Anglo-Arabs are sought after for endurance because they truly can go the distance. Maybe this horse would be better suited for an endurance rider?
If you’re determined to team with this horse, I applaud you but know that you’re in for some rough times before things will get better. I have OTTBs and my younger mare in particular got the best of me until I took charge. Silly me thought she could be ridden in a hack, but in reality, that made me nervous, which in turn made her nervous. I’m not one to advocate a super strong bit, but you must have some leverage. D bits and such are a joke to horses like this. I use a french link happy mouth elevator bit that is not harsh but gives me the leverage I need. Most of the time, we’re on a loose rein, but brakes are critical!
The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It took two years to get this mare’s brain straight enough to do a 50-mile endurance ride, and she figured out that being stupid at the beginning of the ride meant less energy at the end. She’s likely capable of doing a 75 someday (me, not so sure).
Some lessons learned:
– Breathe. Every time this mare got nervous, it was because I was tensed up and quit breathing. Even though I still get tense on her occasionally (she is 16.1 and powerful!), so long as I force myself to breath, she remains calm.
– Bit leverage. Get a bit that gives you leverage. Have reins that are strong, and wear gloves so you can pull hard if needed. If she gets stupid, don’t say please; instead, do a hard one-rein stop and let her know you’re serious.
– Determine riding partners … or not. My mare does very well alone but gets stupid with other horses, especially at the beginning of a ride. I always start out alone and will only ride with others if her brain is settled. Big if.
– Bear bell. If you’re horse gets antsy because there are monsters in the bushes, a bear bell on your saddle will get the monsters to move off quietly. Pigs, birds, and other creatures will not be crossing your path. It should only take your horse 5-10 minutes to get accustomed to the bear bell at the barn before your first ride.
– Always, always wear a helmet.