Quiet young horse

curious if anyone has had a horse like this? Does this sound like it could be okay for an Amateur dressage rider? I know they change so much over time too. To make a long story short: Horse was very quiet under saddle but I think is also a sensitive type. Does it seem realistic that that this horse can learn to be responsive under saddle or do you believe once a push ride always a push ride?

Currently looking at a young horse as a Dressage Prospect. Just barely started (60 ish days of training, including the prep groundwork.) He’s with a trainer that I know and trust. She does a good job starting her horses, although not a Dressage rider. But she tends to have Ammy friendly types come out of her program. A bit a natural horsemanship type start, but no drilling. She goes slowly.

Anyways this guy is adorable. Not overly fancy but adorable. Seems very level headed. The trainer says he can be a bit sensitive/unsure about himself. She very recently just did his first canter under saddle. Still in the very very basics of learning to be a riding horse.

When I rode him, he had had mostly 2 1/2 weeks off to be a horse/ trainer was out if town. Trainer rode him and he was very good, a little unsure about the canter but did get it both leads.

When I hopped on, he definitely was a little bit confused acting. He definitely is used to trainer only riding him. He was well mannered and very behind the leg! He seemed ultra sensitive to my seat and wasn’t sure “if I didn’t really me to halt?” I admit I ride very conservatively for the first ride especially on a young horse! And in general I’m quiet.

I’m getting a market preview on this horse, he’s not for sale yet. I’m able to go see him quite a bit in the next month before a decision (and of course I will vet him very very thoroughly if it comes to that.) My concern is because I’m soft and quiet, I don’t tend to enjoy lazy or really dull types. He rode around very pokey but the trainer said that tends to get better with more trainer. Now that she has the brakes installed, she’ll focus in forward. I think from her description and from what I’ve seen, he’s sensible but a little cautious and actually a sensitive soul. I think this could be a good thing for me (I do well with the sensitive types.) The arena was rattling from the wind a bit, there was tons if jumps and things in the arena (grooming area is on one end.) He was very aware and curious about that all. He definitely wanted to cock his head and check things out but was level headed about it.

And just for a disclaimer, I’m familiar with young and green horses, but I’m not a professional! I would plan on further professional training with this guy or any green horse. I’m going to talk to my own trainer tomorrow as well but COTH has so many great minds.

1 Like

I find it is much much easier to jazz them up, especially a young horse who was “behind the leg” because he doesn’t really know better yet, than to dull the extra sharp ones down.

If your goals are super lofty (PSG or GP), I’d maybe think twice. If you’ve got more modest goals, he sounds absolutely perfect, if you feel confident you won’t have issues with baby horse stuff.

5 Likes

As far as a young one, I definitely prefer to have to jazz one up a little then ride through constant displays of exuberance! I think I would feel a little differently if I’m looking at a 10-year-old though.

I have a soft spot for the babies. They aren’t easy but to me it can be a really fun journey. Watching them grow and learn and also watching myself become a better horse woman is pretty cool. That said, I’m an incredibly patient person, I’m constantly working on my seat and aids and I don’t want the horse that needs to be and professional training its whole life I have no qualms about reaching out for help at any time. This guy obviously needs more professional training for a while though. But he just seems like he’s got a really good mind.

4 Likes

I agree with @endlessclimb. I’ve seen horses (of all ages) go from dull and behind the leg, to forward and sensitive to the leg in literally one ride depending on the horse, the rider, and why it is dull. If I came across the situation you describe, I would work with the horse a bit on the ground to see if it is dull/insensitive in general or not. I’d see how it moves off light pressure to yield it’s shoulders, hindquarters, etc. If he can be light to pressure from the ground, I tend to think they can be light to pressure when under saddle if properly trained. I would much prefer something only just started to be a little on the quieter side than overly sensitive.

It will take time for such a green horse to learn that slightly different aids (such as the difference between yours and the trainer’s) can mean the same thing.

2 Likes

We didn’t even have to lunge him this time (although I did hand-walk him for a few minutes to kind of get him warmed up before the trainer hopped on while she was finishing up a lesson.) I definitely want to see how he reacts on the lunge in a little bit more in depth on the ground. Because I agree if he can be sensitive to the cues on the ground and I think that bodes well for under saddle (as long as everything is good soundness wise.) From what I’ve seen I do think he is the type that will easily react to light pressure on the ground. And I really liked that he was noticing stuff while we were riding like he wanted to look at a bucket on the ground by a jump. And was looking at the other end of the arena while I was kind of rattling. Not a spook really, a bit unsure, but easily consoled and ridden through it. with a young horse I always hope that they do notice things and aren’t so dull that they really are just withdrawn!

1 Like

I think with the babies, it’s not always that they’re “dull” or a “push ride”. I think a lot of times it’s just more that they aren’t confident going forward and in front of the leg yet. It wouldn’t worry me very much but I agree, see what happens on the lunge line. Good luck! You sound excited about this one!

4 Likes

I would want to see him at liberty and on a longe. If a horse has 3 days off and then won’t run around at speed in turnout, I’d be worried.

But a young horse under saddle can be sucked back because he is unsure how to move under a riders weight. They are all unsure, some rush around unbalanced and some buck and some are cautious.

5 Likes

That’s what it felt like to me. It felt like he was just a little unsure still. And I will totally accept some responsibility for that as well!! He wasn’t tense or worried though just trying to figure this new rider out. Although with the trainer he still was far from a hot type too.

I definitely think playing with him on the ground will be very telling about who he is for sure. I’m cautiously optimistic about him :slight_smile:

4 Likes

He lives full time on a huge hilly pasture and the trek up the barn is a pretty intense walk up a hill so hard to say how he is in turnout but I plan to play on the lunge and on the ground more.

He definitely felt like a cautious type.

This sounds so much like my young horse! Going forward and in front of the leg took a lot of work in the beginning when I was starting her but now that she’s a little older she’s definitely not a push ride.

1 Like

I will say if he is pretty dull or lackluster on the lunge, that would personally be a red flag for me. Either personality wise or potential health issue. But the vibe I’m getting is that he’s going to be a pretty responsive on the ground, but we will see.

I wouldn’t worry if the horse is on 24/7 turnout though.

Another thing to consider especially if he’s in a 60 day type program is that he’s probably very used to ground work at this point so I wouldn’t expect him to be too wild on the lunge even if he has days off.

1 Like

Agreed the big hilly pasture is a factor plus a good thing for fitness and bance.

3 Likes

Yeah I just don’t expect this guy to be wild honestly I think he is level-headed regardless. I just want to see how he responds when you ask. I think he will be responsive as long as you’re clear with what you want. I’ll let you guys know how it goes!

3 Likes

Ehh, I’ve got an naturally unmotivated youngster. He just had 2.5 weeks off due to cold (turnout, hand walking, and ponying only) and I lunged him for 10 minutes the day before I wanted to get back on. He was lazier lunging than when he’s in a regular schedule and there were zero antics on the lunge line.

I rode the next day with a 5 minute lunge beforehand and once I got on, he wascruising around pretty well; maybe a tiny bit less forward than normal.

My trainer had to really get on my case about nagging and expectations for forward using whatever aids necessary (voice, noise, whip, spur) to get a big response right away. If you have a trainer who will keep you honest about forward and not nagging with your legs, you should be able to motivate the youngster.

I’d also see about getting him cantering under saddle right away - we found that it was easiest to get a big forward response in the canter and my baby seemed to find more “joy” cantering big than trying to trot big.

Editing to add: If he’s insecure/unsure but curious, I’d be fine (that’s what my baby is like). I can invite him to go check out things that he’s unsure about and he’s very willing to give it a try. If he’s a insecure and flight-focused horse, I’d pass.

Mine started out lazy (3yo OTTB), and it did not take long for her to figure out she better get going when asked or things were going to escalate quickly. Now she’s a total joy to ride. I only rode her max 3 days a week and got those results.

As long as you aren’t scared about what’s going to happen when you up the ante, it really does not take long for the horse to get the idea. Plus, this horse is a baby, learning new things every day. He doesn’t have 10 years of nagging rider to undo, you’ve basically got a clean slate!

2 Likes

I have one who was the kick ride to end all kick rides when I got him. He was the horse from that skit where she can.not.make.him.go.

Took about three weeks to fix it. He was 5 at the time. Now he’s actually quite hot and can be a little tricky to ride.

2 Likes

Oh yes sometimes the hottest types can actually be behind the leg!

1 Like

I want my next one to be quieter than my current one. I would like it if people, when they see us enter the arena at a clinic, don’t automatically move their chairs way back from the ground pole line separating the auditors from the rider.

9 Likes

This made me LOL

It’s good to remember while I’m horse shopping!

1 Like