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hisangelonly 03-03-2013 08:01 PM

Starting an older horse in a new sport
 
Is it a good idea or even really possible to get a 16 year old gelding (mostly english pleasure, trail, and a little dabbling in dressage) started in XC? He needs more confidence for jumps but he is very intelligent, willing, and well trained. With the help of a trainer, would it be worth it with a 16 year old horse? Another option I have is a 12 year old OTTB who is just now being retrained in basics. He is still green and not nearly as well trained or reliable as my 16 year old. Or would it be a better idea to just keep working with the trainer on myself and my riding, and just work on jumps with my older horses and wait until I can afford to buy a younger horse? If that makes any sense? I am just wondering how hard it is to start an older horse in XC and if it is worth it?

albertaeventer 03-05-2013 11:28 AM

Transitioning an older horse to eventing is usually not a big deal at the low levels, provided they've got good jumping experience under their belts and are pretty confident. If they're not confident in jumping though, some horses just won't find eventing that much fun. It really depends on the horse though. Some like jumping the logs and natural jumps better than stadium jumps, I had one like this years ago, we were doing just the tiny pre-beginner novice stuff, and we'd go clear cross country, but always have stops in stadium. He was a great horse, just not cut out to be an eventer.

I don't think it would hurt to get out there and do some schooling and then decide what to do. Your horse might surprise you, and most of the smaller stuff you can jump from the walk if need be. Just go out with your trainer, keep it simple, fun, just small stuff, and go from there.

NaeNae87 03-06-2013 11:22 PM

My 14yr old started eventing at 13 :) I don't see a problem.

Start off slow, build up gradually - remember his muscles and joints are not as young as they once were, maybe look at a joint suppliment if you are wanting to do larger jumps...

hisangelonly 03-06-2013 11:39 PM

Okay yeah he will jump small logs out in the field and some cross rails in the arena but we need to work on other jumps. He just tends to hesitate at jumps sometimes if he hasn't jumped them before. I have a great trainer who specializes in eventing. Any tips for getting him to jump anything with no hesitation? Lol. He is on MSM. he's never had an issue with his joints at all. He doesn't look or act his age, in fact everyone that sees him thinks he's 5 lol. But yes I will be looking into more of a gel like MSM or other joint supplement. What about just cross country if he doesn't like the stadium jumping? Would just cross country be a good idea? I'm not sure what the name would be for those competitions. Lol
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NaeNae87 03-07-2013 12:09 AM

Haha, he sounds like my one :)

When introducing new jumps to my horse, I let him walk around and have a look at them from every angle. I then trot him over it (we are doing smaller stuff at the moment). The first time over it, probably won't be pretty but remember to ride positively, keep your leg on and reward him for getting over it. Lots of pats, a loose rein and tell him he is a good boy. Trot over it a few more times both ways if possible and his confidence will improve. Once he is going over it easily and feels pretty good, go for it at a canter. Again positive riding, reward him and make it a good experience for him.

Once he is doing that fine at a canter add another jump before it or after it. For example if you are working on a water jump try; Log then water jump or water jump then log. If he gets confused or scared, be patient and see if a friend has a horse that can go before him to lead and show him what you are asking of him. When training new things I always make sure I am with someone who has an experienced horse that can act as a lead in.

Using that method GK has gone from taking 4 mins (seriously, I am not kidding) to do a water jump to going in with no hestitation. He also does sunken roads and skinnies no problems. :) Your trainer should be able to help out heaps with getting him going comfortably.

I am not sure what you call just XC either in the US haha. I have found that most horses enjoy jumping when they have a postitive introduction to it.

hisangelonly 03-07-2013 06:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NaeNae87 (Post 1926481)
Haha, he sounds like my one :)

When introducing new jumps to my horse, I let him walk around and have a look at them from every angle. I then trot him over it (we are doing smaller stuff at the moment). The first time over it, probably won't be pretty but remember to ride positively, keep your leg on and reward him for getting over it. Lots of pats, a loose rein and tell him he is a good boy. Trot over it a few more times both ways if possible and his confidence will improve. Once he is going over it easily and feels pretty good, go for it at a canter. Again positive riding, reward him and make it a good experience for him.

Once he is doing that fine at a canter add another jump before it or after it. For example if you are working on a water jump try; Log then water jump or water jump then log. If he gets confused or scared, be patient and see if a friend has a horse that can go before him to lead and show him what you are asking of him. When training new things I always make sure I am with someone who has an experienced horse that can act as a lead in.

Using that method GK has gone from taking 4 mins (seriously, I am not kidding) to do a water jump to going in with no hestitation. He also does sunken roads and skinnies no problems. :) Your trainer should be able to help out heaps with getting him going comfortably.

I am not sure what you call just XC either in the US haha. I have found that most horses enjoy jumping when they have a postitive introduction to it.

I know part of it is me too lol I expect him to hesitate sometimes, so he does. I am getting him shoed all the way around on the 15th so I can start riding a lot on the gravel. Would the shoes help his confidence if maybe his feet are tender? He's been barefoot 7 years but I can't seem to get his feet used to the gravel he's always tender on the rocks. Thank you for the tips! So does your horse ever refuse at new courses? Like different water jumps or logs he's never seen?
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NaeNae87 03-07-2013 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hisangelonly (Post 1926654)
I know part of it is me too lol I expect him to hesitate sometimes, so he does. I am getting him shoed all the way around on the 15th so I can start riding a lot on the gravel. Would the shoes help his confidence if maybe his feet are tender? He's been barefoot 7 years but I can't seem to get his feet used to the gravel he's always tender on the rocks. Thank you for the tips! So does your horse ever refuse at new courses? Like different water jumps or logs he's never seen?
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Shoeing him may help. :)
GK used to look at the water jumps at new courses, but the more times we did it, the more he trusted me and the easier it was to get him to do it. We went from 4 mins at the water jump to 30 seconds. Then the next event he walked straight in and he still looks at it now but he trots straight in and will jump into and out of any water jump with no problems.

He looks at different jumps but has never stopped or refused a jump on a new course. I don't go xc training all that often with GK any more, I haven't been in at least 6 months but whenever I introduce new stuff I make sure I introduce him to it the same way.
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hisangelonly 03-07-2013 09:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NaeNae87 (Post 1926707)
Shoeing him may help. :)
GK used to look at the water jumps at new courses, but the more times we did it, the more he trusted me and the easier it was to get him to do it. We went from 4 mins at the water jump to 30 seconds. Then the next event he walked straight in and he still looks at it now but he trots straight in and will jump into and out of any water jump with no problems.

He looks at different jumps but has never stopped or refused a jump on a new course. I don't go xc training all that often with GK any more, I haven't been in at least 6 months but whenever I introduce new stuff I make sure I introduce him to it the same way.
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That helps a lot! Thank you! There aren't all that many courses here and the ones that are here are kind of far. I know they will be building one at a new barn in the next 3 or 4 years but for now I will have to make my own for practice :p
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NaeNae87 03-07-2013 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hisangelonly (Post 1926785)
That helps a lot! Thank you! There aren't all that many courses here and the ones that are here are kind of far. I know they will be building one at a new barn in the next 3 or 4 years but for now I will have to make my own for practice :p
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Not a problem :)

When making your own, try and make them as "scary" as possible.

Go and decorate them with bags of feed, garden gnomes, soft toys, flower pots, cardboard animal cut outs, old linoleum-(if you can get the stone look one thats even better... it will look like a solid wall, even stuff parts of it with hedge trimmings. You should be able to pick all this up really cheap, or even free in some cases.

Most of those things are common fillers and decorations on xc courses over here, and the more desensitising you do at home, the easier you will find it when you're out. You won't be one of those people that goes 'oh, i am going to have trouble at this jump because my horse doesn't like it." You will know your horse will be ok, and even if you're not 100% positive about him going over it, never think that you won't get over it :) always think positive. If you are confident, he will be. Most of the time riders eliminate or give themselves penalties before they even mount their horse. If they think it's scary then their horse will too.

hisangelonly 03-07-2013 09:51 AM

Okay I have some "scary" things I can put out. I'm sure I can find a lot of that stuff. And my neighbors have logs I can drag to my house. How would I make a water jump without the footing being slippery?
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