Thursday, January 15, 2015

Something Old, Something New

If you've been reading for any length of time, you know that my lovely girl is not a youngster. She was 9 when I bought her in 2007 (you can do the math) and she had had quite the full career by that time already.

I made the switch to riding English early in 2014 and started really studying riding in earnest. We've had lots of bumps and bobbles along the way but we're coming along quite nicely, if I do say so myself.  :)

But every once in a while I wonder about what this journey would have been like with a younger horse.

With Lady, we had years together and she had even more years of experience before that, so a lot of the dressage and jumping training we've done in the past year has been more re-learning for both of us than anything else. Its new things, yes, but its also breaking old habits and learning new ones in their place.

With a younger, more green horse there is a lot of teaching good habits for them to have for the rest of their lives. You have to teach them how to use their bodies correctly and carry themselves and not knock jumps over.

With a green horse, you have to teach them about proper bend and straightness as a habit. With Lady, I'm having to teach correct bend/straightness over her many years of going crooked and compensating.  Big difference.

I'm more or less thinking out loud here.... so I'll pass it on to you?  Have you trained a green horse or an older horse or both?  What are your thoughts?


  1. I almost think older horses are easier. Gina was 14 when I bought her and is 18 now. I don't know much about the training she's had, other than she bounced between local hunter/jumper barns for a few years. I'm never sure how much of what we're doing is remembering and how much is retraining! But with older horses, I feel like you've got a lot of the "big" things out of the way: they have a better sense of self, so they usually know where all their legs go. They understand basic cues like "go forward" and "STOP BEFORE YOU RUN INTO THE FENCE, YOU IDIOT". They're less inclined to get bent out of shape about a spooky thing or have little baby hissy fits because you asked them to do something.

    I've long wondered if a younger Gina would be better or worse than my current Gina. I'm undecided!

  2. my leased mare is 13 and already has a pretty good idea of what's what. so we're just going along the same way as you said - breaking old habits to replace with new ones