Breathe asked if restarts are harder than starts....
Mostly No, But....????
I do think that as horses get older, they, just like people, have a tendency to get more set in their ways and stiffer. Their muscles are usually fully developed and they have learned to travel and handle themselved in a certain way.
Obviously, people are having good success with getting older horses ridden. I know of a ton of people who are going back and starting older horses (over age 5) under saddle. A lot of them are horses like Bugs, who were probably worked and ridden 30 days or so when they were youngsters and for whatever reason didn't get rode enough to actually qualify as a saddle horse.
They are a bit different than starting with a horse who has had no work done on them, because they know what the next step is in the process and sometimes you can tell they are thinking (and worrying) about that rather than what is going on at that moment. That was Bugs problem and that is why I was never comfortable stepping on him. I could tell that horse was always anticipating the next step and he worried about it.
L switched that up on day 2...
Bugs' whole thing was, he did not like things above him. I have known that and tried to work on that by climbing on the corral panels and brushing him from above and ponying him. I was definitely going about it the wrong way, but I am not physically able to jump up on a horse the way L does. There are no springs in my legs anymore-LOL.
By being able to change things up, L got through to Bugs that he didn't have to anticipate and dread someone being above him. Now, I know that my brother says he rode the horse back in the fall of his 2y/o year and never had a problem, but either things didn't go as well as my brother says they did(he was a little messed up back then) or Bugs has overdramatized his riding experience in his mind and learned to dread it on his own. Who knows, maybe I made a bigger deal of it than I should have when I was working with him and he figured there really was something to be scared of. Bugs is quickly figuring out that it is no big deal though. The horse has a good mind and has never had any really taumatizing incidences.
Thanks to being able to watch L, my mind is refreshed and I am going to be taking some of my other horses over to work on myself. Besides, it is just way more fun working around other people than it is working alone all of the time. L is hilarious and he always has buddies hanging around. The story-telling has been thick the last couple of days. I forgot how much I miss the comraderie of being around a training barn.