Published 05-07-2010 5:00 PM
I just bought a new filly, who just turned 3 years old on April 27, 2010. She is very sweet and gentle, but was not broke to ride when I bought her. I don't like to start colts because I can't work with them every day, as I have my full time job. Plus I don't care too much for being bucked off.
Anyway, I took her to a trainer so they could start her, and I would take it from there. I just needed her green broke. After two weeks of being at the trainer, I learned that they had ridden her just once. I asked them to be a bit faster because I was planning to leave her there for just 30 days. Well, another week passed and they didn't ride her. But they said that they were doing ground work, saddling her up, etc.
So I felt I was pretty much wasting my money, because the weather is awesome and I want to start riding! Then I remember an old friend of mine starts horses.... but he lives in Tennessee. I counted my loss and decided to to drive 4 hours and take her to my friend, as I felt he would do better justice to this filly. Horses have a timing, and the longer you wait to start them, the more set in their ways they become and the more difficult they are to start.
When I arrived at my friend's barn, he also had just arrived with about 8 colts that he was starting. He had trailered them to a different place to ride them. He said he likes to introduce the horses to a variety of scenarios during their tenure with him. He unloaded Mattie (my filly) and took her to a stall, and we left to go get some lunch.
When we came back, he took her from the stall and asked me if she knew how to tie and if she had been saddled before. I assured him she did both, because that's what my trainer had told me they had done. So he proceeded to tie her in the barn aisle, went to the tack room and brought a saddle and pad. To everyone's shock, this horse started pulling in the halter as if she had never seen a saddle in her life. She pulled so hard she broke the brass of the halter and was now a loose horse. She was wearing a brand new nylon halter, not the break away type. As soon as the found herself free she trotted away from us to the end of the barn and stood still waiting to be caught.
My friend, very quietly and in his laid back way, got a rope halter, caught the horse and took her to the round pen. He put the saddle in the middle of the round pen and worked her on the ground for a while. Then he saddled her up, worked her in the round pen for a bit longer, mounted her and made her walk/trot/canter both ways. He dismounted her and said she was really smooth and willing.
My point in telling this story is:
1. make sure you take your colts to reputable trainers that will do what you are paying them to do. Some people are better at starting horses, and some people are better at finishing them. Find the appropriate trainer for the horse you have.
2. nylon halters can also break if the horse means business.
3. stay on top of your horse's training progress so you don't waste your money.
I am excited to go get my horse during memorial day's weekend. I am sure she will have matured a lot during these 30 days. The day she broke the halter was the first day of the rest of her life.