Getting back into things... after 40 years away. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-11-2015, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 673
• Horses: 2
Getting back into things... after 40 years away.

I'm not 100% "new to horses" but, it has been 40 years since I was around horses on a daily basis. 20 years in the Navy and another 20 years just working at various jobs in cities.

Anyway, I have 80 acres of high desert that I plan on moving onto in a bit over a year from now and, when I do move out there, I will have horses. I foresee horses being y main mode of transportation in the wilderness areas surrounding my property.

In order to "get back into it", I'm taking basic horsemanship lessons / basic riding from a local outfit. It's a family run little place and they are darned good folks who seem, to me, to know what they are doing.

For my first "lesson" they decided on just going on a ride and paired me with a character named Charlie. The reasoning was that Charlie was a solid, experienced, horse but, he would see if his rider would let him get away with simply stopping to graze at his leisure.

Well, Charlie tried but, I remembered enough from my early years to keep him moving on along and we got along well enough. The next ride was some time in the arena again with Charlie. He's a responsive horse and neck reigned easily around cones and such and had no problem getting into a trot when I wanted him to.

The third time around, Charlie had managed to break his rope halter and was grazing in the yard. He only made very token attempts to keep me from catching him. I just kept getting into his "driveline" and he soon stood and waited for me to catch him and put on a new halter.

So, that's where this "new to horses" old codger is at for now. I hope to learn more as I visit the forum.
Alhefner is offline  
post #2 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 12:04 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 9,108
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Welcome to the forum and back into the world of horses! Thank you for your years of serving our country.

Caring for horses has come a looong way in the last 40 years so you might want to include horse management lessons along with your riding lessons.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
JCnGrace is offline  
post #3 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 01:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SE Spain
Posts: 1,270
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Your plans for having horses in your desert property sound great! I'm sure all your former knowledge and skills will come flooding back to you as you spend more time around horses.

I came back to horses three years ago after thirty years away. I didn't take lessons though, as there's nothing much available locally. I bought a horse, and I can tell you those first days of horse ownership were fantastic after so long without. I came up with some major hoof problems and this forum was so helpful to me on this, and continues to be a great source of advice when necessary, or just a good place for a sharing experiences. I second what JCn Grace said about updating your horse management skills. All my ideas in this respect were very outdated too. For example, I keep my horses barefoot now, but thirty years ago in England all the riding horses were shod, barefoot was only for pasture puffs.

If you stick around here I'm sure you'll get a lot out of it. Enjoy your continuing lessons!
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Bondre is offline  
post #4 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 07:07 AM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,560
• Horses: 2
Welcome back to the horse world and to this forum! Like Bondre, I was away from horses for 30 some years due to my studies, then career, then babies. It wasn't until my daughter started taking lessons four years ago that I got back into it and I am loving every minute! I think it's the sort of thing that is in your blood and never really goes away.

We just recently bought my daughter a horse and he is now living at my neighbor's house. Next summer, we build our own barn and get a second horse for me. While there are moments when I feel like a bumbling fool - and I'm not used to feeling that way, being pretty "type A" in most areas of my life - but I am learning so much. As JCnGrace pointed out, things really have changed A LOT in the last 30 years! Feeding is different (no more sweet feed), shoeing is different (many go barefoot), turnout is different, etc. etc. And I do not have the utter fearlessness that I had as a teen either! Not that I'm been afraid of any horse, but I am much more concerned about safety as a mom (I never wore a helmet, much less a safety vest!).

We spent the first month or so at a large boarding facility where there was always someone around to answer questions (do you think this is thrush? Where the heck does this blanket strap go? do you think his bridle fits properly?). And even at my neighbor's, we have access to very knowledgeable horse people. So I would advise you to make sure you have someone to help you with these sorts of things before you throw yourself into it solo. Certainly, this forum is great for general advice, but in some cases, you just have to be there. We are also continuing to have my daughter coached since she wants to jump and that's not something I can teach her. Actually, to be honest, she's the one teaching me now!

So have fun, good luck, and ask away! The folks here are wonderful.
Acadianartist is offline  
post #5 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Ohio for now
Posts: 811
• Horses: 1
Welcome Home!
I, too, was without horses in my life for 40 years.
In April 2014 I started taking riding lessons, just to have the opportunity to be around horses again and to smell that smell.
HA! I walked through the barn door for my first lesson and I was once again hooked. I realized it was only a matter of time.
In September 2014 I bought my mare. We board for the time being. As was mentioned above, much has changed since I kept a horse in my backyard as a teenager. I'm glad to be surrounded by other horse lovers who are more knowledgeable and always willing to share what they know.
Raven will be moving with DH and me to our 40 acres in Michigan when we retire. I'll have a horse (probably 2 by then) at home with me again and I'm looking forward to it, but I'm using this time to become more confident and more comfortable and re-learning how to best care for my big friend.
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weedlady is offline  
post #6 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan, USA
Posts: 1,067
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How exciting! I am another one who spent more than 20 years away from horses before coming to my senses. You are wise to prepare for a year before getting your own horses again. I couldn't believe how much I forgot (or maybe never knew) when I got back into the game. Coupled with being older (60's), less flexible, heavier and slower reflexes, it has been slow work toward my goal of getting back even close to where I once was. But the journey has been great!

So true that "horse keeping" had advanced over the years with more knowledge. Training has changed a bit too, but the basics are still the same.

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Last edited by Whinnie; 11-12-2015 at 09:20 AM. Reason: spelling
Whinnie is offline  
post #7 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 673
• Horses: 2
Thank you all for the warm welcome. Yes, I'll be doing what I can to learn horse management too! I'll be on my own out there on that 80 acres (640 eventually if I can purchase the surrounding properties) since "town" is 20 miles away and the nearest neighbor is about 2 miles off. Heck, I'll even have to generated my own power!

I'm not fully retired yet and am still working but, my schedule is great for getting into things. I work every other week, 7 nights on then 7 nights off, so, I'll be spending a lot of time getting ready.

Again, thanks for the warm welcome.
Alhefner is offline  
post #8 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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Hello! Thank you so much for your service and welcome to the forum!

I am one of those old timers who has had my own horse(s) since I was 12. Except for the year I laid my first two horses to rest, when I was 42, I have had 56+ years of non- stop horse ownership.

I was raised on dairy and beef farms (depending which relative) with a healthy sprinkle of Welsh/Morgan crosses.

It is true that horse management has changed drastically. I would say the last 15-20 years has brought the biggest change with more horses being housed on very small properties.

Back in my day, the catch phrase was "how many acres are you running your horses on? Mega acreage is a thing of the past for most.

Meaning, while there have been changes in horse management, the basic principles have not changed and you might be in the privileged position to manage your horses in a very minimal manner.

Good and timely hoof care will always prevail (no hoof no horse). Basic maintenance such as teeth floating, de-worming for whatever is prevalent in your area, maybe a second generator to keep your stock tanks heated in the winter, and more than enough hay for when the snow flies and you can't get out.

If I were you, I would buy a snowmobile. One thing I missed when we retired to Middle Tennessee from the OH/PA border was my snowmobile. If the snow gets too deep for the horses. You could snowmobile your way to town

At any rate, welcome again and please post often. Please note this forum has an "Over 40"s thread and an "Over 50's" thread. By all means join in our conversations which range from mundane/head bobbing-I-get-it-boring to pretty exciting. The best part of these threads is the comraderie we all share

I wish the very best to you in this venture; it sounds like an absolute dream to me

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.
walkinthewalk is offline  
post #9 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 673
• Horses: 2
Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post

I wish the very best to you in this venture; it sounds like an absolute dream to me
Thanks! One of the reasons I'm leaning hard toward feral horses / mustangs for my choice is that they grew up in the exact conditions I'll have for them. I can feed a good grass hay and keep them barefoot. Hoof care, if they have had any since they were captured, should be a basic maintenance mostly.

When I get to the point where I feel confident to adopt straight out of BLM, I'll be looking for 3 to 7 year old geldings or mares that haven't spent too long in holding. Some of the horses they have have spent 3+ years in the pens and that has not been good for them in any manner. (I'll probably be slammed pretty hard for this) As much as I hate to think of horses going to slaughter, if they can't be put into use by responsible horse owners within a year, keeping them multiple years in holding is even more cruel.
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Alhefner is offline  
post #10 of 12 Old 11-12-2015, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 301
• Horses: 1
Thank you for your Service to our Country! Sounds like you are about ready to embark on a wonderful adventure! Hope everything falls into place for you and I hope you enjoy your ranch AND your horses!
Luv 2 Trail is offline  

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