|Tennessee, 8 year old TWH ridden in Western
headgear, various bits and Western Saddle in ring, pasture by beginner
to intermediate level rider.
Question: I have just purchased my first horse and of course, I have many questions:
1. He is a gelding, right at 15 hands, but the weight of about 730 pounds concerns me. He otherwise seems very healthy with a good appetite. He has been wormed twice. I have been riding him every day for the past 3 weeks, and sometimes twice a day. Should I be concerned?
2. He had only been ridden about once a month for the last year, and not properly. We tried a double twisted snaffle bit that tore up his mouth, now we are using a sweet copper snaffle and that seems okay. What is a good bit for him - he has a good gait, but sometimes seems a little pacey.
3. My husband says that he almost never put rear shoes on his horses and I have heard that from others. I will be trail riding him mostly. Do I really need those rear shoes?
From Panelist Steve
1. Well, he does sound like he is a little skinny but it is impossible
If you can't see the ribs but can feel them readily, then the horse
2. I have excellent results with Wonder Bits. Depending on where the
>From time to time try a snaffle (actually all you have to do is attach
We don't use bits at all any more except when we go out in mixed company,
3. I haven't used back shoes on any of my horses in 12 years and see
From Panelist Carol
I think that as long as you are feeding your horse at least 10 pounds of grain a day, and if his back isn't getting sore, it's ok to go ahead and ride him. gradually increase grain if you aren't feeding that much now.
If he likes the copper snaffle, that sounds fine to me. I'm not a big fan of twisted wire bits, although the horse will tell you what kind he likes.
Leave the rear shoes off for now, but if his feet wear too much, or if you are planning long rides on rough territory, you will need to shoe him behind.
Carol Camp Tosh
From Panelist Darla
Fifteen hands and 750lbs would concern me if he looks like he is really
The shoes are not needed if your horse has good strong feet and there
From Panelist Stella
1) That does sound like underweight for a horse his height, especially
if he's to carry an adult human,tack etc too.....stepping his feed and
hay up should help; remember, he will be burning up much more energy being
ridden regularly now, when he wasnt before, so do start stepping him up....with
some horses that seem to be hard keepers, its a good idea
2)Paceyness can be the result of a number of things-natural(conformation), changes of terrain, the rider, saddle fit, farriery, lack of optimum condition, lack of much training past greenbroke to teach the horse to use himself properly...lateral exercises(circles, serpentines, reverses, etc help). If its your first horse, do seek some additional lessons in riding, and even have a professional check your horse to give you a more accurate diagnosis on where the problem is stemming from, so you can go from there on the right track to correct it.
3)It really depends on your horse, and your horse's gaits. Being you
said he's pacey, sometimes just front shoes can help that(often makes the
horse a bit more diagonal). Others, it may interfere with gaits, especially
if trotty in the first place....but sometimes the converse! Its an individual
matter...you can try and see, always add the back shoes later, if
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