How to start riding a horse that hasn't been actively ridden in 5 years? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-27-2012, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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How to start riding a horse that hasn't been actively ridden in 5 years?

I acquired an Araibian Mare last summer because the owner didn't want to trailer her to NM. But really, the two didn't get along. After we accepted Molly as a gift we found out why. Molly was too aggressive for the previous owner and she liked docile horses. When Molly wouldn't respond to her commands she must have whipped her with something. I realized this when I was tending to the cows in the same field, pulled off my leather gloves and Molly reared up, snorted and turned her butt to me. She is very friendly and loving but I am a novas since I haven't ridden in 30 years and don't know how to get her to trust me. Though I can lean on her, groom her, pet her but I think she can sense it's be a long, long time since I've ridden horses. I need all the advice I can to be able to ride her in confidence. Plus, is it a good idea to let our local equestrian team work with her first to get Molly accustom of being ridden again? If my father-n-law was alive he'd for sure help my with her, he was very, very good with horses. But all his tack is in Reno and we're in Oregon and cant get it for at least another 6-8 months. My husband was a avid rider with his dad but he has degenerative Disc Disease and can't ride anymore. desire to make Molly 'MY' horse is strong but just don't know where to start. She is curb bit trained and my neighbor loaned me her snaffle bit and reins and now I can't get any bridle near her ( she didn't like the snaffle bit at all) any and all help is greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading! Ginger~
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-27-2012, 05:12 PM
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I would start by lunging her with tack on allowing her to get used to the added weight of the saddle and bit. Once she starts showibg signs of being completely relaxed With this I would slowly start mounting her spending some sessions working on each pace. The key is for her to Be relaxed, trusting of you and have a basic understanding of what's being asked. Also would having some lessons on a well schooled horse help with your confidence?
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-28-2012, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you I will start with that! A friend just told me about the natural horsemanship way. Also, the parnelli way too.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-28-2012, 02:30 AM
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Yep, I would just start off with lunging her with the tack. Then play around with some groundwork (If you have a friend to lead you/lunge you around that would be great) and if not, just go nice and slow with her, and don't do anything you think will cause her to be nervous at first.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-28-2012, 04:59 AM
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Best of luck let us know how you get on
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-28-2012, 06:35 AM
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Bridle is not necessary yet we start all of ours in a halter and rope. One less thing to worry about. You need to make sure you're confident so do whatever it takes. Also I'd ssuggest beig riding fit before you get on.

One she's happy cantering and jumping on the lunge make sure you can do lots of work standing on a block making odd noises / movements.

Remember she has to cope with 3 types of energy:
Environmental - what's happiness around you ( have a friend bang around gallop past etc)
Yours - of you stuff up and put too much energy in she must be able to cope ( random screams / jumps also purposely asking with too much energy better she flip out on the ground then on board)
Her own- if she does spook/ get riled up she needs to be able to calm herself down ( walk gallop walk etc online jumping)
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-31-2012, 01:02 PM
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I would do a TON of ground work before I got on, not only to build her trust and confidence, but yours too. Be sure you can get her to respond willingly without fear to everything you want her to do from the ground before you even think of getting on. You need to be able to trust her responses, and take the time to get to know what she will be likely to do in a variety of circumstances.

I would not let the local equestrian team use her, because it sounds like she has been subjected to some traumatic experiences and may be a danger to someone who doesn't know her well. Also I would have to know exactly who would be handling my horse and how she would be treated before I would let anyone else ride her. Everybody has their own riding style and if your horse gets used to a person who rides in a different way of than you do it can cause communication problems between you and your horse. My neighbour is going through some problems with a horse she is leasing because the horse's owner is a very bold and aggressive rider, while my neighbour just wants to do very slow quiet riding and the horse gets impatient and upset because he is very confused by their different styles. If you have anyone else work with your horse be sure to know what they are doing so you can both be consistent for your horse.

Last edited by Fargosgirl; 01-31-2012 at 01:03 PM. Reason: typo
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-31-2012, 01:50 PM
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Welcome to the forum and it seems you and I are in similar situations. You are getting great advice...good luck.

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-31-2012, 02:18 PM
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I think if you spend time daily with her and prove that you are a benevolent authority, you can turn her around.
Make a list of her behaviors. Write down the correct behaviors and the incorrect behaviors. I would NOT try to ride her until you put in at least 3 months on the ground with her. Ken McNabb put it right:
"Train your horse to _______ until you are so bored doing it (that you are sure your horse won't hurt you--paraphrased.)"
Arabians are more social than other breeds. Get her to associate you with her feedings. Even if she's stalled, take her out and tie her to grain her. Have the filled bowl waiting for the first week, then take her to a tie spot and bring her the bowl. Also, brush her while she eats. There are many ways to ask for small obediences in her stall. I clean stalls (my horses are stalled in the winter and full-time during icy footing) with my horses in them. I ask my horse to move out of the way to clean, and it's during feeding times.
Go back to the basics. Work on turn on the forehand while she's tied. Pick up her feet daily. You don't need to pick them out to train for obedience, and you want her to not lean on you while the foot is up--many horses do this, and eventually many farriers quit bc of the number of backyard horses that strain their backs in this way.
Contact DreamCatcher Arabians, as well. She has some very good advice. =D
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