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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At my barn there is an 18 year old Appaloosa mare that for one reason or another I have fell for. Sadly her original owner passed away unexpectedly and she’s just been at the barn. I have done a lot of ground work with her and I can say that the previous own did some work as well. She is voice trained like a dream, she can lunge without pulling or being mean and she will pair up with me and follow me around the ring. She is also ground tied trained as well. She is very gentle and wants to work. I asked the current owner if I can work with her and he was a little confused since everyone avoided her because she lost all her manners and would take advantage of people, but he said sure. I also asked if the past owner ever rode her and he told me “one day he showed up and said my health is declining so I might as well get on her before I die” he said she was a dream. He walked around on her got off and she was never ridden again.

I want to work up to maybe getting on her, but have I lost my mind?! She was trained western and I’m 110% English. I don’t want to do anything crazy, just w/t/c maybe walk around the hay field.

So my question is what bit should as a first time? Also am I crazy?! Is this idea insane?! I am or use to be a very strong rider so I'm not worried about that I am more thinking if it is possible to train an 18 year old horse or am I wasting my time. any advise will be great.



I will attach some pictures and here is a short video









 

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Crazy...never!
Go for it!!
We are horselovers here and with that goes...enablers. :cool:

I can only imagine with what the B/O said in passing that this horse is starving for attention and will try to get it any way she can, good or bad behaviors shown.
With you, she chose to show her good side...a sweet personality.
So...
You see what she is like on the ground...well-trained, probably somewhat rusty from no attention though.
To me, you know she rides...so ride her.
If her ground training is anything like her astride, you sit on a hidden gem.
Get something in writing from who "legally" owns or has the right to dispose of her, aka sell her to whomever.
Get a price set on her value now before you start to show what she knows and can do....as gut feeling her price could skyrocket out of reach quickly.
Right now, she is worth a few hundred dollars....
In a months time with you riding and putting in time she could be worth many thousands...get a fixed number in writing now!!!
If she is registered all the better but you don't ride papers.
IF, if you take her on remember she comes with bills monthly needing paid if "OWNER" appears connecting your name and hers.
Ride her...western truly is not so different than English.
If she is well-trained like you suspect, she is smart and will catch on fast to what you ask no matter the saddle used.
For a bit...something soft...
I would go with a 3-link snaffle with a soft dogbone in the middle.
Many horses do well in such a bit...you will know quickly if she likes or not.
You can always experiment and go to stronger and more refined from there but I would start at soft basics and proceed on as needed.

Get a contract in writing to protect you, your pocketbook and heart before you invest to much that it would truly hurt to lose...
Make sure your financial commitment is there before going much further...unless your intention is to tune-up and roll her over and sell...then the faster you make her sharp the more $$ you pocket.
Enjoy your project.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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Just clarification, when the previously owner rode her one time was the that first the the horse had been ridden or the first time the owner had ridden the horse?

If the former, go ahead. If she's cordial with her ground work, take it slow and treat it like her first ride. Gradually do more until you find something she doesn't know. Its not something they forget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just clarification, when the previously owner rode her one time was the that first the the horse had been ridden or the first time the owner had ridden the horse?

If the former, go ahead. If she's cordial with her ground work, take it slow and treat it like her first ride. Gradually do more until you find something she doesn't know. Its not something they forget.
It was the first and only time she was ridden.
 

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Whether you should ride this horse or not is not a fair question to ask someone who knows neither you nor this horse.

Your post presents some confusing – perhaps contradictory – statements. You describe this horse as a dream who does everything well but state that the current owner seemed confused by your request to work with her since “everyone avoided her because she lost all her manners and would take advantage of people.” You state that this horse was trained Western but ridden only once. One ride does not equal “trained”.

A horse being trained “Western” and a rider being trained “English” are not very useful descriptions. People train and ride very differently in each of these broadly labeled categories.

Whenever you get on a horse that you don’t know, you should take things a step at a time. Make sure you and the horse are speaking the same “language” and understand each other well at each step before moving to the next. Don’t just think, “I walked a lap around the arena without incident so it should be find to trot or canter.” Make sure you can turn well, stop, etc. Make sure the horse is comfortable with how you are riding.

As far as bits go, it is always good to start with a snaffle bit. All horses should have been started in a snaffle even if they are currently being ridden in another bit. All riders should also begin by learning to ride with a snaffle bit so there is a better chance that both horse and rider understand the use of a snaffle. A snaffle bit would provide many more means of communication and should offer you a better opportunity to “feel” the horse.

When I hear “strong rider” I think of someone who is trying to “control” a horse and “make” it do things rather than someone who is try to establish a relationship in which horse and rider work together in harmony. Training a horse of any age should be done with knowledge, tact, and understanding.
 

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If she has only been ridden once, how can she be "trained western"? If she truly has only been ridden once, then what difference does it make if you start riding English instead of the one time she had a Western saddle on her? Go for it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Whether you should ride this horse or not is not a fair question to ask someone who knows neither you nor this horse.

Your post presents some confusing – perhaps contradictory – statements. You describe this horse as a dream who does everything well but state that the current owner seemed confused by your request to work with her since “everyone avoided her because she lost all her manners and would take advantage of people.” You state that this horse was trained Western but ridden only once. One ride does not equal “trained”.

A horse being trained “Western” and a rider being trained “English” are not very useful descriptions. People train and ride very differently in each of these broadly labeled categories.

Whenever you get on a horse that you don’t know, you should take things a step at a time. Make sure you and the horse are speaking the same “language” and understand each other well at each step before moving to the next. Don’t just think, “I walked a lap around the arena without incident so it should be find to trot or canter.” Make sure you can turn well, stop, etc. Make sure the horse is comfortable with how you are riding.

As far as bits go, it is always good to start with a snaffle bit. All horses should have been started in a snaffle even if they are currently being ridden in another bit. All riders should also begin by learning to ride with a snaffle bit so there is a better chance that both horse and rider understand the use of a snaffle. A snaffle bit would provide many more means of communication and should offer you a better opportunity to “feel” the horse.

When I hear “strong rider” I think of someone who is trying to “control” a horse and “make” it do things rather than someone who is try to establish a relationship in which horse and rider work together in harmony. Training a horse of any age should be done with knowledge, tact, and understanding.
Apologies for the confusion. When she was taken out of the field to be brought into the barn she was very pushy and demanding because of this people were avoiding her as they did not have the confidence to work with her. Since I have begun working with her she is completely different. I believe she craves attention.

She was fully intended to be broke and ridden western, anytime she had a saddle on her for ground work or the once she was ridden it was a western saddle.
 

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The horse doesn't know anything, so being trained western vs English is of no consequence.

Do you have a trainer or instructor you are working with? Have you ever started a horse before? Whats your experience with green horses?

There's no reason an 18 yr old cant be started. They can be set in their ways and don't take kindly to being told they have a new job.

I'm more concerned if you have the experience to train them safely.
 

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Apologies for the confusion. When she was taken out of the field to be brought into the barn she was very pushy and demanding because of this people were avoiding her as they did not have the confidence to work with her. Since I have begun working with her she is completely different. I believe she craves attention.

She was fully intended to be broke and ridden western, anytime she had a saddle on her for ground work or the once she was ridden it was a western saddle.
Thank you for the clarifications Mistydolly.

People can easily misunderstand a horse’s actions as misbehavior if they do not try to understand a situation from the horse’s point of view. If this horse had been out in the field for some time living life on her own terms, she would naturally exhibit frustration at being put in a more restrictive environment. The best way to address this situation is to make the horse feel more comfortable. That is probably what you did and why she acted so differently with you.

The type of saddle worn in ground work would probably have little to do with a horse accepting any saddle or rider when ridden. A saddle is generally used in groundwork before riding to introduce the horse to carrying weight on its back, having a strap around its body, etc. Of course, saddle fit should also be taken into account. An ill fitting saddle can restrict a horse’s movement or create uncomfortable pressure points.

In general, a horse will find it easier to move with a well fitting English style saddle ridden by a well balanced rider than a larger and heavier well fitting Western saddle ridden by a well balanced rider. There is, however, a valid argument that a large Western saddle will distribute the weight over a larger area. Then, of course, you must consider how the weight is distributed.

As long as a saddle fits well, it probably does not make much difference to the horse wether it is English or Western. More important is how the rider sits and how the rider moves with the horse. When a rider’s weight is centered over the horse’s center of gravity, the horse can move more easily. People who have carried someone on their shoulders are quick to grasp this concept. If a rider does not allow his or her body to move with the horse, the rider is actually making it harder for the horse to move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The horse doesn't know anything, so being trained western vs English is of no consequence.

Do you have a trainer or instructor you are working with? Have you ever started a horse before? Whats your experience with green horses?

There's no reason an 18 yr old cant be started. They can be set in their ways and don't take kindly to being told they have a new job.

I'm more concerned if you have the experience to train them safely.

I was a trainer of OTTB for 10+ years and I am use to working with those. I have never started a horse this old and just have concerns and questions about it but I do know the basics and have broke many horses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for the clarifications Mistydolly.

People can easily misunderstand a horse’s actions as misbehavior if they do not try to understand a situation from the horse’s point of view. If this horse had been out in the field for some time living life on her own terms, she would naturally exhibit frustration at being put in a more restrictive environment. The best way to address this situation is to make the horse feel more comfortable. That is probably what you did and why she acted so differently with you.

The type of saddle worn in ground work would probably have little to do with a horse accepting any saddle or rider when ridden. A saddle is generally used in groundwork before riding to introduce the horse to carrying weight on its back, having a strap around its body, etc. Of course, saddle fit should also be taken into account. An ill fitting saddle can restrict a horse’s movement or create uncomfortable pressure points.

In general, a horse will find it easier to move with a well fitting English style saddle ridden by a well balanced rider than a larger and heavier well fitting Western saddle ridden by a well balanced rider. There is, however, a valid argument that a large Western saddle will distribute the weight over a larger area. Then, of course, you must consider how the weight is distributed.

As long as a saddle fits well, it probably does not make much difference to the horse wether it is English or Western. More important is how the rider sits and how the rider moves with the horse. When a rider’s weight is centered over the horse’s center of gravity, the horse can move more easily. People who have carried someone on their shoulders are quick to grasp this concept. If a rider does not allow his or her body to move with the horse, the rider is actually making it harder for the horse to move.

thank you for the advice, I was thinking of starting with a surcingle to give her the feel of having pressure on her back. Will take baby steps and work with her to find a good fitting saddle.
 

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I was a trainer of OTTB for 10+ years and I am use to working with those. I have never started a horse this old and just have concerns and questions about it but I do know the basics and have broke many horses.

That changes things. Usually when people come asking what bit to start horses in, they are in way over their heads.


Start her like you would any other. Age doesn't change a whole lot, but be mindful they can be more wizened/jaded than a younger greenie. lol
 
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