My Barn Is Ruining My OTTB - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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My Barn Is Ruining My OTTB

I purchased an OTTB back at the end of September after following her career and talking with her trainers for over a year.
Her potential is unreal and she has no issues when I am working her however, the owners of the stable where I have her at have kind of wrecked her.
She apparently tried to 'kick' at one of the owners when they took her out in the morning (I personally think she was just trying to play around in the fresh snow). However, they immediately snapped her with a stud chain that the added onto her halter. Now, I train strictly natural horsemanship and the physical use of chains is NOT acceptable in ANY situation.
My question is how do I train a horse who has impeccable manners whenever I am there to not try to kick or lash out at other humans?
Also, how do I make these stable owners understand that an 4yo OTTB will not react the same as a 15yo Been-there-done-that Quarter Horse?
I do not want to remove her from that boarding stable due to convenience and high end facilities. Any advice is great as well as anyone who have had similar experiences.
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post #2 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 07:09 AM
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At the end of the day, she is a OTTB and as a OTTB from the track I will guarantee you that your mare has had a stud chain on her. From what I have seen of OTTB horses a stud chain is as common as a halter. It would the exception to the rule to handle an OTTB at the track without one.

I don't think they have wrecked her by correcting inappropriate behavior. It is not appropriate in my opinion for a horse to act up and "play" when on the lead. They can play their heart out on in pasture but when I am near them the feet need to stay on the ground. I think you should find a stable that matches your handling style. You can ask the barn to only handle her in a rope lead but ultimately you aren't there to see what she is doing or enforce the rope lead only. In addition, if the owners genuinely felt that the mare was threatening them and she acts better on the stud chain its going to be a hard thing to convince them not to use it. You can try to explain your position and request they don't use the stud chain. That said I would not be surprised if they ask you to leave.
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 08:04 AM
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I have to say.. reading this.. I just shake my head. It is like the FCI out ruling stick hits in the protection phase of an IPO trial... and the outlawing of prong and electronic collars as training tools on a high drive working dog. It is like the people who say "bits are cruel" because they do not understand how the bit works.

All these things are tools, including the stud chain. They can be used to better handle and more clearly train or they can be used abusively like any tool.

Your young thoroughbred very likely was acting up and a little "high" over the snow on the ground. This does not mean she is allowed to kick humans and raise a ruckus. She can do that once she is turned loose in the paddock.

Saying "oh she was only playing" is an excuse, not training.

If you want her handled without a stud chain, then you handle her exclusively.

The well being of the horse and the safety of the people handling and working around her are the two priorities of a stable as they well should be. If a stud chain is required to meet those goals then that is how they are met.
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post #4 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 08:14 AM
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The reason a 15yo QH does not kick out is because when he was 4yo and tried that kind of stuff he was corrected, and learnt how to behave. Corrections at 4 are what make the pleasant safe horse.


I understand that now you are not trusting your barn staff, and this is going to cause problems. Unless this changes, from now on you will demonstrate distrust at their actions and they will feel undermined by you.

Fix this now - spend a LOT of time there learning and watching and holding your tongue. Ask questions but make sure they get that you have opened your mind and want to learn. You need to build a mutually respectful relationship with them if you want a) them to work with you and b) to stay there and be happy.

Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.
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post #5 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 08:19 AM
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I assume you have tried just requesting that your horse not be handled with a chain?
I'm not a fan of chains either, I find them unnecessary for the majority of horses if a person knows how to properly handle a horse.
It surprises me that a stable used to handling horses would put a chain on a horse as a first reaction to a single outburst, I would make sure nothing else is going on with your horse's behavior aside from that isolated incident.
If the barn is extremely important for you then just try to situate things so that the workers there handle your horse as little as possible. Being led with a chain from a stall to a paddock and back shouldn't damage your horse--especially if she is well behaved. You should be her exclusive trainer if you have a specific type of training you prefer and the barn doesn't specialize in it.
For the when-you-aren't-there part, just do a LOT of ground work with her when you're there. The more you lead her and work her in-hand the better she will be all around.
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post #6 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 08:31 AM
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I completely agree with Rookie, any horse from the track is completely familiar with the stud chain. You say you use NH methods well then if the horse needed a yank on the chain, you haven't done a very good job. Had you done a good job, the horse could be led with the lead rope laying across the flat of your hand. Unlike QHs ,TBs are forward thinking horses and need to be going somewhere and get impatient to go.
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post #7 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 08:52 AM
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I have seen plenty of very forward Quarterhorses! Most have a good dose of thoroughbred in them and are the racing athletic sort. ;)

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
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post #8 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 08:53 AM
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My gelding has the best manners when my trainer, her husband, my daughter, or myself handle him, but when others at the barn go to turn him out or bring him in he misbehaves. He will trot circles around them, bite the other horse, etc. I wish they would correct him and stop complaining. He knows he can get away with it and does. I appreciate it when someone who is handling my horse corrects his misbehavior. We don't use stud chains at our barn, but all of our horses are trained with Clinton Anderson methods, so the way we correct them is different, but I wouldn't have a problem with someone disciplining my horse when he misbehaves. It is not okay for a horse to kick at, rear up, or act up when being led. They need correction.

Now, did you know that they use stud chains? If you don't like the training styles at the barn, you may have to change barns unless you want no one else to ever come in contact with your horse. You have to be comfortable with the people who are handling your horse, but you also have to accept when the correct misbehavior. Have you provided a rope halter for them to use?

And I doubt your horse is ruined. It takes more than one correction to ruin a horse.

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post #9 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 09:08 AM
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Without being there its hard to know what happened - maybe they just aren't used to a horse that's got a bit of 'go' in it and over reacted or maybe the horse was really being a danger - this is their job and livelihood and they can't risk time of work because a horse injured them in a way that could be avoided
I don't like stud chains but I would use one - or a chifney - on a horse that presented a risk to me or someone handling it for me because their safety has to come first
It could be that addressing the behavior quickly and firmly has put the horse in its place and wont be needed again.
I'm assuming the chain didn't cause any actual physical injury to the horse?
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post #10 of 23 Old 02-27-2014, 09:10 AM
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I agree. A 4 year old is not allowed to raise a hoof period when being handled. I trained my gelding from a baby (he's a lazy tubby paint) and he has a stud chain on after he was a week old. Why? I wanted him used to it in case I ever had to use it. Guess what. That chain goes on now and he becomes a completely different horse. Any thoughts in his head about misbehaving fly right out of the window. I use it a whole of maybe 2 times a year lol. I throw it on when he's acting like he's going to be an a**.

I trained my mare with one when we got her as a 6 year old as well and she responds the same. The new pony will be introduced to one this spring as a just in case as well. A stud chain is a tool. Horses are 5 times our size and they know it. That little braided piece of metal, when used correctly and the horse has been trained to accept it correctly, can help in bad situations.

If the boarding facility feel that they need to use it on a young, poss. high strung because of changing seasons horse - that's their business. Did they hurt her? No? Then they did it for their safety. Unless you are going to be handling her exclusively and not allowing anyone else to have any interaction with her - you need to let them do what they have to in order to stay safe. That - or train her more.
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