Hi, everyone! I'm new to the horseforum community but so glad I've found you guys. I'd like to share with you a bit about me and what my plans are. Then, I would LOVE feedback from you on how you think I should move forward.
I'm 40 yrs old and a novice to horsemanship. We bought 21 acres and built our dream home a year ago. We've been working as we go along to get it to where we want it to be...we have a LONG way to go! :wink: I, like most girls growing up, dreamed of owning a horse and growing up in the saddle. Sadly, that didn't happen but I never lost that desire. Here I am at 40 with a small bit of experience riding horses. We purchased a 7 yo Registered Paint almost 3 years ago. His name is Hootie. He stands around 15.1 or 15.2. He's had no health problems. He was sold as a beginner horse. We did ride him before purchasing him and he rode fine...in an arena. He has no kick or bite except when you tighten the girth on the saddle. He will then turn around and nip in your direction. He has never bucked me off but I wouldn't be surprised if he would try now.
While riding him once we got him home, we found him to be quite "spirited" and a bit pushy. And almost more difficult for me to handle is his speed. He's VERY fast. He respects me to a point but I feel as if it's not where it needs to be. Even though I point out his less desirable traits, we love him very much and we couldn't imagine our home without him.
Well, life became difficult as it sometimes does, and now a year later he hasn't been ridden. Now, I'm where I need him to work. He's a great, young horse that needs something to do other than stand and look pretty in the pasture.
So, my ideas are to start from the beginning, for him and me. I have the vet coming out for his annual the second week in Oct. So, I'm not crazy about putting a bit in his mouth until I have his teeth floated. It's been over a year since they've been done and I don't want to cause any undo stress for him or me. It's time for the farrier as well so I called him too. We have a pretty natural area so he's hooves are usually kept trim naturally. Right now, he has no shoes. I have no aspirations of showing horses or anything like that. I just want to ride trails and in and around our farm. I have 3 daughters and well, you know where that is going! They LOVE horses. Fortunately for them, they are taking lessons from someone that knows what they are doing. :D
Anyway, I think there is plenty do to before I get back in the saddle. I'm in no hurry. It took him a year to get "out of practice" and it shouldn't happen in one day to get back in.
I've been looking around and what methods I should follow on groundwork and I must admit, I'm stumped. I feel as if I need a little from here and a little from there but I don't trust myself to know what you do and in what order.
I would appreciate if you guys would help me put together a plan for the next couple of weeks of groundwork with Hootie. I do have a round pen that can be utilized. He leads fine although he can get a bit pushy at times.
When it comes to getting back in the saddle, I feel as if I should bring out a trainer with me at that point to be sure I'm doing all necessary to make this a good and enjoyable situation for me and Hootie but I would like to work on trust, respect and fundamentals before having to pay someone to come out. I'm stumped on what bit I should use, do I use a curb chain, what about a martingale, etc...Ugh. I'm so type A and not having a plan is driving me in circles...perhaps I should be in a round pen.:shock:
Thanks to everyone in advance for your support.
I'm in somewhat of the same position as you except I knew when I purchased my quarter horse, Champ, that he was going to require a little work to get him where I want him to be at. My only suggestion is to find some horse experienced people nearby that are willing to help you. Talk to your vet, the people involved with the lessons for you daughters and find some that can help out or answer quick questions. In my area there are many people that will come to your property and give hour lessons for horse and rider for very cheap.
I like to read so thats another thing I have done. There are some great books that can help you out along the way. Some that i would recommend:
Teach Your Horse Perfect Manners by Kelly Marks (wonderful!!)
The Horse Rider's Problem Solved by Vanessa Britton
Bombproof Your Horse by SGT. Rick Pelicano (looks like lots of fun but would be for a bit later in your horse's training)
Clinton Anderson also has some good DVD series on groundwork up to riding that I have found very interesting. He's a bit of a talker but has a lot of good info.
Hope that helps some! Good luck. You have a very pretty horse! :)
Wow that all sounds so familiar! I too am 40, also live in NC (Granville Co) and am a novice with a very pushy horse! The best tip I've gotten regarding ground work is too be consistent. When I'm with my horse I make sure that he has a clear understanding that I control his feet, not him. I start slow on a lead rope with simply walking, stopping, turning and then use the lunge rope to get him going around the pen where we still work on moving forward (walk, trot..etc), stopping, turning and eventually approaching me when given a cue. During these sessions my personal space MUST be respected, any deviation from that is a big no no.
If I don't keep it interesting my horse gets pretty dang bored, so I will introduce obstacles to make him think. Fallen logs or old barrels arranged in different patterns on different days keep him on his toes. It's taken a while to get his pushiness under control but it's worth the time it takes to do that. :)
Bringing a trainer out would be a good idea for both you and Hootie. He/she can definitely help you out. Be sure to find someone who can "train" both of you together.
As far as preparing for the trainer and getting respect and control on the ground, you've gotten some brilliant advice already. Get him to move each body part out of your space; swing his shoulders out of your way when you walk toward them, same for hindquarters, get him backing out of your space, moving forward around the roundpen or on a lungeline at the speed/direction you choose, all willingly and from both sides. Get control and safety first, then refine. I like Clinton Anderson's groundwork as well, he's worth looking into. Pat Parelli's 7 Games can be helpful as well, and there are tons of other trainers available if you Google "Natural Horsemanship."
Here's a good article on the philosophy of NH groundwork that may be helpful. Training ~ Common Sense Horsemanship
As far as bits and equipment, I would advise a bit like one of these:
These are all variations on a plain snaffle, with subtle differences to help with specific issues. The second pic down is the most basic, and generally very widely used on greener horses. Your trainer can advise you later on whether one of the variations might suit you better. A curb strap/chain isn't necessary on these bits, but some western trainers will put a leather strap on the loose-ring snaffle to keep the bit from pulling through the horse's mouth. As far as martingales, nosebands, and the like, simple is better. A horse shouldn't need a martingale to function, and good training doesn't make one standard equipment equivalent to a saddle. A simple snaffle bridle (with a plain cavesson noseband, if you ride English style) and a well fitting saddle should be all that you need to ride.
I hope that was helpful. Feel free to PM me or ask more questions; I love groundwork and tack, lol.
Good luck! :D
Well 40 ain't that old is it - you have at least another 30 years of riding maybe more.
You seem to have thought of a lot of things. What you really need now is a good tutor - one who comes to your place and looks at you and the horse together. Make sure you like that tutor as a person.
Now I don't know why you haven't ridden for a year but that is a long time for a horse. I do hope you've been going out to see him fairly regularly. He will have lost muscle. He might be a bit bolshie. He could be bored. Forgive him.
And you - well you will have to get some exercising in. Have you got a Pilates class nearby?
Next thing - a good book - then you'll know what to ask the tutor about.
Monty Roberts is OK. Parelli is fine - if you are going Western.
Local riding club - is there one nearby?
Good friend who rides - got one of those?
And this Forum - tell us regularly how you are getting on.
First things to do.
1/ Build yourself a rectangular arena - or buy a ready to assemble round pen.
2/ Make sure the saddle and the bridle fits.
3/ Set yourself a target to get up on that horse for 10 minutes or 15 minutes or an hour - every single day you are home. Do nothing but walk around the arena and then one day ask yourself if you can still trot.
Enjoy your horse - if he can become part of your life, he will show you how to enjoy your life.
What's really worked for me (and all the horses I've ever worked with) has been the Parelli Program. It sounds like you and your horse would really benefit from it! It's a wonderful program :)
Thanks so much to everyone with all the great information. I have much to read and research. You all have made my first steps "back into the saddle" easier.
There will be MANY more questions! Thanks again.
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