Have I made the right decision in buying a young inexperienced horse?

Richard had been riding for two and a half years when he made the decision to purchase his first horse called Beauty an un-backed four year old Connemara.
beauty and_cat
Richard received divided reactions to the purchasing of such an inexperienced horse, but those that knew Richard best and had worked closely with him on his riding and purchasing journey believed he had made the right decision - Jane Portas (riding instructor) put it best when she told him that he was likely to have less trouble with a well handled young horse like Beauty than an older established horse that might have bad habits.
 
Richard's learning curve was going to be steep but under the guidance, support and expertise of some dear associates, especially from his dear friend Heather Walton he began his journey in slowly backing Beauty. This was never going to be a two week intensive professional backing as Richard clearly didn't have the experience, but with the support of Heather he knew that simply taking his time was the right thing to do for him and Beauty, and time was something he had plenty of.


Richard shares his experience
 
beauty on_beach

Beauty from the onset showed her willingness to learn and for the first month we kept to basic ground work, there were a few stops but she would keep trying. She soon settled in to her new home and it wasn't long before she was being lunged in walk and trot, and even on command performed transitions between the two.
 
Her ability to learn quickly and her desire to move on was becoming clearly apparent, so again we tried her out with something new and got the poles out to see how she would react.
She was amazing, and after a few sniffs and making sure in her own way that they were safe, she simply walked over them. Beauty often liked to make sure things were safe before proceeding, and when happy she would just remember that achievement for ever and not look back.  She was proving  better on the left rein and although her desire to just want to stand by my side when on the right rein was very touching  - was this going to become a problem?   
 beauty trotting
After only one week of being on the lunge we both had a lesson in long lining. To start with Beauty resisted turning and I put this down to it being something new, however Bob Mayhew's video came to the rescue and I used a simple yielding to pressure exercise that would  be beneficial and help Beauty turn her head away simply by using a small amount of pressure. This was a very simple exercise and the key was not to turn (push or pull) the horses head round, but to apply light pressure until she turned and then release the pressure, not keeping the pressure up is seen by the horse as a reward for turning.
 
beauty canteringWork progressed well and Beauty was growing in confidence and abilty - it was only two months after I had bought her that we decided it was time for me to try and sit on her, she was just amazing and I was so proud of her when she allowed both Heather and I to sit on her a few times, initially she felt unstable and it was obvious that she was trying to work out how to move with the added weight of a rider; however she quickly improved with each session.
 
Confidence growing and then my first fall! 
 
Confidence levels high and a proud moment of us both in tune walking slowly across the school, something suddenly spooked Beauty and she made a very sharp left turn taking off in canter, leaving me shocked and sitting in the sand. Lesson learnt!!  I hadn't appreciated how tight and fast a young horse could turn and run.. No harm done and I got back on board straight away with a new appreciation of Beauty's potential! beauty scratching
 It was then that Heather decided it was time to set me a target.  ‚Äö√Ñ√∫Barlow show are doing the new BD walk trot intro dressage test in three months time, I think you and Bea should enter!‚Äö√Ñ√π  And before I had realized what I said, I agreed! What had I just committed too? 
Find out how we get on next time….

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