First time backing a horse?

itsapiebald

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6 March 2016
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Hi,

I just want to know people's experiences the first time they broke a horse in, please no comments saying that all horses should be sent away because we've all got to start somewhere!

I'm thinking about getting myself a youngster (haven't decided yet)

I'm an experienced rider on broken in horses, I'm used to quirky and green horses but have never completely broken a horse in my self. I worked with a cob who had been lunged and leant over, I then went onto sit on him, teach him voice commands and had him happily working in walk and trot and beginning to canter and then someone else then went on to ride him away. I only did this as my friend needed a rider for him.

We also have a fell which we got partly broken, we ended up having to restart her completely as she was a rescue pony and the new surroundings completely blew her mind (once rescued she never left the rescue centre, other than going to equifest for an inhand class and then coming to us) she's now pretty much a perfect pony; been showjumping (isn't her forte by any means) but loves cross country and hunting.


Sorry this was so long but wanted you guys to get the full story, I'm now considering getting one to break start to finish...I'm very confident and patient and would definitely be getting support from an instructor.

Thankyou!!
 

PorkChop

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Sounds to me like you are definitely ready, in some ways I think that backing a horse from scratch is a lot easier than fixing problems other people have made.

The key is to be consistant, confident and patient.

I can't remember when I backed my first youngster, but I have started quite a few of my own over the years, with no arena and no help.

I always expect the best but prepare for the worst if that makes sense.

I do a lot on long lines, probably more than is fashionable nowadays, however because I do it by myself they have to be 100% before I start hacking on board.

ETA Go for it and Good Luck :)
 

itsapiebald

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6 March 2016
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Sounds to me like you are definitely ready, in some ways I think that backing a horse from scratch is a lot easier than fixing problems other people have made.

The key is to be consistant, confident and patient.

I can't remember when I backed my first youngster, but I have started quite a few of my own over the years, with no arena and no help.

I always expect the best but prepare for the worst if that makes sense.

I do a lot on long lines, probably more than is fashionable nowadays, however because I do it by myself they have to be 100% before I start hacking on board.

ETA Go for it and Good Luck :)

Aww thankyou!! It's nice to actually hear that someone thinks that I'm ready, I've always wanted to break my own in!

We're lucky that our yard has really good facilities, well for what I need anyway. On and off road hacking and a nice arena :)
 

Peregrine Falcon

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I did my first one as an reasonably experienced teenager having lost my confidence on a horse. I'd had him as a yearling and backed him as a 3.5yo. He'd been shown in-hand as a youngster, desensitized and taken out for walks. When it came to sitting on him he wasn't fazed at all. He was so laid back it was ridiculous and he used to shield my sister's traffic shy horse from scary monsters. Confidence and trust in the handler from the ground is key before getting on board. He's now semi-retired at 24 but competed in most disciplines at local level.

Done quite a few more homebreds over the years, remembering that they are all individuals is important. The first one out of my mare was an absolute doddle, he had a smashing biddable temperament and learnt quickly. His sister was a different kettle of fish and needed longer on the ground although she had had a very similar upbringing.

I've had help with the latest as after having had children, the confidence and time issues came into play more. It is so rewarding doing them yourself. I love seeing them progress and growing up. Good luck.
 

TheMule

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I'd recommend drafting in someone more experienced when it comes to the first few sits on as that's the part you really can't afford to get wrong and having someone who knows what they're doing at the head will help no end- 1 wrong move at this stage can undo a lot of good work
 

indie1282

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I would recommend having someone on the ground that is calm and you trust completely- they will need to know when to step in and reassure the horse and when to back off quietly and leave alone.
 

Peregrine Falcon

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Oh yes, I've never sat on a youngster without someone assisting!! My hubby always chuckles when I speak about his experience when helping me. He was leading me out when a very kind lady stopped us and said I could join their riding club if I wanted to get off the lead rein.
 

millitiger

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Get the groundwork in, spend time during this to work out your horses likely reactions when they don't understand or don't want to do things, it will help when you get on.
Spend a lot of time making sure they absolutely understand pressure and release and use this to teach everything, you need quick reactions with a youngster to make sure you don't 'miss' the release the horse is seeking.

I have no issue sitting on them with no assistance and getting the first few sits done without help- the help is paramount in my opinion when you start to move off more and want to trot etc and you need calm reliable back up to show the horse what you want until they understand what legs mean.

Some of mine have had their first sit in the arena, some in the field, a few down the drive and one who was tricky was done in the stable- you need to work out where your horse is most comfortable and be flexible to change your method without altering your plan.
 

matt_m

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Sounds like you have plenty of experience and are well prepared!

I think the key is patience and taking your time and trusting your gut feeling for when the horse is ready for the next stage, never feeling pressured or feeling like you have to do x by x time, you only get once chance to get it right so do not rush. Definitely have someone on the ground that is confident and experienced and that can act as a calming influence on the horse. Ensure the horse has a good understanding of the vocal commands for the stand/walk on/trot/canter. The horse should be obedient on the lunge and on the long reins and have some understanding of steering.

I then find once you progress to ridden work (obviously you will start by leaning over, de-sensitizing the horse to noise and feel all around and both sides of his body, and then when totally calm with all of this carefully sitting on) I prefer to ensure the horse can walk and trot obediently with a rider on board without being led around in the school and then I immediately go to hacking. This is where your horse will learn to be brave, to lead and to learn to enjoy his/her ridden work. In company it is suprising how good most young horses are. I also personally prefer to teach the first canter out on a hack, with another well behaved horse, ideally a nice big long stretch on a slight hill is perfect!
 

scats

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I did my first unbroken project as a teenager. Great experience. Have done several since.

They are all so different, but I have a rough plan of how I like to do things and timescales and then I adjust according to the individual animal.
Little and often is good. Ten minutes long reining, or sitting on/riding a day is better than a longer once or twice a week session.

Also, get hacking ASAP (with a suitable and sensible nanny). Once the whoa and go's are sorted, I get out into the world.
 

itsapiebald

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6 March 2016
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Thankyou so much for all the replies!!! This has really helped me, I seas always planning someone experienced to help me when riding him/her for the first time :)

Just need to get looking for a horse now 😊
 

tristar

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the most important thing for me is if you have the confidence, loads of prep, then go for it, NO fannying around, being led, scaring the horse with your nerves.

the fact you seem so keen is a great indication of success, a young horse needs a good leader who knows what they are aiming for, oh and make it a happy fun time for the horse!
 
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