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Morale boosting thread for those with new or tricky horses

130 replies

bandito · 28/05/2016 21:44

I thought it would be nice (for me certainly Smile) to share some of the ups and downs of life with a new or tricky horse. I've had DHorse for 2 weeks - he's our first after years and years of riding school riding and I've managed to fall off twice in that fortnight. He's just jumped sideways at a scary hedge on his brand new hacking route and off I fall. I failed both times to hold on the reins and the darling stood still and waited for me to come and get him. He's a sweetheart but I am realising very quickly that moving a horse across the country and handing him over to a novice rider is going to have a few issues in the first year! On the bright side, he comes to call and stops when you say whoa. We're going to have fun together - but in all honesty, we aren't yet. Is anyone else in the same boat?

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Rollingdinosaur · 29/05/2016 11:13

I'm not now, but I was a few years ago. I'll be honest I had taken on more than I could cope with, after not having my own for a few years. I persevered for nearly a year, and ended up with my confidence in tatters. I never got to the point where I had fun with that horse. Luckily for me he was on loan, and I eventually admitted defeat and sent him back to his owner, before he killed or seriously injured me.

Hopefully you will have a better outcome than I did though. Do you have a good instructor who can help you through these teething problems? Do you have a friend with a sensible horse to hack out with to give yours confidence?

Rollingdinosaur · 29/05/2016 11:15

Sorry, just read your thread title properly, that probably wasn't the sort of story you were after! Blush

bandito · 29/05/2016 13:37

That's all right Rollingdinosaur Smile. I am very much hoping to nip any problems in the bud by getting an instructor to teach me twice a week for the next month or so, and also an experienced friend will ride him twice a week and is also teaching me to lunge him. So even if I am too scared to saddle up on my own for a bit, he'll still be getting worked. I am very sore this morning having fallen on my backside last night and don't really want to ride today.

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Puppymouse · 29/05/2016 17:45

Oh gosh I feel your pain. Bought DHorse 5 weeks ago. Ignored the advice to get a ploddy cob and now have a sweet but sharp TB. He's fab but needs reassurance and confidence from me on the ground and ridden and we were doing pretty well getting him out and about and having lessons.

My yard owner has been long lining him for me the days he's on full livery and then decided she would ride him. First time was fine. Second time she took him out with a horse he'd never met, went round the village and then tried to make him carry on when other horse had turned into its gate a few meters away from our yard with our herd calling him. He's not left the yard alone yet. It was too much and blew his mind a bit so he bronced. She wasn't paying attention and had him on the buckle so no control and luckily jumped off as quickly as she could. She says she doesn't want to ride him again Sad I am sad and frustrated because he has been bonding with me so not surprised being asked to leave his pal when he hasn't been out alone was too much. But she was doing me a big favour by exercising him for me.

He is willing and lovely natured but pushes boundaries and can be spooky so I have to put my big girl pants on. But I still don't regret buying him.

Puppymouse · 29/05/2016 17:47

I should say I fell off the second time I rode mine too. He jumped up and sideways in the school when one of the dogs jumped up the muck heap. He was quite contrite and went super slowly for me when I got back on. Luckily no harm done Blush

frostyfingers · 29/05/2016 18:20

Wondered how you were getting on Puppymouse! I have to say that doesn't sound like the most sensible thing for your yard owner to do, but don't let it put you off hacking him. Six months into my new horsey relationship I'm still learning (although grounded for 6 weeks atm) and getting to know what makes him tick.

Best piece of advice I was given was to spend as much time around the horse, handling him, grooming & above all talking to they get to know you too!

Puppymouse · 29/05/2016 18:26

Thanks frosty we're getting on very well but it's not easy. He's proved himself in so many ways but is sensitive. I absolutely love riding him, we've sorted his sore back out and he's settling in at the yard. It's just overwhelming on the days you lose your confidence a bit and hearing he did something dangerous (has never done this or anything deliberately naughty since I got him) did rather knock the stuffing out of me. But I think she felt lulled into a false sense of security because he's proving himself to be a good hack and sensible in open spaces so far.

Puppymouse · 29/05/2016 18:28

Sorry to hear you're on a 6 week break - hope you can get back on soon! I had to stop riding him for a couple of weeks and I've had some groundwork lessons too. I tend to try and sit in his field sometimes when I feed him. He's a real sweetie.

Booboostwo · 29/05/2016 19:59

It might be worth popping a neck strap on him, it can help to have something to hold onto when they spook.

Getting an instructor involved is a very good idea as is taking it slowly. For me taking it slowly would mean doing a lot of grooming, handling and riding but thinking it through every time. So ride after he's been turned out all day, ride in the school after a day off, hack with a very steady other horse and avoid situations that would wind up most horses, etc.

plominoagain · 29/05/2016 20:07

The first time I got on my pony , I fell off . Took off like a bullet across the field and I bailed as she went for the post and rails . And cleared it .

The first time we took her for a walk , because she'd contracted ringworm from the con artist dealers that we got her from , she bucked , jogged , and tried to drag us down the road . The only moment she stood still was when the skip lorry went past . That almost made my mum send her back .

The first time we hacked out , I fell off , because she discovered sheep . And promptly screeched to a halt and put her head down, so I sailed over her head .

I fell off more times in that first year , than I can remember . I broke two ribs , and cried so many tears of frustration I can't tell you . But I had her for 32 years , and she was the same incorrigible speedy Gonzales until the day she died . She was my soulmate and partner in crime , and no other horse I've had since , however lovely , has come close . So it might be a knock , but persevere , unless you 're frightened , or really hating it . Because when you achieve something with them , it really does feel all the sweeter .

Says she with her own demon of a creature who is being a complete shit at the moment , because he's too bloody brave for both our good .

bandito · 29/05/2016 21:41

Thanks so much for posting these - they've made me laugh and cry a bit. I was too nervous to ride today - got as far as mounting up but he looked so tense, I just couldn't. But he'd been in all day as he's too fat and on reduced turnout so I think he was just keen so I bottled it. Booboostwo that's a good thought - tomorrow I will try to sit on him as soon as I bring him in in the morning when he'll have been out all night and get DH to walk next to me. However, we did walk in hand round the hacking route by ourselves, past the spooky place and lots of other horses and he was good as gold. So we have achieved something. Puppymouse I remember you were looking for a horse at the same time I was - also Essexmummy1234 - I wonder if she found hers too?

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Puppymouse · 29/05/2016 21:54

Bandito I did more groundwork than riding until his back was sorted and it helped me to know he was getting exercise. If you don't feel brave enough to get on why not take the pressure off? Long line or do halter stuff with him so you're bonding and working but you don't feel so tense? I can also confirm I think I sit spooks better now than 3 weeks ago - a friend said to me recently "you'll either just get used to it or you won't." It's not very profound but has really stuck with me. Maybe they're just smaller?!

As fellow new horse owner feel free to pm if there's any thing I could help with. I don't speak from knowledge but just going through same xx

bandito · 29/05/2016 22:01

Thanks Puppymouse - we have the opportunity to do some in hand agility which will be fun - we just need a laugh really, it's all been a bit intense. Plomino's story was lovely - I hope we get there too.

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frostyfingers · 30/05/2016 09:11

A lot of it is learning what your horse does when stressed/surprised/frightened/naughty etc. Old horse when he refused would stop dead straight at the last minute and you'd teeter over the offending obstacle, new horse refuses quite slowly but twists away sharply (hence my 6 weeks off). Now I know I am more prepared!

Bandito if you think he's a bit fresh have you somewhere you can lunge him (or loose school) to take the fizz off? It works a treat most times and gets them into work mode. Good luck, but try and remember that it is meant to be fun even if it doesn't always feel like it!

bandito · 30/05/2016 12:41

I've just got back from the yard and I sat on him straight after bringing him in - better than yesterday. We walked round the arena, but he was paying me no attention, looking around for things to spook at, so I got off after about 15 mins. However, lovely yard manager came over and showed me how to lunge him. He went a bit mad to start with and my immediate reaction was fear, but she showed me how to be alpha horse and I lunged him in walk and trot by myself. We've got lots of places to lunge so i'm going to try some more tomorrow.

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Puppymouse · 30/05/2016 12:46

Keep going bandito. The first time I lunged mine he went so fast and panicked he actually fell over. It was quite frightening. I found long reining was better as having bridle on seemed to show him what was expected more. He was frightened of the lines to begin with but with some help from another couple of liveries he will go on a circle now. Little and often so you both know what to expect will hopefully help. Flowers

Puppymouse · 30/05/2016 12:47

Keep going bandito. The first time I lunged mine he went so fast and panicked he actually fell over. It was quite frightening. I found long reining was better as having bridle on seemed to show him what was expected more. He was frightened of the lines to begin with but with some help from another couple of liveries he will go on a circle now. Little and often so you both know what to expect will hopefully help. Flowers

Moanranger · 30/05/2016 15:01

I replaced my horse of a lifetime ( died from colic -op complication at 13) with Jasper the stress-head, who I have now had for three years. Things I have learned: Lots of ground work, so learn to lunge - an essential skill; natural horsemanship type bonding exercises are good -I actually hired a Bedouin for a day! Hack him on all your routes in groups for at least six weeks so he learns the routes. THEN take him out on the shortest route ( but make him go in a circular route, don' t turn around half way or they get barn sour), and build up from there.(Not impressed with your YO. V difficult to turn a horse away from a group/another horse. I avoid this even now, although stress-head is now a confident solo hack)
Ride positively, lots of leg, correct aides, but also lots of talking to/encouragement when he finds something scary. I cannot beat stress-head past something frightening -a jumper dropped on the ground was a recent HORRENDOUSLY scary thing, but I did get him past with lots of leg & many "good boys " & neck pats.
Horses take their confidence from you. I would get back on as soon as you are able to do & take baby steps. Please hack with others for awhile - it helps both of your confidence. Hacking with a person on the ground is not quite the same as horsey needs to see other equines deal with scary stuff to build up his confidence. Good luck!

Booboostwo · 30/05/2016 19:28

And don't worry about what he does on the lunge, plenty of horses go completely bonkers on the lunge but it has no impact whatsoever on how they behave when ridden.

mrslaughan · 30/05/2016 21:22

I agree with boo about the way there are on the lunge - my horse is a complete maniac on the lunge - has these crazy loop de loops , then stops and bats her lashes at me...... Bucks , has speedy Gonzales moments ...... The first time I lunged her it gave me a heart attack!, I then was very nervous about riding her, but she never brings this craziness to her ridden work.
But it takes a year at least to develop a relationship I think., it's why I feel so sorry for my kids growing out of their ponies, it seems they are just really developing a relationship and then they grow out of them.
I think with my own horse and my kids ponies the best thing j have learnt is you need to set them up for success , not failure - especially when the relationship is new , and unfortunately that is what you YO did in trying to ride a new horse away from the security of horses he has hacked with. It's not irrevocable , but just manage the situation's you put your new horses in.

bandito · 31/05/2016 10:33

Well I definitely am going to lunge him today, but in accordance with good advice on setting us up for success, I don't think I'll do it during this gale - it's blowing a hooligan here.

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Booboostwo · 31/05/2016 13:41

Setting them up for success - that is a really nice way of putting it Mrslaughlan! I was trying to say the same thing but more obscurely!

YoureSoSlyButSoAmI · 31/05/2016 13:48

Alpha horse? I have to say your YO sounds a bit clueless 😏

bandito · 31/05/2016 18:23

Hi, just to clear up any confusion, It's puppymouse who's yard owner tried to ride her horse separately from his friend outside the yard - we've not been off the farm yet and won't for a while! What my YO means by the term 'alpha horse' YoureSoSly is me learning to show with my voice and body language that I am calm, confident and competent, that I choose to let him into my space so that eventually he will look to me for safety when we are out and about. My character is not naturally like this, so I find I am having to think about my body language all the time. I thought this was a good thing? Confused

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bandito · 31/05/2016 18:31

So, I lunged him today [wearing hat, body protector, gloves - slight overkill, probably!] and although he charged about a bit to start with, he soon settled and was lovely. Big glass of wine now! Thanks for the morale-boosting comments - I will try and be back on by the weekend. Good luck with yours puppymouse - it's great to have some experts on here. Being a first-generation horse-owner at 40 is harder than I thought.

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