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Starting a horse and making mistakes

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  • Starting a horse and making mistakes

    Hi all. I'm having a dilemma and needed to get some advice from people that know some stuff or just have some words of encouragement.

    Last night I finalized the lease on my new show project. He's gorgeous, huge, and a very fast learner. His owner wants me to have a fun time with him (as my show mare had to retire because of navicular) and she doesn't care what I do with him or what type of shows we do. She had hip and knee surgery and can barely work with him anymore. It's a wonderful situation but I'm already facing problems

    I've had lots of experience with green horses, but he's the first horse I've ever truly started on my own. He had some days put on him 7 years ago. I'm not worried about the training, I'm worried about the mistakes I've already made.

    I bridled him too quickly last night (just head stall and bit for lunging) and he got nervous. I corrected the problem but it still was upsetting for me.

    Is it normal to make mistakes as a "trainer?" Am I going to ruin this horse before he even gets a start?

    Before anyone says anything about a professional/trainer I'm not in the position to make that happen right now

  • #2
    If you get upset when he gets nervous, this is probably not the horse for you. Unless you can get help from a professional, which you've already said can't be done. Sorry to be blunt.

    Comment


    • #3
      If the horse being nervous by being bridled too quickly (did you just jerk the bit into his face and drag it over his ears? not exactly how you bridle too quickly) upsets you what do you think is going to happen the first time the horse humps his back when you get on? or the first time you get the fantastic plant the feet and forget how to move routine.

      So yes - you can absolutely ruin a horse, possibly before you even get into the saddle. He was started 7 years ago? That would put him minimum at 9 if not older - NOT for a green or nervous handler. This is a horse that is firmly believing that he should live the life of retirement and not have to work for a living. Expect additional issues to arise.

      Sounds like you need to pass on this opportunity and move onto something that has a good solid year under saddle. Maybe even take lessons and half lease from the trainer.

      Comment


      • #4
        Soooooo...
        Am I reading this correctly:
        Owner has not yet backed this near-9yo & is willing to lease him to someone without the experience of starting any horse?
        And who is unwilling to get any help from someone who has the needed experience?

        All sorts of red flags.

        Yes, you can provide all sorts of bad training and leave owner with a horse unsuitable for any rider.
        I question both the owner & you for thinking this lease will benefit anyone.
        Please find something more suitable for your experiment in starting one U/S.
        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by c0608524 View Post
          If you get upset when he gets nervous, this is probably not the horse for you. Unless you can get help from a professional, which you've already said can't be done. Sorry to be blunt.
          I may have phrased it incorrectly. I wasn't upset with him! Just me for not thinking everything through. I carried on calmly. I was upset after the session, no emotion until I hopped in the car

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by oppsfelldown View Post
            If the horse being nervous by being bridled too quickly (did you just jerk the bit into his face and drag it over his ears? not exactly how you bridle too quickly) upsets you what do you think is going to happen the first time the horse humps his back when you get on? or the first time you get the fantastic plant the feet and forget how to move routine.

            So yes - you can absolutely ruin a horse, possibly before you even get into the saddle. He was started 7 years ago? That would put him minimum at 9 if not older - NOT for a green or nervous handler. This is a horse that is firmly believing that he should live the life of retirement and not have to work for a living. Expect additional issues to arise.

            Sounds like you need to pass on this opportunity and move onto something that has a good solid year under saddle. Maybe even take lessons and half lease from the trainer.
            I may have phrased incorrectly. I was upset with myself for not thinking the entire bridling though. He did nothing wrong. I assumed he knew more than he did and bridled him like a schoolmaster and he got nervous. I carried on calmly and didn't let any emotion into my actions, calmed him down and tried again much slower and ended positively. I was when I got in the car that I was mad at my behavior

            Comment


            • #7
              I've restarted four OTTBs and I would never start a horse that had a few rides 7 years ago without professional help. You really need to work with someone who has a program/roadmap to get you started safely (both you and the horse).
              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                Soooooo...
                Am I reading this correctly:
                Owner has not yet backed this near-9yo & is willing to lease him to someone without the experience of starting any horse?
                And who is unwilling to get any help from someone who has the needed experience?

                All sorts of red flags.

                Yes, you can provide all sorts of bad training and leave owner with a horse unsuitable for any rider.
                I question both the owner & you for thinking this lease will benefit anyone.
                Please find something more suitable for your experiment in starting one U/S.
                He's been backed, started under saddle a while ago but he's been left as a pasture horse. It's not that I'm unwilling to seek help from a professional, I'm just currently in a financial status that won't allow that to happen.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                  I've restarted four OTTBs and I would never start a horse that had a few rides 7 years ago without professional help. You really need to work with someone who has a program/roadmap to get you started safely (both you and the horse).
                  I'll have to pass this boy up then. I have no way of getting a professional at this moment

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    @2DogsFarm i see the red flags as well don't get me wrong. I'll just have to pass this boy up

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      To clarify for anyone - sorry I worded things funny! - I was NOT in any way upset with this horse. I didn't let any emotions get in the way of what I was doing with him or what continued for our little try-out session.

                      What I was upset with was myself for making the mistake. I could've prevented it and I messed up.

                      I will I'll most likely pass this boy up as I'm in no way a professional and not qualified to do this. However, if anyone has success stories and think it would be worth it to try and see if love to hear.

                      Im not willing to sacrifice this horses potential by ruining him due to my lack of knowledge

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Smart idea. Yes it is possible to restart a horse who has been backed before. Horses usually don't forget. Let's hope he was started correctly and not messed up. Maybe that was the reason he was left in the pasture? But you need to be at least consistent and confident about what you are doing. it doesn't really matter whether it's right or wrong, as long as the horse trusts you. if you can't be confident, I would not recommend to do it...
                        https://www.facebook.com/Luckyacresfarm
                        https://www.facebook.com/Ulrike-Bsch...4373849955364/

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Manni01 View Post
                          Smart idea. Yes it is possible to restart a horse who has been backed before. Horses usually don't forget. Let's hope he was started correctly and not messed up. Maybe that was the reason he was left in the pasture? But you need to be at least consistent and confident about what you are doing. it doesn't really matter whether it's right or wrong, as long as the horse trusts you. if you can't be confident, I would not recommend to do it...
                          His owner had hip replacement and an ACL surgery and couldn't work with him anymore.

                          That gives me way more hope! I'm usually confident but I'm afraid I'm going to wreck him and that just made me feel that I was completely unqualified instead of the usual slightly unqualified lol!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You just have to assume he knows nothing at all, because "some days" 7 yrs ago isn't much, and introduce him to every single thing as if it's his first time, WITH a backup plan for each eventuality if it does go wrong, and a very close eye on his reactions so you can stop/slow down/repeat/stop for the day as needed BEFORE things go south fast.

                            Starting a horse can't have a timeline, but can follow a set of goals. For example, bridling - there are loads of books that show various ways to do it and what to do beforehand to make sure the experience is smooth. but every horse is different - some horses are fine in one day, some take weeks. That's just putting on the bridle - there are a zillion other things a horse needs to learn to accept quietly before it's showing! People who are very methodical and experienced can get on a horse in 30-90 days. It might take you longer. (I won't talk about people who get on a horse in one day - that's not real horse training IMO)

                            I find it helpful to make a spreadsheet of the bigger goals (lungeing, bridling, saddling, trailer training etc) and break each one down into little steps. Start on step 1 today, of one goal, and if you're lucky you get through all of them and the bridle is on the horse after 30 mins. If not, you may spend 30 mins getting the horse to just sniff the bit. Use the spreadsheet to track progress - when the horse is very calmly accepting one step, or even a whole goal, you can move to the next.

                            It might need to back up a few steps occasionally too. You might go out to train the horse one day and find out that he's never had bell boots on and it's a HUGE deal to him, so all other goals are put aside and you start training the horse to accept bell boots. You have to be flexible.

                            So if you're not experienced in starting horses that's one thing, but I think with the right horse (no previous issues, trusting nature, young enough to be impressionable), and if you have a patient, methodical, thoughtful and kind mind, you can do it. Especially if you have a trainer for backup. Since you don't, just go into every training session with a very clear plan of goals and potential outcomes, and go slow.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post
                              You just have to assume he knows nothing at all, because "some days" 7 yrs ago isn't much, and introduce him to every single thing as if it's his first time, WITH a backup plan for each eventuality if it does go wrong, and a very close eye on his reactions so you can stop/slow down/repeat/stop for the day as needed BEFORE things go south fast.

                              Starting a horse can't have a timeline, but can follow a set of goals. For example, bridling - there are loads of books that show various ways to do it and what to do beforehand to make sure the experience is smooth. but every horse is different - some horses are fine in one day, some take weeks. That's just putting on the bridle - there are a zillion other things a horse needs to learn to accept quietly before it's showing! People who are very methodical and experienced can get on a horse in 30-90 days. It might take you longer. (I won't talk about people who get on a horse in one day - that's not real horse training IMO)

                              I find it helpful to make a spreadsheet of the bigger goals (lungeing, bridling, saddling, trailer training etc) and break each one down into little steps. Start on step 1 today, of one goal, and if you're lucky you get through all of them and the bridle is on the horse after 30 mins. If not, you may spend 30 mins getting the horse to just sniff the bit. Use the spreadsheet to track progress - when the horse is very calmly accepting one step, or even a whole goal, you can move to the next.

                              It might need to back up a few steps occasionally too. You might go out to train the horse one day and find out that he's never had bell boots on and it's a HUGE deal to him, so all other goals are put aside and you start training the horse to accept bell boots. You have to be flexible.

                              So if you're not experienced in starting horses that's one thing, but I think with the right horse (no previous issues, trusting nature, young enough to be impressionable), and if you have a patient, methodical, thoughtful and kind mind, you can do it. Especially if you have a trainer for backup. Since you don't, just go into every training session with a very clear plan of goals and potential outcomes, and go slow.
                              Thank you so very much, this gives me lots of hope that I can work with him and bring him into a nice horse.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I restarted a mare several years ago, who had 30 days of training as a 3 year old and then she had 5 foals..

                                . But I do know how to start horses!! I started many.

                                I simply started to lunge her 2 days without saddle, then I put the saddle on her and lunged her and a couple of days later I put side reins on her. That was really the only problem.. After she accepted the side reins, I asked my husband (he is an experienced horse person) to help me. I laid over her, he led me around and then I sat on her. he lunged me two rounds and then let me go.... It was pretty uneventfull...

                                but out if you are not confident, the horse will sense it and take advantage...



                                https://www.facebook.com/Luckyacresfarm
                                https://www.facebook.com/Ulrike-Bsch...4373849955364/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by impressive_gunner92 View Post

                                  He's been backed, started under saddle a while ago but he's been left as a pasture horse. It's not that I'm unwilling to seek help from a professional, I'm just currently in a financial status that won't allow that to happen.
                                  Then this may not be a good fit for you or him. That set of eyes on the ground is invaluable. Think of it this way: I'm a professional singer. As such, i'm understood to be capable of learning difficult new material like an opera role by myself. Which I can. I can also teach others the same material. Know what? I still pay for a few coaching sessions in order to get a second set of ears to bring to my attention things that I may be doing without realizing it. For material where I cannot get a coach (like Russian music - I speak Russian and most American voice coach's don't) I make dumb little mistakes. Recently, I listened to a new recording and noticed that I've been mispronouncing a word in the song for 20 years. Doh! I use the word in conversational Russian all the time and know how to pronounce it. Didn't realize I was changing it singing the song.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You will make lots (and LOTS and LOTS) of mistakes. This is a fact. If you can't cope with that, don't bother starting. Treat him as if he has had no training, doesn't know what a halter is, let alone a bit, bridle or lunging. Start with ground work. If you can afford to lease a horse, you can afford to subscribe to Warwick Schiller's training programme (about $20 / month). You also need to learn to read your horse and see when he is getting worried so you can back off earlier.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Wanderosa View Post

                                      Then this may not be a good fit for you or him. That set of eyes on the ground is invaluable. Think of it this way: I'm a professional singer. As such, i'm understood to be capable of learning difficult new material like an opera role by myself. Which I can. I can also teach others the same material. Know what? I still pay for a few coaching sessions in order to get a second set of ears to bring to my attention things that I may be doing without realizing it. For material where I cannot get a coach (like Russian music - I speak Russian and most American voice coach's don't) I make dumb little mistakes. Recently, I listened to a new recording and noticed that I've been mispronouncing a word in the song for 20 years. Doh! I use the word in conversational Russian all the time and know how to pronounce it. Didn't realize I was changing it singing the song.
                                      This makes perfect sense! (I sing as well! not professional but possibly considering it as a career path when I go to college) I definitely feel it may not be a good fit, but I'm planning on giving it a week and seeing if I think I could continue and train him on my own, or if I should wait for the owner to find someone more qualified.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by phoebetrainer View Post
                                        You will make lots (and LOTS and LOTS) of mistakes. This is a fact. If you can't cope with that, don't bother starting. Treat him as if he has had no training, doesn't know what a halter is, let alone a bit, bridle or lunging. Start with ground work. If you can afford to lease a horse, you can afford to subscribe to Warwick Schiller's training programme (about $20 / month). You also need to learn to read your horse and see when he is getting worried so you can back off earlier.
                                        Thank you! I'm glad it's normal to make mistakes. I've never seen people openly admit their flaws when training horses and it seemed as though everyone was completely perfect. This lease is free (the horse that I'm working with lives at the same boarding barn as my old man, and the owner just wants someone to do something with him) but $20 a month is very reasonable!

                                        What topics does the program cover?

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