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Porch Swinger 12-27-2010 12:12 PM

New to horses, a little scared...
 
We just got our horse home Friday (my 10yo dd's horse actually). He is a great little quarter horse, 14 year old gelding, last owned by a 13yo girl, she jumped with him, he neck reins, and is well behaved. We bought him from a horse trader, so we really don't have clear knowledge of his history.

He has stayed the past 3-4 weeks with a horse friend/family. They have been riding him and have had 7 different kids on him. Only thing you have to watch is he is very sensitive to leg squeezing, he wants to go fast.

We just are so new to this, it's so intimidating. His new friend is a 7 month old donkey (which belongs to my other dd), she got Donkey out and Tucker freaked out, he started pacing the fence and running, neighing constantly. Is this a really bad sign?

Also, we haven't been able to ride him since we aren't comfortable tacking (and choosing tack), we are taking him to another horse friend tomorrow for help with that. The people who kept him for us bought us a curb bit(?), and every time we put it in his mouth he acts up, shakes his head, and kinda headbutts us (horse friend checked the fit for us and said it was good).

I know we just need hands on mentoring, but I just thought I'd just whine and see if there is any advice?

Ladytrails 12-27-2010 12:30 PM

Congratulations - good luck with your new horse! You'll get lots of great advice from some of the folks on this forum who are trainers and really good about putting tips in writing. To put your mind at rest, almost all horses would run the fence and try to call to their buddy, donkey or not! Horses are very social animals and really, really don't like to be alone. They create a social structure even if it's just a mini horse or a goat or a donkey, and they are upset when the social structure is disturbed. Your horse is in a new place and still getting used to all the changes. He'll settle down eventually, but you will want to get someone to show you how to handle him so that he respects you - he should behave himself even when he's upset at being separated from the other horses). Also, if you're intimidated by him, or afraid to be around him, he will sense that. He will be pushy if he doesn't respect you; he will be fearful if he senses you are afraid. Someone explained it to me once like this - he wants you to be the strong 'herd leader;' if you are afraid, he doesn't see what it is that you're afraid of and assumes there's a mountain lion somewhere that he can't see. He has no way of knowing that there's nothing for HIM to be afraid of but he knows you're afraid...they can sense it from our body chemistry and heart/breathing rate. HIM.

HollyBubbles 12-27-2010 06:16 PM

Quote:

she got Donkey out and Tucker freaked out, he started pacing the fence and running, neighing constantly. Is this a really bad sign?
Most horses will do this, I just got a new horse and at 16.1 and an ex racer he is a big powerful boy, so I have chosen to keep him away from my mini and my other horse because the last thing I want is for him to act up on their account.
If you have the option of seperating the two I would go for it, if not I would make a point to take donkey out away from Tucker every day for a while so he doesn't get as attatched as Bubbles did to our old mare. She got so attatched that she put a hoof through a barbed wire fence in an effort to get to the mare.
- And it also makes Tucker realise that even though Donkey is leaving, donkey will come back, so he might not get so stressed out when he realises what's happening which will make him easier to handle on his own.

Quote:

Also, we haven't been able to ride him since we aren't comfortable tacking (and choosing tack), we are taking him to another horse friend tomorrow for help with that. The people who kept him for us bought us a curb bit(?), and every time we put it in his mouth he acts up, shakes his head, and kinda headbutts us (horse friend checked the fit for us and said it was good).
Seeing as you can't ride him yet, are you able to lunge him? Because he might just want to run for the hills when you first get on, and that's never a nice thing to be put through (I learnt that the hard way)
The main thing to remember with a new horse is that you need to be bossy from day one, don't take any crap from him, make him know you are there and you are in charge. Once he know's you won't give in he won't try to take advantage as much.
If he knows you are nervous of him or scared he will try and get away with little things, and if he gets away with them he will try bigger things.

With my first horse, Bubbles, I got thrown in the deep end and let her know I was nervous, so she acted up horrendously. She doesn't even dare try anymore because she knows she gets into big trouble.
With Mitch, the new horse, I have been strict on him since day one eg. We are going over there NOW, not in 5 seconds. And he hasn't given me any trouble, even though his last race start was April this year.

HollyBubbles 12-27-2010 06:33 PM

Sorry, double posted -_-

tinyliny 12-27-2010 08:44 PM

Porch Swinger,

Congratulations on your horse. sounds like it will be areally nice member of your family.
Your are smart to not try to tack him up until you have some help and guidance. In fact, would be so nice if you could just sort of "piggy back" on the horsey friend for a couple of months. One needs some help at first. I have been assisted by soooooo many people over the years. I shudder to think of what I would have done without their guidance. Now, I get to help newer riders and it's really satisfying to see them learn and pass it on.

You know, if it were me, I wouldn't use a curb bit with new riders. Curb bits can be very harsh in the hands of beginners. A curb bit is a leverage bit, meaning that due to the geometry of the bit, when you pull on the rein with , say 5 pounds of pressure, the bit multiplies this such that the horse feel perhaps 15 pounds of pressure in his mouth (all depends on size and shape of the curb bit). An inexperienced rider could really reef on the reins and cause the horse real pain. Ever see in the western movies how the cowboy actore would jerk the reins suddenly for a wheeling turn and the horse throws up his head, wild eyed, gaping mouth? That's PAIN!

You might look into just using a regular snaffle bit.

anyway, what the other posters said about having the horse's respect from day one, that' true. Although, horses don't try to "get away with things" because they are cunning. They are just like kids; if there is no boundary then they keep pushing until they find it. make the boundary clear, and consistent.

Porch Swinger 12-28-2010 06:00 AM

Thanks for everyone's advice. We are excited to get to go to a horse friend's today so they can help us.

I really need a little more confidence, I've seen how great this horse is in the hands of people who know what they are doing. i don't want my lack of confidence to inspire the horse to act up, which I am pretty sure is my problem.

I have a french link egg butt I want to use. I just started out with the recommendation of the family that helped us (the curb). I do feel like the snaffle will be better for us.

I haven't gotten a lunge rope yet, I guess i need one? We have longish leads, but they need to be longer, right?

When we brought him home, my dh was really afraid we wouldn't be able to unload him (he is not interested in horses at all, I've been at least trying to learn about them and riding some with my dd at lessons). When I unhooked tucker and said "back up", he backed right off the trailer, and my dh stood in astonishment, lol. He has only ever worked with cattle and goats. I'm having fun learning all about horses with my dd.

I don't have to have Donkey in with Tucker, but I thought he needed a friend? I have always heard they will get lonely if alone, but I don't want to encourage "dependancy" on her. So should I make him stay by himself instead of having a friend? We can take Donkey out and separate her for a while each day, she does great with our goats and we want her to be versatile in who she is compatible with anyway. She acted like she was going to kill the goats the first time we put her in there, she has since bonded with them and I want her to be able to go back and forth as needed. So daily separation would be great for everyone, maybe...

PaintHorseMares 12-28-2010 06:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Porch Swinger (Post 866290)
I haven't gotten a lunge rope yet, I guess i need one? We have longish leads, but they need to be longer, right?

If you are lunging to excercise, you will need a longer one (i.e. lunge rope), but even with just a lead rope you can work on making sure you have the focus and respect of your horse and that he is moving his feet and hind end for you.

Saskia 12-28-2010 09:14 AM

If you're not experienced with lunging I wouldn't rush into it. So many things can go wrong (rope, crazy running horse etc). If you must lunge do so in a small well fenced location.

If you don't have a long Natural Horsmanship style leadrope I'd consider getting one. They're meant to be about 12ft and that extra length is so useful. You can teach them to walk, and trot a bit, small circles around you (the aim in control - not to work the horse), as well as back up, yield to each side, stop, turn etc. This will not only make the horse responsive but hopefully raise your confidence. As with all horse handling you should wear solid, closed in boots and gloves.

I am firmly of the belief that if you don't have the correct equipment then don't ride/train etc. If the bit doesn't work don't use it - I would never recommend a curb bit to a beginner, or even intermediate rider. A french link could work but understand that it can be hard to find the right bit - some horses like single joints, others like double, some like straight bars, so like loose rings, others like fixed rings - it goes on and on so try this bit but be aware of his behaviour. Head tossing could also be due to teeth - horses need to have their teeth "floated" (filed) each year. If you're not sure when this was last done it'd be best to get it done soon.

All saddles don't fit all horses - don't just chuck a saddle on your horse and hope it fits. Check when you use a new saddle, and periodically, if you don't know how research it or find someone who knows.

Enjoy your horse, but ensure in your own mind you are the leader. Don't let him boss you around.

tinyliny 12-28-2010 04:21 PM

the French link eggbutt will be a very good first choice. Good thinking!
I agree with Saskia, if you don't know how to lunge and have no one to show you, don't do it. But your horsey friend can show you, right?

Saddle fit? OMG, is that a world in itself. Maybe the Gods will smile on you and make the saddle be a perfect fit right off the bat.

Horses are very forgiving of most mistakes by humans. Especially if the mistake isn't long lived. You may start out confused and not sure how to make yourself the leader he needs, but over time it'll become easier and the horse will adapt right along. The wonderful thing about horses, and we humans ought to be more like them in this respect, is that for the most part, they just want to get along. People who look at them and say, "they must be stupid to allow us to do all this stuff to them" don't realize that the horse just wants to get along with his herd and preserve balance in the group. He is programmed to follow, not in a feeling of loss or shame as a human subjugated would be, but in a sense of security and trust and contentment, as a herd animal happy to be a member. So, it's important that we don't feel ashamed of putting them in their place. They are usually utterly relieved to know we are capable of doing that. Resentment is very rare in horses.

Sorry, I kinda waxed poetic there.

HollyBubbles 12-28-2010 04:24 PM

Quote:

I don't have to have Donkey in with Tucker, but I thought he needed a friend? I have always heard they will get lonely if alone, but I don't want to encourage "dependancy" on her. So should I make him stay by himself instead of having a friend? We can take Donkey out and separate her for a while each day, she does great with our goats and we want her to be versatile in who she is compatible with anyway. She acted like she was going to kill the goats the first time we put her in there, she has since bonded with them and I want her to be able to go back and forth as needed. So daily separation would be great for everyone, maybe...
They don't need to have a friend, they normally like to but it's not essential for them. Mitch is on his own (so to speak anyway) We have animals in the next paddock, and a miniature horse a few paddocks over, but he's not paddocked directly with any of them so while he still has company, he doesn't get attached to them.
Some horses behave better with company, some without. The main reason I have Mitch on his own is because with him being on his own in his own paddock, he see's me as a friend whether I'm riding him or not. I don't feed him treats or anything but he still walks up to me in the paddock (cantered up yesterday I was amazed) because he see's me as company. Bubbles is on her own completely up the road because she has... issues. If I paddock her with anyone she goes mental when you try to take them away. (eg tries jumping the fence and kicking down the gate and running through the fences) - which is scary to say the least. And it's also insanely hard to catch her if she is with others, and when I say insanely difficult I mean that to be able to catch her I have to set up a tape and reel and standards and make the area smaller and smaller until she's cornered and I am able to get near her.
Tucker probably won't be anywhere near that bad, bubbles is... "special". But if you can rotate his buddies or make him live without for a day or two every now and again he won't become so dependant.
We had a mare who was as bad as bubbles only because she lost a foal 12hours after it was born and the people didn't give her time to grieve, just took the foal away and buried it, so she thinks that every time someone leaves, they don't come back, she would scream around the paddock so badly her cover literally stuck to her from sweat and you had to peel it off. We just made a point of taking her cover off then bubbles away for a while, or going off down the road for a ride so she couldn't see her, and she eventually realised that bubbles was always coming back, so she got better and better as time went on.

I think the french link snaffle would be a better idea than the curb, especially for a beginner, a lot can go wrong in a curb with the wrong hands, I wouldn't even use a curb bit, not that any of my horses need one anyway. I am a firm believer that if you can't ride a horse in a snaffle you have a problem(with the exception of some shows etc, I mean if you can't generally ride i a snaffle).
If he acts up with the french link he either may not like the bit, it could be the wrong size for him, or his teeth may need doing.
eg bubbles, the brakeless horse of the century, goes in a rubber mullen mouth, which is a form of a snaffle, but she doesn't like the broken snaffles or steel. So her bit is just a rubber bar and uses tongue pressure. Mitch goes in whatever, he's pretty versatile.

Sorry for the novel


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