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aaronnmal 05-16-2009 09:05 PM

New Horse Not Acting Right
Okay, I'm new at this forum posting thing, soo have a little patience.. :D

I just bought a 10 year old reg. appaloosa mare. 15 hands, bay roan.. gorgeous horse.. at least I think so.

The owners were reducing their herd, and had several horses for sale. I was looking for another trail horse, nothing special, but still a nice well broke trail horse. The owners told me she was shown in 4-H walk, trot, & halter classes as well as trail rode at Salt Fork St. Park, and around AEP trails. They said she was rode a lot up until a year and a half ago the one owner had heart surgery and was not able to ride. They had just recently started pulling her out again to ride. They told me she had been doing great, was like she never had time off. They sent me 10+ pictures of her being ground worked and ridden. Some pictures were of a 10 year old boy riding her. I decided to go take a look at her..

I noticed of the bat that she had EXCELLANT ground manners.. respected my space... was an angel on the ground. I clipped her, picked up feet, used fly spray, did ground work with her.. she did great. I saddled her up and rode her. She tried testing me a couple times on trotting when I didnt ask, but was fine when I corrected her. She had a lot of energy, but again, she acted great. I rode her in the round pen then took her out around their property . They had tons of horses, loose goats, dogs, kids, 4 wheelers, so there was a lot going on and she didn;t seem bothered by any of it.. interested, but not bothered.

So I purchased her and brought her home the next day. The next day I got her out and since she was acting calm and everything I decided to saddle her up. I did a little bit of ground work with her first, saddled her up, and instantly noticed a change. She wanted me off.. she didnt throw me, but I didnt really push the issue. She wanted to take off, or stop and jigg and hop, or just back in a circle.

My first thoughts were the saddle. They rode her in western, and so am I. I have a tex tan barrel saddle, my husbands saddle is western roping saddle. I tried both of them. Tried different pads, tried a newer wrangler pad, tried some older broke in ones.. So then I tried different cinches, I tried wool, neoprine (sp?), etc. None made a difference. So then I moved on to the bit... They told me she was usually rode in a snaffle, which is what I use and was what I test rode her in. But I tried riding her without the bit all together and that didnt help either. So im at a loss.. I couldnt get her to do anything. My husband couldn't even lead her around with me on her back. Once I was off her she was fine..

So Im at a loss, any suggestions?

Racker 05-16-2009 09:35 PM

I was always told when you move a horse to a new location you should not try to ride for at least two days even if it is your own horse and you just moved it to a different boarding stable. If the horse is new to you and it is in a new place I would give it closer to a week to get comfortable in it's new surroundings and relax a little. Horses can act a little odd if they were just taken out of their comfort zone.

Eolith 05-16-2009 11:21 PM

Much as Racker said, it can be tough for a horse to have everything change all of a sudden. New living area, new people, new horses... tons of change. Whenever I get a new horse, it's usually just some chill grooming and maybe grazing on the lead line for the first two or three days. Then some ground work for the next few days, but really not too demanding. When I do ride, it's just relaxed walking around for the first day, maybe some trot the second or third time on.

I could be a little on the conservative side, but I am a firm believer in having a good understanding with the horse before really starting to do serious riding and training. I would suggest giving her some more time, mainly.

Jubilee Rose 05-16-2009 11:33 PM

Hmm... is it possible that she's a follow-the-leader kind of horse? I could be wrong, but some of the trail horses at my barn have no trouble bouncing happily down trails with other horses, but are the complete opposite when ridden alone in an arena. Sometimes trailriders feel they don't really need to work on response and cues with their horse, because on the trail they do exactly what all the other horses do. Correct me if I'm wrong here. Did her previous owners ride her in an arena alot, or just on trail rides?

Again, it could just be what the other posters suggested.... that she's still getting used to the whole environment.

And welcome to the forum!! :)

Qtswede 05-16-2009 11:37 PM

I've never really bothered giving a few days off when I bring one home. A few hours or maybe a day, then we work. However, every horse is different. She may be adjusting, OR they could have given her a dose of Bute or Ace before you came by to check her out. Happens quite a bit. Unless you know what to look for when you go looking, you can easily get a horse that's been doped.

twogeldings 05-17-2009 01:22 AM

heh, sounds like what my rescue did to me the first day of riding.

What I did was workworkwork him through it. NO giving up. No matter if he bucked, reared, jigged, danced in circles or did the chicken dance. When I felt he was relaxed and responding, I got off. The next day he was perfect, then I rode in the evening and he bolted. Again, worked him through it.

Now he's getting better and better and we've started on trotting. Whats your riding experience? Do you perhaps know an experience rider that could ride her out?

Whipple 05-17-2009 01:22 AM

I'm with Qtswede on this. Did you get a vet check before buying her? I would get some blood drawn, and if she doesnt settle soon, get it checked.

olegreycowboy 05-17-2009 08:02 AM


One of my observations over the last 5 decades...

If a person is knowledgeable about the how to deal with a horse, the behavior and training will improve day to day, and from beginning of a session to the end. There may be little setbacks along the way, but generally, we see improvement if the person’s horsemanship is adequate.

If the training or the behavior is getting worse, the person needs to get help because the person is either creating the problem or allowing the problem.

Don't let pride stand in the way. As much as so many folks on forums want to claim that training is not brain surgery, there really aren't that many brain surgeons offering advice.

You don't need a "riding instructor" to help; you need a horseman to help you resolve the why. Knowing the “why” can mean all the difference in applying a solution. Without first hand observations by a horseman, you will only be getting guesses at a solution. The wrong guess can result in things getting worse.

Good Luck,

iridehorses 05-17-2009 08:37 AM

aaronnmal, welcome to the forum.

What I will typically do with a new horse is give them time to adjust.

My routine is to give them the first day in a paddock just to get comfortable.

The second and third day I'll just handle them alot so that they become familiar with me and begin the start of the trust I expect.

The next day, I will saddle him and lead him around the farm, going about my business like I had a dog on a leash. It is more for creating a bond and trust then anything else.

After 5 or 6 days I'll mount him and just walk around. I usually don't push the horse into anything more then a walk until I'm comfortable that he understands my aids and that he is very relaxed about being ridden by me.

These are things that an owner can do but, of course, a trainer may not have the time for. I've been doing this for 25 years and I don't normally rush the process even if the horse is willing. On a very willing horse, I may mount him after the 2nd or 3rd day but not before.

One last thing I want to add is that even if I can't ride on a partucular day, I will saddle him and just leave him tied (within sight of me) for anywhere from 1/2 an hour up to 2 hours. I want them to know that several times per week he has a job and that he has to work, even if it means that I'm not on board. Sometimes I may just ride him for 10 or 15 min. then tie him for another hour. I like to break it up.

aaronnmal 05-22-2009 11:30 PM

Thanks for all the replys!!

I guess I was probably wrong to ride her so soon.. but I had always rode a new horse right after getting him/her. I was never told or instructed any different, so I never thought. And again, she acted so calm and didnt really act bothered..

I have been working w/ her daily since I brought her home. If I am not riding her, I have at least been getting her out and brushing her and spending time w/ her and leaving her tied. She has been doing a little better each day, but when I first start working with her and riding her she is still acting nervous. After a few minuits of riding or ground work she settles down. Sometimes she wants to take off w/ me, and when she does, I bring her to a one rein stop and disengage her hind end. After doing a few of those when she starts to take off, she settles down.

I am not sure what to do about that, other than just keep working w/ her and hope that she settles down.

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