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So my family went to see a horse today. I loved him right away. He's a mustang. His name is maxum. The owner is older and hasn't ridden him in about a year. maxim wasn't afraid of us but he didn't want to be caught. It's clear he's barn sour. The owner told us we could come over and work with him for a while before we made any decisions. I understand how much work it's going to be. But I really want this horse. It took about 10 minutes before he would allow my mom to pet him and about 15 before my dad could pet him. He would just back up a step. He was kind of testing us. As soon as my mom told me I could come in the pen. Maxum instantly let me pet him. He also tried to get me to play with him. I want him so bad. But in order for that to happen. I need to show my parents that I can handle him. Can some one give me some ideas on what kind of groundwork I could do with him? So I can gain his trust?
If you read this whole thing thank you!!! :hug:I hope I made sense. I'm not always good at explaing stuff.
 

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Hi horsedream568!

My first question would be - how many other horses have you gone to have a look at with the idea of buying? It is very very common to fall in love with the first horse you see but I'd be strongly encouraging you to keep your options open. This horse sounds like he has a fair few issues.

Secondly, what sort of experience do you have with handling horses and difficult situations? Just because he let you pet him and wanted to play doesn't mean he sees you as a leader - which will be crucial to your future relationship with this horse.

Thirdly, as he is barn sour, seems pretty disrespectful, hasn't been handled much of late and hasn't been ridden by his owner in a year I would be very leery. There's a good chance that his evasive behaviour is also carried out under saddle. This may mean him just being a bit pigheaded, but it may also mean bucking, rearing or bolting. I would want to see the owner ride him, and ride him away from the barn and his buddies (if he has any). I would then suggest you try this yourself to see how he behaves and what he does to "test" you. Horses can be pretty dozy in their own paddock or in the roundyard, but once you take them away from the stable they may play up like crazy - and if so this is the behaviour you can expect daily from him from hereon in, until you can change it (which will probably take a lot of work, a fair few bruises and even a trip or two to A&E). When I was searching for my first horse I saw a few, and one was a Standardbred that hadn't been ridden in a year as her owner was a bit frightened after she spooked on the trail once. She was a doll to saddle up, easy as in the roundyard...and an absolute pig on the trail. Kept breaking trot to pace, bucked when asked to canter (probably a saddle fit problem, it was a very nasty budget saddle) and was terrified of any other horse being within 20m of her backside - by which I mean she completely lost it. If I'd just ridden her in the roundyard I wouldn't have known any of this. Needless to say I passed her up.

Lastly I'll say - this horse doesn't need you to gain his trust, it needs you to gain his respect. Running away doesn't necessarily mean he's scared - far more often it means that he knows exactly how to get out of work. There's stuff that can be done to overcome this but before I give you any advice on groundwork I'd need to know how confident you are dealing with a horse that may have some serious evasions and disrespectful behaviour. I still really encourage you to go see other horses and not let yourself fall too much in love with this one.
 

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I know how exciting it is the prospect of your own horse. Honestly your first horse should be an easy going been there, done that type who will allow you to learn, make beginner mistakes and forgive you. While this horse you looked at may have potential he has not been ridden in a year, you don't know his level training, vices ect.. and you do not want a horse that you cannot ride, and watch someone else ride before you take him. To many red flags for someones first horse. The right horse for you is out there just keep looking. Find a horse that is suitable for your level of knowledge and experience. You want to have to grow out of the horse, not into it. Good luck to you in your journey.
 

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As others have said, are you sure this is really the right horse for you?

A first horse should be calm and safe on the ground and in the saddle. It shouldn't be an unknown horse that needs work. Why don't you go around and have a look at a few others before making a decision?

There's lots to teach with groundwork - but it requires a certain feel. If you're not experienced with groundwork perhaps a difficult horse isn't the best choice to learn with.
 
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