Adopting my first horse!
Hey all I am currently in a bonding period with a rescue horse I am adopting. She will be my first horse that I own and she is a 20 year old Arabian. :D She is a bit skittish though because of her neglectful situation she was in but she has come along way and seems to trust me when I walk her into a new environment. I eventually want to use her for trail rides and we have a good trail obstacle course at the barn where she is at and I was thinking about taking her out there and walking her on a lead to see how she does. But am unsure on when to do it, we are still getting used to each other and she responds really well to me so far. I just don't want to push her with a bunch of new things, there are a few things we need to work on such as she doesn't like her feet or tail to be touched and she tries to rush out of gates (coming in and out of her stall, round pen, and arena) but we are working on those! Any advice on how to work with letting me brush her tail and pick her feet? Thanks!
Since you consider this mare a rescue don't make the mistake of molly coddling her. At 20 she has probably seen a lot so take her anywhere you wish to go and focus on where you are heading, not how she might react. If you exude confidence then she knows things are ok. Straighten up, walk like a soldier with a purposeful stride with eyes straight ahead and be her leader. If she gets ahead of you, turn on your heel and head back. She'll get a good yank on the halter but it will make her pay mind. Continue to do this until she stops passing you, then continue with your walk.
Thanks that's what we were doing yesterday. I would stop her before we walked through then I would walk through then tell her walk on and after about the third time she would wait until I was ready for her to walk through and then she would walk. She is very smart and pays attention to me and does wonderful when I lunge her.
"Thanks that's what we were doing yesterday. I would stop her before we walked through then I would walk through then tell her walk on and after about the third time she would wait until I was ready for her to walk through and then she would walk." ...Do you mean walk on? What are you walking thro, a gate?
Well congrats on your first horse :) Adopting.. or purchasing? Will this horse legally be yours?
Agree on not coddling.. that will confuse a horse and cause them to try and assume leadership roles.. not a good thing with a 1000lb animal!
Spend some time "sharpening" her response to pressure. Make sure she stops, backs and gives to each side easier. Practice walking, with her head never in front of your shoulder even on a loose lead. When you stop walking she should stop. If she moves in front of you back her up behind you. She needs to learn she's not the leader.
With my horse I had a long firm stick, the one I used was a natural horsemanship style but a long dressage whip might work, or something. I'd run in lightly over her shoulders back until she got used to it. Then I'd start touching her on her back legs. At first she'd kick out at it, but because I was far away it didn't really matter. She got used to it touching her and stopped kicking, and I worked up to touching her back legs and picking up her feet.
Once they're good with being touched all over there, I also use a thick, long lead rope to pick up their legs from a distance until they're more accustomed to it.
Remember, the horse doesn't know she was abused or neglected. She's just an ordinary horse so treat her like an ordinary horse. Don't make excuses for her behaviour or let her get away with things because you feel sorry for her.
Please don't longe her very much if you've not got a properly banked (banked footing at perimeter of round pen), as circles puts much stress on a horse's lateral tendons, ligaments, & hooves!
Congratulations on your adopting her! I'm an "Arab person", so I'm especially pulling for her staying sound & having a good life with you!
I think there's a difference between mollycoddling, and gradually & safely exploring the envelope of what your horse can do. Sounds like you're off to a good start with the walking.
Thanks for all the advice everyone! I worked her today and she did wonderfully. We have a wonderful and large covered round pen with awesome footing! I walked her on some trails today and she did okay if she spooked at anything she would stop and lean into me but with a few soft words we were on our way again with no problems. I am so proud of how far she has come in the last week! Makes me really hate having to go to work!
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