Looking to adopt an unbroken 7-8 year old TB. Terrible idea? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 03-17-2014, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Looking to adopt an unbroken 7-8 year old TB. Terrible idea?

Hey all. It's been a loong time since I've posted. I, sadly, had to make the decision to put my girl down recently. She had come so far and we had made serious progress. She was going happily and soundly in her easy boots, her behavior had improved a ton (most days...), and was really coming along in our basic dressage training. She got a severe bout of colic and the vet suggested we euthanize. It was so hard because she had never had much worse than an abscess since I'd had her. The vet suspected bad torsion, and she didn't respond to any meds given to her by him. We'll never know for sure without a necropsy. I've never seen a horse deteriate so quickly. Bah.

Anyway, I'll never be able to replace her, but I'd like to adopt another horse and give him or her a spoiled rest of their life, plus free up a spot at a rescue. I noticed one at the rescue I adopted my mare from that came in around the same time as her. That would make him an unbroken, approximately seven year old TB now. Is it completely unrealistic to think I could train him and compete in low level dressage shows? Please be honest! Ids be working with a trainer, and have gained a lot of confidence since having my mare, but am still just an advanced intermediate rider. Thanks for any insight! Apologies for typos, my phone isn't cooperating..
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-17-2014, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Also, any input about the colic is appreciated. She was out 24/7 with free choice hay and automatic waterers. Always a good drinker. It was in the sixties the day before, and a snow storm the day of, and I've read about the connection between colic and drops in barometric pressure. She had also recently lost her pasture mates. She seemed to be adjusting to her new friends well, but maybe she was a bit down..
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-17-2014, 09:05 PM
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It's dangerous to train any horse from scratch- especially a TB (That's a long way to fall!) that may have had traumatic experiences in the past. Find out more about the horse's background and temperament before you make a major decision. If you have a trainer, then you could certainly do it but you have to accept that you will be bucked off or severely caught off guard at least once, especially if it is the first horse you are training and you are the rider. You may or may not be bucked off but when I trained my first horse, expecting the worst and accepting it kept my fear away. It's a risk, but if you believe you can do it- go for it!! I made a similar decision not too long ago and I'm very happy with the choice I made. I'd rather take a risk than live with a regret!
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-17-2014, 09:13 PM
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As to the colic question- you must keep in mind that the majority of cases have an undetected cause and the colic is considered idiopathic. I experienced this with my horse not long ago. I went outside and she was rolling and looked very distressed. When I ran to the fence and called her, she ran up to me and collapsed. Before she could roll I put a halter on and eventually forced her to her feet and walked her until I got some help. It was definitely colic but the cause was completely undetermined. Other causes exist like enteritis and intussusception. Look into those and you might find some answers!
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-17-2014, 10:05 PM
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Do you have the time to consistently ride a very green horse, and the money to send him to a professional trainer if you decide you aren't up to the task? Have you asked your trainer's thoughts on your ability to start a horse?

I don't think his age is, necessarily, an issue other than having more years of doing his own thing/not being asked to do more - you may flip his life and view of humans upside down, lol. I'd be extra cautious about careful conditioning when you start working him, since his bones and joints have never been subjected to extra stress.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-17-2014, 10:10 PM
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Here's a link to a thread I started about losing one to colic last month. Sometimes It Just Isn't Enough

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post #7 of 11 Old 03-17-2014, 10:12 PM
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I agree with the careful conditioning!
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-18-2014, 07:24 AM
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Hi, sorry to hear of your loss.

As for the horse's age, unstarted, great generally Means his body's mature & he may also be a little more sensible than a youngster. Better than one started young, with all that extra strain on his immature body & possibly lots of bad habits & attitudes to 'undo'.

As for whether you're up to taking on an unstarted horse, we can't tell you that. How much training have you done? How much support from your instructor will you have? It's a lovely thing to start a horse well, but a big responsibility & easily messed up if you don't know what you're doing. But if you have some experience, a good 'feel' & understanding, an experienced trainer to 'lean on', I'd say you're probably fine.

Colic, sounds like it wasn't just the usual feed related. I wonder... funny how everything is coming back to this, but could lack of magnesium have been a contributor, and the stress... cramps...
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-18-2014, 12:54 PM
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[QUOTE] That would make him an unbroken, approximately seven year old TB now. Is it completely unrealistic to think I could train him and compete in low level dressage shows?[/END QUOTE]

Unless you have trained horses and are experienced, yes, it is completely unrealisitic.

I rescued and retrained a lot of horses. I can tell you that it is dangerous and often made more so by ignorant handling by previous owners.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-18-2014, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your replies. I do have the time and funds and a fantastic trainer to help. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe the horse was bred at the place from which animal control seized him. He arrived at the rescue a sweet, halter-trained 3 year old and has since been given basic hoof and vet care and probably occasional grooming. So basically a pasture ornament for five years. Adopting him, though, is just one of a few options I'm considering.

As far as the colic...I'll definitely be taking some preventative measures with my next one. Ensuring appropriate magnesium levels (I had never heard of the connection until I started reading up after my girl was put down), and probably an ulcer aid like U-gard, especially if I end up getting one off the track. My mare was in great condition and never showed symptoms of ulcers, but still...
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