Did I make a mistake buying a young horse?

Hovis_and_SidsMum

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I think i need a bit of a kick up the bum but I'm having a "I'm not good enough to have a young horse day" - well weekend actually.
We've been struggling with hovis for a while with being really strong at times and after a hack where he pulled hubby like a steam train the whole way round on sat I finally decided we're going to ahve to go up a gear with the bit. So after much talking to various people whose opinion i trust I've bought him a pelham.
Cue feeling inadequate phase number 1. I just feel like I have let him get too strong and now its a failing to have to put him in something that strong. He's built like an outhouse and he's not malicious with it but when he pits that neck against you you have no chance.
Cue inadequate feeling number 2 this morning. I'm away this week again and so hubby was intending to take him jumping on weds with a few baby horses from the yard. Nothing too high but it will be on grass. Brian took him in the jumping paddock today and he was SO excited. He loves his jumpin but has yet no finesse so charges at them a little at the best of times. We'd left him in the french link which could have been a mistake but i hadn't had chance to fit the pelham.
He was doing ok, being strong and taking flyers at the fence but ok-ish, then he started to get tired and was being a prat. I know my boy and i knew he'd had enough but still i agree it was no excuse to start pratting about and swerving out from the fence at the last minute. Hubby is now considering not taking him on weds but is going to try him again tomorrow with the pelham in.
Bt what upset me the most was over hearing two of the girls watching say "he didn't used to be like that - thats what happens when an inexperienced owner takes on a young horse".
I've always been paranoid about ruining him and now i feel i might be. I'm just praying that he's testing the boundaries now he knows his strength and that a few weeks / months getting a nasty shock from the pelham might just calm him down again.
Any advice?
 

Kat_Bath

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I've never replied to one of your threads but they always make me smile and I think Hovis is a smasher. He is lush and just my type.

I can't really offer any words of wisdom but horsemanship, to me is a partnership and won't neccesrily get it right first time. In fact, you probably won't. It takes time to get the bond, connection, blah blah yadda yadda.

Keep your chin up and ignore them. I'd like to see them to try. Heavies are strong and mature later than 'normal' horses. You need to try and see what works, if it doesn't, try something else.

I think you should go on Wednesday because if you don't try, you won't know and every little helps.
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Even if you go over one jump, that's still a step in the right direction.

ETS: Hope I haven't said too much or the wrong stuff... *wibble*
 

MrsMozart

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How old is he?

Do not fret, practically all neds test the boundaries through the ages. We're still having it with Little Cob (come to think of it, still having it with Little Lad
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Nothing wrong at all with the Pelham. It only comes in 'harder' when you need it (always use two reins, I don't see the point in having it if only one rein). Use the top as a snaffle, and bring the bottom into play when you need to.

LC goes in a Pelham very happily, and he was good in a Waterford as well - can't get hold of it so can't lean. Just make sure hands are nice and steady
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As to comments, that's the horse world for you. Ignore them. Take advice from those you respect and trust.
 

diggerbez

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i think this is always the thing when you buy ANY horse...but especially a youngster...i suspect that said girls watching were jealous of your horse and like the fact that you are having a few small problems as it gives them chance to say horrible things...i moved off old yard precisely because of people like this- making comments about how i'd ruined last horse and was going to ruin new baby horse. it sounds like you are being sensible and thinking/talking through your problems with hovis which is all you can do- everyone has to learn somehow!! if you are having such a crisis of confidence might it be worth getting an instructor to help you? (sorry don't know if you or OH has lessons but i rely on my two trainers to stop me from messing things up
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misst

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I am not very knowledgable about this things but this sounds like jealousy to me.
From your posts you never sound inexperienced to me and he is obviously happy and well with you. If he is young is it not more likely that he has found his feet and is just experimenting with you? I thought all horses pushed the boundaries a bit but I would expect a youngster to do it more .
I don't know you or Hovis (except from his wonderful weekly writings) but no matter how hurtful it is I would try and ignore those people.
Those that make the most critical comments are often the most ignorant.
Surely we are all learning all the time. It is when we think we know everything that we become critical of others..
 

Slinkyunicorn

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Firstly ignore the bitchy comments!!
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I have a coblet that could pull a barn behind her if she chose too so I can understand how you feel - as well as the feeling of having no shoulders/arm muscles etc. When Inca went through her phase of tanking off I used a cheltenham gag with 2 reins - had various comments such as 'isn't that a bit much for a little cob?' but as it came from someone who won't even sit on her because 'look at the size of her neck' I didn't pay any attention. The gag worked - I had a lesson in it first and mainly rode using the snaffle and just had the second rein there for back up - only needed to feel it to regain control. I know its boring but actually the best thing for Hovis is just more schooling - it worked for Inca and we are back in a hanging cheek snaffle now - but wouldn't think twice about using the gag again if I needed to.

Good luck - and ignore them.
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MrsMozart

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[ QUOTE ]
he's just turned six, shot up height wise and suddenly started to muscle up. he's HUGE!

[/ QUOTE ]

Like SU says, this is what they do
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. They get bigger and test out all that is around them. As someone much wiser than me said, "Better to have a stronger bit and use it wisely, than be hauling away on a 'mild' bit."
 

Hovis_and_SidsMum

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in my head i know but you do have images of a well controlled beast prancing about obdiently with a tiny snaffle in their mouth - not a strong willed beast who can just turn his neck and say "no thanks don't fancy that!"
 

Flint12

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Sounds pretty much like my lad.

I have had mine since he was four and i have had a fair few problems. . . i have moved yards three times and i am now happy.

We moved from one yard as he was accused of being a rig. . . even though he was proven not to be they didnt accept it. . . but people just miss understood him.

He has pulled several people around including me. . . But finally we have turned a corner. . . he has always been so sweet but he used to just set himself and go. . . the thing which worked was a pressure halter. . . he wore it for two weeks and now behaves very well. . .

Keep your chin up and keep going. . . people who make comments like that have nothing better to do than make people feel bad. . .Once you have gotten through it you can turn round and say. . . i told you so. .

It is very rewarding and lots of fun when it goes right
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Pearlsasinger

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My advice - ignore b*tchy teenagers and their comments.
I love heavy horses and know just how strong they can be, especially when they set their necks. You might need to experiment with bits to find one that he respects, I like the PeeWee bit but it's not dressage legal, if that's what you need.
He is still only young and is bound to be testing the boundaries. TBH Next time he's tired, I'd think it would be better to stop while he's doing what he's asked rather than pushing him to carry on and setting him up to be naughty. That is the kind of thing that you learn with experience of your particular horse and every horse is different, so really being a novice owner isn't the issue here.
 

MrsMozart

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[ QUOTE ]
in my head i know but you do have images of a well controlled beast prancing about obdiently with a tiny snaffle in their mouth - not a strong willed beast who can just turn his neck and say "no thanks don't fancy that!"

[/ QUOTE ]

This will come, but with time m'duck
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. Friend's Big Cob goes in a snaffle, and in a Pelham when extra brakes might be needed, but he is often out and about in a snaffle, doing a nice shoulder-in down a quiet country lane (on purpose!), on the bit and working well
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. He's 15/15.2hh-ish and rides much bigger, and he's a powerful lad
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As with all things with horses, do what you need to do at the time
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Hovis_and_SidsMum

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On the ground hovis is reasonable - has his moments but is a good boy.
He's utterly soppy and very very loving (not to mention funny!).
Riding wise he can be a gentle giant who you can ride on the buckle end one minute and an excited very very strong beast the next.
He doesn't buck, rear, nap, spin or anything he just gets v. excited, sets his neck and you have no chance. with his jumping he's getting cocky and thinks he knows best.
 

f_s_

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First of all, well done on taking on a youngster, and getting this far.
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Reading your posts I think that you are doing the right thing by taking it slowly and looking at all possibilities...Rome was not built in a day...and horses don't become schoolmasters overnight!!
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Ignore the girls who make you doubt yourself, it sounds like usual yard bit**ness to be honest, and remember the advice joke!!!!
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Finally, the bit is only as strong as the hands that use it, so, if you want to ride in a pelham for control, go for it! You will probably find that Hovis gets the message and you're swapping to a milder bit in no time!!
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Keep up the good work!!
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tasel

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Hey!! I think those of us with youngsters will have all been through that at some point!

I have a horse that just turned 4 and we are still at the beginning stage of her education. Two professionals previously failed training this horse, so I wouldn't be too fussed about those two silly girls on your yard! Ignore those b*thces!!!
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Basically, I think what works best with youngsters is to do a lot of groundwork (we did almost a whole year of it now). She is only just now starting ridden work, but I'm doing this very slowly, and always try finishing on a good note, i.e. always try finishing before she expects us to finish (to the point where she doesn't even want to leave the arena).
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She goes in a very simple snaffle (Neue Schule) which she likes a lot more than her previous bit. I think with youngsters, it is all about taking your time and going at their speed rather than what you want them to do. The previous professionals tried training her the way they train all the horses they have known... and it just didn't work. She did not behave well for them at all for several months (her behaviour was A LOT worse than Hovis this weekend) and needlesss to say, didn't come out of her training as "backed".

I don't know whether it would work for you... but it worked for us to take it slow and gain the horse's trust.

Also - what is Hovis fed? Looking at my horse's feed did wonders for us. Many a time, people feed horses unnecessary energy, I find...
 

Cliqmo

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Its a shame you didn't ask them what precisely you were doing wrong or how they would have done it differently- it would have proved to you all that this is just how things progress and their bitchyness is unfair and unfounded
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kit279

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Don't worry about having made him strong. He's a big boy and will be learning how strong he is - sometimes you just need to remind them who's boss with a decent bit. You can always go back to a snaffle once he's remembered his manners! If it makes you feel any better, even the eventing pros like Mark Todd will get a strong bit on a young horse rather than have to haul on a totally ineffective snaffle..!
 

Moggy in Manolos

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Ignore those ignoramuses, they need to get stuffed.
Horses always like to test their owners, you could have bought an older horse and it would try the same.
Young horses definitely try to push you though, suppose its like children.
Keep at it, he will learn to have respect, all the best and dont forget to ignore those silly sods, some people feel they have to put others down to make themselves feel better! Chin up
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algy666

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Ignore them, they're just being b*tches. I've got a 14 year old who still acts like that, on the buckle one minute, in the air the next, and he pulls like a train. I'm considering trying a stronger bit on him because I think that that, used properly, will be better for him in the long run than trying to haul him back in a snaffle.

Keep cheerful, and good luck with Hovis
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hugs xxx
 

ladyearl

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Second time I've tried to post on this. Grr hands and brain not working together (as per!)

Bitchy people - IGNORE them. They are just rude!!!

As to your question - "did I make a mistake..."

No you did not. You are clearly looking after your horse and open minded to working out what's best for him and safest for his rider. At the end of the day every horse had quirks and differences and they are continually changing and testing and pushing the boundaries. Half the fun of this malarky is responding to the constant barrage of questions they ask of us.

Pelham might work immediately, in a week, in a month or never. But at least you are actually getting involved in trying to sort things out and not standing behind stable doors talking about other people!

Also, you may find that you can retract from the harsher bits in time. I've seen it done and work!
 

Annagain

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I have the same problem with mine and he's 13! He's in a waterford gag which some people are horrified by but one pull on it and he listens to me, whereas I'm hauling on other things for ages with no effect so I think he's actually better off in it. You're doing the right thing, every horse will win in a battle of strength so sometimes we have to use different tactics. From his diaries it sounds like you're doing exactly the right things with Hovis, getting him out and about seeing and doing new things. You're bound to have the odd backwards step but it sounds like you have had plenty of huge forward leaps recently as well, so focus on them instead of this minor hiccup. I look forward to hearing about his next adventure on Friday!
 

sallyellis

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Well dont worry about the bitchy comments they are probably jealous bitchy people usually are...My mare is in her teens and still behaves like Hovis especially if she sees jumps. I can hack her on the buckle and wont try to go unless asked but then we go from trot to gallop her pulling like a steam train she hasnt got collected canter in her vocabulary but I didnt make her like this she has had a hard life and is genuine in every other way. I ride her in a rubber pelham and find her more controllable so good luck with Hovis I look forward to hearing all about it on Friday with his diary.
 

lauraandjack

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Definitely better to have a gentle hand on a stronger bit than hauling (ineffectively) on a snaffle. Any bit is severe in the wrong hands!

There's nothing wrong with trying a more severe bit now and downgrading back to a snaffle in the future.

People are a bit snaffle-obsessed. Some horses just don't like them. I used to ride a mare who would pull and lean and generally be a pain in the arse in any kind of snaffle, put her in a pelham using mostly snaffle rein and she was lovely. I think it just suited her and was much nicer than fighting in a milder bit.

My current beastie goes in a hanging cheek on the flat and will quite happily gallop and pull up easily in it, but point him at a jump and he'll take it at his own speed. So it's a pelham all the way, for my safety and his!

With a young horse (and a lot of older ones) it's a journey, and they'll always test you in some way. So stick with it, perhaps find a good instructor to give you some pointers and a confidence boost.
 

miss_c

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QR - I'm going through the exact same problem with Genie at the moment. She sets her neck and off she goes. Like Hovis she's just 6 and has muscled up immensely since I bought her. Don't have anything helpful to say other than persevere I'm afraid, you never sound inexperienced to me so ignore the b!tchy comments and continue the excellent job I am sure you are doing. Hugs!
 

A1fie

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QR

Hi - I don't think you made a mistake buying Hovis. He is an absolute dote and you obviously adore him.

As part of being a responsible owner you worry that you are not doing things correctly. I think that this is wonderful. Your worrying shows that you care enormously and want to be the best owner that you can be and that is part of what makes you the best owner Hovis could have.

Of course you will have testing times and anguish. This is just part of building a lasting partnership. You will learn so much through each stage that Hovis goes through which will strengthen the bond between you.

Good luck x
 

Azabache

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First off, as everyone else has said, please ignore the silly little girls.
I bought a 4 yo old four years ago and he was my first experience of having my own youngster. I think moments of self doubt are part of the territory, and I've lost count the number of times I was in tears wondering what was I thinking of buying him and was I ruining him. Remember though even the experts had to start somewhere.
I put my horse in a double bridle initailly as he was broken in in Spain in some real heavy duty metal. Everyone thought I was crazy putting a 4 year old in a double (and I understand why they thought this), but imo it was far better to use it as required, so that the horse understood what is required and didn't get his mouth hauled on because a snaffle at that point was ineffective. I very quickly got him down to a loose ring training snaffle, but would stick the pelham / double back in, if he started to get strong again., just as a reminder for a couple of schooloing sessions. He's now permanantly in the snaffle, although I chop and change between a loose ring and hanging cheek one.
And coming back to the moments of doubt, my horse and I still have a long way to go (for example he's still got an awful canter for an 8 yo), but I wouldn't swap my experience with him (including all the tears) for the world. When we have a good result at a comp or someone makes a nice comment about him, it's so special because I know how much hard work my horse and I have put in to get where we are today. Keep going! x
 
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