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Discussion Starter #1
i just want to hear some opinions....
For example what should the horse know how to do?
What do you make sure it knows?
What age do most people like to start?
Should the horse be ridden for the first time without a saddle?
Should it have a bit on? Or is a halter and lead ok? What do you use?
Does anyone have a special technique they use?
Anything else before the first ride.....?
 

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I consider a horse ready to ride sometime after 3 years of age if it has basic ground manners and respect for the human body, basic ground work (walk/trot/halt in hand, moves front end or hind end over with a tap.) has been lunged enough that it's obedient to voice commands and body language at all three gaits, and has been desensitized to the bridle and saddle.

This is all assuming the horse is physically mature enoguh to carry a rider.
 

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It depends on the horse...

Based on my experiences when I started my gelding...

For example what should the horse know how to do? Whether undersaddle or not, in my opinion, a horse should know how to lunge at a walk and trot and know the voice command/cluck/click/kiss noises for walk, trot, and whoa. Basic ground-driving, though IMO, that isn't a major thing and can be taught anytime, have good ground manners, be respectful...
What do you make sure it knows? Lunging and acceptance of pressure on the sides, basic voice commands, groundwork...
What age do most people like to start? I started my boy at two years of age, though it all depends on the horse...
Should the horse be ridden for the first time without a saddle? Depends on the rider and the horse...
Should it have a bit on? Or is a halter and lead ok? What do you use? I got my boy used to a bit months before I ever got on him, but his first handful of rides were with a halter and lead, I only introduced the bit after he was doing well in halter and lead... I still switch him back ot halter and lead because, since he was started in it, he responds to it just as well as he does with a bit...
Does anyone have a special technique they use? Absolutely no treats whatsoever... if you give a reward, let it be in the form of a scratch or 'good boy' or pat (in my experience, treats make my boy mouthy and I hate mouthy horses), lots of in hand walking (I mean miles and miles of in hand walking... I've found that it really helps to form bonds)... also, on a very nervous horse, it might be a little better to have a 'steady eddy' around, as the calm disposition of an older horse who you and the youg horse trusts may help calm the younger horse...
Anything else before the first ride.....? Desensitizing to saddle, stirrups flapping, loud noises, anything!!!!
 

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I'd like to add to what Britt said (even though that was a GREAT answer). Depending on what your horse is supposed to be doing (reining, roping, penning, etc.) I would get it used ot stuff involved in that area of sport early. Maybe not before you start riding them, but they learn very well at a young age, so desenstizing them to ropes, chutes, etc can be a good idea. Maybe get them used to a rope on the ground, then get them used to having a rope thrown from them before you introduce the actual cattle later on.
 

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I prefer to start a horse any time after they are 3 but I am comfortable starting a 2 year old if needed. I don't generally lunge a horse so lunging isn't terribly important to me. Basically, all I teach my horses before climbing on is to softly flex their neck each way and have an established cue for forward motion; cluck, smooch, etc. Past that, I expect them to learn everything else with me in the saddle cause that's where I will be 99.99% of the time anyway.
 

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In my opinion, is the most important thing before letting a horse carry a rider, to build up a strong bond between horse and rider.
- be patient
- love the horse more than your boyfriend :p
- and respect the horse

it is also why I am against letting pro trainers doing the job, because this mental journey, will strengthen the 'horse - rider relationship'. But of course you need a pro trainer as a rider! :)

Yees I knoow, I'm a hippie. :p :p
 

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For example what should the horse know how to do?
The horse should know how to lunge properly and ground drive. When the horse is lunging the horse should knows all the ques like "kiss" for canter, and "whoa" for stop..
What do you make sure it knows?
The quick release, how to stop, and how to wear the tack properly.
What age do most people like to start?
Three is good :) Though, two for basic ground work.
Should the horse be ridden for the first time without a saddle?
No.
Should it have a bit on? Or is a halter and lead ok? What do you use?
Yeah, I would put the bridle over the halter for the first few rides. Use a regular snaffle.


If you can I would try to work with the horse and ride with the horse in a round pen first.

I think lunging is extremely important, as well as getting a professional atleast help you. You could seriously damage a horse if not done properly, and it takes longer to fix a bad habit.
 

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Oh, one other thing I forgot, and I can't believe I forgot it...

If the horse is going to be ridden on the roadsides a lot, or around lots of vehicles or something, make sure he's USED to it!

I have a friend who had a young horse who had lots of potential, but was just going to be a regular riding horse... my friend, due to some health problems, didn't get out to spend as much time as he wanted with JD (the horse) and JD was a kindas high-strung stud-colt... during a walk on the sides of the road to help JD get used to all the noises, a trailer came by making lots of noise. Before my friend knew what had happened, JD reared up and fell against the trailer as it flew by them. It broke his leg and he had to be put down. and all because, due to problems, he wasn't worked with as much as he should have been knowning how highly strung a horse he was. It wasn't his fault, or his owners, really, but yeah... make sure the horse is really calm around whatever he's going to be around for the rest of his life.

My own young horse is coming four, and he doesn't bat an eye at vehicles and loud noises. In fact, he's so calm that he'll walk right up to a huge log truck or logging equipment and pays it no attention at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, this is all great advice so far:)


Oh, one other thing I forgot, and I can't believe I forgot it...

If the horse is going to be ridden on the roadsides a lot, or around lots of vehicles or something, make sure he's USED to it!

I have a friend who had a young horse who had lots of potential, but was just going to be a regular riding horse... my friend, due to some health problems, didn't get out to spend as much time as he wanted with JD (the horse) and JD was a kindas high-strung stud-colt... during a walk on the sides of the road to help JD get used to all the noises, a trailer came by making lots of noise. Before my friend knew what had happened, JD reared up and fell against the trailer as it flew by them. It broke his leg and he had to be put down. and all because, due to problems, he wasn't worked with as much as he should have been knowning how highly strung a horse he was. It wasn't his fault, or his owners, really, but yeah... make sure the horse is really calm around whatever he's going to be around for the rest of his life.

My own young horse is coming four, and he doesn't bat an eye at vehicles and loud noises. In fact, he's so calm that he'll walk right up to a huge log truck or logging equipment and pays it no attention at all.
That' a terrible story. My filly is used to traffic, but I will be 100% sure she's fine before we start going on the highway.
 

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Yeah, it was horrible. JD's owner was upset for ages, but he's learned from JD's unfortunate accident and with the rest of his young horses (he's a 'going-out-of-business breeder/trainer') he really takes time to walk them a lot and get them used to everything and if he can't, then he has a guy who helps him haul hay and feed that he hires to help him desensitize his youngsters.




Even with my boy being so calm right now, and with us riding on the roads more often than anything, I still feel slightly uncomfortable getting him out on the highway (the highway where I live isn't really that active, but some people out here fly on it when the speed limit is 40...) There's no way I would ever put either of my horses on the major highway (that goes into the city and the speed limit is 55 and it's extremely active)... they're both steady horses, but they can and do freak out over stupid things sometimes.
 

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About starting with a saddle or without, I'd start with a saddle. If he/she does a rodeo bronc impression you don't want them to learn (especially so early on) that they can ditch you. I've ridden horses that know they can throw their riders off. Most of them learned it young. You just can't trust them.
 

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I want a young horse to have lateral flexion and move the hindquarters. I also want the horse to lead up real free and follow my feel and lower its head with just a tiny bit of pressure at the poll. Other than that I don't need alot before I get on them. I use a rope halter for the first ride or two then I put in a snaffle. Like Smrobs I don't ask alot of stuff from the ground.

I always ride in a saddle.
 

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^^Yep, and in my experience, they tend to pick up most of the groundwork that you need them to do almost automatically after they have already learned some stuff under saddle.
 

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If you handle them correctly the ground work mostly just happens.
 

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i just want to hear some opinions....
For example what should the horse know how to do? Give to pressure, know voice commands and W/T/C/Halt on lunge (with saddle and bridle on) while responding to voice and whip. Be handled in hand - horse must be quiet. Before getting on I stand behind the horse and ground drive it (long reins) - teaching horse to turn by laying whip against left side while turning right, etc... and halting to voice and rein pressure. Also - ponying horse and/or placing horse in a position where it feels your leg against it's side and a rider above (& beside).
What do you make sure it knows? Same as what is should know (see above)
What age do most people like to start? Depends on horses breed (some mature earlier than others), height (the taller they are the later I start) and mental maturity. Never before it's 3 years of age.
Should the horse be ridden for the first time without a saddle? Only if you don't care about being bucked off.
Should it have a bit on? Or is a halter and lead ok? What do you use? Ride with mild bit plus saddle and bridle, Rider should be wearing boots and a helmet.
Does anyone have a special technique they use?
Anything else before the first ride.....?
See above.
 

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A handy trick I always do with the horses I break, before getting on them ( this only works if theyre short enough you can put your arm over their back) I will bridle them. I use a halter and lead at first of course. Anways bridle them and walk beside them urging them to walk by clicking. I steer them left and right while walking closely beside them. We stop. Back up. Walk over poles and around barrels. Its a great rick, once your on their back they already know what you want, well the basics, with your hands.
 
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