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Topic: Horses...I need help!

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Subject: Horses...I need help!
Date Posted: 12/15/2008 4:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 250
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Okay so here goes, I got my first horse 4 years ago.....I hadn't been married long and my hubby got her for me. She was a 22 year old quarter horse and more like a rescue. She was skinny when we got her and fattened her up some, we didn't ride her much as she just didn't gain like she should have, no medical reason..just old age. Anyways, she died this year of old age, I got a 5 year old quarter horse that was said to have been used in a 4-H program. I have never ridden much but have always wanted too. This horse is sweet and loving and wouldn't ever intentinally hurt me but she needs work! My 3 year old daughter goes out to pet her and stuff and she is fine. This horse(Ginger) spooks easily, such as camera flash and such things. I want to try to get her ground manners well but I am not sure what to do. I have searched online and lots of things are confusing. I also don't want to trick her with snacks as then she will think she always need snacks from me. She gets them but I don't want her to associate training with snacks, I want her to do what I tell her to because I asked. I don't know if I am making any sense at all but I would really love some advice or any opinons! Also, any help in getting over my fears....I am a chicken but  I REALLY WANT TO RIDE!!!

Thanks so much,


Date Posted: 12/16/2008 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 12/5/2008
Posts: 48
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If you haven't done much riding, then, not to be rude, but you should have stuck with an older horse. Horses are big animals and never intentionally hurt people, but it does happen. My suggestion would be to go to a trainer and take riding lessons. It would be better to take riding lessons while someone is working with you and your horse because then you can learn what you need to as well. The reason why I suggest a trainer is because if you are not sure what to do, how can you teach a horse? Books and the internet are good resources, but every horse is individualistic and not every technique will work on every horse. That is okay if you are afraid of riding the horse. If you have a small pen in which to ride the horse in, do that for a week or so. Start out riding at a walk. Do this 20 minutes a day for 3 or 4 days. If you feel like the horse has too much energy, lounge her. That means, you take a 30 foot rope, hook it to her halter, and run her in a circle. It is better to have someone show you how to do this if you are not sure. If you do this everyday before you ride her, it will get her used to a routine and she will settle down. Since she is five and I consider that very young, routines are very important to the youngsters. I am not saying that you can't do this on your own, but it is better to go to a trainer and get help than to get hurt. Even if you just take 2 or 3 lessons, it will help build your confidence in the long run. If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me. I have been riding horses for about 13 years and have a 12-year old Arabian Saddlebred cross that I show in hunter classes and jump with. I also work at a breeding farm that specializes in Arabian Park and English horses.

Date Posted: 12/16/2008 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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I've been riding since I was a kid, and I agree with Brodi. If you've never really ridden, it is better to stick to an older horse. It's important to be consistent with a younger horse and work with them a few times a week, if not everyday. If you aren't sure what to do, you should work with a trainer and take lessons. When I start working with a new horse, I do a ton of ground work. That way they respect me and are used to me. I also lounge them.

Date Posted: 12/20/2008 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2008
Posts: 28
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I would either trade this horse for an older (20-something) been-there-done-that type of horse, or send it off to a trainer for at least 3 months.....I've been riding for 15 years now and bought my lesson horse after a year of lessons (when I turned 30).........That horse was an older horse in his 20s that had done almost everything, and I rode him 2-3 times each week for one year before I bought him.  I also kept him at that stable for a few more years, and continued to take riding lessons.  I also learned all I could about feeding, caring, etc.......

Now I have my own place and still have that first horse, even though he is close to 40 now!  He is a VERY expensive horse to keep, as he has almost no teeth and needs a senior diet ONLY...he also goes to the vet for regular check ups every 3 months.....We have another horse, a 10-year-old that I bought as a 2 year old.  I sent him to the trainer's when he was 3 years old for 3 months the first year, took him on a 100-mile ride when I picked him up from training.  I continued to send him to training for 2 more years (once for 2 months, then for 1 month).....now he is 10, and good, but I still wouldn't put a novice rider on him.....

I also have a 10-year-old daughter.  She started riding my old, experienced lesson horse when she was 6.  She has now graduated to a 22 year old retired show morgan gelding.  She has learned so much from this horse, and he has kept her SAFE......

I would NEVER allow a child to be that close to a spooky horse (or any horse quite frankly)...you are talking about a 1000 pound animal here!  They can unintentionally do ALOT of damage to a person...

So I guess my recommendations to you are: 

Send your horse for training, and spend the last month at the trainer's observing what he is doing, and ask for lessons at that time (that is what I did with my "new" horse even though I was experienced)...

second...buy a round pen!  Yes, they are close to $800-1000, but that gave me so much confidence.....

third, join a local riding club, and

fourth, get a good vet and follow his advice which includes vet exams at least twice each year...

ooh and I forgot, fifth, get a good horseshoer and have him visit at least every 8 weeks for a trim (yes-all my boys are barefoot-but the shoer still comes out every 8 weeks to trim)....

And now for a final joke.....do you know how to make 1 million $ in  horses????? Start with $2 million (horses are VERY expensive)....



Date Posted: 12/21/2008 1:38 AM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2008
Posts: 427
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I wouldn't give up on your 5-year old just because you're a novice but I would definitely follow the advice of everyone else here and find someone to a) give your horse some training and b) give you some riding lessons. Preferably this is the same person, because you'll need to know what the trainer is teaching your horse so you can keep it up.  Good luck to you. My 47-yr-old husband bought a pretty 5 year old gelding from a woman who couldn't get him out of the yard, he'd taken all of 3 months of lessons (and I none), and while we've had a couple frustrating incidents and spent some money with the trainer we now have two willing, patient, and well-behaved horses and we are having a fantastic time.  You can do it too, but probably not from books.

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 6:11 AM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2008
Posts: 398
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Find a good trainer.  Many out there will include lessons working with you and your horse as part of your horse's training.  You will need to know what methods your trainer is using with your horse as well as taking lessons to increase your own confidence.  Make sure you are comfortable with your trainer and his/her methods.  This is the BEST option for  you and your horse if you can afford it. and want to keep this horse.

Option 2 would be to get an older, bomb proof horse.  But be aware bomb proof horses are NOT cheap no matter the age or breed.  Nobody gives away a bomb proof horse or pony....they are worth their weight in gold and most never go up for sale to the general public as they are passed amoung the local horse community who know about them.  Most "bomb proof" horses are NOT as advertised and you will have to pay to get one that is really bomb proof.  Beware of horses being drugged when you go look at them if they are advertised as bomb proof.  A horse that is completely safe with kids/novice riders is rare and hard to find.  I know  a lot of problems people will overlook to get a gentle horse and people are willing to pay for it.  So a free or low priced horses has some problem the seller is not telling you...if they are claiming it is bomb proof. 

If you can't afford a trainer, it is possible to do it yourself with a lot of help and a healthy dose of common sense.  Find some veteran, been there, done that, horse owners that are willing to help you and that you are comfortable with!  Some so called experts don't really know what they are doing so use your own common sense.  Go slow, be patient.  Don't rush yourself or your horse.  Clinton Anderson and Tommy Garland are my two favorites for do it yourselfers:  they offer sound advice, solutions, methods.  They both also do free episodes on RFD TV so you can get a feel for their methods and results before you invest anything in any tapes or books.  Do not go this route if you are not confident enough in your own abilities and common sense. 

Good luck and feel free to PM me if you'd like.

Vet Tech Tory (we have 34 horses-foals, broodmares, riding horses, and stallions).


Date Posted: 3/13/2009 7:37 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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gosh I didn't know horses lived 40 years..didn't know they lived 20 either..of course I've never had one though I've wanted one esp during my teens

Subject: horse ages
Date Posted: 8/19/2010 3:49 AM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2008
Posts: 398
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Many breeds can live 20+ years.  When folks say a horse is OLD in it's early teens that translates to it has been broken down due to being ridden too soon (at too young an age) or not kept properly.  As a horse breeder, I am appalled everytime I read about the broke to ride TWO YEAR OLD and I refuse to have anything to do with horse racing because they start horses way to early.  Horses are not mature until age FIVE or LATER depending on the breed.  Putting stress on growing bones damages the growth plates in limbs, damages spines, and damages minds.   We do ground work with our youngsters and may saddle them around three or four, but NONE of them is ridden until age FIVE when they are physically and mentally able to handle the stress of being ridden. 

When you wait until the horse is mature enough for the stress, it promotes a healthier and longer life span.  Our horses have useful and productive lives well into their late 20's to mid 30's.  The oldest horse/pony I've personally known was a 42 year old pony.