8 year old gelding and never been ridden
Hello everyone...I am brand new to this forum and hope to make this board a major resource of mine. I have a new project and could use some pointers or just opinions. I was recently given an 8 year old quarter horse gelding and he is green as green can be. He has never been ridden or even worked with. All he has known up to this point is to lead on a halter which he does very well. I have owned him for a month and we've made amazing progress. He really has a wonderful and gentle disposition and is a good learner. I now have him lowering his head at the slightest touch, flexing his neck to me while standing by his side, he lunges beautifully in both directions and obeys trot, walk, and whoa commands. He didn't know any of this before. He picks up his feet well for general maintenance. All this, we've accomplished in just a month. Last week, I introduced him to a saddle pad and after a little side stepping and snorting, he calmed down and we began taking walks (with me on foot of course) with the blanket in place. A few days ago, I was even able to get a saddle on his back and did OK, BUT I didn't cinch it. He had been doing so well up to this point, that yesterday, I actually did start tugging the cinch up underneath him. I flapped it around and pulled on it, and he handled it OK. So I finally pulled the cinch strap through the buckle and just barely looped it through, just enough to keep the saddle in place and let him feel very light pressure. He didn't like that. He took off and started bucking. The saddle didn't last long since I didn't have it on very tight. Once it was off, I was able to go right after him, retrieve him, and I put him right back on the lunge line so I could get the last word in. So what would you all do next? Should I back off on the saddle for a while and introduce him to a bit instead and keep up the ground work for a while? Should I try the saddle again, buckle it better and just let him buck it out? He doesn't seem to have a problem with the saddle itself. He won't handle the slightest tightness around his barrel. I'm wondering if I should get a surcingle and use that to train him to something buckled around his barrel. I would love any information you all have. By the way, the bit I will introduce him to is a d ring copper french link snaffle. Thanks!
Katja and Rascal
You've alredy done the hard part. Put him in a pen where he can't get away or hurt himself and pull the cinch tight enough to keep the saddle on, step away from him and let him buck. By letting him buck the saddle off and not putting it back on you started him down a bad road. He got away with something in his mind. You think you got the last word by lunging him a little before you put him away but I bet he would feel different.
Thanks kevinshorses...honestly, I'm quite mad at myself for not turning right around and putting that saddle back on him because I know that you never let the horse think he's the winner, but it was almost dark, my saddle was covered in wet mud because he of course threw it into the sloppiest part of the corral, and he's currently at a location that doesn't have a good corral to let him buck it out in. I'm actually about to move both my horses this weekend to a place that has a nice roomy roundpen with heavy panels and sand footing so I will definitely revisit this with Rascal after I move him. So have you experienced this type of behavior with the saddle in horses personally? I've worked with green horses before but they were always much younger. This one is 16.1 hands and a powerhouse, but really a very good natured horse. He's got an iffy past that includes neglect and impatience so I'm having to work around other people's mistakes along with his age. But I am determined to make this work and with the progress we've made in just a month, I'm encouraged. I just wasn't sure if yesterday's buckfest was a setback or just another step in his education.
I am training a horse that is almost exactly like you have described but he is also a stallion. Sometimes a horse just needs to be left alone to figure things out on thier own. Sometimes you get in a **** sandwich like when your horse bucks the saddle off in the slop and it gets dark and you just have to quit but as long as you get back to it and leave yourself plenty of time to do what you need to do.
I use a surcingle to get the horse used to a girth. It has a buckle that can be tightened quickly.
The stallion on my avatar was seven and totally untrained. Due to his dad, he was being used as stud, but no one taught him any manners and he was a horror!. No one wanted to try to train him.
I wanted to give it a try and he was like a sponge for learning. After we got through the initial manners discussions, he was quickly backed and into his training.
I never knew a horse that liked being ridden as much as he did. He would reach down a grab the bit to try to bridle himself up. It was a bit of a pain, but how could you not appreciate a horse who wanted to be ridden like that?
Go slow, get the manners, get the trust.....everything else will go easily after that.
Actually, mine was only gelded a year ago so he does sound quite normal when listening to y'alls experiences. I'm definitely more encouraged now. I was a little bummed after last night. Thanks!
Allison, how long after you started working with your 7 year old did you start introducing the saddle? At first, I was going to wait months but since he's been doing so well with his ground work, I couldn't see why not. I'm really not being impatient and I'll wait a year to sit in the saddle if need be, but like I said, with his progress, I thought, what the heck, lets try and see.
I usually saddle a horse the first or second day I work on them and I ride them the second or third. Some horses need more time and I give it to them but the longest I have worked a horse before I rode it was 2 weeks.
Try a surcingle. It will be much safer and lighter, but still with the pressure around the barrel. Work him in that for a while, then see how it goes. If he goes well with the surcingle, move onto the saddle. Just make sure it is tight enough not to fall off, but not uncomfortably tight.
I can understand if he had abit of a rough past. But even though some horses learn so quickly, you must learn to just know when the limit is. You don't want to rush too much with the training and then end up with a spoiled horse.
Let us know how it all goes, and welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will love it here. = )
The first thing I did was a "join up" so he would see me as a partner with "controlling interest". Then I put a surcingle and bridle on him, with no reins attached. I started ground driving him with long lines to get him used to bit pressure (french mouth snaffle), voice commands, accepting the bit for turns/bend. Then, I put a bareback pad on him and backed him with a ground person to lead him. No reins or stirrups for at least a couple of "rides". He was in a round pen and I just let him go wherever he wanted with no interference. Then I put reins on the bridle and started to loosely guide him. As time went on, I asked more and more, but slowly and in a logical manner. He progressed so quickly.
It sounds like you've got a good start on him, cudos for getting the groundwork down pat before moving on! I think he sounds ready to move on but if he's a proven bucker then I'd start with the cercingle. It's lighter, easier, and faster. If he's going to try and bolt as soon as it's tightened, you don't want to have to worry about 20 lbs of saddle landing on you! A cercingle just offers to teach them about girth pressure without threatening to damage your possibly expensive saddle!
Some of mine I started with the saddle but my 2 year old right now I used a cercingle and it seemed to not only be accepted faster but progress nicer. I'm not against tightening your saddle and letting him buck it out, I've done it myself a time or two...but have help with you that day to hold him so you know for sure the saddle's on good and solid before unleashing the beast within! (sarcasm)
Keep us posted!
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