New Horse, First horse, Young horse, Great. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-16-2013, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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New Horse, First horse, Young horse, Great.

I've been riding for years on and off, today my mother bought me a young 5 year old cob. Hasn't been broken long, quite nervy as there is evidence he was beaten although I can tell somewhere in there he is wanting to trust me.

He is my third horse, first I have owned as the other two I loaned.
Basically, I was looking for a been there done that. Sometimes what you want and what you get is completely differenct, that's fine when you have the confidence in yourself and your knowledge, I wouldn't say I'm exactly that.

How do you work with young nervy horses to build trust? Any ground work exercises? Outline how you do it.

I have professional help from a good friend but I would like other peoples input.

Selling on is not an option.
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-16-2013, 06:52 PM
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How do you know he was beaten? A lot of people mistake spooky behavior or general young horse feeling his oats for being abused. I would toss "abused" out of your vocabulary it may make you allow things that should not be allowed.

The best thing you can do is work with a trainer. What does your horse do thats nervy? Is he a bolted? does he not respect you? What his issue is will dictate how he is treated and what behavior is corrected.

Don't discount selling. It is far better to sell a horse to home that has the skills to handle him while the issues are small than to keep a horse and ruin it. There is no market in the world for dangerous horses and most horses learn to be dangerous through handling. In addition, the great joy of a horse (for most people) is in working with and having fun with the horse. Its not fun if its not safe or you feel like you are in danger. I am sure the real professionals will be along with some advice soon.
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-17-2013, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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I know as a fact he was beaten, I know the dealer he came off and he is well known for beating the living day lights out of them. I've seen it myself. I watched him whack a horse round the head with a bucket a while back. I didn't buy this horse, if I had of known it was being bought off of him I would have told my mother to run 10 miles in the opposite direction. The horse was a "surprise" so to say.

He is wary to be touched, he is very very sensitive. I do not believe he is bad at all and he has no intention to hurt anyone, I believe he needs trust in people first. I'm asking for exercises and methods for us to build a relationship.
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-17-2013, 05:11 AM
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Best thing you can do for yourself and the horse is find a darn good trainer who will show you groundwork. The horse needs to learn to trust from the ground up, but also manners and respect. If my horse spooks undersaddle, I do not expect it to high tail off in the other direction.

There are MANY good threads in the training section which can help, but a person face to face will most likely be the greatest help.

Keep in mind that sudden movements may make him flinchy and unpredictable, but don't pander to his behaviour. Ignore it as best you can. If you coo and pet him when he freaks or spooks, you are making a rod for your own back. If he spooks, bring his brain back to whatever you were doing, and carry on.

A lot of grooming, and spending time around him will help him to realise you aren't a threat, but I do agree with the post that says 'get abused out of the vocabulary. Don't focus on that, focus on making him a better horse. What happened happened, and although you may have to be slightly more cautios and not go in guns blazing, don't treat him like a china doll.

Also be aware, that green& green=black and blue. Being determined is all good and well, but don't but yourself in a position of danger. It is a lot easier to make things right the first time than it is to 'unfix' problems that have been made. So, keep in the back of your mind for your health and well being, and for his future, selling may be an option depending on how your first few weeks go.

I personally would never team an unsure horse, green broke and nervous with a first time 'youngster' owner, it is hard enough to get good rides on a youngster as a first time youngster owner (trust me, I know!) but I also know we all have to start somewhere.

Keep us updated though!
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-17-2013, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Believe me guys, I'll be the first to admit that this could be a set up for disaster. I have to prove that I can get on with this horse and we can make a team(finally after 10 years of begging I have my own horse)

I was thinking of grooming and getting him used to being touched all over, once he is confident with being touched everywhere and picking up all four feet etc start with plastic and bright colours.

Lunging to get his walk trot canter woah going good. Whilst also a little riding as I don't want him to go backwards in that department. Also walking inhand on roads then building up to having a rider onboard on lead then off lead with someone walking close by then eventually nobody(maybe follow in a car or something) but apparently he has been ridden on the roads and is fine. Better safe than sorry.

Sound like a good plan?
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-17-2013, 12:44 PM
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All of my horses have been abused in the past. The best thing to do is basically start over with the horse, and get to know him better. For example; if he's in his stall (be careful if spooky and terrified) just stand there with your hand out until he comes to you and make it his choice. If youre standing there for a while and he still hasnt come up to you calmly and slowely take a step toward him, if he backs up from you then take a step back and turn your head but keep him in your periphial and keep your hand out. After a few days I would begin to groom him and if hes eating hay or grain just stand next to him and pet him and just talk to him. You need to gain his trust before you turn him out because you arent gonna be able to catch him. After he gets used to you in his stall and stuff hand walk him, and turn him out in the roundpen and let him graze and just stand next to him and stroke him. When you and him both get comfortable with that then start roundpenning him or lunging him until you 'join up'. Then cool down with another grooming or petting and loving session with him. Then when you get comfortable with that you can start putting a saddle on him and lunge him with that. Depending on your level of riding, and many other factors, I would consult a trainer on basically starting him and training him. Some people may not agree with me on how i do it, but i have had 4 horses and picking another one up tonight, that have all been abused and are rescues. Spooking is when theyre afraid of things not just people, But if a horse has been abused, like the one im picking up tonight, then they are also terrified of people.But that is just my opinion, and also my methods of having a horse overcome their fear of people (and it has worked in the past with 4 of my horses). Hope this helps!
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-17-2013, 12:50 PM
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oh and also when you get confortable lunging and etc start to desensitize him. I used tarps, plastic bags, jolly balls (Roll it to them, Wave it around, Etc. Since usually they are bright colors), Umbrellas, basically anything. You can also use cones, poles, make a tunnel, etc. Noisy things are good too, like i always have music playing when im out in the barn and usually a different style of music and etc so they get used to different noises. And if youre comfortable riding during these times on him then go for it. The gelding im getting tonight is rideable but ive never been on him, nor do i plan on it till i gain his trust and get him desensitized more.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-17-2013, 05:57 PM
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I think riding him really depends on how good your seat is and where you feel comfortable. I would rather be on top of a horse that spooks as opposed to next to it. I have seen enough horses spook and run over people to know that I have a better shot on the topside of keeping something that resembles control.

I would say no to the car following you around. That could go really badly because if you fall off because the car spooks him, than you could either hit the car or be hit by the car. Likewise, he could bounce into the car. Remember, a horse is just the right height to have its legs taken out by the car and have its entire weight land on the front of the car.

I think the above poster has a good idea, as far as slow and easy. The thing is at some point he may find out that if he acts spooky than he can get a reward ie he gets out of work or gets attention. I would say ignore the spooky. You whole goal is to make him feel foolish about being afraid of something because you the herd leader are not afraid of it. I even have told my gelding (who was not abuse but trained in a manner I did not like) "Are you serious, you are a complete idiot. I can't believe you are afraid of ____." Than I laugh at him and say "now we have to go touch it". Yes this seems rude but it relaxes me (particularly the laughing) which makes my horse calmer because I am giving off that relaxed/confident vibe.

As others have said, get a really really good trainer and work with them. Hands and boots on the ground and the eyes of an experienced horse person are amazing tools for this journey.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-17-2013, 09:21 PM
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If the horse rides at all, I would keep riding him. If you don't, he will go downhill in that department. It is ok to just ride slowly, but make sure that you do ride.
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Celeste
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-18-2013, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Little update.

He is coming round extremely fast! He is fine with traffic and loud noises, had him hacking today and he was fine. He stands himself untied to be groomed and tacked up. He is really coming round :)

He is extremely sensitive to leg and seat aids, a little too sensitive for my liking lol. Its hard to get used to when you have been used to a horse that is basically dead to the leg. Although he feels safe enough, I don't feel like if he spooked he would come back great, I think he may be a bit of a bomber!

He is lacking a lot of muscle all everywhere, his shoulders and bum make me want to cry :( The amount he can be ridden is limited coming into winter.
Lots of transitions on lunge every week day? Starting low and building up? Also I have some pretty decent hills I could walk/trot him up and down inhand and under saddle depending on the weather.

Heres a picture :)
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Last edited by JamieLeighx; 09-18-2013 at 06:31 PM.
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