and what the cause could be. I've had problems with Chevy cantering, and know just how to fix all that. I know a lot of you are going to say that I'm being crazy, and that I can't ever train a horse yet, I'm much to inexperienced. But I have all the patience in the world, and I am soooooo determined! I'm not afraid to ask for help if I need it for sure.
So the horse I've been offered, is a 6 year old standardbred, over 16hh and off the track. Has been lunged and sat on, but that's where her training ends. She is sound and healthy, but in need of a home. She is free. I've always wanted to adopt an off the track standardbred, it's been a dream of mine, and she is so precious. What do you think? Is it possible to an inexperienced rider to start a horse if they read up on it A LOT, (I already have a great idea of how I'm going to start) and seek help if needed? Thanks please don't be rude, even if you think I'm crazy.
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post #2 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 06:57 PM
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IMHO, no person is truly ready to start their own horse completely on their own until they have finished out many green horses and started many other horses under the watchful eye of a good trainer.

I don't want to seem like I'm making slight of your experience, but 3 years is simply not enough time to learn all you need to learn to be an effective trainer without help.

If you had a trainer that was going to be working with you every step of the way, then I would tell you to go for it, but if you're planning to do it all on your own and only seeking help when a problem pops up, then I would advise against it.

In training horses, there is just so many things that pop up suddenly and need to be addressed just as suddenly. A trainer who has to ask advice for every new or strange thing the horse does, then wait for several hours or days to get an answer, then try to implement an action that they have interpreted from written word or telephone conversation, is really doing more harm than good and the horse will suffer for it in the long run.

Heck, I've been riding for 25 years, started training horses about 15 years ago, and I still keep a more experienced trainer handy for when issues come up...and they do still come up.

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 35 Old 12-09-2012, 07:03 PM
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I agree with smrobs ive never been on a fully finished horse always green/ badly trained. Ever since my first horse 10 yrs ago. I still wouldnt attempt to train one alone.
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post #4 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 07:24 PM
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Realize this- as a horse person you will be offered many free horses in your life, many more very cheap - millions more if you start to look. Most of them are damaged in some way, physically or mentally. The rest are just untouched and need a great deal of work. When you are ready to own a horse find the one that is RIGHT for you, not just the first you're offered.

That being said- starting your own horse is a magnificent experience full of tears, tears of frustration, sadness, fear and joy - the joy outweighs them all by far.
That being said- do NOT attempt to start any horse on your own, no matter how experienced a rider you are. There's far more to horses than what you do on their back. If you decide to start your own horse start by reading every book you can get your hands on, investigate every style of training, traditional, natural and clicker - learn about it all so your 'bag of tricks' is full. Ask a billion questions and open your mind to new ideas. Don't take it all as fact, learn it all - use what has the ring of truth and hold the rest in the back.
Take advantage of the people around you, learn every thing you can from them. And if/when you get your horse to start, have someone who's started a number of horses there to help you - someone who you trust to hold the same ideals and who you will feel comfortable saying 'no' too. Someone who will listen when you say 'no'. And someone you trust enough that you shouldn't ever have to say 'no' to.

This is a great journey to take, but make sure you do it right for you, not just because 'it could be good'. You may prefer to have a mildly green horse to work on before starting from scratch - at least that way you can learn but be able to work on the fun stuff right away (riding ;P).

Good luck! keep us posted!
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post #5 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 07:28 PM
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Owner of a 3 year old here ;)

I have a trainer in my barn there every step of the way. Like smrobs said, things pop up that I have no experience with... And since, as I can tell know already, u gotta correct quickly, its hard flying solo!

I bought her when she was 1, and like my human babies, she's more work as she gets older! I didn't appreciate the time commitment... Yes, riding, arena work, showing all take worrk and time BUT there's nothing compared to the time it takes to train or untrain/retrain

Good luck in whatever u do!
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post #6 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys all so much, you are all so nice, a lot less ride than the people on yahoo answers! Im still thinking about them. One is 4 and hasn't done much at all. And the other is 6, off the track and sat on. I've been reading up on training all day! Wondering your guys opinions on the Pessoa lunging system? Or side reins for lunging? And do you prefer ground driving with a saddle or surcingle? And I know it depends on the horse but how long would you guys wait (if I get the horse) for the first ride? I was thinking a good month of ground driving and lunging, and basic ground manners before the first ride, but of coarse it depends on how well she does. I will be taking things nice and slow, and establishing a good relationship before I ever attempt to get on. :)
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post #7 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 09:26 PM
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Chevy - here's what you're never going to hear the end of "It Depends"

Lunging in any sort of side reins is for finishing a horse - not for starting a horse IMO. They're for helping perfect the way they carry/use their body, it's done better with a rider IMO than in side reins - just easier and a fancy gadget with side reins.
The order I start my horses in is:
1) Yielding
a)hind end- this helps disengage their hind quarters, this is useful more times than you could imagine
b)back up- this is a vital skill for horses, my horses need to back up before everything! Before they get food, to go through gates - I use it when they get disrespectful or if they invade my space.
c)front end- moving their front end over, this is a tougher one to get solid but it's a great way of reminding them who's the leader
d)side step- like a side pass on the ground, this comes in solid handy when you start mounted work
e)putting their head down- this is VITAL, this helps a horse shift out of 'flight mode' and comes in handy for bridling too ;)
f)turning head- turning left and right with pressure from the halter, like reins - this will obviously transfer over to steering, but is also great for stretching!

The next thing I teach is basic leading skills (typically they get the gist, but aren't solid- either pulling in front, dragging behind, wiggly or invasive.
I focus on getting them to lead at a solid pace walk and trot in hand, always at a respectful distance and never pulling or dragging. Pulling is usually met with a sharp turn (away from me if I catch it in time or sharply toward me then back up strongly). Dragging behind I'll try to up my personal beat - working on keeping my energy up and fluid to get the horse a little more forward, if that doesn't work I'll swing the rope near where your foot would fall if you were in the saddle. If that's too tough to maneuver you could use a dressage whip the same way.

Once they're leading and yielding well I'll work on basic lunging, just walk/trot.
Once they're solid in lunging both directions with quality voice commands I'll add a second line to the halter - I usually use a surcingle, but it really makes little difference. I find though using the reins down lower on their sides is more helpful for them to feel their 'walls' with steering and helping them learn straight lines. So stirrups rolled up on a saddle is a good place to run them through.
I'll start by lunging them with both lines on, then gradually using the outside rein, ask for short straight lines. Gradually increasing this until you can make figures in the ring like riding.

At this point your relationship with your horse should be solid - the horses respect for you should be quality, and he should have a good understanding of all the basic cues, verbal and physical.
That's when I'd back a horse.

That all sounds SOOO easy but there will always be complications. There is so much to learn about yourself when training a horse. Particularly your body language - how clear (or unclear) it actually is. A horse that doesn't know anything will certainly find a way to show you ALL your short comings :P

This is a thrilling journey, please have all the help you can get around you. Try to avoid gimmicks and gadgets - many of the gadgets or gimmicks are really just there to cover up training mistakes, band-aids to hide gaps in training. A well trained horse shouldn't need any special tool to behave.

Have fun! Keep us posted - pics are seriously appreciated on here too there's a conformation critique page too if you want the potential horses your looking at checked out to see if there's anything potentially dangerous there :)
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post #8 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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That link ^^ is the 6 year old.

And that one ^^ is the 4 year old.
Hope the links work. What do you guys think of their conformation?
Thanks again guys, lots of helpful info!
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post #9 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 10:44 PM
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Cant see the links.
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post #10 of 35 Old 12-09-2012, 11:03 PM
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I am training my first horse alone (if I have problems, I have someone to contact) she is a yearling.

I think anyone who has determination, a knowledge of what could go right and wrong, and always puts the horse first, then they can train a horse. They also need the understanding that they cannot solve every problem by themselves, and may need someone to help at times.

I know this, I am training my horse, and I am only 15.
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