Yes, they were. The horse will take far longer than 6 weeks to be broke, regardless of how much $ you pay. And if some cowboy wants to bronc out the horse in a week for $100 then all the power to him, but the horse will still not be broke.
I get irked because this is the prevailing attitude and it wrecks horses and makes trainers lives not fun. When owners expect a show ready horse in 2 months it is not realistic, but of course the customer is always right...
Not picking on you, just be realistic with your expectations. Should a toddler read at a Grade 4 level in 6 weeks? Posted via Mobile Device
Did the trainer say she could make the horse show ready in 2 months? Did the trainer even agree to the OP's somewhat unrealistic expectations? The trainer should make things more clear from the beginning what is a realistic expectation for the amount of time and money the owner is willing to committ, and not allow the owner to go home thinking they will get a trained horse in such a short time. That way there won't be disappointment at the end of the 2 months.
So she only worked him a month and a half? I agree. Your expectations were way to high.
Did she realize she would only have the horse for 2 months?
Considering the way he was handled: roped, castrated, and turned back out, it is a wonder he did as well as he did. None of those are good experiences. I would assume the lack of human contact made him into "a wild horse".
There is a ten fold difference in working with a horse handled as a foal, or exposed to shows as a weanling, vs one that is thrown out in the field on it's own.
I have a friend who raises warmbloods and she starts their training from day one. Those babies are handled at least 3x weekly and shown as weanlings. It is a huge advantage when it comes to selling them later on!
She has many happy customers- that early exposure is crucial to making a good horse! Those horses are so easy to train!
My last horse was basically a wild 2 yr old. She would let you touch her, but was not halter broke, weaned, or had ever seen a farrier. As a 2 yr old, I treated her much like a weanling. She was definitely "behind" compared to other horses her age (both in growth and mental maturity). It took over a year to get her riding. Not that I was in any rush.
If you don't have the time (or money) to spend on getting this horse trained, you would be better selling and taking a loss, and buying a horse right for you. There are plenty of cheap horses on the market that can do trails. It takes time to train, and if you can't be consistent, you won't make much progress. Do you really want to wait another 6 months or more for a horse you can ride?
My initial response is 'you know what happens when you assume'.
I think that if the trainer said she was going to do everything she should have given you a better time line. I don't get on a horse for at least 3 months after I start them. And that's only id the horse is amazing and has had a lot of ground work done before it comes to me. I think the trainer did right by not getting on him until later in the training because she didn't know him and you'd told her he wasn't respectful. If someone dropped off a horse to me that didn't respect fences,had only been handled a few times, and kicked there is no way I would ride him until I'd seen him at his worst and done weeks of ground work with him. So I feel like you've got no right to be angry with what you got back based on what you gave her. She did a lot even backing him with that kind of resume.
That being said, she should have told you what realistically could happen in 2 months based on her work schedule and the horse. But some trainers will nod their heads and completely ignore what you're saying. And licensed up the wazoo trainers usually do that because they don't necessarily need your business or care about your bad review with all their credentials. Just from my own experience.
Many trainers can "break" a horse in 60-90 days. Just look at the mustang challenges. HOWEVER-I will guarantee there will be huge holes in the training in most cases. Should the trainer been more clear about what to expect? Possibly. It is also possible that the OP may have heard what she wanted, or a combination of the 2.....leading to a misunderstanding. A horse that is basically totally unhanded can take 30 days just to throw a saddle over, especially when OP says it is a spooky horse. I am guessing the trainer was taking their time to do it right, as they should. It is much harder to correct a horse broken wrong, after all. And, OP-$1300 is really not much. Sorry. I tend to be with Anebels train of thought on this one.
I used to have horses walk, trot and lope circles in less tan 30 days, even when they arrived not halter broke or even handled. They were halter broke by the end of the first day. They were not 'cowboyed' or 'bronced out'. About 1or 2 bucked out of every 50 that I started every year and they usually had someone fail to get them started that tried them before they came to me. I hated seeing 'pets' come to me much worse than unhandled horses.
I think while most training was much too fast 50 years ago, it has slowed down to a snail's pace today. I see people here saying a horse needs weeks or months of ground work. A good, efficient trainer can get everything done on the ground that needs to be done in 2 or 3 days. Taking longer does not make a better trained or better mannered horse -- just one that took longer to do what should have been done in a few days.
A horse should be respectful but not fearful.
A horse should 'yield to pressure' anywhere you touch it and ask it to move away from that touch.
A horse should move forward when asked, move over when asked, move back when asked and stand still when asked.
A horse should be desensitized to a big soft rope everywhere (frequently called 'sacking out') and able to stand tied for saddleing and bridleing.
If a trainer can't get this done in 4 or 5 days, they need to work on their skills (or lack of them) for handling green horses. All this should be done without any panic or huge fight from the horse. You just build one step at a time and release pressure when you get the right response. 'Wild' horses are a lot more attentive and actually learn many things faster than gentle horses.
Once they are OK with saddleing, (always girthed up loosely at first), they stand around all day for a day or two while I do the same thing with other horses and ride the ones that are ready.
I do not know why people now think it should take a lot longer to do the basic handling and gentling. I just takes a confident trainer that knows what they are doing. Everyone else is just learning.
OP, I am with you. You disclosed how he had been handled previously and what you expected to be done for the time he was there. Which was NOT unreasonable! You did the hard part, in my opinion, getting him haltered. You don't need 2 years of ground work to get a horse started and riding! The problem is that most "certified" trainers never have to deal with halter breaking a full grown untouched range horse. Most horses that get sent out to break are the opposite, and mostly come in as pushy and rude.
Someone made a comment about how he was previously handled and it was a wonder the trainer got as much done with him as they did- that has no relevance to amount of time to get him started! We have started a pile of ranch colts the same way, they get gathered and brought into a big roundpen, roped and castrated then turned back out until late winter. Brought back in roped, halter broke and started. See below pictures....he looks pretty traumatized don't he???
The part that got me was where the trainer admitted to not doing anything with the horse for 15 straight days. I think that if I had to tell that to a client it would be at the same instant I'm handing them back their check. :P