I am new into Horse Training but I have been around horses my entire life. And when I say my entire life, I mean like when my mom was still pregnant with me. I had a complicated childhood, my mom was always there for me and I spent every day with her, and my father, well, he definitely wouldn’t win father of the year; in a shorter sense, dead-beat. The barn was my escape, we had a set schedule every day, 7am till 1pm everyday, we were at the barn, and I was always with Socks, who was my mother’s friends horse, but he was basically mine in the sense that we were inseparable. Having my own horse was always a dream of mine after Socks had to be put down.
I adopted my first horse, Sonya, about 2 1/2 years ago from Medina County SPCA in Ohio, in May of 2015. She is a 5 year old Morgan, who is honestly a short sh*t standing at 14.2 hands. She is sassy and spunky, a typical mare, but she is probably one of the most loving mares I have ever come across.
I made the decision when I adopted her that I would be the one training her. Mostly because I can’t afford a trainer, and I decided it would be a good learning experience. Within the first 3 months of owning her, I worked on ground work. My first steps were to make sure that she knew her name and that I was able to halter her and lead her with no problems. Once I had those down pact, I moved on to introducing her to all sorts of things, such as other animals, jumps, poles, barrels, anything you can think of. While getting her comfortable with seeing jumps, she saw a frog on the ground and actually tried to move a tarp on top of the frog, probably the weirdest and funniest thing I’ve ever seen her do. I introduced her to a saddle by just simply placing it on her back, she was a little freaked out but it didn’t last for long. By August of 2015, I was able to saddle her up and my mom was able to lead us around with me on her back. Within a year, she understood her commands, was able to be lunged, and stopped bucking while I was riding. I was able to rid her in both an english and a western saddle.
We however had something occur, where someone had worked her for an unnecessary amount of time, and basically traumatized her. After that I wasn’t able to do anything from her left side, she refused to be lunged, and she pretty much shut out everything she had learned. It took a long time to work through all of that. I still did things slowly and got on and rode occasionally. But I thought I would kind of give her a year off since she was only about 3 1/2 at the time.
This fall is when I really got back into it. She listens to voice and leg commands, she has her occasional bucks here and there, and its usually when getting into a canter, and I have come to find out she only does that when she has a lot of energy. I’m working on getting those bucks out of her because they are an extremely bad habit. She has proved time and time again that she is a fast learner. I’m actually teaching her now to start going over very small jumps, and she loves it.
Mind you, I have never trained a horse in my life, I just used input from others I knew and training videos from online and taught myself and Sonya, along the way. I used the knowledge I had from riding my whole life. I never thought I’d be able to get as far as I have. Now, I am aware that every horse is different and that not every horse will be as easy to train as Sonya is. But what I have learned will shape the way I do things in the future. These animals are 1,000 pounds and have a mind of their own, they all have their own little quirks. You have to have the patience to work through them and I honestly believe that forming a bond with the horse you are training also really does help, if you have the time to form a bond of course. I spent the first three months really trying to form a good connection so that she knew she could trust me and I believe that’s why we have been so successful.
Basically, my take away from this, is that you can do anything you set your mind to, and it may not come easy, it may be very hard, but if you take everything with a grain of salt, and believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. Don’t let fear or lack of experience get in the way of what you want and know you can achieve.