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Spinoff: How many times have you/your trainer come off the horse you are starting?

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  • Spinoff: How many times have you/your trainer come off the horse you are starting?

    I have been approched a few times by individuals wanting to know if I started babies (well, age appropriately, 3 y/o's). I have never done it, but I feel that I could if I had the opportunity, as I have taken very very green horses on up. Since I have more respect for the ground the older I get, and I am still young, I am wondering exactly how much dirt I may be eating if I did decide to try it. I realize that if you take it at the horses pace, do your appropriate groundwork, dont skip steps and dont rush it, you should be ok in most cases. But... sh*t happens. So, trainers or ammies that have started babies, do you have an average number of incidents, or do you find that with most induividuals, it really isnt a big deal to the horse (which is of course the goal). TIA!


  • #2
    When we start horses, we do so in a way that we don't allow that to happen. Nothing is worse for the confidence of a young horse than to have a rider fall off! If started correctly, it is a "non-issue"


    • #3
      *knock wood* but I have never come off a horse that i have started from the beginning (never ridden before). Came off one retraining horse this year though (came due to a bucking issue).

      Most important thing is to know how to read the horse, and to not over-react if things go awry.

      Of course now I will likely be piled into the ground tomorrow....
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #4
        .01% or less? It's hard to count...at what point does a "started horse" stop being a "started horse?" There are a very few that are chronically tough, and there are a very few instances where the rider comes off due to whatever is going on at that point in time. But 99.99% of the time you mount and dismount at the appointed time, if you are experienced and working through the process in a logical manner.
        Man plans. God laughs.


        • #5
          Pretty much all of my falls off of the babies have been a result of the entire horse falling down. Actual starting issues are rare if you do things properly, but don't underestimate the coordination difficulties of the 3 year old .


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by CHT View Post
            *knock wood*

            Of course now I will likely be piled into the ground tomorrow....
            Oh No! I hope not!!



            • #7
              Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
              Pretty much all of my falls off of the babies have been a result of the entire horse falling down. Actual starting issues are rare if you do things properly, but don't underestimate the coordination difficulties of the 3 year old .
              "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


              • #8
                That would be a zero.
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home


                • Original Poster

                  Cool. Thats what I wanted to hear! Thanks everyone!



                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                    Pretty much all of my falls off of the babies have been a result of the entire horse falling down. Actual starting issues are rare if you do things properly, but don't underestimate the coordination difficulties of the 3 year old .
                    Glad someone said this!
                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                    • #11
                      Another zero here.


                      • #12
                        I've observed my trainer start many youngsters over the years and I can only think of one that he came off of in those early rides. And that one was his own fault for being cocky (even he might admit to that) and doing too much too soon -- and he paid for it. Didn't help that the owner was there as well -- hard to get that image of your trainer looking like a floppy ragdoll out of your head.


                        • #13
                          None of our youngsters has bucked or done anything to get a rider off. Rider falls off the youngsters have been rare, have always been after a few months under saddle, and are usually related to when they begin jumping - jumping huge, a big spook, or once when the herd of 25 (field around the arena) took off running when the trainer was 2 strides out from a little jump. That wheel and buck on landing was WAY too much to stick.

                          Youngsters only do crazy things if they are scared, so it is important to gain their confidence, and keep them relaxed and trusting. For the first mount, work with a handler you can trust. Lay across a few times. Treats are your friend. Following a trusted, older horse is great at first.

                          Once the initial backing is done, they need to learn to go forward. The biggest issues come if a horse is not in front of the leg, and begins to be balky. They understand whip from the ground work, so use the whip to tap from the saddle, and gradually teach them leg from use of the whip.

                          Steering is the hardest, as reins mean halt to them. At first, try to have space to not need much steering. If they get stuck in a corner, just reposition to face the right way, then go forward again.

                          One point of advice. "Buck" is very much like the canter gait, so make sure you introduce the canter pretty soon in your rides - even a few strides in each direction. Once they get confident, they think they know it all, and can make an issue of canter if it is new. Better to get some departs when the baby still has to concentrate on balancing the rider, as they are MUCH less inclined to add "extras". We introduce the canter just by asking for faster trot on the long side, slower on the short ends. Pretty soon they just calmly (accidentally) step into it. They fall back out of it a few strides later. Then you can add strides to that.

                          I have never had a youngster fall down.


                          • #14
                            Almost never. I say almost because we did have one horse that was a bit if a challenge but my coming off was very much planned and I very much landed on my feet (you could say it was more of a fast dismount).

                            You just have to remember that when dealing with the babies you are more likely to sustain an injury on the ground than undersaddle.


                            • #15
                              Almost never... they usually wait until they are 4yo to try being naughty.


                              • #16
                                Yeah, another zero here. Honestly, it's not about the getting on, it's the groundwork that has been done before you get on. If you have done everything at the correct pace, there should be no bucking or falling off.

                                If you are really serious about starting young horses, then spend time with someone who is respected for doing so. Spend time working with someone who does so. Learn about why you lunge and learn why you drive. Most people leaving the driving out nowadays, but it really is both a skill and of importance to the horse. I've always done starting with a partner. And by this I mean a very skilled ground person - I actually wouldn't count myself as a skilled ground person. Then when I get on I know horses are both ready and happy for me to do so and they are confident in what is happening. Then it is my job not to screw that confidence up.

                                COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                                "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                                • #17
                                  Done right it does not happen. Once had an "incident" of someone driving into the yard and freeing three kids and two dogs. Spin was very fast and I landed standing beside the horse wanting to order the strangers out of my yard. Otherwise the babies are more interested in trying to figure things out and are busy learning alot....I love doing babies but think with advancing age I may have done my last one.


                                  • #18
                                    No one, trainer or daughter, has come off of our 3yo. I'm sure it's bound to happen eventually, but honestly, we've found that the 3yo's that have been handled properly and are started properly don't really start testing until they've been under saddle awhile. Ours bucked once when under saddle for a few months, it was actually comical because he is a such a clutz (growthy warmblood). I don't let anyone on ours that is likely to be unseated over something silly.

                                    Anyway, we strive to avoid unintentional dismounts for as long as possible


                                    • #19
                                      I find it depends on the horse...when I was breaking horses for the public, I had some that were not a problem. Then I got the bad ones...the ones other trainers tried with and didn't get very far...some of those I came off of. When training for the public, I didn't pick and chose what I was starting; I took whatever came along. And the falls is one reason I no longer start horses for the public. I may still do an odd one here or there that I own, but then I've picked it out and it is going to have a decent temperament, and therefore be much less likely to dump me.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks for the great advice everyone, that's great to know. I totally agree about doing proper groundwork and gaining the trust beforehand. Thanks again! Love me some COTHers!