First steps with new horse??
I just got a horse that we are keeping over the summer and maybe longer of it works out. Here's what I know about him. He can ride okay and is a trail horse. He's two years old and a quarter horse. When he was standing in the yard today we discovered that he definitely needs to work on his ground manners. I don't know what to start working on first with him. I need step by steps instructions basically. If you would let me know what you would work on first I would appreciate the ideas. Thanks guys!
As he is two, I wouldn't be riding him much at this point. Do lots of little ground work sessions, working on w/t/c in a nice large arena on the lunge for a max of 15 minutes a day (lunging,) a few days a week (let him have days off) get him used to being tacked up and tied and brushed. You can hand walk him down trails and around the barn too, working on leading. Do some yielding and sending groundwork sessions too.
But frankly that's all I would do with him, and continue with him until he is at least 3 and has stronger joints and more muscle from light-low-stress work.
Then when he's 3 and going on 4, I would begin to ride him with a riding instructor so both of you can get really good at w/t/c and lateral movements, making him a stellar trail horse and maybe even with the possibility of entering a discipline and competing.
But it takes time, no need to rush. Good luck :)
My guy had pretty bad manners, and I managed to get some pretty good training (and got trained to train my guy, if that makes sense). We started with him in a rope halter (he listens better to that than a webbing or leather halter) and on a lunge line. My trainer has a round pen, and we did all this in there. First, he learned to get sent left and right (at direction) on the lead line. Then he learned to back up with the lead line used as a signal to do that. Then he learned to yield his hindquarters. Once he was doing all of that consistently, we then did it all again, only this time without a lead line - just having him there and paying attention to my body language and directions. Once he got good at that, he learned to turn to the outside on cue, and to turn to the inside on cue. He's better at turning to the outside than to the inside, and he's better at turning to the inside if he's headed counter-clockwise (I am on his left) than he is if he's headed clockwise (I am on his right).
I've been watching my trainer do a lot of training so far this spring - anything from older horses with bad manners to horses who have not yet been started under saddle. She won't start them under saddle (even to just get the feel of the tack) until they're behaving themselves consistently and predictably with the ground work.
It seems to be working pretty well with the horses she's had in for training, and it sure did wonders for my horse. He has become MUCH easier to handle, MUCH more polite!
I don't know where to learn this without learning it from another person, but I hear people talking favorably about Clinton Anderson videos. You might want to check the Natural Horsemanship section. There's some loosy goosy stuff that comes under that heading, but quite a lot of it appears to be sound.
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