Too old to learn? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Too old to learn?

I recently inherited a 15 year old gelding, possibly Tennesee Walker, from my son. He got the horse from a rescue, who had gotten the horse from a kill lot. My son trained the horse and used him for 5-6 months while working on a ranch in Wyoming. He brought the horse to western New York and was looking to possibly place him back in rescue if I didn't want him. Went out to see the horse in pasture, haltered him and headed toward the barn. He did't lead very well the first time I lead him back from the arena, constantly shoving his shoulder into me. Doing that again this time, as well as pulling and looking back at the other gelding that he has bonded with in the pasture. Finally turned him loose (I know, a mistake) when we got near the barn and he charged back to his pasture mate. Couldn't get a halter on him the next time I went out, possible due to sun burn/photosensitivity sores on his nose My son said it was because he wasn't used to me and we both went out the next day to try again with no success. Talked the boarder into keeping him in the stall for a few days until his nose heals. Still very sensitive and takes an experienced handler to get a halter on so we could put cream on his nose. So here's the question - do I, who last owned a horse over 40 years ago and had one who was already well trained, persevere with this horse and try to get him back to a ridable state, or do I pass him on to another rescue or owner and try another horse? He apparently had only been halter trained, if that, before ending up at the kill lot, and was just out in a pasture. Thanks in advance for any helpful advice
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 01:08 PM
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The horse is not saddle broke and barely halter trained?
You consider taking on this horse after 40 years of no horses in your life?
Do you truthfully think you are up to the task and have the past knowledge of training from basics to a finished horse?
40 years after your last encounter with trained horses?

Me, if I really wanted this horse, had to be this horse would contract a good trainer to train the horse to be what it is you want...trail horse probably and there are no guarantees at this age or any age a unknown will become a successful what you want...
You are referring to probably 6 months of training board NYS... upwards easily of $600 a month would be cheap, cheap and more cheap.
For the thousands you are considering spending and still have a unknown you may not like or trust, you can go out and but a horse to ride today, tomorrow and next week.
A horse who is already knowing his job and is trustworthy of carrying you safely while the horse re-schools you in what you have forgotten and got rusty on in your 40 year absence from horses in your life.
Take this one on...think not.
Don't let someone else's problem become yours...
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 01:09 PM
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You didn't mention how well this horse did for your son when he was ridden. I would want to know that first before deciding if it would be my riding horse. If he was less than stellar, then my feeling is that this would not be an ideal choice for a riding horse for you. However... are you really looking for a riding horse? Could this guy just be a pasture pet? Because he will probably be difficult to sell, and rescues are typically full of horses and often only adopt horses that are in really bad situations.

As for the haltering, of course you can teach him to halter. You can teach him to come when called and pretty much halter himself. You just need lots of patience, the ability to see even the tiniest amount of "try" on his part, and an understanding of pressure / release, or reward, depending on your theory of training.

The main reason I responded to this post was to address the sunburn. My Teddy gets sunburned badly, and it breaks my heart when I see it. So I do apply sunscreen. But he always hated to have his nose and mouth touched, so it took a lot of time before he really accepted it. Even now, you can tell he doesn't like having it applied, but he lets me do it.

If you go and catch this horse, then force him to submit to a procedure that is twice as bad because it's causing him actual pain (because he's already sunburnt), then he's not going to want to be caught next time because he will associate being caught with pain. I totally understand the sick feeling you get when you see that sunburn or even blisters, but you need to pick your battles, and to me it's more important that he be catchable. So you want to reward him for being caught -- give him a treat, or a rub if he likes that, then release him. I started a story about how I did this with Teddy. This isn't how everyone does it, but it's how I did it and it worked really well:

I was going for cutesy in the story, but read through the second post for step-by-step instructions on how I got him to be catchable. It just took time, patience, a willingness to reward that try, and a willingness to get to know him and meet him on his level.
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 01:11 PM
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If your son rode the horse for for 6 months then he is not untrained. May not be perfect but he could be a diamond in the rough.

What sort of riding did your son do? How much time a day did he put on him? Does your son have the experience to have refreshed or put a good basic handle on him?

If you have a smaller space available to put him in then you can work on gaining trust and getting him to let you doctor his nose. If it is that sore then he really doesn't need a halter on right now or bridle that would irritate it.

The original Desitin works wonders and the high zinc content protects sensitive skin. Once healed you can choose a sunscreen or put a mask with nose guard on him. I prefer the mineral based sunscreens.
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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What I'm thinkin

He is saddlebroke, I'm told, but another part of the problem is that he hasn't been ridden much, if at all, since my son brought him in March, and I'm not sure how he was for my son. Supposedly a daily rider on the ranch. I'm thinking what you're thinking, that he may be too much for me. The woman who runs the stable where he's boarded is good with him and has offered to help, but I'm not sure if if would evolve into a paid situation or not. Thanks for the feedback!
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 01:21 PM
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Wait... this is the same horse your son rode for 6 months?
Then the horse is saddle broke, but how well was he trained is the better question and was he trained enough to meet your needs and abilities as a rider coming back from a 40 year absence.
He still needs some hands-on refreshing and honestly...

This horse already has your number and is evading you just trying to catch and halter him forget trying to put medication on a sore nose...
This horse needs a trainer, a real trainer for refreshing and you need instruction too to refresh your abilities in handling a horse enjoying pasture puff life.
If you can't get on the horse then you don't know if you are compatible with him nor like his way of travel as he may not be comfortable for you to sit and ride upon...

I still would not own the problem myself.
Go spend the money you seriously would need to spend with a trainer and buy the made animal you desire and know you have what you want...not a big "?".
Go ride tomorrow not maybe in 3 months a unknown for you...
Sorry, to me move on and not get involved.

ETA: glad to see you are thinking about is the animal to much for me, how well trained and you are hesitating realizing you are headed for a pretty significant $$$$ outlay and still no knowns..

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 02:51 PM
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I wondered if you meant YOU are too old to learn, or the horse is too old to learn.

If you want a challenge, I do not think you are too old to learn, nor that this horse is an impossibility. a lot of times once a handler established good authority with a horse, when leading it, things can straighten up real fast.
If there is someone who has a firm but fair hand with horses who could teach the leading skills needed, you may be able to better asses whether or not this horse has more training inside of him than you think.

Being 'buddy sour', as he was when he became difficult at being lead away from his gelding buddy, can make even a good riding horse act up. Of course, that cannot be allowed, but it doesn't necessarily mean the horse doesn't have riding training in him.

I might investigate him a bit more, with someone's help, before deciding to pass or not. That said, if you want a good riding horse NOW, then you should seek that out specifically.

But, are you too old to learn? of course not! Is the hrose? of course not. You just have to learn how to be a good teacher.
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 03:38 PM
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Is the horses riding experience not something you can ask your son about? If he rode him, then he is your source of information.
I’m pretty sure if I was to give my parents a horse that I rode I would make sure it was a good and safe match.

There’s no such thing as too old to learn, human or anima. Too lazy yes, set in the ways that may take more time to redirect most likely. But not impossible with proper instruction.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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I was referring to the horse, since I have read that once a horse is his age, he is pretty set is his ways.
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-09-2020, 06:29 PM
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At least with respect to the halter training, you have in your favor that this horse already *is* trained. He knows what to do. He just doesn't want to do it. That's a different issue.

"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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