"My" Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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"My" Horse

I have something I need to get off my chest. It's kind of silly. The short version provides most of the required information, and the long version is only so long because I just had to include all the details...I don't have many horsey people to talk to about this!

SHORT VERSION: Since the fall, I've been working with some unbroke horses that are owned by a very inexperienced family. The family won't go near one of the horses, who is intended for their teenage daughter (beginner rider) and so I've ended up spending more time with that one than the other one. We've bonded, simply due to the circumstance of spending time together, and members of our community have started referring to her as mine, saying she should be given to me and a more experienced horse bought for the daughter to learn to ride on. Over the past few weeks, the mother of the family that owns the horses has made a few comments towards me about my "bond" with this horse, and her unsuitability as a mount for a beginner rider (a recent convert from being one of those people who believes horses and kids should "grow and learn" together). It has occurred to me that she might be offered to me and I'm currently thinking about how that might be for me.

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LONG VERSION: There are two 6 year old unbroken QHx mares that I'm working with. They belong to my neighbors/friends of my parents, who got them from another friend who was going through a divorce and couldn't keep them. They got the horses when they were 3 or 4, but haven't done anything with them since. I offered to work with them for free (although they offered to pay me) for a few different reasons, one of them being that the people who own them now have very limited knowledge of horses (aside from the fact that they are supposed to eat lots of hay and oats, apparently). The mother and children of the family have been hurt several times in situations with the horses and have become afraid of them. The mother spends time with her horse sometimes, taking her for walks and grooming her and such, but the daughter is totally afraid of her horse (and not all that interested in horses in general, I suspect). The daughter's horse is a dominant mare. Apparently she has been aggressive towards everyone in the family, has been hard to catch, has kicked them, bitten, and rubbed them into trees. I have never witnessed this behavior, and the few times she has made moves to misbehave, I've nipped it in the bud. They see her as some kind of violent terror, but it's pretty obviously to me that she just needs straightforward and consistent handling and then she's a dream! She's very intelligent and sensitive, yet willing and engaged, and even has a bit of a goofy side to her. However, it goes without saying that she is certainly not yet suited to an absolute beginner.

Anyway, over time it's happened that this horse and I have bonded quite a bit. The owners think it's "magic" or there is something special between us, but I know plain and simple that I'm the only one who has actual boundaries her it comes to her behavior, so of course she respects me and recognizes me. I've suggested to the daughter several times to make a habit of going out and seeing her every day, even for 10 minutes, so her horse would get to know her more, but she doesn't. Since I live in such a small town (well village really...), everybody knows what everyone else is up to, and a few people have started referring to her as "my" horse from seeing us out for walks, hearing about the work I've been doing, etc. I've always corrected them, but most people know that this particular family is quite over-horsed and have made the suggestion that she should be given to me and the family should buy an older, more experience horse for the daughter. I haven't really stated my opinion about this to anyone, except to say that I am concerned for the daughters safety given her skill/knowledge level, and that it would be a considerable amount of time before this particular horse would be able to facilitate her as a rider.

I figured this talk was mostly just people gossiping, but the other day when I was at the barn grooming said horse, the mother came out (it's not uncommon for her to work with her horse while I work with the daughter's, so I can show her things along the way) and after a few minutes said "You know, I think she (the daughter's horse) might be better for a more...experienced person." I just sorted of said "Oh..." and nodded, but I wasn't sure if she was trying to get more a response from me about it, or she was just saying that out of the blue...Since then a she has made a couple more comments of that nature, including "You're the only person who ever spends any time with her." and "She recognizes your truck when you drive up." I know that those things are true, but I don't take them personally.

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CONCLUSION: Call me paranoid, but I think something's up. I haven't spoken with the family about what they plan on doing about this horse long term, or providing a ride-able horse for their daughter. It's not really any of my business. But I have been considering what might happen to this horse in the future. I'm aware that not many people would be interested in taking on an untouched (until 3 months ago) 6 year old with an unknown pedigree and only decent conformation, especially in this economy. I'm beginning to realize that she may in fact be offered to me on some level, be it a sale or something else, and this feels a little bit overwhelming. I'm still processing the possible outcomes, and like I said, I just wanted to get this off my chest. I have a lot of things to consider...and I just had to tell someone. Thanks for listening.
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:32 PM
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Be smart about this. Don't rush into something this big based on emtions toward the horse. Make a pro and con list. Figure out the finances you can set aside for the horse. If everything checks out that you would be able to take the horse, is there any reason why you shouldn't?
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:35 PM
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Sounds like you are very sensible, mature and have a good level head on your shoulders and will do what is right for you and the horse.

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post #4 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:36 PM
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Well... Do you have room for her if she's offered? And do you want her?
It certainly sounds like this is way too much horse for an inexperianced young owner.
You might get a stall ready...just in case. : )

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wetrain17 View Post
Be smart about this. Don't rush into something this big based on emtions toward the horse. Make a pro and con list. Figure out the finances you can set aside for the horse. If everything checks out that you would be able to take the horse, is there any reason why you shouldn't?
You're right. Not rushing is definitely key.

Finances, housing for her, and providing for her other needs aren't an issue. I guess my only real hesitation is that it feels like a lot of responsibility. Not in terms of her care, but in terms of her training and what I end up using her for. She has quite a bit of potential and I would hate to have that go to waste because I end up not having enough time to devote to her. I mean, life happens, and selling her down the road wouldn't make me a bad person but it would be a hard thing to do, no doubt. On the plus side, I will definitely have enough time for the next 3-4 years, however that's not quite the lifespan of a horse.
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaphyJaphy View Post
You're right. Not rushing is definitely key.

Finances, housing for her, and providing for her other needs aren't an issue. I guess my only real hesitation is that it feels like a lot of responsibility. Not in terms of her care, but in terms of her training and what I end up using her for. She has quite a bit of potential and I would hate to have that go to waste because I end up not having enough time to devote to her. I mean, life happens, and selling her down the road wouldn't make me a bad person but it would be a hard thing to do, no doubt. On the plus side, I will definitely have enough time for the next 3-4 years, however that's not quite the lifespan of a horse.
It is, however, enough time for you to turn her into an "older, more experienced horse" that someone might actually buy down the road if you did have to sell, which is more than can be said for her now. Not saying you should take her, but that it wouldn't be so bad if you can't give her a forever home, but a least a decent makeover.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:51 PM
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It sounds to me like they might be moving to get rid of her either way, especially if they're coming to terms with the fact that this horse isn't going to be good for them. You might be this horse's best option, really, even if it does to turn out to be temporary.
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:54 PM
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wow...
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillybean19 View Post
It sounds to me like they might be moving to get rid of her either way, especially if they're coming to terms with the fact that this horse isn't going to be good for them. You might be this horse's best option, really, even if it does to turn out to be temporary.
That's what I've been thinking. If I don't take her, just where will she end up? Not that I'm so special or anything, but it seems fairly unlikely to me that she would actually end up in a better situation than she's in now.
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 11:42 PM
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Think about the horse in all aspects too. If you are not in love with her, then don't take her. But also remember that she (the horse) has trust in you. If you don't fully love her, then don't put in the time. If you do love her, then take her. Responsibility can be a scary thing, but if it is something that feels right to you, something that you feel in your heart is what you desire, then go for it. Only you know if you truly want this horse for your own, or if you are taking her to "keep her from going somwhere bad" when you don't fully love her. If that is the case, then I think you can help them place her in a perfect, loving home where she will have an experienced handler like yourself. You can continue working with her until then, even if it takes a good year or longer. If you don't feel up to it, then don't do it. But if you do, then good luck and enjoy what is to come!

~He knows when you're happy
~He knows when you're comfortable
~And he always knows when you have carrots.
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