Need starter advice on new horses
My husband and I are new to horses. Well, I grew up with horses (large ponies, really) riding in playdays, etc. but I'm a little rusty after not being on a horse in 20 years. We recently began building our dream home on 200 acres and plan to start a ranch. We bought two horses a couple of weeks ago, two paint mares who are sisters, somewhat bonded. We were told the ages are 12 & 7. I rode both horses before deciding to buy. They seemed to ride well, minded me well, but it was so cold outside the day we did this transaction that we rushed through it just to get out of the cold. Now we have these two horses and I don't know if we are doing something wrong or what, but they will not lift their feet for us to clean the mud out. We have a farrier scheduled for next week, but I am worried they will not lift their feet. They really freak out when we try to lift. I remember my childhood horse would lift his foot for me no problem.
Then today, after giving them their feed, I walked behind them and one of them kicked me! It only got my hand and I was wearing thick gloves so didn't break any bones. But it hurt!
I've only ridden one of them since bringing them home.. the younger one. Her temperament is a little better (though she's the one who kicked me). When I ride her, all she wants to do is go back to the barn where her sister is. I have to constantly correct her and make her mind me. I have only ridden her twice because the weather has been bad and because I don't want to ride her much until I get her hooves looked at. But both times she just wanted to go back. I didn't let her until I was ready to go back. She does really well otherwise, good stop and really gentle. Both girls are super sweet most of the time, come up to us when we come in the pasture, really easy to be around.. Which is why I don't understand why one of them kicked me. Their hooves definitely need ceaned out. We had a lot of mud around Christmas time and it all got packed in, but they won't let us clean it out. Should I find a farrier who can come out sooner than next week? Do you think this is urgent or can it wait until next week?
Neither horse spooks easy. We had a bunch of ice come crashing down from our fence rail right in front of them and neither of them flinched. They also don't spook with the tractor around. But they do chase our minis away all the time. We have five mini horses and they don't seem to like them being around much, but they're not aggressive to them. They put their ears back and use "body language" to drive them off, but that's about it.
Oh, and one more thing, they were sightly underweight when we got them. Very slightly.. Very slight rib and hip bone showing. The previous owners had them for two weeks (they came in on a trade) and were trying to fatten them up with creep feed and deer powder (rice?) that they made into a paste and mixed with the creep feed. They said this was helping them, but when we went to buy the same thing, we saw that creep feed is for cattle and we didn't want to buy cow and deer stuff for our horses. So we got a sweet feed mixture (14%) and some sort of protein powder to mix in. I think it's for high performance horses or something, but we thought it might help them gain weight. It's been just over a week since we started this and they seem to be showing less bones already. Should we continue with this or is the sweet feed mixture a big no no? What should we be feeding them to put some weight on? They barely have any grass in the pasture right now, but they do have several large hay bales they've been working on.
Also, we have four children and we really want them to be able to ride. The youngest child is 7 yrs old, oldest is 16. So far they have sat on the younger horse with me leading her around and she does really well. Both horses mind really well on a lead and seem to be super sweet most of the time. But still unpredictable, evident by the kick I received this afternoon. And also wondering if the farrier will be able to clean and trim or if we need to do some training on lifting feet before we can even have the farrier out?
So I guess my main question is.. Did we bite off more than we could chew with these horses? Can we work with them to get them behaving better or is this just how they are going to be? We have no training experience, but I've been watching videos online and reading and we are wanting to learn because we want to raise horses someday as a family business thing. Horses have always been my passion, but my husband has been in the military for the past 17 years so we weren't able to have any. He will be retiring in a few years so we are trying to get our ranch going now. We have a lot to learn, but we are eager!
Any advice is appreciated! Thanks so much!