Introducing a horse to working - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-09-2013, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Virginia
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Question Introducing a horse to working

Hey! So I've recently taken on a project of bringing a horse back into work. It's a free lease to possible own if him and I are cooperative with one another and if he is sound.

He is a 5 year old Thoroughbred gelding that was bred to race but failed his first racing test, I guess, so he never made any starts. He ran but didn't have the drive to be a racehorse. He was donated to one person who then gave him to his current owner. They've had him for about 4 years. They got him to be their daughter's eventing horse, but the daughter wanted to stick with dressage on her other horse. They have other horses that are already trained and experienced so they've always just kept working those horses. Casino, the horse I'll be working, has been cast aside. He's underweight and lacks muscle. He's been trained walk-trot and they've gotten him to canter a few times but he didn't entirely understand and that's where they left off. They haven't really done anything else with him for months or even years. The paddock the 5 horses are in is really small - not even half an acre. There isn't enough space to get out and run (they said they have a larger pasture but I think they wait until summer to let them out there? Not sure)

I tried him out Friday and mostly walked with maybe trotting twice around the ring in each direction. My legs were beyond sore (I hadn't been on a horse for over a month due to my tonsillectomy then school) so I had to stop. He was a fun ride but he's still green. I didn't go out to see him again until Sunday since I typically work 12 hour shifts every weekend. I lunged him a bit on saturday - only walking and trotting - for about 15-20 minutes. It seemed like he had never been lunged before because he was clueless what to do but got it by the time I stopped. During this session, however, I noticed him limping in the back going clockwise. I worried, but many people have told me that it's probably stiffness since he's been out of work and has no muscle. One person put it in perspective and asked if I would be sore/stiff after a ten minute jog after having been a couch potato for a long time.


So, I'm wondering what type of exercises would be beneficial for this guy? Should I avoid lunging for a while and just walk him under saddle for 20 minutes and increase that as time goes on? Should I have him trot at all? ANY input at all would be greatly appreciated. I just want to make sure he is introduced back to work correctly and without too much strain.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-09-2013, 12:41 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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Work with his ground manners. TB's aren't crazy but genetically they are predisposed to being light to your cues, unlike warmbloods who are dull.
You want this horse to REALLY trust you and to be really obedient. By ground training he will get strong without having to carry your weight, and you can work on any holes.
You didn't say whether you can tie him. I got an 8yo OTTB who, though trained to show and jump had never been taught to quietly tie and patiently wait. He broke several leads and a couple of halters before I fixed that problem. I would suggest looking into Julie Goodnight's training methods.
Of course, ALL grooming and feet manners should be trained perfect, and test him with a worming syringe to see if he is afraid of shots. DON'T just assume. You are now owner #4, and horses carry baggage.

A Jack and Three Queens, the latest book by James C. Dedman, Amazon.com
Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did! https://www.horseforum.com/general-of...queens-617793/
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post #3 of 5 Old 04-09-2013, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Virginia
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Well the daughter said he can tie but dances a lot. I figured I would just hold him rather than tie him, he dance around, spooks, then breaks something. Every time he would fidget, I would back him up a few steps. After a while, he got it and was standing still. They just don't have anywhere to tie him. There are so many things I want to work on with ground manners but I'm limited when I'm at their barn. At my barn, I think he would do incredibly well and I could teach him a lot.
The current owners I think expect to see me ride him so I can see whether I like him or not but I want to do ground stuff. The daughter sometimes just watches me and I feel awkward haha
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-09-2013, 12:57 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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Nope. You need to spend at LEAST one Saturday, with:
1) the horse
2) good halter and lead
3) tie post
4) comfortable lawn chair, set far enough away to not get kicked, but close enough to monitor the horse
5) really good book you're been meaning to read
6) 6 hours
I found out how fix my OTTB when I took him on a trail riding vacation and met up with an Appy owner who was also a track TB trainer. They NEVER teach them to tie. Your horse needs to learn this and learn patience. I finished my 2 geldings--horses in the back yard--by tying them up in the back yard while I gardened.

A Jack and Three Queens, the latest book by James C. Dedman, Amazon.com
Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did! https://www.horseforum.com/general-of...queens-617793/
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-10-2013, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 209
• Horses: 2
Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to do that at their barn (it's at their house and there's nowhere to tie the horse). If I do happen to decide on buying him, depending on how this month goes, then I would be working on tying the second he got to my barn. There's more to work with and more resources to use there when training horses. I can only do so much at their barn.
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