Starting Colts & Restarting Older Horses

Use this space to pose questions about starting colts or restarting older horses

I have a 12 year old horse that I have had since he was 6. We are having some issues. When I first got him I felt he had a lot of holes in his training early on, as well as maybe some emotional scaring from his early days under saddle. I worked with him and sent him to a local trainer for 60 days. We were getting along fine, and two years ago he bucked me off twice. At that point I decided to refocus my efforts on a younger horse, and give the 12 year old a break. The younger horse has really come along and I am thinking about working with this 12 year old again. He is very skittish and hard to catch. My question is did I make a mistake by giving him the time off, and is he too old to try to restart. I am also concerned about the amount of emtional baggage we may both have that we never worked through.

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Older horses can be tough and challenging. They are less mentally flexible than younger horses and usually have a lot of layers to their behavior patterns that aren’t always natural but rather man made. He can have a successful life at that age with that history but most likely, at some point, He will have flashbacks of prior experiences and situations and revert to the knowledge he used last time (or when he was younger) to get out of an uncomfortable situation.

It usually takes a lot of consistency, a lot of riding, and a lot of bravery and athleticism to get through horses like that. You’ll spend two or three or even four times as much time with a horse like that than a younger, more mentally flexible horse. The rewards are that the knowledge you’ll gain, you can use for other horses.

If you truly want to be successful with this horse I would get some help from someone who has more experience, even if it’s just a few lessons.


Update on my horse. I took him to a trainer friend of mine to have him give me his opinion. My horse was with three days and he sent him home. Told me to have him checked out by my vet then reevaluate him. The trainer felt that it was a pain issue causing him to buck. The vet is coming next week so we will see.


Any update on your horse?

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