How can I tell a customer I think her horse is too much for her?
Chris and I have been working with a 9 yr old AQHA mare that belongs to a one-horse family about 1 1/2 hrs from here. They brought her to us, with the statement, "She is too wild for me to ride, and I want my kids to show her in the fall."
Yesterday I went out to the corral to catch her. She walked right up to the gate and politely stood at a good distance, and had great manners. I proceeded to put on the halter, which she tipped her nose in toward me. (I LOOOOOVE that! Means less work for me! ; ) ) As soon as the halter was on, I turned to walk away, and the fit started.
I have decided that whoever had her before just hooped and hollered and beat her to go. "Just GO! Wherever you're going, do it in a hurry!"
This mare has no idea what it means to just "Walk." It took me 15mins to get her to stand and flex to the right without moving her feet. Then, another 10 mins to get her to stand and flex to the left. She worked herself into a sweat, and I walked her around the arena for 10 mins to clear her mind. I would whoa her up, and she would assume that meant we were going to BURST out of the stop. She has been used on barrels, and we can't stand near an open gate. Well, take that back, we can't STAND, period.
So yesterday, I started to reward her in the biggest way when she stopped. I would get her to actually stop, count to 5, then climb down. I would count to 10, re-mount, and after quite a while, again, I would get her to stop, and repeat the process. She gets soooo excited, and it just takes so much to get her settled down to where she can actually start to "Learn."
So here is the family. This is their first horse, they bought her from a guy off craigslist that said she was quiet, easy to get along with, perfect first horse... I have half a mind to think he may have aced her to sell her. She is everything BUT. My husband and I like her, but then again, we are experienced. But at the same time, I would NEVER allow my child near her on the ground, let alone on her back. She is not a kids horse at all.
I need help telling this family that I would be really uncomfortable with her children riding her, due to their lack of experience. I don't want to feel responsible if someone gets hurt, and according to her, they cannot afford lessons. If I offered them to her, it would be up to me to get to her house to teach the little girl, and they are 1 1/2 hours from my house.
I'm in no way implying that the mare cannot be managed, but she is just no beginner's horse, and would take more than 30 days training to slow her down to a level the 12 yr old and 14 yr old could manage.