I had a quarter horse that had extreme medical issues that was costing me more money than I could afford so a friend who absolutely loved him and had the great paying job to handle the massages, chiropractor, and acupuncturist bought him with cash and a trade. In return, I got a breeding stock black paint mare. I was so excited to start working with her but it started with frustration and only got worse. She was so dominate and bull headed that I was afraid to get on her back and ride. I have very gentle hands and took lessons and did hours of groundwork and nothing helped. I had friends with years of experience ride her and they got no where either. She would get light on her front end and pitch a fit when she didn't feel like having anyone ride her.
I called it quits when I ended up in tears after a particularly rough training session so I listed her for sale. It took a few months but a woman who just wanted a horse to walk on trails, (which is what this mare absolutely adored) fell in love with her immediately the first time she came to see her and bought her on the spot. She emails me every once in a while and tells me how great she is doing and how everyone at her new barn completely loves her and pampers her.
I knew to call it quits after 6 months. I am too old to worry about getting hurt and being afraid to get on a horse I own. I found Sonny a week after I sold my mare. I was going to wait a while and really look for that dream horse but the first time I saw Sonny, I knew he completed me. Everyone at the barn is thrilled at the relationship we have already developed in the few short months I have had him. We trust eachother completely and I could never see myself without him. He is my soul horse and probably the last horse I will ever own.
Well I have a few things on this, my mare is the best horse I have ever owned. I don’t know if I will ever have another one like her, when I went to try her she was amazing for me. I knew she had tons and tons of high level training and show experience but I wanted a horse above my ability so I can move up to the horse and then work with them. If you get a horse at your level then when you grow your stuck with a horse that can’t do anything except “x and y” when you need one to do “ x,y, and z”. Hope that makes sense. Anyway, brought her home and I couldn’t ride her. Got on her and she was crow hopping, spooking, wouldn’t stand, just not good. I went to lunge her and she ran at me. When I would go to graze her she would drag my but around and “spook” right on top me. 0 respect.
I got my then trainer to ride her for me for about a week, and then when I would ride her my trainer still got on first. Jumping – ya right. Thrown around like a rag doll. It was bad. I felt so defeated and people said mares take a while to bond- well that’s wonderful but I can't ride the **** thing how will I bond with her. So I went to good old ground work. And gave myself a time limit if I still got no where then call the old owner and say sorry but I thought it would have worked out better. *she wasn’t cheap so I doubt the owner would want to buy her back and wouldn’t be too thrilled about me selling her*
Long story short.. Within 4 months ( my limit was 3 but we where making progress ) we really where kind of sort of a team. She had respect for me and accepted that I was the new rider and she’s going to have to work with me. We still have our tiny itsy bitsy issues but geeze nothing like before. If I would have packed it in then I wouldn’t be where I am. I think each situation is different but I believe a time limit should be in place with goals within that.
On the other hand, I also held onto a horse for 5 years that I didn’t ride that often, I ended up leasing him out for a year. Scared sh*tless of him and would no ride him. My old old “trainer” –big quotes on trainer!! Liked him a lot, basically had me buy him for her.. Nice eh? And she told me he bolted. Was rearing and was crazy and grabbed onto the bit and ran, she couldn’t stop him ( My horse accident was from a horse bolting ). So she rode him and I didn’t. I knew he was safe but it was unnerving to hear that. But He was going to an auction and he was an 19 y/o OTTB and cleary treated horribly from his past owners, teeth broken from bits, broken withers, underweight, scars from boots. Who knows where he would have ended up… I gave the horse a loving forever home, towards the end I did start to ride him, but I still brushed him everyday and have him a new best friend ( one of my other horses ) the two where tied at the hit and couldn’t be separated. I should have sold him… but honestly I think he was quite happy just being my companion J
So long story short, it really depends on you situation on what to do with a horse you can’t ride. Each story and horse is different. The pic is of me and Andy. He was a wonderful horse, with I had lost that trainer.
This is true, but I also think trainers sometimes put us on horses that are more than we can handle so we can understand. My instructor had watched me ride my bombproof horse in about 4 lessons and then put me on one of her arabians. The horse was not, contrary to popular belief, crazy, but he moved faster and was more sensitive than anything I had ever ridden before. I was scared, and realized how much my bombproof horse still had to teach me. I now ride lots of different types of horses comfortably, and also have my own arabian! :) A little eye-opener can sometimes help us understand what level we really are on, knock or ego down a few notches, and keep us safer in the long run!
I could write 4 pages with stories that relate to that post, but I'll try and keep it short instead. I have specialized in problem horses for 35 years now. It is my passion and my addiction. Dealing with the horses is relatively easy. It is the owners, that I have trouble figuring out! I am a brutely honest person and I have likely had to sit down face to face with on average 100 owners a year about their beloved horses. I find myself asking the majority of them "what posessed you to buy this horse?" The majority of the responses are that he/she is so pretty. Well, pretty is, as pretty does. I beleive that about horses and people both. Color or markings should be the last thing you should consider when buying a horse unless you just want him as a pasture ornament. If riding is your goal, then keep trying those horses until you find one that makes you smile when you ride him around, not just one that dazzles you the minute you see him out in the pasture. Some of the best horses I have ever rode have been plain ordinary looking horses, but they had heart and try and would shine in their job and give you a ride that put you in a good mood for days! That is how you should feel when you ride. If you are dreading getting on your horse consistantly.....you are missing out and need to make a change.
About 7 month ago my horse Santana was to much horse for me. I decided to keep him. I have a trainer come to our house twice a week to work with us. I take a lesson once a week on a differed horse. I ground work him every day. Ride him several times a week and he behaves like a gentleman. I'm glad that I choose to keep him. He has learned to respect me and I understand that I have to be the leader. He is a differend horse now than he was 7 month ago, and I understand him better now. We both needed training.
I have owned and worked with horses for over 50 years now because at the age of 11 I knew when to give up. After learning and excelling on a real genuine pony my grandfather thought I was better than I was and bought me a very green bigger pony that took advantage on the ground and under saddle. He was mean spirited and had a tendency to bolt. Thank God my mother was wise enough to tell me that I wasn't a failure just over-horsed for the experience I had. My next pony was perfect - just challenging enough to take me to the next level and the one after that I broke myself when I was 14 and she became a wonderful ride. Since then I've had some really difficult horses that other people have given up with and turned them around but I've never lost sight of my limitations. Nowadays I know that my joints make me far less agile than I used to be and if I fall I'm probably going to break a lot easier so I know in my head that the horse I'm probably looking longingly at is not the one for me any more. Never lose sight of the fact that we are supposed to be doing this stuff for fun, to enjoy it. That problem horse you may be feeling guilty about isn't going to worry about hurting you badly or even killing you, there is no shame in giving up and moving on. There are lots of kind forgiving horses out there that won't take advantage of your mistakes and weaknesses.
I completely agree we have to be safe, and sometimes we do get into situations we can't manage. Sometimes the problem might be the situation we have put the horse in, not the horse itself. I was told my gelding was dangerous and untrustworthy, it turned out he was just one of those horses who don't trust people very much, and did much better if trained with positive rewards (food scratches, praise) rather than release of pressure. My spooky stubborn resistant run through you if he was scared horse has completely turned round since I went to the different approach.
I totally agree. It sometimes isn't even because the horse is "too much", but not "suited" to the discipline the rider wants to do.. even if the breeding is all good for it.. Knowing how to be able to judge if its a good match or not is very important in having the best time!
Absolutely right. Just over a year ago I knew I had to replace my mare who needed to retire after 18 years of being the best - even though she started out very differently. After a lifetime of too many badly executed flying dismounts (falls) in more challenging horse activities I thought I would go for normal or even cowboy dressage and after looking at many horses took a mare on trial from a dealer. She had many wins in western pleasure - not my thing at all, I'd never even done any western riding - but she was sweet and lovely, had wonderful extravagant paces and elevation on the lunge and I thought it could work - how wrong I was. Under saddle all she knew was how to go round and round the ring with her head almost on the floor, barely any contact with her mouth, to me no impulsion and worse still she had been taught to spur stop so sometimes my command for pick up speed would deliver an immediate stop from whatever pace we were at. She was essentially a robotised horse, if you took her away from the ring she hadn't a clue what to do, the ultimate one trick pony that could do her part piece to total perfection and if you asked anything else she would panic in confusion at thinking she was getting something wrong. After 6 weeks we were getting nowhere fast and I sadly waved her goodbye in favour of a mare that is sometimes confused with me and occasionally gets ahead of the game - 'we did a sidepass here didn't we last time round so therefore we are going to do it everytime we pass this spot etc etc. No? Oh well OK them maybe you'd like me to do a shoulder in then because we've done that here before too. But she's amiable and forgiving and doing her best to please and I can see lots of progress so we're sticking together.
I think I'm going to print this out and give it to a few people ;) I know a lady, she's really nice.. in her 60's. She bred a pretty hot QH mare last year to a local stud in the area. I don't really know anything about the stud. The filly this mare had hit the ground running (if you know what I mean). I had her for ground training last year as a 2 year old and couldn't believe how "hot" she really was. I was able to get her focused on training and had her doing all of her groundwork without a halter. This filly was truly amazing on the ground. She gave to pressure, was focused and loved to work. However, you had to keep both eyes on her at all times. She "knows" who is working with her and will test on a regular basis. I asked this lady what her plans were with this filly. She said, "I would like to use her as an easy going trail horse." I politely told her, "this filly needs a consistent job and needs something to think about every time you ride her. I think she is too much for you." Her response was, "I can't sell her, I named her after my father who passed away last year." I know this horse has a certain "meaning" to her but I'm so worried for her. I know she will get seriously hurt. She asked me to saddle break her this year and my main concern is not whether the horse can do it or not. I know the filly will do great. My main concern is the consistency she will get when she goes home and the high probability that the lady will get very hurt when she goes out to ride her after a month of just sitting. :( .. I'm not sure what to do..