"Old" Horses New Start - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-18-2019, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2019
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"Old" Horses New Start

Apologies for any formatting issues, as this is my first post in not only this forum but any forum.

I will start with a short backstory to give you insight into my situation. A dear friend had these three beautiful quarter horses (two mares, Miriah and Tawny, and a gelding, Jack). She had owned them since they were a year old and I've spent quite a lot of time with them. She trained two of them (Tawny and Jack), and they have been ridden around 3-4 times in a pen (I've also ridden them). The third horse (Miriah) used to be a parade horse and has been ridden extensively. However, due to some unforeseen complications, all three became pasture horses. Though they have had regular contact (brushing, feeding, vet care, farrier, and basic leading and lunging), they have not been properly worked or ridden in 7-8 years. The owner no longer wanted them and offered them to me before taking them to auction. I now have 3 green-broke pasture horses who are in need of some attention and manners.

I have been a hobby horse owner in the past, so I have the proper equipment and some basic/intermediate knowledge, but I don't know where to begin in re-training them. I know each of their personalities and quirks (Briefly covered below). Ultimate I want to go trail riding, but as I said, I don't know where to begin in their re-training.

Miriah (Paint): 16 y/o. Alpha mare. Used to be a parade horse. Gentle but can be a little pushy on occasion.
Jack (Smutty buckskin): 12 y/o. To simply put it, he was way too spoiled. He bucks and kicks when lunging and can get a little pushy. However, he likes to learn and is very smart.
Tawny (Dunalino): 13 y/o. She's very spooky and is scared of almost everything (when she was 2 y/o a farrier hogtied her, and she has been flighty ever since). She is really sweet but is also VERY LAZY. She is also stiff when she trots/walks but is not lame.

Note/question: I am a bit of a bigger person 5'2 240 lbs, and I'm worried that I am too big for these horses. They're 14.1 hh to 14.7. Jack and Miriah have bigger joints, but tawny has small joints, small legs, and bad hooves. If I do ride, it will be on a bareback pad or an english saddle to make it a little lighter for them.

In Short: How do I go about re-training them and am I too big to ride them?

Pictures of the horses are attached
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tawny.jpg (137.3 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Jack.jpg (92.4 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Jack and Tawny.jpg (120.1 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Miriah.jpg (122.2 KB, 1 views)
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Bleu is offline  
post #2 of 6 Old 11-19-2019, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Nov 2019
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Horse training is so easy that anyone can do it. Anytime you interact with a horse, you are training it, whether you know it or not, whether you mean to or not. You are either teaching them a good lesson or a bad lesson. Teaching a good lesson is easy if you know what you are doing. Teaching a bad lesson is even easier, especially if you don't know what you are doing. Horses learn, unlearn, and relearn things all the time.

You say that you wish to turn these horses into trail horses. I assume you mean for casual trail riding, not strenuous, hardcore endurance trail riding? Casual trail riding is all about the horse's mind. Physically, almost any horse can do it. Mentally, it requires a special kind of horse - a good-minded horse. There are some fabulous, very highly trained arena horses that simply lose. their. minds. on the trail. They spook and snort at everything and jig the whole ride. There are some crazy arena horses that I would trust my life with on the trail. It depends on the rider. Sure, an experienced rider probably can ride almost horse on the trail, but I want the trails to be safe and fun - for both horse and rider. Constantly worrying about a horse that bolts, bucks, kicks, rears, or spooks is a no-no for me.

What kind of experience do you have on working with horses?
Owning hobby horses is different than retraining horses, especially if those horses have already learned bad lessons.
Since these horses have been pasture puffs for nearly a decade, and you don't know their exact training, you do need to retrain them. Do not assume or guess what they do or do not know or try to pick up where they left off. That sets them up to fail. With horses, you get out what you put in. Retraining three green-broke pasture puffs requires a lot of time. If you don't know what you are doing, it can feel overwhelming, like you are being stretched thin. Horses, especially inexperienced ones, need consistency. Depending on your experience level, although you may not want to hear it, you may need to sell a horse or two. Horses do best what they do most. A smart, pushy horse can turn into a dangerous monster if not properly handled.

Without getting too specific, I'd just start with spending some good, quality time with them, doing the basic groundwork, and maybe some general desensitization.

If you are unsure, I suggest getting an experienced horse-person to help you in person. It is difficult to offer and execute advice via the internet.

"How much can a horse carry?" is a controversial question; therefore, it has been long-debated. "Can" and "should" are different, too. Some of those in the military carry fifty-plus pounds (twenty-three kilograms). They can, but studies have shown that that is contributing to arthritis over the course of several years. For horses, the general rule of thumb is no more than twenty-five percent of the horse's body weight. This includes everything - the rider, the tack, and whatever else the horse will be carrying. I believe that most people go by the twenty-percent rule, though.
There are a lot of other things to take into consideration besides percentages. These things depend on both the horse and the rider. From the horse's perspective, things such as fitness, hoof health, bone density, and conformation (such as back length) affect the horse's carrying capacity. The horse's height does not directly determine the horse's carrying capacity. A lean 16.2 HH Thoroughbred will probably have to carry less than a strong 14.3 HH stock horse. From the rider's perspective, skill plays an important role. A rider that is self-balanced and with the horse will do better than one that is unbalanced and a dead weight.
For a horse that is stiff, it is best to first consider the degree of stiffness and why they are stiff. While some stiffness is minor, other stiffness is more serious, like joint problems. Joint problems should also be taken into consideration. A horse with arthritis should carry less than the exact same horse without arthritis.


P.S. Horses are measured at the withers in hands. A hand is four inches (ten centimeters). If the horse's height is not of four, the remaining inches are put after a point. A horse cannot be 14.7 HH. The max is 14.3 before turning into 15, 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3.

Do not leave halters on horses out in pasture unattended, especially if those halters are not a break-away.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-19-2019, 02:28 PM
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Hi & welcome,
In Short: How do I go about re-training them and am I too big to ride them?
In short, on the training question, I think the above post is great, but for the first line. Yeah good training can be relatively easy if you know what you're doing. Anyone can do it. But anyone can do it very badly & stuff up a good horse, get into dangerous situations, just as easily. So if you aren't experienced, I'd strongly advise having a trainer to come give lessons & oversee you work with the horsee, if not actually train the horses for you.

Originally Posted by Bleu View Post
They're 14.1 hh to 14.7. Jack and Miriah have bigger joints, but tawny has small joints, small legs, and bad hooves. If I do ride, it will be on a bareback pad or an english saddle to make it a little lighter for them.
14.1hh = 142.5cm & I take it 14.7 means 15.3hh which = 157.5cm. Fair difference. But without knowing how big you are, who knows if any of them are too small. Don't know what you mean by big & small joints. But if you mean she is finely built, she will be able to carry less than a stocky type. And I'd get her hooves in order first.

Depending how good a rider you are & what you want to do, bareback is fine for a horse, just not always the easiest on them. And a bareback pad shouldn't be hurt her too tight or over a narrow area & it SHOULD NEVER have stirrups.

A big heavy saddle is obviously going to add weight to the equations, but weight isn't everything by a long shot & a bigger saddle may be easier on a horse than a small light one - which stops being light when you sit on it anyway. It depends more on comfortable fit than saddle size & weight.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-19-2019, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Hi and welcome! Cute horses!

I've always heard that the best thing to do it just to start a square one, as though they were being started for the first time. This will probably create some easy "wins" for all of you, but it will also most likely expose some holes in their training. Once you've identified a hole, you would work on that until it's fixed (or fixed enough) and then move on to the next step.

Start with ground work first, until they are respectful (a hot-button term, but I just mean that they do what you want and aren't doing anything dangerous). Then for sure once you are thinking about getting on them, bring in a trainer. Someone who has experience starting / restarting horses. You do NOT want to be the first person to sit on any of these guys. The trainer can also be a big help as another eye on the ground, once you are ready to ride them. And he/she would probably have a better idea, especially after seeing you ride these guys, of whether you are too big for them.

When I was working on restarting Teddy (well, I'm still working on that...) I bought this book and found it very useful. I worked with a trainer, but it was very useful to have a clear outline of what steps you take to start a horse.

BOOK: The Modern Horseman's Countdown to Broke: Real Do-It-Yourself Horse Training in 33 Comprehensive Steps

ETA: Personally, if it were me, I'd bring in a trainer from the very beginning, at the least to assess them and give you a plan for them.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-19-2019, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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Hello and welcome:)

1. Ditto the previous posters.

2. I will say the Three Amigos were well cared for:)

Tawny has been too well cared for:). She is well overweight, 13 years old and although QH's are not typically prone to metabolic issues, I would be suspicious since you say she is lazy. I might consider getting some blood work done on her to see if she is insulin resistant. Insulin issues will definitely make a horse lazy, or they can also have a burst of energy and all of a sudden quit on the rider for no apparent reason.

Insulin issues sometimes contribute to personality changes but not always.

3. The 15.3H horse should be fine with your weight. Flat hacking on smooth trails and build yourselves up to 2 or 3 hours would build muscle in both if you:)

However, at 5'2" find yourself a mounting block. I am 5'2" and I have always had to use something -- from crawling up the pipe rail gate to standing on the fender of DH's race car trailer. That was even when my 14.3H fella was alive, lol.

4. You already have a huge head start by knowing the horses, plus the fact they have been handled frequently. I would be willing to bet someone could get on Miriah right now and head for the trails with nothing more than allowing her to reacquaint with the world. I got on my 16.1H fella bareback after a six year hiatus and walked off like we had never stopped riding.

You sound to have a good handle on the common sense end of this new part of your life:). It would be great if you could afford a trainer to guide you, especially since it sounds like Tawny needs more than a few refresher courses. As loosie commented, Tawny might be the one who could easily go the wrong way if her training isn't done correctly:)

If you can't afford a trainer, is there a longtime horse person nearby that you respect their horse handling methods, who might be willing to help you?

If those ideas are not possible, there is a lot of quality help on this forum --- as long as you realize in some instances there still isn't any replacement for real life hands on assistance, but folks are willing to do what they can:)

There are also some great YouTube videos and trainers with web sites -- which I will leave for others to suggest as I hVe always done my own training and am really out of the loop on this aspect:)

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-25-2019, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2019
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Thank you for the replies; they are helping a lot!

For a bit more clarification:

I use the term "hobby" lightly. I have had horses my entire life, and I have known/interacted with theses horses almost daily since they were born I don't have a ton of riding and training for riding experience. As many of you (way more experienced) people have mentioned, I am also green, so I have been going trail riding with some friends of mine as well as interacting with their horses to get a better feel of how to work with my horses.

As of right now, I am working with all three anywhere from 1-2 hours daily (each). I'm focusing on groundwork, manners, patience, and some minimal lunging.

Note: They will only be used for an hour here an hour there kind of trail riding. I live near the flint hills, so it's just beautiful open plains as far as the eye can see.

Note 2: I would like to specify that I DO NOT leave their halters on all day/night. I only put them on when I work with them, and the pictures were right after I brought them home.

Note 3: Going by the 20-25% rule (depending on who you are) I've decided to do groundwork with them for now while I also work on myself a bit ;)
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