So, how long will it take to rehabilitate a horse? It will take FOREVER and even with forever, each horse has the potential to return to its prior behaviour if it is not very carefully monitored and managed. Two of the horses I took on in February 2016 are well on the mend. My naughty rearer has turned in to my favourite hunter and I can't actually think of the last time he reared, he is an easy going gent. SUCCESS.
As for the other one, it has turned out his behaviour was down to lameness, he will still try to buck and piss off now occasionally but way way less than he has done before. He is still very slightly lame, but this is improving every day but is taking huge amounts of time and patience, he will always be sharp I don't doubt that, its just his nature that he likes to keep you on your toes. What I do know is that he is not innately a mean horse, he was simply telling his rider he was in pain and there is only so much s**t this horse will take. So, should he have been put down? No, I don't think so, he just needed someone as stupid as me to put up with his weird quirks, take my time and enjoy a fun ride with reduced athletic expectation for now. Maybe one day he will reach the hunting field, fingers crossed but maybe he will be a happy hacker for the rest of his days, we shall see !
The final pony, he is tricky. It pisses off on the ground and occasionally decides not to load randomly. He has only been in the herd for a few months but already he is improving. I took him hunting on my own the other day and he loaded perfectly, but then other times he just doesn't fancy it - completely random. He needs more experience of going out regularly and a slightly regimented approach to how he is handled on the ground. BUT he is only 5, plenty of time yet - he is always getting better and that is all I need to see, small improvements. At the point this pony loads on command I shall be loading a video up as that's my aim, at the moment he looks at me like I am insane..........I'm in it for the long haul clearly !
With all my rehab ponies there is no quick fix, it just won't happen with any horse. Even if you get a quick fix, chances are it will return to its prior behaviour just as fast and as soon as its given the opportunity to do so. Rider education is also very important and time spent teaching owners would be key. To all the professional rehab trainers out there, I have to salute you, it can be a tough and a frustrating job but so good to think of the results you can get.