Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
If she has no experience what so ever, and the horse is not broken in, and a bit older, this situation is a potential death-trap, literally.
1) She has no experience, she will probably get all lovey on the horse, particularly if it is her first horse, and it will likely get spoiled. The horse might be nice and calm now, but being loved on and then pecked away at when it misbehaves, will turn it into an !@#hole. Horses change in relation to how they are handled, calm now doesn’t mean calm later.
2) Compounding the first point is that older unbroken horses tend to take a little more experience to deal with than a younger one as they are, generally speaking, not so submissive and open to having the trainer tell them what to do. That means she will have to be able to read the horse very well, and respond appropriately, possibly with a bit more force than a youngster would take. If she doesn’t, she will allow the horse to be dominant, which is bad news.
3) when she gets on its back, it is full grown, and can unload its full power on your friend, it can be tricky sticking to a younger horse who hasn’t really learned to buck yet, an older one is bigger and stronger and if your friend isn’t so experienced, she probably won’t ride through it. This could end up teaching the horse to buck, as mentioned by loosie above. The horse isn’t guaranteed to buck, but from my experience of training horses for the last 25 years, the older they are (unbroken) the more likely they are to do it, the harder and more persistently they can do it. It might not be the bucking that hurts, though it can, it’s the landing is what will get you.
Strongly encourage your friend to go and find a nice old steady horse that has been ridden for years and buy that. Inexperienced riders and green horses, no matter how old they are, are not usually a good combination. Sometimes it works, but I’d be willing to bet that there are plenty more that don’t than ever do work. Besides, I the horse is so nice and calm I’d be asking why the current owners didn’t get it started in the first place.