First Horse coming Sunday! Questions...
Wow, I feel like it has been forever since I was last on here. I have exciting newsss.... We're getting our first horse this Sunday!! I volunteer with a rescue group and I got my mom into it. We pulled this one horse from the Camelot auctions in PA and my mom is in love with him. He is the sweetest thing ever... Perfect first horse. If anything, we need to work on his confidence because he constantly has to be right next to you and gets bullied a bit by other horses.
His name right now is Sundance, but we're possibly thinking Kennedy... Let me know if you have suggestions!! He is part draft horse, but is really not that big! he is 15.6 hands I think and 10 years old. He is a little bit stocky and that's where the "draft" part comes in I suppose.
So, we are boarding at a barn with four other horses. The rescue group has approved them already and we've been out there.
My questions are, what supplies would you recommend? Is there anything that you forgot when you first got a horse? We currently have:
-light blanket (he is SUPER furry)
I may be forgetting something but I think that's it for now. The barn has food buckets, hay, bedding, salt blocks, and water provided. We just wanted to install a water bucket in the stall.
Also -- I ride English (since last May... not too experienced yet!), but my mom (who has little experience) wants to do Western. From what we know, Sundance definitely can do Western and I will try out English.... I know he neck reins so I would like to try that (I've done it a few times before) with the rope halter. But then I have an English saddle -- assuming it fits, it is okay to use this, right? I'm thinking that as long as we are pretty consistent with what we ask of him, the tack shouldn't really matter. I am not a fan of hackamores and as I do NOT have soft hands (working on that!). Should I get an English bridle with a mild bit? Or is this really all just preference?
I'm also a little worried about introducing him with the other horses but from what I read it is best to keep them apart, but still able to see each other until they don't react. Is that correct?
Sorry for all the questions... It's just all happening SO fast all the sudden and I'm getting nervous! Oh, he is up to date on his Coggins and vaccines, and has been checked out by a vet. The farrier is scheduled to come 2/6.
Here are some pics :)
*Also -- I will wait a bit to ride him until he is settled, but how will I know how much work is enough in the beginning until he gets back up to riding regularly?
He looks like a sweetie.
Western vs English...well, some horses can go both ways and do equally as well so long as they understand what's being asked of them. My daughters lease pony can switch from neck rein to bit rein in the middle of a ride and understands both perfectly, and so far as the saddle upon their backs they don't seem to care. A western saddle makes leg cues harder though, which depending on how your horse understands them (or not) and how much you as a rider utilize them can make for a significantly different ride.
If he goes western you may be more comfortable starting out that way until you get a feel for him and gain confidence. Western saddles are much more secure for the insecure rider, as well.
Personally, having done both, I have come to appreciate English as it makes you a much better rider, but it's also a lot harder to gain a level of expertise with, hence why my next suggestion would be to continue lessons and get to be a better rider moving forward. :)
Ok, so firstly you're correct about introducing him to new horses, though even when they've gotten used to one another over the fence, they will still try to establish dominance when you eventually put them in together, so don't be worried or feel bad if you see him being pushed around, bit or kick. This is what they do and so long as he's not being run through fences (or doing the chasing through fences) things will settle down on their own.
As for riding english or western, the saddle does not matter. The main difference between the two is style and contact. English horses are trained to respond to steady, even contact on the reins, seat & legs and direct rein, whereas western horses are trained with minimal contact, very loose rein and usually neck reining (which, just a tip, shanked bits are designed for collection and neck reining, not direct reining. That is what a snaffle is for.)
As for the hackamore, it depends on the horse and whether he responds well to facial pressure. If you have heavy hands and he needs little pressure, go with a hackamore/bosal/halter. You don't want to combine heavy hands with a hard bit.
As for equipment, it sounds like you have all the basics. Anything else will come over time as the need arises. ;)
(Oh, and double-check your measurements on his height. Horses are measured in hands, which are increments of 4 inches, so he may either be 15.3 or 16 hh) Also, just an errant observation; would he by chance have any Thoroughbred in him? Just those few photos hint at TB to me :)
Thank you for the responses! Also I should have mentioned that we have a close friend through the rescue and of course the boarders at the barn so it won't be like we're just thrown into it with no help.
PrivatePilot - Hmmm okay! I guess it will take a little bit to figure out what he knows and is comfortable with. I'm obviously not experienced enough to train him in anything yet so I'll just go with what he responds to best. Oh yes I will definitely be continuing lessons! You're never done learning and I'm still quite a beginner. Thank you!
lilruffian - Okay. Sundance is such a mellow guy I do kinda worry that he won't stick up for himself at all but I will just relax and see what happens.. (Assuming he's not getting really injured!) Okay. Thankfully I have had a western lesson before and the guy that taught me is at the rescue so he wouldn't mind showing me more. The minimal leg contact gets me but I will work on it. Is a shanked bit just the ones that have that part coming down from where it's actually in their mouth? Lol I can see it in my head.. Like a hackmore would be a shanked bit, right? And from what I'm reading, bosals rely on the nose pressure, correct? I don't know why but hackamores have a stigma in my head of being harsh -- the people I volunteer with are very Western and do EVERYTHING by natural horsemanship (mainly Parelli) so maybe they have ingrained that in my mind lol. Oops! I guess he is 15.3 hh then, will double check though! I'm not super knowledgable on horse breeds but I could see Thoroughbred! He is very high withered!
How exciting for you ! Looks like you are pretty well set to start.
Take a little advice . Take some time to do mostly ground work for a while. Get used to your horse , and give it time to used to you , being the leader.
spend some time desensitizing it with ropes , quick movements , plastic bag noise . If it gets used to seeing you , dealing with you , and hearing your voice of reassurance. It will be better with you on his back leading the show.
I made the mistake of going to fast on a horse I acquired , as a rescue. Even though it was broke , and an older horse with some training, i just started riding . I did not have a good knowledge of its state of training , and it did not really trust me yet. It takes time . I ended up having to go back and start training on the ground , and build a base to build on. My riding time got more productive after that. My horse was much more able to respond after our ground relationship was established. Have fun ! :-P
Okay. I don't know why but ground work just totally escaped my mind... I definitely need to build up trust between us first! "Sundance" (still needs a name lol) seems pretty bombproof but I'm sure it would still be beneficial for him to know I can get him through anything he may find scary.
I have adopted two horses from the auctions, New Holland. It is a great experience but do expect a project- unless someone had him and has worked with him and given him a eval etc. Both of mine "rode" but there are definite reasons that they ended up there- I have spent way more time retraining than I expected!!!! That is so exciting however. Please let us all know how it is going. yes, give him 2 weeks to settle in before asking anything of him.
PS- except for his feet- he doesn't look very drafty? If so, draft horse are a whole other ball game to training so get a good trainer that is understanding of draft-types.
What a cutie! Congratulations!
The only thing I would want to add is that, reading through your list, I didn't notice a lounge line. Might be a good investment.
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