Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Central Hill Country Texas
There is a lot you can do before you start lunging him in the roundpen. Respect doesn’t begin in a roundpen anymore than it begins in the saddle. It begins on the lead line, really at liberty, but starting with a lead attached is easier. A lot can happen in three months if you wait until then to gain his respect and trust.
Despite the weather, there are so many things you can do to polish the skill sets he already has until they shine like a new penny!
Teaching him things like being able to tie and stand patiently so that he doesn’t have to have the hay to have his feet done would be a good start. Teaching him to not just lead, but follow you on lead; to walk forward without crowding or lagging back, stop when you stop, back up when you back up, turn when you turn, with slack in the lead. Standing still for tacking, mounting and grooming, picking up feet with a simple tap of the leg…..all of these things and more are the smallest of steps towards gaining your horse’s respect and good practice for you to gain confidence in yourself and him in you.
The bonus is that with the little corrections you will need to make doing these things, if done fairly, consistently and with good timing, you can avoid having to make big corrections later on. It will make transitioning to a round pen a little easier (though I wouldn't over do it there).
I would suggest that you peruse this site and find some good videos on line about exercises in reinforcing good ground manners and fun things to do with your horse on lead such as leading through obstacles or taking some hand walks to start. It is so nice to have a horse that you can not only enjoy riding, but enjoy being with.
Best wishes with your new horse!
“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer