Giving up vs. being realistic? (long!)

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Giving up vs. being realistic? (long!)

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    01-01-2009, 06:09 PM
Giving up vs. being realistic? (long!)

I've had my horse since early March. I know we waaayyyy over paid for him, but he had natural talent so my parents didn't mind. We bought him jumping small cross pole courses. He was really green, but calm and seemed to have a good mind. Boy were we (and my trainer) wrong! Fast forward 10 months, and I have what my trainer calls the pissiest mare she ever saw, and he's a gelding! I have gone through periods of bucking, trying to take off with the bit, spinning, kicking, and more. We are barely getting back into jumping, and even trotting over 2 foot verticals he trys to ran at/over them. Recently he "spooks" at everything going his worse direction because he's annoyed. I can handle that, but when he "spooks" he drops his shoulder, runs sideways untill he thinks I'm unbalanced, then goes the other way.

But, he's not always like that. Some days he's great. He always bends well, he's smooth, he is sensitive to cues, has a great canter. And sometimes he will be calm to all the jumps, jumps them beautifully and does a flying lead change without me even asking for it.

A few months ago he got a new food/diet that has helped a bit, but he's still a pissy mare.

My trainer is amazing, the horses in her barn are nearly always in the ribbons at shows, and she trained a kid/pony that is third in the nation for small greens, with less then half the shows as the first place kid. She understands horses, teaches well, and teaches her riders how to ride anything well. If Painter'snot getting better with her helping, I can't help but lose my confidence in him.

I am also losing confidence in my ability to ride. Once a week I take a lesson on a very green pony, but I have no problem. I can (and have) ridden most of the horses in the barn, from barely broke, to green jumping courses, to bratty spoiled things that "spook" and take off. But I never am worried about coming off and have fun, even when their bad. On Painter, I am waiting to come off any second, I hesitate to the jumps because I can't help but think he'll stop and back, run out the side, or gallop over it. My parents say even though they'll lose money, they'll let me sell him and get something else (most likely green). I love green horses, but Painter is just... different. Even the proffessional has trouble with him, and she's amazing!

Am I giving up if I sell him, or being realistic that he is never going to get better, and I'm just facing more problems if I keep him? Thanks for reading this and sharing your opinions
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    01-01-2009, 06:30 PM
I'm a firm believer in changing horses when it effects my health and attitude. If your trainer is having trouble, and diet and tack problems are ruled out, I would consider remounting.

It seems that you have already given a good deal of thought to doing just that and really want validation for your decision. Having a horse like that can and does take all the fun out of riding. When that happens it's time to make a change. There will always be horses in your riding career that will need work but you've been trying for nearly a year and it isn't getting better (judging by your post). Time for a change.
    01-01-2009, 08:01 PM
I agree with Iridehorses theres certainly no disgrace in saying a horse isn't working out for you. And with the millions of horses in the country to choose from why keep one that's not clicking with its owner?
    01-01-2009, 08:42 PM
What about checking saddle fit and for chiropractic pain? Also the spooking could be a vision issue - it could be subtle but I've seen before where horses are spookier when they have a pinched nerve in their back/neck that causes chronic headaches. Honestly it sounds to me like that's what your boy has. It's hard to know for sure, as chronic headaches are hard to find, as it may not be a severe back issue or saddle fit issue, but can be found by a good chiropractor. If by chance you live near me, I'd be happy to send you my guy's contact info - he's wonderful. I know it sounds odd, but I've seen a horse nearly identical to this before that makes me think it may be the case, from the initial calm temperament to the total unpredictability that makes you feel like you have no idea what is next...
    01-01-2009, 09:14 PM
He's had complete vet tests, blood tests, been chiropracted several times, massaged frequently, and had his vision checked. There could be a medical reason, but I don't think so
    01-01-2009, 09:31 PM
If you are afraid, that is probablyjust reinforcing his behavior. Has your trainer ridden him?? Maybe if you see him with another rider, it will help you regain your confidence in yourself and him. And have you tried working lots on the ground? If you can earn his respect maybe he will behave better when you ride.
    01-01-2009, 09:41 PM
Yes, he has been ridden multiple times with the pro rider who rides many of the horses at our barn. She hardly EVER comes off and Painter nearly got her off. He pulls the same things with everyone who rides him. I do not let him feel that I am afraid, I keep a relaxed back and a secure seat.

Sometimes he's not bad. I can push him into the corners if he trys to spook, and sponge the reins to keep him controlled. He has a really soft mouth and although he's not great, I don't mind. But if he decideds to act up, his mouth turns to stone and is almost impossible to slow down, especially when jumping
    01-01-2009, 09:52 PM
Green Broke
Make sure the saddle fits and he has a bit that fits him. Some horses have a different shaped mouth and need a different bit - like instead of a broken snaffle they need a french-link or even a arched mullen mouth to be comfortable. One way to see if its the bit is try riding him bitless in the arena.

If you ruled saddle and bit fit out and teeth issues, then sell him - but with full disclosure to any potential home.
    01-01-2009, 10:16 PM
Sometimes you just don't get the right match. Sounds to me that you are frustrated and at the end of your rope and have exhausted all the faculties you have.

You've given almost a full year to "fixing the situation". Point is, he's still green.

Sell him knowing you tried your best and it just didn't work. The right horse is still out there.
    01-03-2009, 09:15 PM
Do you have the finances or resources to send him away to a good trainer for 3-6 months?

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