View Full Version : Well that was interesting....
Jan. 18, 2010, 12:53 PM
One of the other boarders at my barn had purchased a new horse and decided that he wanted to get rid of his other gelding. This gelding seems to put up with A LOT of really bad riding habits. (ie. not being ridden with ANY leg on flat or o/f, rider being left behind & grabbing his mouth/no release, etc). And apparently he evented to pre-training and did up to 2nd level dressage, sounds like a nice broke horse. The owner literally wanted to get rid of him from the sounds of it.
So I figured, what the hay, I'd try riding him and see if maybe I could take him on for a re-sell project.
Well I rode him yesterday and I think he's a LOT more work than I had thought. He was sooo stiff through his body (wouldn't bend at ALL) and his mouth was like a concrete wall. I played around with trying to get him to give and stretch down. He seemed to have a really good attitude and didn't get annoyed with anything I did. On to the canter. Oh boy. It was like a runaway freight train. He was crooked, leaning and felt like he was going 90 miles an hour around the arena and when I pulled him up it took a TON of effort. I had a jump set up in the arena but the prospect of taking that horse over it was slightly scary. lol
This gelding hadn't been ridden in awhile and I think when he was ridden, he wasn't ridden very well. Poor guy. I'm tempted to ride him a bit more and see if I can make some progress with him but he seems pretty set in his ways. I'm tempted to try a different bit (I used a D-ring with a french link) but I'm not sure if that will help his hard mouth or make it worse. Maybe some lunging in side reins would help?
Jan. 18, 2010, 01:10 PM
I rode a horse named Iron Monarch who was nicknamed "Iron Jaw." He was 19 when I leased him and pretty set in his ways, but longeing with side reins did help him quite a bit. Especially if we longed pre-ride. I would give the horse a few more rides and go from there. Even if he doesn't get any better, you didn't lose anything by riding him.
Jan. 18, 2010, 01:25 PM
Establish a stop first. Always good. My TB ran over a judge at a canter once at his first show due to the fact that I was stupid and he was out of control!
You could try a different bit but a stronger bit is not necessarily a better bit. Bitting down can do the same thing sometimes...... I would just go to a plain heavy snaffle full cheek cause that is what I like to start in. Is he taking the bit in his mouth? or just running? Cause running should be controlled with the stop not the bit. You could also just run him into the wall a couple times. That was the only way I got it through the TB's thick head to stop at the canter!
I wouldn't give up on him quite yet but it would be a long resell project to fix more than likely. Sounds like he is willing to work but not physically able to yet due to his previous riding.
Try some ground stretching too. There are some great books out there and that would help some of the stiffness.
Jan. 18, 2010, 02:16 PM
Rescue Pony - that's exactly what I was thinking. His stop is really really poor. I did a pile of walk forward-stop-back up, yesterday with him and it maybe improved a bit but not too much. That was just the first ride though, that's definitely worth seeing if we can get some improvement. I'm tempted to try it with draw reins, not tight, but just to kinda help him with the idea of flexing and giving and then let go.
I thought the same thing about the bit too. I don't necessarily think a stronger bit will help the situation. He needs to understand what I want more than anything.
I'm not too sure how to describe his cantering and lack of stopping from the canter. He doesn't understand/respond to any of the "normal" aids when asking for a downward transition (close leg, sit deep, stretch up, etc), he just keeps on going. Only after IMHO excessive amounts of pulling does he transition down.
I'm almost 100% sure after seeing how he was ridden and now actually riding him, that his rider used absolutely NO leg on him. Totally ridden from hand to leg vs. leg to hand. I went to see if I could push him forward in the bit and he rushed forward and ran through the bit as soon as I added more leg.
As for his stiffness, it's not so much a movement stiffness. It's more like when you ask him to bend around a circle he just tips rather than bends his body.
ETA Thanks for the tips! I appreciate it!
Jan. 18, 2010, 02:19 PM
I wouldn't put too much into it unless you do buy him...and pretty cheap.
Could just be bad riding but, unless you have total control and nobody else rides him? You can't fix that.
There may also be holes in the backstory and he is not quite what you think and what the owner was told when he bought him. Bet he hasn't had any routine vetwork done and is likely backsore/hocksore/footsore, things that need to be tended to if you expect any progress.
See if you can put him on the lunge in loose sidereins and ask him to go both ways at both trot and canter. That ought to show you if he knows anything as well as show up any serious soreness/lameness. IME a really bad canter means the horse either never learned how or it hurts. Not really a positive in one purported to be well trained you are considering as a resale project.
Make sure you can answer these questions before taking this one on...and watch the price. Without specific skills, they are hard to market at any kind of price.
Anyway, let me add that you need some kind of agreement with the owner before you do anything. Not only liability but you need to have control of the horse and his training sessions.
Hate to see you bust your butt for free to try to work this one and the owner decide his new squeeze can ride it too...or sells it out from under you. Ask me how I know...Watch you don't inadvertantly increase his value before you buy and the owner jack the price up on you as well...been there too.
Jan. 18, 2010, 02:58 PM
Before I got my current horse I had a similar problem.
He was a training horse of mine. We had an outside trainer come in and look at him to see if she could sell him (I was just getting started and had NO contacts at the time!) So the week before she came I pulled him out of the field after three months off and he was jumping 3'6" courses in a week (he was still in decent shape as he played A LOT in the field) He was young, about 4 or 5 and was only 15'3 at the time.
So I rode him for her, she liked him, and took him for two weeks to see if she could sell him.
At the end of said two weeks he came home with a jaw of steel and running at the jumps!
I was furious! I know exactly what happened. She saw short horse and said "he's never going to make the strides" so she really pushed him. He went "OMG! Who is this lunatic!"
Long story short I took 1 week of lunging in side reins. after that I got on and started over. He now belongs to me:D I couldn't let that much talent get wasted!
Jan. 18, 2010, 03:43 PM
Findeight - I know what you mean and I totally agree with all you've said.
I think this guy really wants to literally give this gelding away. He was actually talking about just taking him up to the auction and dumping him.
And you're right, I don't think he's had routine vet work done at all. I think he could really use to have his teeth done for starters. I did notice a funny hitch in his step when we first started trotting, kind of like one hind leg wasn't tracking up as much as the other. Stifle issue maybe? One he got going and actually used his hind end and came into the bridle a bit, it disappeared. Not so sure what to think of that. It makes me very leery though.
I think if I ride him, it'll only be a couple more times just to see if he's "progress-able". No intensive riding/training until after he was mine (BIG *IF*). I'm going to get someone else to come watch out next ride to see if it looks as bad as it feels! lol
NLK - oh wow.... poor horse! I'm glad he's yours now!
Jan. 18, 2010, 06:52 PM
IF you get that horse I would get a full entire vet workup on him. Get his teeth done.
Than start with simple tasks that he can pick up easily. Stop, Walk, Stop. Have him do that well, and add the trot to it. Just two steps at first and than walk and reverse.
I have ridden WAY to many fruity horses. I prefer my packer now but have done enough fruity horses.
Jan. 19, 2010, 09:37 AM
He doesn't sound fruity to me, just having had to make the bst of a bad situation. A sensitive horse owned by a beginner is going to wind up "dumbing down" for its own sake, and has probably developed lots of bad habits.
I'd say take the horse (if you can afford it), but don't pay much and *only* after you've invested the $$$ in a good pre-purchase - you want to know that there's nothing unworkable going on there. You didn't say how old this one is, but realize that any older horse that's not been taken care of is going to have _something_ going on, but...
Good luck! I love "recovering" the older ones. They're so happy when you do!
Jan. 19, 2010, 01:39 PM
He's 12 from what the owner says Paw.
I'm still mulling it all over. I'm just not too sure that I want to spend the time and $$ getting him rehabbed. There's a little voice in the back of my head saying that there's something wrong with him.
Jan. 19, 2010, 09:21 PM
Whenever I've ignored that still small voice, it's come back as a scream. ;) My advice is don't rush or be lead entirely by emotion. Good luck to you!!