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Heart Horse, how do you know??

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        10-12-2011, 02:13 PM
      #41
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kitten_Val    
    That's crazy! Although I have to say when the BO added a very aggressive gelding to the herd one of my youngsters was beat up overnight to the point of being lame. Talk about not worrying!
    LOL, tell me about it, I promise that I am a sane and sensible person, apart from where Ace and now Angel are concerned!
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        10-12-2011, 03:17 PM
      #42
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Golden Horse    
    LOL, tell me about it, I promise that I am a sane and sensible person, apart from where Ace and now Angel are concerned!
    I freak out usually when one of my pets is sick (whether it's a horse, cat or dog). Always thinking the worst. I guess I'm a panic queen!
         
        10-12-2011, 03:39 PM
      #43
    Trained
    Both of my horses have been my heart horses, but with my first gelding, I didn't get to decide whether I kept him or not.

    Dakota (my first gelding) was sent to my friend as a six-year-old that his owners couldn't handle for her to retrain. They had started him over 2-foot fences as a three-year-old and had pushed him too hard, too fast, causing him to develop arthritis in his hocks by the time he was four. When he started refusing jumps (which was sad because he LOVES to jump), they decided to switch him to being a WP horse. They just tossed any old saddle on him, not taking into account the fact that he is VERY hard to fit a western saddle to (broad arab shoulders and high saddlebred withers). So, his saddle ended up pinching his shoulders and he let his owners know of his displeasure and discomfort by becoming difficult to handle. So, their "trainer" had them switch him to a twisted wire snaffle. Well, he hated that and let them know, so they added lovely rowled western spurs to the mix. They also used Parelli techniques on him, so if he didn't want to do something, they didn't make him. What came to us was a belligerent, spooky, ill-mannered 14.2hh gelding with absolutely NO respect for people, who didn't know how to lunge and had been forced into a false (almost rolkur) frame by a severe tie-down, so he had muscles in the funkiest places. I worked with him for TWO YEARS, teaching him to lunge on the line and off, respond to voice commands, lead without climbing up my shoulder, stand tied, bathe, get into a proper frame without pulling his chin all the way into his chest, ride in a simple D-ring french link snaffle...all the things a normal, well-trained horse should be able to do. By the time his owners decided that they wanted him back because he had made such a drastic turn-around in his behavior and training (after they'd told my friend they didn't want him anymore because he was "too much horse" for them and gave him to her, which she then gave him to me), we were using him as a bareback lesson horse in a D-ring french link snaffle for an eight-year-old little girl who was terrified of horses (she'd been bucked off at the previous lesson barn). Aside from the amount of time and effort I put into Dakota, there was just the bond we had. He'd do things for me that he wouldn't do for anyone else. I taught him to back up with just my hand on his chest and the word "back." Whenever he saw my truck pull in, he would start calling to me, and keep calling until I walked over and said "hi." When I turned him out, he would go nuts when I walked away, bucking and calling to me. I NEVER had to chase him down in turnout, he was always at the fence to greet me. The day I discovered he was gone (my friend didn't even tell me he was leaving...I went to feed for her that weekend and he was just gone), I died a little inside. I still tear up when I think about him. I had the opportunity to get him back a few months ago (right when I was deciding whether or not I wanted Aires), but I decided not to get him because there wasn't much I could do with him. He's now nine-years-old and his right hock has fused due to the arthritis. He has been relegated to being a light trail horse used maybe once a week. He'd be fine for a child (he LOVES kids anyway), though, and if I could afford it, I would have gotten him for my son.

    Then there's Aires. Everyone on here knows about the road he and I have traveled since I signed the purchase agreement on him on May 25th. I call Aires my "strong, silent type" because he rarely makes a sound (unless you have a feed bucket in your hand ). We have our moments, like when I clean his hooves out and he tries to kick me, but he is an amazing horse who would walk through fire if I asked him to. That's not saying our bond is like the bond I had with Dakota, because it isn't. Aires really is the strong, silent type. He knows when I'm upset or having a bad day and is just there for me to lean on. The trainer at our barn asked me what I want to do with Aires when he's older. I told her that I would love to event with him, but wondered if he would be any good at it. She told me that she was positive he would be outstanding at it (she's not the kind to sugar-coat things...if your horse can't do it, she'll tell you), but that aside from that, he'd do absolutely anything for me, which matters more than talent.

    So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can have more than one heart horse...but they're usually your heart horse for different reasons.
    Tianimalz likes this.
         
        10-12-2011, 04:26 PM
      #44
    Banned
    Quote:
    I call Aires my "strong, silent type" because he rarely makes a sound (unless you have a feed bucket in your hand )
    Feed buckets change everything
         
        10-12-2011, 05:05 PM
      #45
    Yearling
    This is probably going to sound lame, but both my cousin and I have lesson horses for our "heart" horses.

    Let me tell you about my cousin's situation first.

    There's a young (compared to the other horses at the barn) paint horse named Peanut. She's classified as an advanced horses and takes a lot of talent to ride. Every time my cousin got on this horse- which was only once in a while at the time- everyone would compliment her on how she was doing, and she would fall head over heels for her everytime. A few years passed where she did not ride Peanut, but rode some of the other lesson horses. One day my cousin went to get her from the pasture, and she told me she felt like "she already knew her very well". She proceeded to have an awesome ride and get Peanut on the bit, and everyone started freaking out because no one else can get her on the bit. Now she rides her more often and I can't look into people's hearts, but I think it's safe to say she's going to become my cousin's lesson horse. (The kind where no one else thinks of riding her when she's there, because they know she's hers even though she's not my cousin's in terms of ownership).

    As for me, I have a chestnut Thoroughbred named Lucky. When I rode her for the first time, I loved how spunky and fiesty she was, but I didn't know just yet that she was my "heart" horse. I rode her for a few weeks straight and then rode a horse named Junior. I rode him two weeks in a row and both times he managed to get me off of him. (Perhaps the universe trying to give me a hint? ). My second fall was my worse fall in a while- he bucked me over his head and I landed in a kneeling position, the wind knocked out of me. When I got back to riding two weeks later (my knee needed some time to heal, it kept swelling up) I rode Lucky. Now, usually she is extrememly fast and just raring to go, but while I was still nervous she just acted like a little angel. She got my confidence back and, voila- she started acting like her little race-horse self again. I still was too dumb to realize what I was feeling for this horse, pinning it down to the "honeymoon" phase for lesson horses, where you're obsessed with that horse for like a week and then move on. Then for several weeks in a row I got the chance to pick the horse I rode. I kept picking Lucky- I made different excuses- "I don't know the other horses as well", "I might as well ride her, I rode her last week", etc. I forget when, exactly, it happened. But something changed with me and her. Everytime I thought about riding, it was on her. Everytime I wondered which lesson horse I rode, I hoped it was her. I went to school and just thought about riding- but not just any horse, Lucky. Then my cousin went to my lesson a few days after my birthday. Some of the barn helpers were talking to her.
    "Are you more used to riding horses or ponies?"
    "Horses." (My cousin got assigned a pony).
    "Well, you could try switiching with Danielle, but she really likes Lucky."
    "Oh, no, it's fine, she talks about her all the time."
    Well, I just about smacked myself in the head, and stopped denying what I had already known in my heart was true. Lucky had become my lesson horse, and I wasn't complaining.

    Before I started riding her, she was very girth sour and was kind of reluctant about people picking her feet. When I say girth sour, I mean she would turn her head and pin her ears and bare her teeth (though as a lesson horse, I very sincerely doubt she would actually bite, just trying to seem tough). She would also bloat out- I would have the girth as tight as it would go and then a few minutes later it was so loose I would have to tighten it several holes. Now she is a nice lady for the girth, and when I tighten it and I check it, it has stayed as tight as I made it in the beginning. She is letting me pick her feet with less reluctance and impatience- although I know it kills her inside to stay so still for a few seconds oh my goodness- and she is just beautiful under saddle for me. She knows when I mean business and will trot like a normal horse now. I can walk with my feet out of the stirrups and my hands at the buckles on the reins, and I wouldn't have to worry- I trust this horse. She loves jumping, and going fast- and I could go on forever (and I think I already have). I just love this horse- and I'm thinking she loves me back :).

    Sorry for the insanely long post/rambling.

    And I think that defines a "heart" horse- when you just click with a horse. I've ridden many horses, thought I "loved" them- but I haven't bonded with any horse like I've done with this Thoroughbred.
         
        10-13-2011, 03:18 AM
      #46
    Yearling
    Athena is my heart horse. When we first met we were both stubborn, a little green, and not sure if we would get along with each other. Over the years though we've become a team, and we learned to understand each other. I have no idea how badly I will react when Athena dies, but I can say that I will not be the same person afterwards. I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. She's so much more than just a horse to me.

    I've owned a few other horses and taken care of many, and none of them even come close to the connection Athena and I have. The only other horse that has that potential is an Oldenburg mare that lives at the stable I work at. This mare desperately wants a job, she follows me around constantly, and she even has become Athena's "babysitter" in their paddock. Even when everyone else complains about this mare, I never have anything bad to say about her. We get along so well, and it's almost bizarre because I've known this mare from birth and I knew all along that she was special. In some ways it's almost like she's already decided that she's mine, and I truly wish that was the case.
         
        10-13-2011, 03:21 AM
      #47
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tianimalz    
    Feed buckets change everything
    He's gotten to the point that he nickers (very softly) whenever he sees my friend feeding her gelding, CJ. And he's got the begging stare down pat. *sigh*
         
        10-13-2011, 06:00 AM
      #48
    Yearling
    Quote:
    He's gotten to the point that he nickers (very softly) whenever he sees my friend feeding her gelding, CJ. And he's got the begging stare down pat. *sigh*
    At one of the barns I go to, the horses are bad enough when we start the grain- but it's almost nothing compared to the noise the goats and sheep make when we give them their food!

    I have to say though, I much prefer the nickering to the bleating
         
        10-13-2011, 04:44 PM
      #49
    Started
    This really is a hard one to pin down. I can't say I've ever met a horse I didn't like on some level, lol.

    Scout is my baby boy. He caught my eye two years before I bought him, just driving down the road a few miles from home, a pretty little chromed-out brown horse. Too far away to even tell whether it was a mare or a gelding, big pony or little horse - just the pretty horse in the pasture down the road, that I eventually forgot about, pushed to the back of my mind.

    When I bought him a couple of years later, he had been with his then-owners for only about a month, having been given to them after quite a long time of apparent neglect. He was skinny as a rail, positively filthy to the point that he wasn't truly clean until his winter coat shed out, but perky and friendly, not acting sick in the least. I took him home, and over the next few weeks was able to piece together that this skinny little sob story with the wild blue eye was the pretty boy from the pasture down the road.

    I don't know about heart horses, but Scout and I clicked pretty quick. I'm away at school, about an hour from home during the week, and every weekend I come home I go out to the barn and am greeted with whinnies and slobbery "kisses." My mom always comments that "he never does that when I come out to feed him..." We have off days, for sure, but he is always willing to try for me. I swear his favorite thing is to walk around the arena after a good ride, with his muzzle resting in my hand quietly, or with my hand resting on his poll.

    The other horse in the barn, Rio, is a good horse. Better than Scout in a lot of ways - he's older, wiser, pro-trained in his 'youth,' and has the most unbelievable game-face in the show ring. He's got great ground manners, and you could put about anyone on him as long as there is supervision. As good as Rio is, we just don't "click." We get along, can work together, have enjoyable rides, but it isn't quite the same as Scout. I don't get that "I missed you! Let's go do something together!" vibe from Rio the same way that I do from Scout. With Rio, it's more like "Oh, you're back. Where is my supper?"

    They're both my Big Boys, and nothing will ever replace my first Johnny-boy, but there are times that Scout just seems absolutely meant to be in my barn. Not sure if that's what makes for a heart horse, but that's my experience.
         
        10-13-2011, 05:16 PM
      #50
    Foal
    GH, I totally know what you mean about loving a horse more in your head than your heart. I always thought that Mr B was IT, he was my heart horse, and I couldn't live without him. Lately, though, it's starting to feel more like he's my anchor...and not in a good way. Don't get me wrong, I love him, but we just don't mesh well, never have, and I doubt ever will. There's been times when I really truly resent him, because of all his health issues, and the fact that my guilty conscience would eat me alive if I sold him to anything less than the absolutely most perfect home. He has a kind old soul, but he's not the most devoted sort of horse, and he's not very interested in me other than at meal times.

    It took a long time to realize that we don't have the bond I'd imagined - actually, it took getting Mely. That little girl is so attuned to me, so trusting, willing, and just angelic. Ok the angelic part is an exaggeration, but I've never ever bonded with a horse like that. I love that when I go in the pasture, she's at my elbow the entire time.

    I still kick myself for selling Hank. While he drove me bonkers, that horse loved me, watched my every move, called to me whenever he saw me or even heard my car pull up. When someone else rode him, if he was starting to turn into a nervous wreck, all I had to do was put a hand on his shoulder and he'd settle right down. What was I thinking selling him??! Even though he was a pain to ride, I did much, much better than with Bubbles...Hank was just easier to sell, and I couldn't do 3 horses. I pray all the time that he'll come back to me, we have a buy-back contract, but who knows. And if it happens, what will I do with Mr Bubbles?

    It really is awful that emotions figure so much into these sorts of decisions, and that selling a horse bothers me this much over a year after the fact.
         

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