nervious... i dont want to hurt her!
i work for an older man, and his views on horse training are rather old fashioned.
he purchased a 20 month old arab mare for me at the auction to work with, that was 10 months ago.
she is now 2 and a half, and i have just recently started riding her. we have done work in the round pen, and we have been on walk-only trail rides.
she is 2 and a half, 14.2 egyptian arab. i am 5'4'' and about 120 lb.
i have noticed after i began riding her, she has become a bit more..shall we say, rude? is this because she is not emotionally ready to be ridden? is it my fault? i feel as though it is, she is the first horse i am training and i dont feel like i'm doing it right.
i have a trainer, but i only see her maybe once a month, due to my location and her not being around much.
can i be harming her? i don't own the horse, and the owner is pushing me to just keep riding her.
what should i do?
What, specifically, is she doing? Without knowing what "rude"things she is doing, it is difficult to advise you.
her ground manners have seem to have taken a step back. when i take her in to feed her, she darts in front of me through the gate. (im not sure if its her, or if the other horses behind her are harrasing her LOL. they all line up at the gate at feeding time)
and speeking of feeding, when she is in the stall eating, i occasionally come in to the stall with her. she has been pinning her ears back at me, and making nasty faces. the 'manager' at my barn advised me to give her a good smack and a 'no' when she pins her ears back at me.
It sounds like she might be testing you, trying to push through for her food. When she does that, back her up, then go through the door first. If she's pinning her ears back at you, it could be a lot of things. She might think you're going to take it away, or that she's going to be worked and taken away from her food. Hitting her is not the way to handle it. I worked with a horse that did that. I would walk into her stall, go to the opposite side of where she was, and just stand there for about thirty second and leave. I stayed for another 5 seconds the next day and so on... I can now brush her, pick out her hooves, and do anything I want while she eats. This was a horse that wouldn't let ANYONE in her stall without getting bit or kicked. Just take it slow.
thank you very much for help on her food-aggressiveness! i will begin trying that tomorrow!
my original concern was the fact that she is 2 and a half, and the owner is pushing me to ride her.
is this too young? can damage be done at a walk with a light rider? she is sort of a gift from my boss, but he still owns the horse. i will have her for a long time, and i want to prevent any health issues i can.
he says that riding her early can be good for her, he started his first horse early and he could do anything on her (open gates, ect. ect.)
im really unsure, as she is the first horse i am breaking and training on my own.
No problem :) You shouldn't be riding her that young. Their spines are still developing. Now would be the time to break her. But since she already is, plodding around bareback at a walk should be fine. Keeping her used to everything is good too. A saddle now and then. I don't think you should do much trotting, or cantering, but it wont hurt her. It's not like you're racing her, so there isn't to much strain. Light riding for the next two months is a good idea. You'll have plenty of time to really bond and gain her trust, so when you do ride, she will take care of you. Breaking them later on is the way to do it. It's better for their back, legs, neck, pretty much everything. Just take it easy till she's almost 3.
we dont do anything above a walk, and when i ride, its usually with a light kid's saddle.
i was actually thinking about purchasing her and moving her else where. she only has at most, a few hours of riding time on her. could the time i have spent already done damage? could it be serious?
im sorry if i have come off as the sort to rush things! : ( he really freaks out, since she isnt being used, shes apperently is "a drain for money". i'd really like to just buy her and move (he paid $100 for her at auction, and that is all he would charge me) but i have no where else to go at the moment. : \
and thank you very much for all the help! i really appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge! :)
No that wont hurt her at all. Most people start sitting on their backs around 2 1/2. Tell him that if you don't wait a few more more months, years later, she will drain him with vet bills. Maybe start spook proofing her. Then maybe he wont complain so much. And you're welcome.
In her stall, back her off of her food. Make her stand in the back of the stall until YOU say she can eat. When she's standing calmly, with her head lowered/relaxed, then turn your back on her (show of dominance), and leave the stall.
When you're working with her, YOU ARE THE BOSS, at all times. Don't get all kissy face with her. She's testing you, and so far, she's winning. You need to step up and be boss-mare until she backs down. THEN you can start being sweeter to her.
As far as hurting her, you might look at your saddle fit. Young horses change shape quickly, so even if your saddle fit fine two months ago, it might not now.
Next time you go out, put your saddle on with no pads, lightly girthed up, and take some pictures for us. Take a side shot, rear shot, and 3/4 front angle shot showing the WHOLE shoulder of the horse. Make sure she's standing on level ground with her head in a natural position (not down). Take the 3/4 front angle and side shot again, this time with your saddle pad(s). We can tell you if your saddle has any glaring issues with fit and/or placement.
Young horses often have sensitive backs, so even a minor fit issue could cause pain/discomfort.
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