Retraining Out Of Work Horse
Ok, so I'm back, and have a new adventure to conquer. I am going to buy a 6 year old QH gelding named Ben. I didn't plan to buy him because I just lost my gelding a little over a month ago, but I've bonded in such a way that I can't imagine not calling him mine. I was a little turned off by him at first because the first day I went to see him, he just turned around and looked the other way. He didn't want anything to do with humans. Well I asked my friend Anna why he was like that (Anna's boyfriend's dad owns Ben) and she said it's because no one has messed with him for 2 years, but she said that her boyfriend's dad rode him for 60 days, and then just forgot about him, I thought what the heck!
Anyways, after work, I would go out there and try to get close to Ben. The second day I went to see him, I took a few treats, and caught him, no problem. As soon as I got a halter on him, he was perfect, except for leading. He didn't do anything wrong really. Just didn't move.
Well we finally got him to the hitching post and tack shed and I got a brush out and just brushed him out, and put him back. We ended with a treat, and that was good for him.
The next day, I walked out to catch him and caught him without any treats, just the walk back was....long. A few days go by, I go out to catch him, it was almost impossible. Treats wouldn't even do it. Well did catch him, took him to the barn, and just brushed him and put him back. The next few days, I just took a treat out, gave it to him, and left.
Well a few days passed, and I didn't have time after work to drive out and see him. The next time I went to see him, I caught him and he walked to the barn just fine. No treats involved. Well I decided that I wanted to put a saddle on him to see what he would do. To my surprise, he just stood there, tied to the hitching post, took it like a champ. Put the bridle on, same thing. Opened his mouth for the bit, perfect.
Well what the whole point of this post is about, I was just wondering what everyone does to get an out of work horse, back in shape and back to work.
I don't want anyone saying that I have no business buying a horse that hasn't been touched in 2 years, because no one knows me, and no one knows Ben. Maybe it isn't the smartest thing, but Jack was the same way, and I could take him anywhere, and he was younger than Ben. I know my horses, I know what they can handle, and what they can't.
I just want some ideas on different things I can do with Ben. Different desensitizing exercises, or whatever ideas you have. I'm interested to hear them!
Thanks for reading!
Saddle him up and take him for walks to different places. Jump up on his back (bareback) and just lay up there rubbing on him Kell Jeffries-style. Work your way up to riding him when you feel that the both of you can handle it. Sounds like you're already doing some good work just spending time handling him. Keep doing that too!
You like and want this horse. He certainly could used something to do. You have horse experience and it appears you are open enough to ask for help or suggestions if you need it. Ian's suggestion is good. Start slow and don't expect to much to start with. As for desensitizing, there is all the standard stuff...tart, plastic bags, raincoat. If he seems pretty unflapable I wouldn't spend a great deal of time doing that.
Just get out there and use that horse. The reward is having a horse you enjoy! Happy trails...
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