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The Everyday Adventures of New Trail Riders

12876 Views 216 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  newtrailriders
Decided to go ahead and start my journal today. Nothing new to share today, horsey-wise. Good news riding schedule-wise, though. I talked to the higher ups at work about me doing flex scheduling through the winter so that I can leave work during daylight to ride my horses and then come back after dark to finish up at work. They're fine with it whenever meetings etc don't get in the way. Wish I could ride today but we've got a bunch of stuff going on at work and I have to work all day and stay late. Maybe I'll take a whole day off next week to make up for it.

So these are my three horses. The white (cremello) quarter horse is Ona, the one I got started off with. Got scheistered into buying a 6 month old filly as my first horse. I didn't know any better. She'll be six in April and I've managed to spoil her. She's already been broke and had a lot of professional training but I managed to un-break her, so she's out for more training. The day we dropped her off for training we picked up the new guy, "Joe" (formerly known as TJ). He's an 18-yo Missouri Fox Trotter. He's the sorrel without a stripe. PJ is the sorrel quarter horse with the stripe. He's 18 or 19. Both PJ and Joe have tons of trail miles on them and were owned by long distance trail riders so I think they'll be great for hubby and I to learn on.

Ultimate dream: endurance riding, on Ona. Yea she's a quarter horse but she's my young one so . . . . hopefully it works out? Plan: Hubby and I to start trail riding with PJ and Joe, get them and us in shape and get better at riding. When Ona comes home she'll hopefully be easier for me to handle and I'll try to ride her every day, with hubby switching out between PJ and Joe and some nice long relaxing riding weekends with Joe and PJ. Build up to competitive trail riding and then maybe endurance.

Edited to add: We are no longer tying horses to the gate :)

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I currently have 1 mare and two geldings and I'm the only one who rides - so, although the one I'm riding usually doesn't give me too much of a fight going out, the two remaining home have fits, especially if I take out the mare.

And I completely understand you loving Ona but also having misgivings about bringing her home. And it isn't all just about the sourness that might ensure in the herd. Having a horse you are comfortable with riding and enjoying but having the responsibility of riding the green horse is not something I'd encourage in a relatively new rider. Stay with the comfortable one. Don't feel guilty if you decide to rehome her. You, and she, need to be with partners you can trust and learn with.
 

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My first mare was very spooky and I never was able to relax riding her. I could ride her past something like the garbage can 1000 times and every time she saw it she acted like it was going to jump out and kill her and would react violently. (Note she was 12 years old so it wasn't a green horse problem, this was just her personality) I ended up breaking my collar bone this summer and I realized that I wanted to have a horse I could enjoy riding and it wasn't worth keeping her if it was "work" to ride her. I felt guilty like I was giving up and that I would never be able to handle a challenge but I decided it was more worth it to enjoy my horses. I sold her back to her old owners who love her and I got the worlds most mellow 7 year old Foundation Bred Quarter Horse who reminded me how fun it is to ride.

I decided I wanted to do more long distance and competitive riding and my big muscled quarter horse wasn't going to be great at that so I ended up with a 3 year old Fox Trotter who I adore (I still have my quarter horse too, we're going to try out cattle sorting this summer). My husband told me he's never seen me ride her without a giant smile. She's still go a lot of learning to do (so do I!) but we have fun together.

It's not worth keeping a horse you dread riding, especially when you're starting out. Don't feel guilty about finding Ona a new home!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
You all are awesome. Seriously.

@mmshiro Gee thanks for the reassurance LOL I guess the faster we go, the more likely it is I'll get to experience some of those exciting lateral moves.

@egrogan, @carshon, @Change, @QueenofFrance08, Thank you all so much for the reassurance and for helping me to not feel too guilty (hopefully) if I do rehome her. I just have this terrible sense of obligation - like, I did a very stupid thing by getting a 6 month old as my first horse. I was warned I would ruin her but thought if I just put enough time and $ into making sure she got the proper training and taking lessons myself etc. that I'd be able to make it work. By the time I find a new home for her I will have had her for SIX YEARS, none of which I have been able to spend riding her. I've put thousands in to training!!!

She does well for experienced people and she's just truly gorgeous - the most perfect conformation - she's truly stunning. Her movement is absolutely gorgeous. Super smooth trot and canter....not that I've ever got to canter on her, but trainers grin ear to ear on her. She's going to come back buggy trained, and I guess she hasn't reared or given the people training her any problems. They said her only problem is she's lazy. She'd be a great Western Pleasure horse. I bet you she'd win right and left. My farrier does the Christmas buggy rides here in town and also at the Plaza in Kansas City....she'd look so nice pulling a Christmas carriage.....maybe I could get him to take her.

Honestly - I would GIVE her to someone if I knew for sure she'd never be sold to a bad home. I have terrible visions of her being mistreated and feel like it would be my fault if she went somewhere and was abused. But then the logical side of my brain tells me that PJ or Joe also could have ended up in bad hands if I hadn't bought them. When I get more experience and feel comfortable with a faster horse and if I ever do make it to the point where I could do endurance, I'll need an arab or something gaited.....maybe a nice young foxtrotter like you got, @QueenofFrance08! Whatever horse I end up with, I will give it a good home so why not give a good home to one I can enjoy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Ugh. I am not looking forward to this year of horse riding. At all. What have I done? Why do we have 3 horses and a pony? Why did I get my husband into riding? Now he loves his horse and OMG we're stuck.

Ona is coming back from the Amish tomorrow. Thursday PJ (Mr. Calm, Quiet, and Gentle Old Gelding) threw me up in the air and somehow kicked me before I hit the ground. You should see the bruise - definitely the biggest bruise I've ever had in my life. And I still hurt all over.

I have ZERO horse sense! And somehow my husband has even less than zero horse sense! And we have horses and we spent all that money on tack and trailers and trucks - just to get killed?!

What have I done what have I done what have I done?!!!!!!!!

So I'm looking back at Thursday and why does it have to take hindsight to see what a stupid decision we made? Why didn't we know better? When my husband made the suggestion, this teeny tiny little voice in my head very briefly said "Ummmmmm....uuuhhhh." It was a tiny little voice and I paid it no mind. And I just smiled and saddled up PJ while DH saddled up Joe, to ride in the pasture with that little Shetland hussie running loose. I don't think I even need to tell you all what happened - because you all have horse sense. Which I have none of. None.

And now Ona is coming back and we're going to have TWO mares in the pasture. Yeah she's broke - for now. Until I look at her and she becomes magically unbroken just because of my horse senseless presence.

Hi again by the way. I know I disappeared from the forum all winter. I got a new job as director of nursing and wasn't doing any riding....and now I have an assistant and I'll have more time to get killed....
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
Well, she's back. They rode her every day for 3 months and they say she crosses water fine and never gave them any trouble at all, riding. They tried to train her to drive, though, and she just layed on the ground and threw a tantrum. They were afraid she'd get hurt so they didn't push it. She gets hurt very easily. Ms Accident Prone. She did cut her right rear foot 3 weeks ago, they said. It must have been a heck of a cut because it's still pretty swollen but she's getting around fine. She lost a little weight but I don't think she looks bad at all. I love this video I took when she got home. She really prances around.
http://https://drive.google.com/fil...b1RiXzJETGNBSnJScWVoODZhWUxF/view?usp=sharing

https://www.facebook.com/stacey.bichelmeyeranderson/videos/10203905695878158/
 

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I am going to comment on your post from Feb 18 - and I am going to say please don't take this personally although I know that is impossible.

It is time to find Ona a new home and a new home for your darling pony. Not because you do not have Horse Sense - but because it will make life with horses a lot less stressful. You have found out (the hard way) why a lot of boarding facilities have geldings and mares in separate pens.

You have done a lot of the right things in getting 2 fairly mellow geldings. Those 2 will be great partners for you and your husband, but the extra horses that need work will be a frustration and a distraction.

I am saying all of this from experience - I grew up with horses but married a "city boy" and paired him with the wrong horse many times and ended up with a herd that was not compatible or enjoyable for any of us. Once we made some hard (and realistic) decisions and wittled our herd down to the best matches for us things bloomed for my husband and I and our riding. We are now riding a few times a week and really enjoying ourselves. The stress of the "herd boss" acting up , the mare being sassy and moody and the herd bound idiot are gone.

Find your joy with the horses again. You deserve it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I am going to comment on your post from Feb 18 - and I am going to say please don't take this personally although I know that is impossible.

It is time to find Ona a new home and a new home for your darling pony. Not because you do not have Horse Sense - but because it will make life with horses a lot less stressful. You have found out (the hard way) why a lot of boarding facilities have geldings and mares in separate pens.

You have done a lot of the right things in getting 2 fairly mellow geldings. Those 2 will be great partners for you and your husband, but the extra horses that need work will be a frustration and a distraction.

I am saying all of this from experience - I grew up with horses but married a "city boy" and paired him with the wrong horse many times and ended up with a herd that was not compatible or enjoyable for any of us. Once we made some hard (and realistic) decisions and wittled our herd down to the best matches for us things bloomed for my husband and I and our riding. We are now riding a few times a week and really enjoying ourselves. The stress of the "herd boss" acting up , the mare being sassy and moody and the herd bound idiot are gone.

Find your joy with the horses again. You deserve it.
I do believe you are right.

It's going to take some time, of course, to find good homes. Especially since the little pony officially isn't ours - she belongs to my parents next door and they have to be in agreement before we rehome her.

Today is the first day I'm going to have any time at all with the horses since Ona came home. Hubby has been doing the horse chores. He says she's at the bottom of the herd right now. It's cold and wet and nasty. I was considering taking her for a ride anyway - she hasn't become barn sour or herd bound again yet. She was ridden every day for 90 days so I'm hoping she's broke. She's got special shoes on (borium, is it?) that the Amish use for the horses they ride daily in the winter. My farrier says they make it better for riding on wet or slippery roads. I'm just thinking of putting my hitair vest and helmet on and going up and down our road a few times. Maybe if everything goes OK I'll ride her a little further.

So with this mare and gelding bad herd mix - will our boys still do OK trail riding away from home with the girls at home? Or maybe take out Ona with one of the geldings?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
@newtrailriders so exciting to hear of your new adventures and love for riding. Not bashing here but maybe Ona should find a new home so you can continue to work on your riding skills and become more comfortable. Having a mare around 2 geldings can be the issue as even though they are geldings they still have male hormones and 1 wants to "have the woman"

I know this all too well as I had 1 gelding with 3 mares and he was a nightmare if anyone got near his girls when we were out riding.
Carshon you posted this a while back and IDK why I just saw it. Maybe I read it but it didn't sink in until I'd "been there, done that."

So - I'm just wondering if you could give me a little bit more info on how this works with geldings and mares. My husband would really like to keep all the horses but put the mares and geldings in separate pastures. IDK if this would work out or not and the rational part of my brain is saying that it would be better to just go ahead and rehome Ona, at least temporarily. She's got the conformation and movement and bloodlines to be a great broodmare and my friend would like a foal from her so maybe we could temporarily rehome her and board one of his geldings.....but now I've got off track.

IF we decided to keep Ona and the pony (which I'd rather not do), would 12 feet between pastures, the girls in one pasture and the boys in the other, work? If Ona stays broke, I'd kind of like to be able to use her as she's young and has a few years left on her. Plus I'm attached to her and not in a huge hurry to make her my main ride.

We've got the two geldings, PJ the quarter horse "herd boss," and the low man on the totem pole, the foxtrotter Joe. Joe does not fight PJ for the girls. It sounds like it would not EVER be safe to ride PJ and Ona together on a group trail ride but what about Ona and Joe? And would this continue to be an issue if they were in separate pastures? How long would they have to be in separate pastures before PJ stopped thinking Ona belonged to him?

Please tell me if my line of thinking is rational - I'm thinking we'll continue to take PJ and Joe out for long trail rides until we get more experienced. PJ slows Joe down and Joe speeds PJ up which is a good thing because it gets PJ nice and fit. My previous plan was to then start riding PJ and Ona together - maybe we could still do this, just not in groups. Ona's younger and fitter and PJ would keep her somewhat slowed down until I got used to riding her. Then in a year or two we'd start riding Ona on the long trail rides with Joe? For faster longer trail rides....then when PJ and Joe are too old for the long trail rides Ona will be broke in nicely and ready to go for my ultimate dream of using her for endurance (not to win of course).
 

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I have a mare and a gelding pastured together, and I'm the only one who rides. Whichever horse I ride, the other pitches a fit, neighing and pacing around in the field until we return. If I'm on the gelding, he'll whinny once in awhile but seems to like to go out exploring. He doesn't fight if I turn away from homeward trails, although he might slow down for a bit. He's 5 and only has about 65 lifetime miles.

The mare? She's the best trail horse ever, if you're riding through tough areas, over downed trees, etc. She's fairly easy going out, and steady alongside busy highways. She doesn't even flinch at the semis or a dozen loud Harleys passing by. But get her close to home and then turn away again, and the fight is on. She's 10 years old and has hundreds of miles under her hooves.

I've taken the two out together - ponying one, riding one - and they're fine.

The other gelding I had here was only temporary, and kept separate from my two. Both of mine would fuss as I rode the other out, but would quickly settle once we were out of sight. The temporary boy never gave me any trouble heading out or returning. If I were to have kept him, I probably would have chosen to separate my mare from the boys.

I've not had the chance to ride with anyone else on my gelding, and I only got to ride out with the temp. gelding and my mare once. She showed a little attitude at first, then just settled. He didn't act any different than when ridden alone. Some horses don't mind, others do.
 

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@Change I think the difference between your experience with a mare and a gelding is different because of your horse experience

@newtrailrider is new to horses and already had some confidence shaking experiences.

I would not say you can "never" ride Ona with the top gelding or the other gelding but it really depends on where you are riding. I am a life long rider and my gelding did not like anyone between his "girls" and him when we rode in large groups. Did we do it - yes - was it fun - no. And because we did not do it enough it was always a challenge. So much so that I got bucked off once on a group trail ride and he rushed at a gelding that was unfortunate to stand by one of "his" mares after I was tossed. At that point in time I said never again- not because I could get hurt but because someone else could get hurt. We could ride and pass other horses on the trail with no issues at all. We could ride on an organized ride if we stuck together and no one got between us. If someone did my gelding would toss his head, get rushy and eventually buck. And I know everyone says do circles, do this do that - but I live in NW IL and our organized rides are up and down ravines on single file trails and circles are not always possible and switching places in line is not always easy either.

For a new horse owner/rider I would say that being harshly practical (selling/rehoming the least compatible horse) is the best advice any one can give you. Will it be hard? Yes, is there a home out there for her? Yes, one that will ride her and help her to mature into the best horse she can be. 90 days of training can be undone - are you willing to send her out for training every year until your riding skill matches her needs? She is young and green - you are new to horses. As much as you love her she may not be the best fit for you at this time in your riding life.

Can you keep them all - sure - set up separate pens? Yep- I have 4 pens. Can they still get attached? yes- It may be better if you trailer off of the property to ride but riding at home may be more difficult.

I am sorry to sound harsh but there is a reason for that old saying "Green on Green = Black and Blue"
 

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There was an article in Equus magazine about mares and geldings together. The article said that the most untenable combination was two geldings and a mare together in one pasture. Unfortunately, the article came out AFTER I had gotten another gelding to put in with my mare and gelding (who got along just fine).

Having two geldings and a mare in one pasture was not a good situation for me. The Equus article said that it (of course) depends on the mares and geldings, and it CAN work, but often does not. In my case, it did not. We could ride the horses together in any combination, but out in the pasture, the geldings fought over the mare. They often would not let me catch the mare. They would herd her away when I would try to halter her. It was ugly.

Only a few months later, the mare died of colic, and when I finally decided to get another horse, I thought I could only look at geldings. Currently I have two mares and two geldings in our pasture, and they get along just fine . . . and we ride them in every combination you can imagine. Equus said two mares and two geldings would be OK, as well as two mares and a gelding.

I think putting your horses in separate pastures would solve your problems if you wanted to keep Ona. It kind of just depends on the horse. I have two geldings and a mare in a sacrifice pen temporarily, and they are doing fine. Mainly because the mare does not like geldings and ignores them. Some manage it well, others not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Yesterday I was working in the garden, which is right next to the pasture. The horses were all curious and came over by me to hang out, so I got to watch some of the "herd dynamics." I think I learned a few things about horse language. PJ had to keep himself between me and "his" girls all the time. If they came near me he drove them away, then he stood there with one eye on me. So I just looked him in the eye until he looked away a few times, then stood up and used body language to move him away from me. Ona kept nickering to me for some attention so I went and opened the gate to let her into the work area and he tried to cut her off. I drove him away from her and let her in, and left him out in the pasture. She stood untied, as still as a statue, while I groomed her head to toe. She was so relaxed and enjoyed it thoroughly, then I fed her and let her out. I guess I don't have to ride her to enjoy her - there's no hurry to find her a home. I can keep riding PJ until I get my confidence up and just stay off of her until I know that I won't let her get away with anything.

The farrier came today. I brought Ona, Joe, and Honey the Pony into the work area and left PJ outside to be trimmed, since PJ thinks he's the boss now. PJ was not at all happy when we tied Honey far away from him, so we kept her tied until he calmed down. She's a bit of a brat and very hard to catch so I worked on training her to catch me today. She had to come to me if she wanted grain, and she could only have a bite if she let me touch her halter. I think she'll be a lot of fun.

I took some pictures for fun. The farrier had a heck of a time getting those Amish shoes off of Ona. They really know how to make a shoe stay on. I had him leave them off - I have front boots for her. I'm also not going to shoe PJ anymore and just ordered him some boots. Joe got shoes, as he's always been shoed - but he's next for boots. Honey's hooves were a mess, her former owners couldn't catch her to shoe her. We didn't have much trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I had fun playing with the pony today, trying to teach her to be caught. At feeding time I tied up the 3 horses and fed them inside the pen and then went out in the pasture and sat on a stool with some feed and hand-fed the pony a bite whenever she let me touch her halter, or if she reached out and touched the clip on the lead rope. We didn't get any further than we got the other day but it was fun and let me feel like I was doing something with the horses. It's too cold and windy to ride.

I don't like leaving the halter on Honey, and as soon as she starts letting me hook up her lead rope I'll take the halter off and start training her to put her nose in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
We took PJ and Joe for a short ride down the road today - only about 2 miles. It was PJ's first time wearing his new boots (Cavallo Simple Boots) and they worked out great - no more pain walking on gravel. We had no problem whatsoever getting the boys to leave the girls behind in the pasture, and they behaved fine for us. Our little horse family is settling in nicely and I no longer feel pressured to give up Ona. I will trail ride PJ for now and only ride Ona for lessons until I get more confidence. She's got plenty of years left on her and we have time to take things as slowly as we need to take them.

I'm so excited about those boots. They're just so easy to put on and off and he took to them right away, no problem. Ona already has a pair and I did ride her a couple times in them but she was going through her "I'm not broke" stage then. I'm thinking about getting some for Joe, too.

One thing I noticed about Joes hooves is that his frogs have grown to touch the ground with shoes on. So I'm wondering if his frogs will be painful when we transition to barefoot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I'm sitting here drinking my coffee and wondering how much I'll get accomplished today. So many plans - so little motivation LOL. I need to get my potatoes planted soon and transplant my strawberries, and would really like to ride.

I have all these dreams of eventual endurance riding - and this job....... I accepted the Director of Nursing 2 months ago and I'm seriously hoping I won't have to do it for long. It takes so much of my time that I only have time to ride on weekends now and I'm on call every 3rd weekend. My mom is a resident at the nursing home where I'm director, and I can't leave this position while she's there. It was all we could do to get her to accept nursing home placement and she only agreed to it because I'm there. She's absolutely not capable of taking care of herself and it's impossible for one person to take care of her. My sister was her primary caregiver and my sister just got diagnosed with cervical cancer. My brother, who is an addict, had got clean for well over a year and we think he's using again. I love him to pieces. He has a very soft heart and my sister has always been like a mother to him. I think he started using again when she got diagnosed......

So I guess I'll just take my horsey time where I can get it for now, and be grateful for the time I get. Mom doesn't have much time left and the nursing home is going through a lot of stuff right now, and my poor family..... I just thank God for these horses because they're my sanity right now. When things get bad I can go spend time with them and everything gets easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Once again, I got off work in time for a ride . I love daylight savings time. We just went our regular route but a little further this time. It was maybe 3 miles round trip. The horses weren't nearly as spooky this time but when we got to "scary corner," both horses planted their feet and refused to budge as a very strange kid came out of the place that has all the pet pigs. He had to have been at least 10 years old and he stood at the fence and barked at the horses for a very long time. Of course his dog was standing there barking too, getting fiercer and fiercer looking. I had to get off PJ and walk him past the barkers. I didn't think I was ever going to get him to walk past. I got back on and went a little further and they balked at a black trash bag sitting by the side of the road but at least I didn't have to get off. No spooks. We waited until they were behaving themselves a little further down the road and then decided to stop while we were ahead.

When we got home I saw that PJ's boot had given him a sore so I sprayed some vetericin on it and I'm getting ready to order him some pastern wraps. The boots seem a tad loose on him. They don't rotate but they'll probably be more comfortable with pastern wraps. We tried them on Joe and they do fit Joe, so if they don't work out they won't go to waste.

Ona gave me a nice big hug when we got back. The pony is getting more friendly. We love our little horsey family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 · (Edited)
I got PJ a swayback pad. It seems to be keeping the saddle more level and up off his shoulders. I put my fingers under the front of the tree while we were riding and it did not feel like his shoulders were going under the tree at all. These pics are before and after a short ride and the last one was taken a few months ago after riding in that saddle and a regular pad. My husband actually rode Ona today for a very short ride. During the ride a lady slowed down in her truck to talk to us. She asked if we'd been out riding yesterday and apologized for her grandson barking at us. She said she was trying to "break him of that," but not having much luck. What can you say? I just said "Oh, that's OK. Don't worry about it."......awkward......
 

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