Green Horse - When is it no longer Green?
Recently I purchased my second horse, I currently have a TB/Australia Stock Horse mare of about 12 years of age, my new horse is a three year old QH gelding which is the 1/2 brother to my daughters 9 year old QH gelding. The 9 year old has the best nature and is a dream to own. My 12 year old mare is rather bombproof and great on rides out esp near barking dogs and cars, she does have one bad habit of wanting to bit anything in front of her when doing up the girth, once you get it past the second hole she is as good as gold.
I was offered the three year old, who has only been broken in for just over one month now, and since owning him we have been bonding and doing ground work. I have been on his back twice and only walked him with a couple of short trots. We practice our stops and all the little things and voice commands. He is not at all like a newly broken horse as he is calm all of the time. But as I sit in the saddle I am ready for the moment he spooks and I loose my seat. Yes caution plays a huge part as my bones are 37 years old and being a nurse know how they break more easily and take longer to heal!!! Given time I know my boy will make another million to one horse as his brother is. He will be ridden by his owners sister (they both break horses in and train) and when his owner is in town she too will ride and educate him for me. BUT TRYING TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH EDUCATION A HORSE NEEDS TO BE SAFE AND NOT CLASSED AS GREEN IS PROVING HARD, DOES A SCATTY HORSE TAKE LONGER THEN A QUIETER MORE WILLING ONE????
I know the old saying green plus green equals black and blue, and I have been riding on and off most of my life but will never consider myself great, and knowing that my new three year old is like that of a child who must learn and will have moments where he will test the boundaries and crack a tantrum is surely to happen. I want him to have the education to do the right thing and hence why his old owners will ride him for me, I will take more lessons on my mare, and although I may not be in his saddle just yet being on the ground with him is such a pleasure.
Any tips or advise will be great as he is my dream boy and the one I will have as I grow older!
I'm sure that you'll get lots of opinions on this. It seems that everyone has their own definition of 'green', just like 'seasoned', 'finished', etc.
I'm perhaps a little old fashioned, but at least for general riding/trail horses, the best 'education' that I've found for young ones has been hundreds of miles under saddle (the old wet saddle blanket saying). Nothing beats age (which you can't do anything about) and experience.
The disposition, e.g. willingness, certainly makes the process easier, but not necessarily faster.
Finally, with regard to 'green' v. 'safe', I don't think they are directly related. Both our young mares were green, but I considered very safe to ride.
I am in total agreement with that statement. I've got a 4 year old gelding at the farm that is as safe a horse as anyone can want but I consider him green in that he doesn't know much about neck reining, leg aids, or lead changes.
Safe is in disposition, green refers to training and experience.
I agree with the above. A green horse to me is one that is still in the training process. Safe comes from the mind and life experiences. My 3 year old is pretty sane but on occasion he shows his age.
If you are showing the "green" definition changes tremendously, there are 2 and 3 year olds that are not elidge able to show green in AQHA because they've already pointed out where they could hit the hunt circuit and show green for 2 years. So for show purposes I never think the "green definition" is fair unless it's done by points.
My 25 year old gelding could probably pass as green.... :)
Thanks heaps for your words. I have been doing some natural horsemanship exercises with him and he is calm and quiet.... will he be safe, yep I am sure he will be one in a million. Only broken in for a month and paddocked before that he is showing that given time he will be my partner for life. Only today we did the exercises of putting a blue plastic tarp on the ground and he did not hesitate to walk over it with me leading him, we used a bright coloured beach towel also and he was happy to walk over it and stand on it also. He happily followed me up a 1.5 metre high dirt mound and stood on top with me.
I try not to ride him every single day as I dont want him to think that being caught means being ridden and dont want him to run off when I go to get him. Luckly for me in the week that I have had him he now sees me and comes to me with or without calling him. We do ground work on the alternate days to riding and will have a day where we just hang out together exploring our surrounds. So far so good, the days I saddle him and ride are only walking and practicing our stops, leg yeilds and voice commands. A short trop and the time I guess is really spent building our relationship. In one week we have learnt to lift our leg and shake hands, not perfect yet but he willingly steps back gets his balance and lifts his leg to easily let me lift it to shake.
When I am on his back I keep reminding myself that he is uneducated and that at anysecond he could spook but being on him it is amazing. The next year of improving his education will be great as I know that he is my partner for life and I am so blessed to have him.
Good luck. It sounds like you're well on the way doing just what you're doing.
He does sound like he has a good attitude and is a willing learner. I also like what I hear about the way you are approaching his training. It may be difficult to remember his age and that it shouldn't be a surprise if he regresses a little as he ages - typical of a young horse, just like a child.
Good luck with him, I look forward to hearing about his progress.
Our old breeder friends once told me jokingly that they don't get brains until they are 10 yrs old ;-)
Keep the words of wisdom coming, it is great!!! At 36 and getting my first real horse (not Barbie's or those little plastic farm animals I had as a child) I am no great horse woman with many years of experience under my belt, more like the seasonal rider who rode to stay on!!! My new boy at 3 is still a baby and not wanting to push him and bore him our lessons only last 10 mins or so or until he finishes a task and starts to lick his lips. Figure it is easy to finish on a positive note.
I have to yet get in contact with his previous owner and see how much she did with him when she broke him in. But to see him stand about 2 metres from the blue plastic tarp and then put his head down to sniff it and walk over it straight after with me was amazing. Has he done it before or does he trust me? The same that goes with climbing the dirt mound he walked right up with me and stood there on top as I stood there. Coming down the otherside was done calmly as he just made his way down it when he should have rushed, but he stayed behind me!.
Here is to working with my boy and making the greatest partnership together. As they say 'Rome was not built in a day'.
What can I say ' must be love love"
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