Buying a Horse Horse Training

Your new horse is home, now what? 8 tips for starting your journey right as a first-time horse owner

Starting your journey with a new horse can be both daunting and scary.

With so much information out there, it can be hard to filter through what advice is the best for you and your horse.

Bringing a new horse into your life can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming.

You want to create a strong and positive bond with your horse from the beginning.

I like to start my journey with a new horse on the ground, not in the saddle, because that allows me to make sure that the horse has got all the basic skills down that I need.

And in going through this process of almost auditing the skills the horse has, and teaching her the ones she’s missing, we also get to know each other and start to build trust.

1) Spend time with your new horse.

Spending time with your horse is crucial when it comes to building a strong bond.

This may seem like common sense, but many people have busy schedules and find it hard to spend quality time with their horse.

Especially, when you’re a hobby rider and can’t get out to see your horse every day, just spending time together, hanging out, becomes even more important in my opinion.

Try to set aside some time each day to spend with your new horse, even if it’s just grooming, sitting in the pasture with them or going for a walk around the property.

Doing groundwork with your horse is also a great way to connect with them and learn their personality.

One great exercise to do to get to know your horse better, is learning to feel your horse by hand. You can download this handy guide to see how to do it step-by-step.

2) Read your new horse’s body language.

Horses communicate through body language.

Reading your horse’s body language can help you understand their mood and how they’re feeling.

It will also help you be safe around your horse and set them up for success when you’re working together.

If your horse is tense or nervous, take a step back and work on relaxation exercises.

This will help your horse feel more comfortable and build trust with you.

3) Learn things together.

Getting to know your new horse takes time.

One of the best ways to learn more about your horse is to do things together.

Take your horse out for walks, hand-graze together, and try some basic exercises.

This will help you learn how your horse handles different situations and how they learn best.

As you spend more time together, you’ll start to develop a deeper understanding of your horse’s personality and what makes them happy.

Remember to be consistent in your interactions with your horse and always approach them with kindness and respect.

4) You’ll want to find a good saddle.

One of the most important tools you’ll use while riding your horse is your saddle.

A poorly fitting saddle can cause pain for your horse, leading to behavioural issues like bucking, rearing, spooking, bolting, and even physical damage.

It can also make it difficult for you to stay in balance and work with your horse’s motion.

To prevent these issues, contact a professional saddle fitter in your area.

They’ll be able to evaluate your horse’s confirmation, how they move, and find a saddle that will be a comfortable fit for both horse and rider.

Also make sure the other tack you’ve got is properly fitted to your horse.

5) Do groundwork before riding.

It’s important to build a strong relationship with your horse before riding.

Working on the ground will help you get to know your horse’s unique personality, and it’s also an opportunity to improve your horse’s mental state and feel more confident in your work.

Groundwork is also important for your safety.

If your horse is tense and nervous, it’s helpful to take some time to work with them on the ground to get their focus back on you and help them relax.

6) Have realistic expectations.

When you first get your horse, you may have a lot of goals you want to achieve with them.

However, it’s important to have realistic expectations and remember that there will be ups and downs along the way.

Remember that riding has three components: mental, physical, and emotional.

If you’re struggling with a particular issue, identify which component(s) you need to work on.

7) Optimise your riding.

Physical fitness is essential for good riding.

It can improve your balance, core strength, and flexibility.

These benefits can help you communicate more clearly with your horse and stay safe in the saddle.

It’s essential to stretch before and after riding and to work on exercises that target your specific areas of weakness.

There are also plenty of exercises you can do well in advance of getting a horse, to raise your fitness level.

8) Build a good support network around yourself and your horse.

Finally, don’t be afraid to seek help and support.

Riding instructors, trainers, and veterinarians can provide valuable advice and support to help you and your horse succeed.

Yard owners and fellow riders are also a great resource which you should make the most of.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help when you need it.

Being able to have conversations with your community is incredibly helpful when things happen (such as dealing with your first hoof abscess) and it’s always good to have people to turn to.

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