Just bought an old QH and now personality comes out
So, I bought a 17 y.o QH mare after seeing her once and riding her around for about 20 minutes. She had a foal and I knew the foal was going to be weaned in a few weeks. The mare was rusty of course but otherwise walked, trotted and cantered both directions. It wasn't til after I was done I learned she hadn't really even been ridden regularly for months if not years (been a broodmare) and in fact, the owners who owned her for only a year, never cantered her.
I bought her because she seemed so well behaved despite having a little foal tag around everywhere and she did what I asked. Maybe I had to ask a few times, especially with canter. Maybe I was a little impulsive...
She is at a new barn now...a week since foal weaned. I've discovered she is a little ring sour. Likes to stop actually sometimes. Likes to try to canter even when I ask her to trot. She'll continually tries to canter when we've been trotting for a while. She definitely likes to evade the bit (eggbutt snaffle). Her head is either too high or stretched too low. Not sure which bit to try next.
I've also discovered she is not really all that calm to put a child on her, sadly. She is not laid back.
Where should i start? How do I get her to settle in the trot, at least? What is a good length of time for a work out in a horse who has not worked for "years"?
I'd suggest working with the trainer for the faster progress...
Other than that it depends on how smart she is, how good rider you are, and how much training she had in past (QHs are really good at remembering things). In any case if she was off-work for so long I'd start VERY slow at first. You have to build muscles and bring her back into the shape before you can do some "fun". :-) That alone may take 2-3 months (depending on how long she's been off). And if she's out of shape forget about good canter. Start with working walk and trot, and as long as you get those balanced and you get her back in shape you can start cantering.
Has she ridden dressage before? I assume that is what you are riding since you posted in the dressage forum.
I don't think you can expect to get on a 17 year old broodmare quarter horse who has not ridden dressage before (let alone ridden for years) and expect her to not evade the bit -or know what she is supposed to be doing. She might need her teeth floated as well.
Try not to get discouraged and expect too much from her too soon. She probably just needs to be ridden and will come around more with riding. I'm sure she is out of shape too. Not sure about how long to ride or work. When you sense she is tiring too much, stop. The more you ride, the more you will know her limits.
Try not to get buyer's remorse and give her a chance. Would love to see pictures of her!
I'm thinking that she's been pushed too hard too fast for her fitness and education level.
When a horse has been out of work for any length of time, you should not even be doing trot work let along cantering and expecting her to accept a contact.
At this stage, I would do doing a lot of work in hand, and then gradually getting on her back doing more and more walk work, incorporating some gentle transitions into and out of halt, asking for her to yield from each leg a few steps each way etc. Not trotting for at least a month. Once you do introduce trot work, just take it slowly. Only a few minutes per ride and gradually build it up. Lots of walk breaks in between.
Building her fitness at the moment is more importrant than having her accept a contact and deal with training issues.
Thanks for the replies. I needed that feedback. Never having been in this position before I had a feeling that I needed to go much much slower. The previous owners said they would go trail riding on her and advertised her as a "easy going family horse". I see them periodically because they also have a few horses at the new barn my horse is at. Every time I see them I get a few more comments that elude to her not actually really being ridden all that much.
On the other hand, I really don't know much about her history at all so I worry that she must have behavior issues that have keeping her bouncing from owner to owner. I have learned that what I was told when I saw her the first time isn't all that accurate.
I tried to see how she lunges the other day. She goes counterclockwise okay...doesn't hardly listen to voice commands and either she just doesn't know what a lunge whip is or doesn't care. Going clockwise was impossible. Every time I would try to get her going she would just stop, turn and look at me. She must have been lunged at some point in her life because she can do it okay in one direction.
I don't know how effective I am going to be with reconditioning her. I can only get to the barn about twice a week.
Okay, so you have a very unbroke horse that knows very little. I'm not sure what you are expecting from a 17 year old broodmare. I'm sorry the owners mislead but you have to spend time with your horse and train them and work with her. She doesn't know anything. You will probably learn more from this mare than any other horse. Twice a week will not help her much. You need to put some real time in with her and if you do, more likely than not, she will improve. Otherwise, she is just as well off as when you bought her.
You have to take her where she is.
Do one thing every time you work with her that makes you feel good about her. In other words, get one thing right. Theoretically speaking, in 100 days, you have a horse that is 100% better. They are like children. If you have them, then you know, you have to put time into them! Just call her your 17 year old child.
kateortamar, twice/week is not enough IMHO to bring horse back into shape. I mean, it's better than nothing of course. :wink: Could you ask someone else to work with her may be?
After my mare foaled it took her 4 months to come back into shape, and unlike your mare, she was in heavy work before she got pregnant.
So start as if she had never been ridden. 30 minutes walking at a brisk gait for 5 days a week at a nice steady rythmn. After 2 weeks add in about 5 minutes of trotting - 2 1/2 minutes in each direction. To stop rusinh sat the tro the rider need to set and maintain the rythmn.
After 2 weeks of that bump to 7 minutes of trotting 1 week, then following week it should be 10 minutes of trotting (out of the total of 30 minutes, continuing with 5 days a week).
When she's at 30 minutes (10 of it trotting) for 5 days a week start bumping the total time from 30 to 40 minutes (keeping the 10 minutes of trotting). Stay here for about a month then add more trot time and eventually you'll end up to 1 hour of under saddle time with lots of it at trot.
Stay here for at least 2 months working on her building muscle and topline. If you do this her canter (when you finally ask for it) will be more balance and less rushy.
Yes, it takes time and patience to get an older horse back into shape. My mare Nessie was 16 and had been a brood mare for 10 years but had been cutting horse before then. So I can say from experience that what everyone else has said here is true, begin very slowly with her and keep it positive and then it is so well worth the wait! My girl had had good training so she came back and is an awesome horse for me. Of course, I had to work with a trainer on a couple of things that came up, too. Look back in my posts if you want to see before and after pics of Nessie. Good luck!
Oh, and I rode her 5-6 days a week and still do!
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