Project Horse

I just started working with an Andulsian/Quarter Horse cross that is at my barn. He’s 7 and has never been broke to ride. He’s a cutie though… standing at about 14.2-ish hands, with a very pretty dapple grey coat highlighted by a dark mane and tail. I like him because he’s fairly calm for as little work as he’s had done to him. And he’s sensible and picks things up fast.

I had to teach him some respect for human’s space though. Nothing worse than working with an unknown entity and have them spook into you (or over you). Otherwise, he lunges pretty well and is okay to handle. He’s too mouthy for my comfort level, but he’s gotten better in the few times I’ve worked with him.

Yesterday I lunged him with a saddle again, but this time added stirrups.  I think I should’ve done a few more days sans stirrups first. But he’s such a mellow fellow that I was thinking it wouldn’t be too big of a deal for him.

Boy I was wrong.

He was fine at the walk, a little tense at the trot but coping, and then boom…. the most massive bucking fit I’ve seen in a while. When the saddle started slipping I freaked out. He’s built like a round barrel and I hadn’t wanted to crank the girth up overly tight. That saddle was slowly working it’s way around to the other side….

I very calmly asked him to halt. He’s still mid-throws of his massive buck-fest. I ask again. He looks at me, then walks two steps and halts. Just staring at me…..

He let me fix his saddle, tighten the girth. I gave him a pat and asked him to walk on. He walked calmly forward.

We had one more short burst of “OMG I’m dying!”  when I demanded he not stop at the door, and then he walked calmly around the circle for another several minutes. Tonight we’ll try the saddle without stirrups again and see if we can get a quiet lunge session again. I’ve been sacking him out with a saddle pad, but he doesn’t blink an eye at it.

I need some long lines for him. I definitely need to teach him steer and stop before I try getting on. I’d be happier with a round pen too, but that’s not going to happen.

Any tips for someone who hasn’t broken out a horse in 20 years?

P.s. I swear I’m being careful Mom. I’m even wearing my helmet while lunging. 🙂

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