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For those of you who start your own horses...

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  • For those of you who start your own horses...

    What do you like to have done in 30 days?

  • #2
    where are we starting from??? Just halter... or does the horse already have ground manners?? Are we starting real work at this point in the 30 days?
    "The ability to write a check for attire should not be confused with expertise. Proficiency doesn't arrive shrink-wrapped from UPS and placed on your doorstep."


    • #3
      It totally depends on the horse, but all of ours have been w/t/c within 30 days from beginning to be tacked and lunged, but have been handled regularly and are good for farrier, grooming, etc. Some are more solid and jumping small crossrails by that time, ready to sell to amateurs and juniors. Some are still lungeing before getting on them each ride, but others we can climb on in the field at the gate & hack around the field before going to work in the ring.

      Some we lunge 4 times, 2 with tack, and get on. Trot the 2nd day, canter the third.

      Some take a couple of weeks lungeing to build trust in the trainer, and settle to the routine and separation from their buddies. We have always been cantering a few strides in each direction within the first 3 or 4 rides.

      Thye biggest time difference is in when they are ready to be gotten on. Once they are that comfortable, the hard/scary part is over.
      Last edited by Fairview Horse Center; Apr. 14, 2009, 01:26 PM.


      • #4
        Walk, trot, halt in the arena and canter if the horse is comfortable. I also like to get them out on a trail ride with a confident buddy. I usually spend about 2 weeks saddling, bridling, sacking out and ground driving (long lining).

        I can send the horse out to a cowboy and he can usually get all that done in 1-2 days but my way is much safer for me.


        • #5
          That's a practically impossible question to answer... like Quest asked, where are you starting from? How old is the horse? Is it tall, growthy and unbalanced, or smaller and well-balanced and developed??!

          I personally don't agree with waiting until a horse is 4 and ginormous and then hopping on and working it 4-5 days a week. I personally believe very light, consistent work earlier on makes for stronger, denser bones, and the horse doesn't spend too long out in a field getting used to "not doing anything".

          I start my horses in the fall of their 2 yr old years, starting with just sitting and walking for 5-6 minutes once or twice a week. I very gradually increase the workload over the next 2 years. Once they're backed, I don't "give them a winter off" or anything like that.. mind you, my horses have brains that NEED to work, otherwise they get bored, antsy and desctructive.

          My coming 5-year old is leased out, since March 1st, and only now is she being ridden more like an adult horse, 4-5 times a week. But usually only for about 30 minutes or so.


          • #6
            Do whats comfortable for you and your horse. If after 30 days, your still just walking, thats ok. Having a happy and relaxed horse is most important.
            Have Fun and be safe!


            • #7
              Depends on physical and mental age. Also depends where you are starting. Our progress from lunge to long line to U/S. Ours are not pushed based on a calendar. At 30 days most are W/T to W/T/C
              Epona Farm
              Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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              • Original Poster

                Interesting answers which leads me to a new question... What leads you to make the decision that they are ready to be "gotten on"?


                • #9
                  Age. I usually wait until they are three, at which time the boney plates of the knees should be closed. That does not mean a lot of hard riding during that first year though.


                  • #10
                    Totally depends on the horse. I've usually got them w/t/c at the end of 90 days, but it can take me 30 days to get on some, 60 days or more to get on others. That's with 4 or more year olds who halter and lead and wear blankets.

                    I've had 3 year olds that I can w/t/c on the longe, and then when I back them I realize that they are not strong enough so they get turned back out for 6 months or so.

                    It doesn't matter to me how FAST. It matters to me how well--and how unstressful and fun it is for the horse. This is the foundation for the rest of the horse's riding career. It is important that the horse finds it interesting and enjoyable.
                    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pippa553 View Post
                      Interesting answers which leads me to a new question... What leads you to make the decision that they are ready to be "gotten on"?
                      They can w/t/c on the longe line in tack (with stirrups hanging) and they respond to voice commands. In other words, they can do everything without a rider that I am going to want them to do with a rider mounted.
                      "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                      • #12
                        Agree with Eclectic Horseman , but will add that I am sure that the individual is physically mature enough to do so in a balanced fashion (can learn to carry itself on the lunge).

                        If they can't balance themselves yet (awkward, gawky and struggling due to continued growth that can affect balance and rhythm), IME it's not time to get on yet. Shoot, I don't even ask for the canter on the lunge until they are balanced, rhythmic and relaxed at the trot and have really good w/t transitions without falling on their nose, rooting, scooting or showing other signs of not being able quite yet.

                        While you can usually see when "it's time to get on" from the ground work, I never overdo it just because I may be eager to push the process. In addition to the physical ability on the lunge, I also pay close attention to the attitude as the horse attempts to carry itself.

                        IME, waiting until they have the physical maturity to figure out their own body/balance before they have to cope with having to balance a rider, makes for better success in the long run (re: attitude and certainly long-term soundness).

                        Once they can do the above, and get them under saddle, I don't even want to ask for the canter until they are really solid -- balanced, rhymthic and relaxed in the trot work.

                        But then, I'm old fashioned. I'm a fan of getting a horse under saddle after they've figured out their own body/balance issue on the lunge. Lots of ground pole gymnatic work is also very helpful in getting a horse to figure out its balance before you even get on.

                        How they progress after that, you then deal with the same issues they had on the lunge. They have to learn everything all over with a rider on top. I'd rather take is slow and get it right, before progressing. The "training scale" applies to ground work as well...and tells you when the horse is ready to move up.
                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                        • #13
                          really nice answers. I tend to get on and do a lot of walking while also working the same day on the longe at trot and canter, in order to simultaneously get them used to weight bearing but also fit them up for the later under saddle work. I am on ride 14 with a green horse who had been handled and longed half a dozen times before she came to me. She was decidedly bent to the left when she came and could not bend right even on the longe. She is even both sides now, under saddle and on the longe. We have walk, trot, and canter under saddle. The canter is iffy-one side only so far and that was on ride 14. We have gone for short trail walks alone. She leg yields, does 20 and 15 m circles in good rhythm and keeps steady contact, all at both walk and trot. She is starting shoulder fore at walk and trot. She has good trot walk and walk halt transitions.
                          By ride 30 I hope to have canter rhythmically, plus 20 m circles at canter, and the start of shoulder in at trot.
                          "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                          • #14
                            Cat -- sounds like you are doing very well with your horse.
                            www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                            "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                            Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pippa553 View Post
                              Interesting answers which leads me to a new question... What leads you to make the decision that they are ready to be "gotten on"?

                              I agree with the others about lungeing nicely, with stirrups down, well balanced. I not only want to see their physical development and balance, but especially their focus, and attention span. I don't want them watching for their buddies, getting upset if a bird takes off nearby, or worried if a dog is running around in the arena. I also like to see them quiet and obedient when other horses are working at all gaits and jumping.

                              I also like to take a session or two to jump them on the lunge. Moving that much with a saddle on, really helps to get them to "wiggle into their tack".

                              We want to be able to snap the leathers down, poke them in the girth/sides a bit, and climb on a mounting block to get some height, waving arms above them, patting them all over, and jumping off the block next to them - both sides. Then we let the rider lay across them while we take them for a few steps of walk. When none of this bothers them, they are totally bored, they are ready.

                              Undersaddle, the first day we just lead in a circle, or maybe follow a dominant buddy-horse. The 2nd day, we jog a bit in hand, then ride loose w/t around the big ring both ways for about 5 minutes. The 3rd day, we do bigger trot, slower trot, repeat, and they just step into canter from a faster trot. They usually do 4-8 strides, and fall back into trot. Each ride after that, we ask them to hold the canter a bit longer.

                              We find that if left to just w/t, the horse thinks that IS what riding is all about, and get too worried/excited, sometimes even resentful when you finally go to canter. Canter is too much like "buck". I also want them still figuring out the balance of carrying a rider, and having to concentrate on it. I don't want carrying a rider to be too easy for them, or them to be confident before adding canter.

                              We don't ask for any lateral things until the horse is really forward and straight (several months). We also don't ask for any circles smaller than about 30+ meters before about 50 to 60 rides


                              • #16
                                If the horse is completely solid on ground work and has been prepared physically by lunging, I would like the horse to have a forward, ground covering gait at the walk, trot, and canter. I want the horse to transition upward and downward with leg and seat (obviously with a lot of room for improvement) at the walk and trot, and possibly canter depending on the horse. The horse should also be responsive and "give" to bit pressure and should be well on its way to moving away from my leg consistently. I want everything to be about calm, easy, forward, and relaxed. The horse should also stand quietly for at least a few minutes. Some of those expectations are ambitious, I know, but those are my goals when starting a horse. Each session is kept short and stays relaxed. Most of what I ask for and whether I get it or not depends completely on the quality of work done with the horse before I put my first foot in the stirrup. It is a simple matter of applying what has been done from the ground when I'm in the saddle.


                                • #17
                                  impossible to say what to expect in 30 days. it's best to not put a clock on it, or be so goal oriented, especially since you are doing it yourself.

                                  that said, I believe starting a horse is a 2 person job. Once a horse is w/t/c both directions in tack, crisp on voice commands, comfy with the whip (optional for some but not mine) on the lunge and long lines, I will either throw a rider up or I am up in saddle with reliable horse person leading. I prefer a lighter weight person at first. Like pony ride: 1 person leading at the head, 1 person in the saddle giving leg, weight and rein aids. at walk and trot.


                                  then lead person becomes lunging the rider

                                  get w/t/c with rider up on the lunge

                                  then rider is on their own, working on steering


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by pippa553 View Post
                                    What do you like to have done in 30 days?
                                    Meaningless question.
                                    30 days from when? The day I bought him as a new weanling?
                                    The day I started preparing him to show in hand?
                                    The day I started ponying him?
                                    The day I backed him?

                                    I don't aim to have ANYTHING in particular done in 30 days. At first I only "work" about one day a week, and I progress based on how the horse responds, not based on an agenda.

                                    If I start with the day I first sat on Chief in the stall, in 30 days (two more rides) I rode him up and down the barn aisle, and from the barn to the pasture fence and back.

                                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                    • #19
                                      Well....my boys were pretty easy to break....lunging and long lining was a piece of cake as well as the actual getting on...I sent my current gelding to the trainers for 30 days after I had already had him lunging and long lining...my current filly who is 2 now is much more challenging...everything is taking longer...I'm giving her time and hopefully she will be submissive to tacking her soon and I can get her lunging...I'm not sure I have time before she goes off to get backed, but they will take up where I left off...I feel like my whole program is thrown off kilter because she is a little drama queen about everything and I'm trying to make things not such a big deal...

                                      I really think it depends on the horse...we'll see how this goes....
                                      For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com


                                      • #20
                                        As everyone else says, its depends... clients horses (within their means) need to be done in a certain amount of time, my own I let have all the time they need.

                                        If I have to I can do a break in in two weeks, completely wild to riding. Walk, trot and canter in RY and arena, been out around the track or larger paddock, up and down small hills and down the road. I don't like doing it that fast, not at all and will always try to give them at least a month for all that.

                                        But it sort of depends on their age as well, some of the 2yo racehorses I've done are so easy at that age that its quite stress free, but they do get tired so quickly and really not good for them physically. Thankfully the ones I have done have been turned back out to grow before they come back in as 3yos.

                                        At the other end of the scale I've done some 6/7yo wild horses who can take the work physically, and are so tough mentally, so you could do it faster as you can work them harder, but the change is stressful for them so I like to give them time.

                                        I am currently breaking in my own 3yo and am just taking him really slowly, the way I would do them all if I could. I do only 3 or 4 rides a week, hes had about ten rides now. Hes had basic ground work, lunges quietly with stirrups down, bagging, leg ropes, flank rope, saddling and now does w/t/c in the halter and bridle (all on the buckle) in the arena, hes had two 1/2 hour hacks out down the road and goes for a walk and trot around larger paddocks. I also, from the beggining have been leading him out from my other horse all sorts of places to build his confidence and give him some variety.

                                        So the short answer... 30 days is irrelivent, as slow as the horse needs mentally and physically is best.
                                        *Barefoot Eventers Clique*

                                        "In the mirror of another being, we see a reflection of ourselves."