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Hello! I am in Ohio, and new to this forum, but I have been lurking for about 2 months. At 54, I started riding again only in the past couple of years. I take lessons when I can, and ride Walking Horses. (Lessons were on quarter horses, then I started on our TWH gelding, but due to Covid everything got messed up.) I'm a very timid rider.
I usually ride an older gelding, who is as close to bomb proof as they get. He is a wonderful horse, and he knows when I am nervous and just ignores it.
OK. So here's my question - we have a 2 year old in training that I am hoping to ride. (I do ride her at the trainer's barn). I worked with her from when she was weaned until we sent her for training. She is awesome. Like any horse she can be stubborn, and playful, but she generally really calm and sweet natured. She isn't afraid of anything; she likes new stuff.
She is not being trained as a show horse - in my limited experience, they tend to be a little fast, and they need a lot of bit. I am not a good enough rider to handle a show horse.
She's here in Ohio with a really good trainer who is trail riding her and just getting her used to a novice like me.
Am I nuts to think this could be my horse? I really love her. According to the trainer, she has never bucked, and she spooks in place when she does - which is rare. (I really worked with her on obstacles before she ever went to the trainer.) I have read so many posts here that warn people about me like about a young horse. I ride with a helmet and a vest (since I fell the last time). I want this to work.
I get scared getting on when I ride, but that goes away after a couple of minutes. I don't like to go fast and my girl just walks unless you really give her the signal. Right now, she will side pass up to a mounting block and wait until I'm up on her - the first time I got on it took me 3 times. (Combination of my nerves and she is tall). She never moved.
Any advice is appreciated.
 

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Here is my advice for what it's worth. If you really want to ride this young horse, then I would make sure that she has experienced anything and everything that you might encounter while riding her. Expose her to things that could upset her, look for new things for her to get used to. Fly a kite off her, wave a plastic grocery bag on a string around her, pop balloons, whatever. This is what I do when working with a young horse. Of course they will startle but they learn quickly that strange new things aren't necessarily going to eat them and if you or your trainer is relaxed she will pick those feelings up from you. The more things you encounter together the stronger the bond of trust will be between you. Remember, a nervous rider makes for a nervous horse. Many, many wet saddle blankets and lots of miles make for a good horse.
 

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As people were discussing on another thread, many horses go through a teen-age phase of rebellion, around age 4 or 5. They are so easy and sweet at age 2 and 3, and then they start to wonder what might happen if they misbehave.

I have started around 12 colts in my life, and I believe every one I ever started went through this little stage, some more, some less.

My neighbor has started 200 colts in his life, and he says he has had some that never rebelled, just went on progressing easily. There are such young horses, but I haven't experienced one. I hope yours is one--they do exist.
 

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I don't think you are being unrealistic. Sounds like she has a good mind and has been started by a good trainer. The caveat to that, tho, is dont think you'll be able to take her home after 3 months and never have another lesson or training ride. As mentioned, young horses are usually quite meek and compliant for the first bit where everything is new and they are unsure. Once they start getting more comfortable, confident, and stronger, they will usually start to push the boundaries. You need a trainer in your corner then, not 2-3 months after they start acting up and you've gone through multiple accidents and both of your confidence is shot.

For the best experience, I would suggest keeping her with the trainer for multiple years and take at least 2x lessons a week, one on the experienced horse, one on your horse, then have the trainer ride her at least 1-2x a week on top of that.
 

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Agree with above - I'd be wanting to ensure she was well trained in all sorts of situations, still getting regular training from a good trainer for a long time yet and you continue just taking lessons on her, for a while at least.

As an aside, while I know full well they do it to racehorses, no 'futurity' horses, but riding 2yo babies is just not good for their bodies. So whether it be you or a trainer, I'd keep riding to a minimum, short, easy sessions, avoid high impact stuff like cantering & jumping, until she was a couple of years older at least.
 

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I often find myself on the other side of the fence, the naysayer. I'll be perfectlly honest here, . . . my first reaction, my honest reaction, when I read how fearful you are, how you describe yourself as a 'timid' rider, and have latent fear from a prior falll . . .. well, my thought was, "Why? why did she buy a baby as her riding horse?" So, yeah, i see this as a less than optimal situations. Just becuase you 'want' something so badly to work, doesn't mean it will. This is something we really start to learn as we move into older middle age . So, yes, with support it's possible. But, my overall feeling is one of concern. I am a bit of a worrywart, though.
 

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I also agree that a mellow two year old may not grow up to be a mellow horse. Some horses seem to either use a lot of energy while growing, or else when they mature mentally they become less placid.

Either way, a person should understand that many two year olds show different personality traits at five or six.

One of my friends had a sluggish two year old that matured into a faster, more energetic ride. Another had a docile two year old mare that ended up more aggressive as an adult. Both of these were easy to train and had lots of exposure to things when young.

A reason to get a mature horse is that you know what the personality will be.
 
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