I Feel Like A Coward :( - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
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I Feel Like A Coward :(

Alright, so, itís been almost a year since I got my gelding (10 months, going on 11), and itís been one struggle after another. It seems as if every time we manage to get past one issue, another pops up.

When we first went to try him out, my trainer and parents both thought heíd be a good match for me. He hadnít been ridden in about a year, but the lady we talked to (she was selling him for a friend/client of hers) said that sheíd ridden him a few times recently, and that he was doing really well. She rode him, my trainer rode him, and then I did. He did pretty well Ė he was a little hyper, but nothing unexpected for a horse who hadnít been worked for a year.

Almost as soon as we got him, he started showing just how little he really knew. I wasnít really planning on doing much more than pleasure riding for a while, so it didnít matter so much Ė we could work through it. We worked through behavioral problems, built his muscles back up, and basically had to start re-training him from the walk up. The problem is, itís been 10 months, and as far as heís come, he still has a very long way to go. I wasnít looking for a project horse to begin with, and Iím still not.

In addition, due to a problem that cropped up in his right hock, itís unlikely weíll be able to do much jumping in the future (hard, since Iíd love to get into eventing). In order to attend jumping clinics, etc., I end up having to use some of my trainerís lesson horses. Between that and varying unsoundness issues (due to the hock), there are times when it seems like I ride other horses more than I do him. He really needs a rider who isnít planning on doing any jumping Ė heíd be a great pleasure horse, or even lower-level dressage, if someone had the time, patience, and experience to work with him.

What would you do if you were in my place? I feel like if I give him up now, it will feel like surrender. Weíve tried to push through the problems for 10 months, and to give up nowÖ but at the same time, we clash personality wise. Weíre both stubborn and easily frustrated, which, in re-training a horse, is not a good combo. Itís gotten to the point where I almost donít want to go out and work with him, which only makes me feel even more horrible.

I feel horrible for debating selling him Ė I feel like a coward, and I feel like Iíve given up without giving properly giving him a chance. I know that I should just put on my Big Girl Panties and work with him some more, and that Iím a horrible person for putting my desires above working it out with him. Iíve pretty much cried myself dry these past few weeks, and I know my family is beyond frustrated with my seemingly-random mood swings.

Sigh. Sorry for the rant. I just don't know what to do :(

Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 05:47 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Germany- but not German =D
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One rule I told myself. If I ever had a feleing of doubt and contemplated selling a horse I would do it, an I have. It translates through riding and general work through to the horse. If you don't want to, why should he?

Speak to your trainer, someone who knows you and the horse best. Why not give it till spring when the horse market picks up again, and set small goals for yourself. I'm talking we'll do a clean, neat transition from walk to trot sort of thing, not flying changes across the school.

Keep it small, reward yourself when you get there and set the new one.

But speak to your trainer, he or she will have a better idea of your riding, the horse and where to go now.
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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I've been there! I decided to work it out with my gelding. Things are going good now, but we all have our set backs. It is a terrible place to be, but your not the only one who goes through this.
If your love is jumping, and he physical isn't capable of jumping, then it's not a surrender. You have given him all this love and time, maybe your just a steping stone on his journey. You have to decide if you want to really pursue jumping or if you want to stick with your horse and find something the both of you can do. Perhaps find a trainer that will come work with the both of you, and see if dressage is something you want to try.
What helped me was realizing that all that fretting was only hurting myself. You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and put one foot in front of the other. I wish you both the best of luck.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 06:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
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You want to jump & the horse should not. You need to ask yourself, is this ok? If not, he needs another owner that will appreciate what he can do, not you resenting him for what he cannot do.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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If the horse doesn't match your goals, send him somewhere that he might.

Don't know what the market is where you live, but around here (AZ), even well behaved horses without health problems can be had for free. You might be able to home him better come spring.

It isn't giving up, IMHO. One of the best pieces of advice I've gotten in my 4 years around horses is that sometimes you have to love them for what they are, and not for what they can never be. And sometimes that means caring enough to place them so that 'what they are' is also 'what someone wants' in a horse.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 07:07 PM
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I think there's two ways you can go at it and both are noble choices.

One is sell him. If he's not what you want and you can buy better, you should do it! Don't hold yourself back because of a horse that can't function as what you want. There's no shame in admitting that you want to go a different direction and that your current horse needs to move on to make room for the horse that can take you the way you want.

The other is change your expectations of what you want. This is the "I'm super bonded with this horse, can't live without him even though he can't do what I want. If something were to happen to him, I'd never forgive myself" route. I had to do that with my mare.
I wanted to get more into riding English and I wanted to jump. Well, I ended up with a horse that can't jump and hates being ridden English. However, she's THE horse for me so I changed my expectations. I focused on retraining her and now I'm learning about trail riding and how much fun that can be! And, because I own her, I've been able to start my own riding lesson business which I would have never done otherwise.
I still want more but I'm content to wait for that more to happen.

Both options are completely acceptable and deserve thought. But don't get sucked into the "But I just bought him and he might get better!" whirlpool. Only accept a compromise you can live with long-term and not resent. Don't base your choice on the outcome of a change that hasn't taken place. Choose based on today, now.
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Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ashland, OR
Posts: 8,433
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It's not giving up....Sometimes it has to happen. Not every person can fix every horse. Let's look at this for a second.

You want to be able to go to three day eventing trials, have a nice sound horse you can feel safe on and ride out. You want to advance yourself and not have to worry about your horse all the time.

But your horse wants to be a pleasure horse. Something someone can ride lightly and not risk soundness issues. Someone who can teach him what he needs to know, and like doing it.

I know its hard...I've recently come to the point myself where I feel like I'm going to have to sell my horse soon, and I feel horrible about it. But he isn't living his full potential with me and that's that - We have to think about the big picture sometimes.

You aren't a coward - Actually, I think you're very brave. Thinking about whats best for the horse is sometimes where we need to see. I would find him a good home with an experienced horse person, then look into finding yourself something safe and been-there-done-that so you can relax and do what YOU want to do.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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