Am I anthropomorphizing? Or does this horse miss being worked? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-13-2010, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
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Some horses just thrive on work. Dobe is that way. When my brother was using him in a feedlot working 12 to 15 hour days every day, he would have to push Dobe out of the way to get to the other horse he wanted to use. Dobe would run up and put his nose in the halter cause he wanted to go to work. Down here, he doesn't get used that hard but when I do need him for work, he is eager to get into the trailer and you should see his face when he first spots the cattle. He gets darned excited.

IMHO, that sounds like a perfect excuse for you and hubby to go out with the horses more often.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-13-2010, 08:45 PM
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I know a horse at my barn who does seem to enjoy serious training and dressage shows. In fact, I did a dressage schooling show with him almost solely for his benefit of mind. He's a lesson horse, and doesn't get asked to do too much when he is ridden. But once I get on him or another more advanced rider, I ask him to really work and he livens up instantly. He was in heaven at the show, and he seemed to enjoy being dolled up along with the extra attention.

I think the problem with horses "liking" their jobs is what may seem like missing work to us is really a cry for challenge and mental stimulation, and under saddle work is a cure for that in many cases. Teach him to go around new obstacles, work on turns on the forehand, a hand gallop if you can, etc.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
-Bertrand Russel
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-13-2010, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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soccer ball 013.jpg

soccer ball 011.jpgThanks for all the great horse stories. I think that is correct, it is a need for mental stimulation. I ran over to the barn today and borrowed a soccer ball and played with him for a little bit. When I put him back in the pasture he stood at the gate like "that's it?" I guess I had better make a plan to schedule time for him and come up with a plan. He is too much horse for me to ride but we do well with ground work. Even after I put his blanket on he kept playing with the ball.
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-14-2010, 12:46 AM
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I think that a lot if it is just needing more mental stimulation and attention. I wouldn't necessarily say that he's missing the work persay, more just missing the interaction, and the "job" that he had before. My dad's horse was at least 35 years old when we had to put him down, and we never retired him. We put him in semi retirement when we got him, he was a national champion barrel racer in his younger days, but we just took him out on trail every weekend, and I would work him during the week. Up until the day he colicked, I was still jumping him over really really small stuff, and barrel racing him, granted a lot slower as he got older, but he was still doing a lot of stuff. On the couple of occasions that we had to lay him up for a week or so because he got a bit sore, he definately got upset, and wanted to come out and do something even if it was just handwalking around the barn. Some horses do great doing less stuff, or being retired, while others absolutely hate it, and need to be taken out and worked in some way to stay healthy and happy. I would recommend going out even if its just for an hour or so a day at least 3 times a week, and do some stuff with him, like playing with the ball, just to stimulate his mind and body, and give him something constructive to do. BTW he's adorable.
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-14-2010, 08:43 PM
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Ride the horse, not the age :)

It's quite common that a horse gets sick and ''old'' soon after it's retired, if it was retired when it was still healthy and up to working. While it would have stayed healthy and happy quite a few years more if it was still working. You'll feel when it's time to slow down, and how much. Not by the horses birth date, but from it's behaviour.

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

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