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I am 44 years old, grew up in Colorado & now live in KY (don't ask)! My problem is that I fell in love with a Peruvian Paso, 6'1" from hoof to withers, 4 years old, cut about 3 months ago and a whole lotta attitude!!! I know that it's gonna take a heapin' helpin' of time, patience care and proper training. (For both of us -- it's been a while since I've been around horses, maybe a couple of years or so).

BUT, in the last 4 weeks, I've had 3 broken ribs (due to his rearing-up, good ole' saddle horns, gotta love'em!) and I am now recovering from 3 blood clots in my left leg (due to a stomping that he gave me -- to be fair, neither time was REALLY his fault; try telling that one to my husband).

It's just that I've always had a sound respect for the power of a horse, but have to admit that I'm a little fearful of this weekend's ride. I have a wonderful family and don't particularly have a death wish, but my love for horses & the outdoors just won't let me stay away.

Any suggestions that you may give in reference to helping me to get my horse (yep, I'm still buying him), Tornado, to trust me, well I'd love to hear it. I don't just go out there, saddle, ride and put him up, I spend a lot of my time just talking, brushing/grooming, few extra treats here and there, etc, etc.

Please help, my family wants me to pick another horse, but I know with time, he will be an awesome, very special friend, he is already one of the most beautiful horses I've ever seen! I really don't want to lose him, but in reality, I do need to conquer his fears as well as mine.

Thank you for listening, but mostly for understanding my love of horses.

-- M. M.


Yep, I understand your love of horses, but if I were in your boots I wouldn't take Tornado on that trail ride. There's no sense cutting off your chances of a long life in the saddle just because you're in love with a pretty face. And there's no shame in telling your trail buddies that Tornado just isn't ready yet -- and asking if you can borrow a steady trail horse in the meantime.

So, what do I mean by "in the meantime"? I mean that you need to do some intensive basic training with that guy before he's ready to accept you as his "lead brood mare" -- and before you entrust your life to him. Give him plenty of round pen work; teach him to stand steady while being sacked out and otherwise desensitized. If he's really hard-headed, check the out-of-print book dealers for Prof. Beery's horse training books (You can track them down with the Barnes and Noble search box at the bottom of my Trading Post page). As for your injuries, now you know why the cowboy horse trainers wrap a "bucking roll" around the saddle horn before climbing on board a green-broke horse.

Ol' 'Nado probably also needs more than three months to figure out that he's not a stallion anymore. Even if he were safe for you to ride, it's not polite to take a studdish horse on a trail ride when there may be mares along.

Do I agree that you should get rid of him? No; but I want you to understand that you've got a poorly trained horse on your hands, and brushing and treats won't correct that problem. In fact, it could potentially make the problem worse. If you're not up to the job of continuing Tornado's training by yourself, find someone who is. You won't be doing that horse any favors by allowing his misbehavior to become a habit.

Along with training your horse, you may want to find an experienced horse person to give your own riding skills a tune up. (There's also no shame in that -- about 15 years ago I took several tune-up lessons myself. My instructor was amazed that I -- basically a self-taught rider -- had none of the bad habits she usually finds in other self-taught riders. In spite of that, I still picked up a lot of insights that made me an even better rider.) You may discover that your leg pressure and the way you handle the reins can actually cue Tornado to rear.

I'm sorry if I've poured any cold water on your dreams. I have to call it as I see it... and I'd really like you to stay alive and well so you can keep me posted on Tornado's continued improvement!

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