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How do you retrain a cutting horse to be a trail, family horse?
I recently purchased a cutting horse, almost 10 yr old mare. Her reg name is Haidas Little Cha out of some amazing bloodlines. I am looking to trail ride and we have two sons that ride. Will she be able to be just a family horse of three, or will she be a battle? Just searching for opinions... anything that'll help. Right now she doesn't make eye contact and when she does she pins her ears back like crazy. We've had her three days here at home and I did ride her before we brought her. Thanks.
My mare was a former cutting horse. She was (and is still) very feisty. However, she is also very gentle and dependable. We have done a bit of everything together, and she LOVES trail rides. I think it largely depends on the individual horse. I have known of many horses that, after being given time to simply chill out, transitioned well into just being trail horses. Cutting horses are typically very keen and pick up on things very easily.
Are you an experienced horse trainer? If not, then your best net is to get a trainer for her. She was bred to be a cutter, so its in her brain. Good luck.
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I'm sorry but why did you buy a cutting horse that's already been trained to have a specific job instead of buying one of the millions of kid safe family horses already available? :-| I imagine you'll be having some trouble as she's been bred and trained to be an athletic machine, not a pet. You very well may never get her fully re-trained, not after 10 years of having such a hard focus to her life.
Stated she was extremely sound, well, well broke. Great Little mare. She was an excellent ride. Live and learn I suppose, we'll see how it goes.
I don't see where she was ever a cutting horse - ranch cutter maybe, but that ends up with different training than a show cutter. Did you get the full story on how a horse bred, raised and used on the same Florida ranch (according to the sale catalog) came to be at a sale in Michigan? Only seems odd to me she because would likely have commanded a decent price with less hauling costs at a sale further south.
If she's an ear pinner, I wouldn't blame that on cutting lines, I'd call it an overall undesirable attitude. Anyway, to answer your question, the best way to make her a family horse is to get rid of some of her fitness. Just do light work for 4-6 weeks and pack about 100lbs on (unless she's already fat). As with any horse, be sure to not let them get away with any bad behavior, but remember when you go to kick or jerk a cutter that they can move out from under you much faster than a plow horse.
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I understood it a ranch cutter.... Sadly in the end, I found out I bought her from Scott Nicks from the Indiana/Kentucky line. Her coggins was pulled the 21st in Kentucky, and I bought her the 25th.
That is the risk you take with most auctions. If she rides nice, give it time and take her out for some rides before you turn kids loose.
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The mare may just need a period of adjustment to relax in her new surroundings. It's a lot to expect, to make a complete lifestyle change and move to a new home all within a few days.
If I had the ability to turn the mare out in pasture with other horses for awhile first, that's what I'd do. Or failing that, at least take into consideration those transitional issues and adjust my expectations accordingly.
She should settle into a general riding horse routine just fine. We used to go out and hunt the 'flunk-out' cutters that never made it to the NCHA shows or never won enough money to stay in an NCHA trainer's barn.
She should not be as 'goosey' and light as a real cutter but she will teach you ride centered and to keep your legs out of her ribs unless you want her to move quickly. She will gradually get over that.
She could be pin-eared because she has been spurred and jerked around a lot. Many cutters are. Riding her on a loose rein will help and riding out on the trail or in the pasture will help a lot. That will be a lot easier for her to let down than arena riding.
I like the Haidas Little Pep horses. We had a son and several granddaughters. We just sent a blue roan granddaughter (sired by Mecom Blue out of a Smart Little Lena daughter we own) to a lady in California and she is trail riding her everywhere -- just loves her.
We love them because they are so responsive instead of 'clunky' and 'dull'.
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