Some pictures of Hemi....
Long story short, I am adopting a 9 year old Hancock bred gelding. He was trained professionally as a 4 year old and I'm not sure if he has been ridden since (I *think* he has, but I'm sure it wasn't by experienced riders). I KNOW he hasn't been ridden in at least a year and a half as he was thrown out on a pasture with a 1200 lb round bale and was forgotten about. His feet weren't touched and he is ridiculously obese. He has a very "in your pocket" personality (almost pushy, but he backs off fairly easily and is good about moving away from pressure). He is calm and confident and good with having his feet done and trailering. That is about as much as I know about him. Oh, and did I mention he's fat? I mean REALLY a chunk!
So my question is-How would you go about getting back on this horse and seeing what he can do? What precautions would you take?
I am an experienced rider. I've started several colts and ride dressage and reining/cutting horses. However, I have not dealt with this particular situation before and I always choose the safest and most reliable option rather than just hop on and hope for the best!
Some pictures of Hemi....
Id start with a lot of ground work. Yeilding his fore and hind from the ground, lunging, getting him in a little bit of shape, etc, and making sure he's healthy. After I've worked with him on the ground, I would see how he does being saddled, then I'd lunge him saddled, see how he does. After he does well with that, theres really not much left to do except hop on. Obviously these steps should be taken over the course of days or weeks, depending on how he does.
From what you've said he seems to have a great personality, and isn't scared of people, which is a big plus. He'll understand what you're trying to get him to do, and he'll remember, and most likely, he'll enjoy the attention.
"That hoss wasn't built to tread the earth, He took natural to the air, And every time he went aloft, He tried to leave me there."
Dina-22yo Paso Mare
Cash-11yo APHA gelding.
Thanks for the reply! This is about what I had in mind....basically approach it as if I'm starting a horse for the first time. What would your suggestion be for getting on? Would you just get on and go, so to say? Or would you have someone lunge him with you on him? Or sometimes, I'll flex their nose all the way to one side or another and have someone basically "push" him around without him having full freedom of his head and neck?
I'd put him in the round pen and do a little change of direction, see if he's willingly going to follow my lead, and if so, I'd saddle him up and ride him around in a corral. If he acts good I'd take him out of there and ride him maybe 20 min. more then quit for the day. I'd gradually increase his work to get him fit. I wouldn't expect him to act bad. Horses normally give you what you expect, so if you expect him to act good, he probably will. You have confidence and he will be more willing to comply.
"I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.” Pietro Aretino
Sweet! Sounds like a plan!
A tired horse is less likely to be a fractious horse.
I don't know if you have worked a lot with Hancock horses, but if not, one FYI. Hancock horses, particularly those crossed with certain lines, have a reputation of being very sweet and well-mannered on the ground, but hiding a horrible buck in there. So I would definitely do what other people have mentioned and start out in the round pen.
"Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it." Steve Prefontaine
"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." Steve Prefontaine
If it were me, I'd act like I was freshly starting him and see what he knows. If he seems like he knows what you're doing, move on to the next thing.
Treat him like an Unbroken horse and take things quiet and slow at first.
A Racehorse is an Amazing Creature... They can take thousands of people for a ride at once.