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post #1 of 19 Old 09-27-2017, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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First horse HELP

So I have been volunteering at a horse rescue and fell in love with a OTTB there. She's had a rough first 12 years. Neglected, abused, huge trust issues and very herd bound. I purchased her September 1. Prior to this I rode her twice, 1st time good, second a nightmare. She did everything I asked but she made me work for it. Haven't rode her since. We have progressed. She now stands, follows, easier to catch. Today I decided to see how she would react to me flopping my arm over her back and rubbing, then applying pressure. She tried to bite me once, would stomp etc. I kept at it and after 45 minutes she got over it. I feel like it's been a roller coaster, I'm calm, patient and I'm not scared of her. I just don't know where to go from here. Today her response showed me she still has trust and dominance issues. I can't tell you how many hours we have spent on ground work. Any tips or tricks? I hate feeling discouraged. I'm worried she is so jaded we won't get to where I want us to be. Which is partners.
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-27-2017, 04:03 PM
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Find a really good horse trainer in your area that has turned around some troubled horses and send her there.

A horse like this needs about a good year of being worked 5-6 days a week by someone who knows how to train horses and make them safe mounts. Two years with a trainer like that and she'd be a role model horse.

This is exactly the kind of horse you don't need as your first horse. If you keep her you basically have two choices. Send her to a trainer like I mentioned above, invest all your time energy and money into the programs out there on "colt starting" and training horses yourself.

Sending her to a great trainer will be the cheaper option in the long run. This horse might need a good two or three months of just driving and getting all the crazy out.

OTTBs are a mixed bag because some have been properly trained to ride under saddle and others if they could load in the gate and run in a straight line that was all they needed. The racing world is very 'diverse' to put it nicely in what quality of training and handling the horse had.

I respect and admire what you are doing, just giving you an honest opinion.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-27-2017, 04:13 PM
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^ agreed.

If you want to do it yourself, I'd honestly look into Warwick Schiller's video subscriptions. It's about $30/month-- start at the beginning, watch each video, and work with your mare. I like Warwick's approach to horses with a troubled past-- they learn respect and how to be handled safely, but his methods also do a lot with helping the horse learn to relax and trust people. His 'focus' exercises are really helping my abused horse come around and become much calmer and less reactive.
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-29-2017, 09:33 AM
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Time, more time and more time again along with endless patience are needed to help a horse come around after being in a abusive situation...regardless of the kinds of abuse it takes oodles of time.
30 days of ownership,...barely nipped a teeny-tiny tip off a large iceberg of "baggage" this horse has attached to it..

You're going to have dominance and trust issues for a long time.
The horse is a rescue...bounced around, mistreated, mishandled and possibly nutrition compromised when she was seized or surrendered.
So far what you write of does not impress me that the horse sees you as leadership material...you are not commanding respect nor giving support that the horse needs in reassurances yet.

Slow down....the horse is barely started to recognize you as the one who now consistently arrives to see it, touch it, pay attention to it and "pester" it.
Thoroughbreds from the track have little done in regards to discipline so what you are encountering is normal for many....
They revert back to track tactics but more reasonable to realize she learned these to protect herself from cruel situations happening to her...her biting, nasty behaviors are minor although serious offenses.
Racing Thoroughbreds are accustomed to being handled by true professionals, having a job they've done, then they are left alone the rest of the day.
What she did during the time she "retired" is also "baggage" she now carries with regards to how she was handled, by whom...

I agree you need some very detailed instruction on how to work with this horse, train this horse at least basics better than it currently has.
A trainer, a good one to put 30 rides, not 30 days...
30 rides on this horse would do the horse and you wonders.
Basics, yes the horse raced so has some training knowledge, has been saddled and you sat on it then did so again and had a disaster of a ride...
What did the horse do from the time it left the track till now...I suspect huge holes in training are evident.
Slow down, go back to the basics of introducing handling, tack and rider, then start the communication of what is expected in return to what is being asked of the horse..
Right now...you have a massive communication gap and breakdown.
If you don't fill in those gaps now you will never build the foundation needed to progress in difficulty beyond simple asked and simple sometimes done ...
....
jmo...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....

Last edited by horselovinguy; 09-29-2017 at 09:42 AM.
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-29-2017, 09:49 AM
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Agree with what everyone has said. Let go of your expectations of making this horse a loving partner in the short term. It will take very, very long. And not all horses get there. They have personalities, and can come to accept humans, but not all of them will "love" you. Trust takes a very, very long time, and some horses like humans while others will always be somewhat aloof.

What you want to do is not impossible, but it will take much longer than a month. You need to start from scratch with this horse. I prefer working with a trainer at home so I can be involved, but it's not always possible to have a trainer come to you. Either way, expect several months of training to be necessary. This is why first-time horse owners are better off not buying a project horse, but there are success stories out there. You DO need to bring in someone to help. That WILL cost a lot of money (this is also why it's easier to just find a well-broke horse - the initial cost is nothing compared to what you can sink into training a messed-up horse), and it WILL take a long time. You just have to commit to that, and let go of any expectations so you can just let your partnership with your horse evolve. Or rethink the whole project horse idea...
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post #6 of 19 Old 10-03-2017, 03:37 PM
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I just want to add to my initial comment and riff on what the other posters said as well. I hope we didn't discourage you OP, but we wouldn't be helping you if we weren't honest about your challenges ahead.

1)

She is 12. In my opinion horses don't really mature emotionally until about 7 or 8 or maybe even a little later. You'll have a good mind to work with because of this. Think of the difference in someone who is 30 vs. a 9 year old because that is sort of the difference we are talking about.

You have at least 6 but possibly 10 years of riding left in her. It would be really worth it to make those years count with good training so you can spend them doing fun things.

2)

She is a dominant mare. You seem new to horses so I'll just briefly explain that mares are like a spectrum of personalities that starts at sweet and friendly (submissive) on one end, and ornery and bossy as heck (dominant) on the other end. My two horses are mares, I prefer mares, but they aren't all sweet let me tell you.

For a horse like that to love you, they have to believe you are the leader and trust you. It will be worth it, but won't come easy. Owning a horse with a dominant tendency means never being indecisive, because as soon as you are she'll be in charge. The horse can't even help it, that is 30 million years or whatever of survival skills kicking in and she will just step in to fill a void in leadership if there is one.

A lot of people grow to love horses like this, President Regan famously preferred horses like this, it isn't a bad thing at all but you have to understand the rules.

I'd say lesson one in this journey is to learn real horse behavior. Not what we hope or want them to be but how they really are.

Last edited by jgnmoose; 10-03-2017 at 03:43 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 10-09-2017, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgnmoose View Post
I just want to add to my initial comment and riff on what the other posters said as well. I hope we didn't discourage you OP, but we wouldn't be helping you if we weren't honest about your challenges ahead.

1)

She is 12. In my opinion horses don't really mature emotionally until about 7 or 8 or maybe even a little later. You'll have a good mind to work with because of this. Think of the difference in someone who is 30 vs. a 9 year old because that is sort of the difference we are talking about.

You have at least 6 but possibly 10 years of riding left in her. It would be really worth it to make those years count with good training so you can spend them doing fun things.

2)

She is a dominant mare. You seem new to horses so I'll just briefly explain that mares are like a spectrum of personalities that starts at sweet and friendly (submissive) on one end, and ornery and bossy as heck (dominant) on the other end. My two horses are mares, I prefer mares, but they aren't all sweet let me tell you.

For a horse like that to love you, they have to believe you are the leader and trust you. It will be worth it, but won't come easy. Owning a horse with a dominant tendency means never being indecisive, because as soon as you are she'll be in charge. The horse can't even help it, that is 30 million years or whatever of survival skills kicking in and she will just step in to fill a void in leadership if there is one.

A lot of people grow to love horses like this, President Regan famously preferred horses like this, it isn't a bad thing at all but you have to understand the rules.

I'd say lesson one in this journey is to learn real horse behavior. Not what we hope or want them to be but how they really are.

I have been working with her for months I've done a ton of groundwork lessons with her before I even purchased her. The only place I can't touch her now is leaning over her back but I have ridden her, rode her Saturday in the ring again she was perfect. I've taught her to follow without lead and halter (she will only do this in the ring) she will stand untied and is no longer scared of whips. She will get alert but won't head toss etc. I thing training for both of us is definetly needed. I have someone who is going to be coming to the rescue (which is where I board her) to train her with and without me. Thank you everyone!! I don't know how to make a comment on the thread (newbie) so I have just replied here for everyone. Thank you!!!
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post #8 of 19 Old 10-09-2017, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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I figured out how to just post yayyy. I should also add she is not a dominate mate she is very low in the pecking order of 25 horses. She lacks confidence but she has tried to push me around which didn't fly.
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post #9 of 19 Old 10-09-2017, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=horselovinguy;1970333330]Time, more time and more time again along with endless patience are needed to help a horse come around after being in a abusive situation...regardless of the kinds of abuse it takes oodles of time.
30 days of ownership,...barely nipped a teeny-tiny tip off a large iceberg of "baggage" this horse has attached to it..

You're going to have dominance and trust issues for a long time.
The horse is a rescue...bounced around, mistreated, mishandled and possibly nutrition compromised when she was seized or surrendered.
So far what you write of does not impress me that the horse sees you as leadership material...you are not commanding respect nor giving support that the horse needs in reassurances yet.

Slow down....the horse is barely started to recognize you as the one who now consistently arrives to see it, touch it, pay attention to it and "pester" it.
Thoroughbreds from the track have little done in regards to discipline so what you are encountering is normal for many....
They revert back to track tactics but more reasonable to realize she learned these to protect herself from cruel situations happening to her...her biting, nasty behaviors are minor although serious offenses.
Racing Thoroughbreds are accustomed to being handled by true professionals, having a job they've done, then they are left alone the rest of the day.
What she did during the time she "retired" is also "baggage" she now carries with regards to how she was handled, by whom...

I agree you need some very detailed instruction on how to work with this horse, train this horse at least basics better than it currently has.
A trainer, a good one to put 30 rides, not 30 days...
30 rides on this horse would do the horse and you wonders.
Basics, yes the horse raced so has some training knowledge, has been saddled and you sat on it then did so again and had a disaster of a ride...
What did the horse do from the time it left the track till now...I suspect huge holes in training are evident.
Slow down, go back to the basics of introducing handling, tack and rider, then start the communication of what is expected in return to what is being asked of the horse..
Right now...you have a massive communication gap and breakdown.
If you don't fill in those gaps now you will never build the foundation needed to progress in difficulty beyond simple asked and simple sometimes done ...
....
jmo...[/QUOTE


After she left the track she was "retrained" which has shown fear of whips and men. Then she sat in a field only other animal was a dog for 3 years. Her hoofs were extremely cracked. Then went with a women who knew the owner, she was to scared to ride her and let her get away with everything. Then she surrendered her due to divorce. She was overweight when she came in and somewhat wild. She would charge you if you had a whip and was extremely herd bound. She would take off if you even looked at her. I've had more then 30 days with her as I worked with her before and also had a ton of groundwork lessons with her. She has come VERY far. I have a trainer who is going to be working with us and then also just her ?
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post #10 of 19 Old 10-09-2017, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverMaple View Post
^ agreed.

If you want to do it yourself, I'd honestly look into Warwick Schiller's video subscriptions. It's about $30/month-- start at the beginning, watch each video, and work with your mare. I like Warwick's approach to horses with a troubled past-- they learn respect and how to be handled safely, but his methods also do a lot with helping the horse learn to relax and trust people. His 'focus' exercises are really helping my abused horse come around and become much calmer and less reactive.
I absolutely love his methods and his program. STRONGLY recommend subscribing. Even if you send her out to a trainer, it'll help you learn SO much that you can apply with your horse before and after. His methods all make sense -- all very straightforward, and hedoesn't get bogged down in a lot of the idiosyncrasies of natural horsemanship -- and the order in which he does things really works well to eliminate holes in training.
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