Do you think horses get calmer as they get older?

Tobiano

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As title.

Just interested, as was discussing this today with my sister whose 20 year old took off with her today on a hack. Made me think of other friends whose 20 - plus year olds are still on their toes and ready to spook at anything.

It seems to be an expectation that horses calm down as they get older, but when I think about it its hard to call to mind any that actually have.

What do you all think?
 

poiuytrewq

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Some do! After doing research into my new horse I found that as bad as he was for me at first (he's now settled) I wouldn't have wanted him 10 years ago for sure!

My other horse aged 17 is still a silly spooky old goon ;)
 

Enfys

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Rolls around laughing. Mine is 17, she'll die going fast. The 28 year old arab I had pts last month never calmed down either, I think, as someone said, they are what they are, if they are physically able to be as they were, then they stay that way.
 

Orca

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My first cob bombed off with me gleefully until he was retired at thirty! There was no spookiness though, he just did it because he could. I think it depends completely upon the character of the horse and not age. Some might quell as they age but others will always be silly or strong. My TB was always sweet and unflappable!
 

Caol Ila

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I think my 22-year old has become better trained. She learned some years ago that taking off bucking was more hassle than it was worth. But she's still got a hell of a 180% spook.
 

Orca

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how interesting! I agree, I don't think they do either!

So why do we exhort nervous or novice owners to get an older horse… ??
Good point! I've just bought a youngster to break for my beginner children. She just has the perfect character! Calm interest in everything and no silliness whatsoever ��
 

PC Steele

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My 20 yr old dressage horse jumped the 5 bar gate into his field the other day!!! So no I don't think they do!! Also he is just as sharp as the day I bought him age 5. TBH I would worry to death if he started being calm 😁😁
 

HaffiesRock

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My boy is 15 now and has become more sensible, but certainly no less calmer. We positively bounced the whole way on our hack today like blooming Tigger!
 

Bernster

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how interesting! I agree, I don't think they do either!

So why do we exhort nervous or novice owners to get an older horse… ??
You make a good point and I hadn't really thought of that before. If they don't really change with age then why not get that quiet 4yo! But i think its shorthand for older horses having more experience, not seeing stuff for the first time so being a bit less spooky, being less green in their training, and having gotten past the Kevin's or a temporary quiet stage when they're overawed by the initial training. So yes they may have an underlying personality that doesn't change with age, but a few years of experience can help them calm down a bit.
 

Nessa4

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You make a good point and I hadn't really thought of that before. If they don't really change with age then why not get that quiet 4yo! But i think its shorthand for older horses having more experience, not seeing stuff for the first time so being a bit less spooky, being less green in their training, and having gotten past the Kevin's or a temporary quiet stage when they're overawed by the initial training. So yes they may have an underlying personality that doesn't change with age, but a few years of experience can help them calm down a bit.
Also it is possible that a novice owner/rider would be more nervous, and young horses need to have absolute trust and faith in their handler - otherwise they may become spooky and more difficult?
 

_OC_

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That would be telling!
A lot of years ago a friend of mine had a NF pony who grew old disgracefully!

I think they think as their getting older they can do what they like......like my Mother In Law who does not care who she offends :(
 

southerncomfort

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Er....no. Not if my 15 year old, 22 year old and 26 year old are anything to go by.

They are however all welsh chestnut mares so not sure how typical they are! ;)
 

Archangel

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No. My 36 year old towed me along whilst long-reining 'quietly' round the block. He then got over-excited when a pretty Sec A overtook him (Sec A's always his weakness) and he steamed off bouncing away with the full intent of mounting her. Oh the shame of it.
 

Kezzabell2

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God no! I bought my mare 15 years ago, at 16 and she was mental, everyone used to think she was about 4! I used to have a battle with her on every ride until I moved to a yard where I had safe hacking and I could just let her go to get it out of her system! I stopped riding about 3 years ago and even then she was still the fastest horse I knew! we always had to trot down the lane and go for a gallop up a hill in the woods before we could go for a nice hack!
 

pennyturner

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I do think they get more consistent... but if they're loopy, they're consistently loopy.

The best reason for a novice getting an older horse, is so that they don't ruin a young one, and (see consistency point above) they're more likely to get something that's the same once they get it home.
 

skint1

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I do think they get more consistent... but if they're loopy, they're consistently loopy.

The best reason for a novice getting an older horse, is so that they don't ruin a young one, and (see consistency point above) they're more likely to get something that's the same once they get it home.
That's pretty much what I think, and why both of my horses have been older ones. I need a horse that isn't going to be ruined by me :)
 

spacefaer

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We have a 5 yr old who is so steady and sensible - he had a guy come to try him who had only been riding for 2 years (at weekends only) who wanted a horse to hunt. His 60+ yr old mother decided she'd like to ride the horse - so she was walking and trotting round a 22 acre field, wearing her son's hat, his girlfriend's back protector, and her shiny waterproof trousers. Horse didn't bat an eyelid.

We have an 18 yr old who has evented to a high level, and who has hunted all his life (so SHOULD be sensible and experienced) - there isn't enough money in the world for me to let either of those 2 ride him in a 22 acre field. I wouldn't even let them hack him.

Ironically, they turned the 5 yr old down because he was too young.......
 

Caol Ila

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If they're nuts at 5, they're likely to be nuts at 20.

That said, an older, trained schoolmaster who knows his job is still a very different ride than a baby. The youngster will be looking to you to show it what to do. The schoolmaster knows. If the horse has been well trained and had a good career, he'll be confident at what he does. He could still be sharp, but it's a different sort of sharp than a clueless five-year old.

In my horse's misspent youth, she took off with me on a pretty regular basis. I got my sh i t together and improved enough as a rider to effectively tell her to knock that off. Now she doesn't, though she still gets excited by jumping and galloping on hacks. But she is a pretty reliable creature.
 
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