"Playing the Hero" -- when to 'stick with it' & when to realize it's time to move on. - Page 8 - The Horse Forum
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post #71 of 225 Old 03-17-2011, 07:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: California
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What a great thread. I was obssessed with horses all my life. I 'galloped' beside the car every single journey, I had no other conversation but horses and would have owned a 3 legged breakdown, just to 'own' one. Fast forward 20 something years and my obsession continued. At last I had the money to consider owning and I was offered...free....a wonderful sound beautiful event horse. Wow. A dream come true. I rode her and loved her. But when I got her home the nightmare started. She needed a strong confident handler and although I tried my hardest, I just wasn't it. I couldn't ride her and could barely handler her. I got trainers, helpers, books, videos, but the day came when I had to face the facts. It was a perfect day...warm, a mild breeze, I had nothing to do. I made every excuse under the sun: the washing needed doing, I had to pluck my eyebrows, clean my saddle etc and my husband looked at me and said 'you are avoiding going to the barn aren't you'. Well after floods of tears I realised that my lifelong ambition of owning a horse had fallen sadly flat. But how could I give her up? She was the answer to every childhood dream.

A close friend came with me one day and watched me fruitlessly trying to lead her, my horse was lathered up, twisting, spinning and rearing. My freind quietly said to me 'does she look happy?'. That night I placed a for sale advert and the very next day an amazing lady came and looked at her. She is so much more experienced than me and the difference was amazing. She bought my mare and they give me follow ups, the mare I knew doesn't exist, but is now calm, willing and a fun ride.

I took a little while to get over the guilt and placed a wanted ad after sifting through the crazy people who think that a 3 year old TB is suitable for a, now nervous, beginner owner (what is it with those people?? I don't care how many pics you have of your 3 year old kid on their backs!) I found my Eli! A 10 year old anglo arab who is laidback, calm, well trained and willing to please. What a difference. He is my soulmate because I trust him 100%.

It is a hard situation to be in, and it is easy to feel pressured into wrong choices. We do grow up with 'national velvet' syndrome where all little girls can tame the wildest horses and feel like failures when we don't.

But, it took me 30 years to find a man I wanted to marry....why did I honestly think I could find my other life partner so quickly!
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post #72 of 225 Old 03-25-2011, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 240
• Horses: 2
Ah yes....heros...

I've been in that boat so many times. I felt horrible, and grand, and every emotion in between!

To start off my tale I shall regale the wonderful memory of Rajah. A BEAUTIFUL, papered, well bred, straight egyptian arabian mare. She was 16 and had only ever been a pasture pet. But, she was a love to handle and seemed VERY eager to please. She never meant to hurt me and if she thought she HAD, she looked SO upset with herself! (hard to believe, but true!) Well. I was that naive, young horse lover and after a year of nothing but ground work and bonding, I knew it was time to 'ride' her....She already took saddle, bit, girth, and everything like a seasoned trail pony. Now...to get on her. I wasn't so stupid to be the first though...I'd hardly ridden and while I seemed a 'natural' at ground work, I KNEW I was no trainer. Heck, I didn't even know if I had the RIGHT tack. So, I do the responsible thing and go through the search for a trainer that was willing to come out to my barn (I lacked a trailer blarg). I found one, and he WASN'T cheap. I asked all the 'right' questions, right down to "Do you mind using my tack? Or at least looking at it to tell me if it's ok for us?" he refused. He didn't do 'that' sort of thing! (red flag!!!!!!) Well, I figure he's right, and just let him do his 'job'.....A year of ground work went out the door as he back-end cynched her! (not sure what it's called but he wrapped a rope around her 'waist' and pulled on it till she bucked!...also RED FLAG!!!!) By now though he's in 'charge' and I wasn't knowing enough, or ballsy enough to say anything otherwise. She eventually calms down and he tacks her up. She stands like a pro. He gets on her and walks her a short bit, then gets off, starts to untack her and says "You can ride her tomorrow...and you should now that she's broke" (RED FLAG!!!!!! OMG THE RED FLAGGG!!!!) Well, my naive butt thought "omg I'm going to ride!" So, come the next day, I lunge her, tack her up, lunge her again, and I get ready to get on....I get on, take a deep breath, and give the lightest 'squeeze' I could....and...she bolts. I'm NOT a trainer! I'm BARELY a rider!!! (things I flat out TOLD the trainer the day before!) Not only did she bolt, but...she took the reins! So ALL I have to hold onto is the horn of a VERY bad saddle! (found out AFTER the fact!!!!) End result? Broken back. She turned just before running into a fence and I went flying, hitting my lower back and hips against a wooden fence post....which THANK GOD, also broke! Talk about pain...there is nothing like a broken back...if you're lucky that is....Feeling pain let me know I would ride again one day, and how 'lucky' I was...Sadly, no matter how 'good' that mare was....I knew then, I couldn't handle her. For a year she was a blessing...after that though...it was too much. It took me a month to be able to walk without crutches, two months to have the courage to go into the pasture again, and 6 months to ride again. Luckily at that time I had a wonderful percheron gelding who taught me that I wouldn't fall 'every' time. Needless to say, the wonderful Raja was given to a woman who specialized in training and handling older horses that had no previous riding time. And she even said that if she was 'untrainable' she loved her personality SO much, she'd gladly make her a pasture pet if the need came down to it. A month later I get news that her 26 year old niece was riding her on trails!

This brings me to my second horse. The percheron gelding. Blue was an AMAZING ride! Not the smoothest thing in the world, but so sturdy, solid, calm, patient, willing, forgiving, and so many other wonderful things I can't begin to describe! I had actually made payments on him for nearly 2 years without even SEEING him in person, only pictures from his previous owner that lived several states away. Well, I got him as a 4 year old stud (still a silly 'child' here). The day I got him, I tripped while leading him, he spooked, and jumped right OVER me! I called the trainer I had lined up for him while still on the ground (I wasn't even kicked or stepped on, just dazed) He's picked up the next day, another horse left in his wake (this one will be told next). He was gone for two months in training. I visited him every other weekend (it was too far to go more than that). It was while he was gone that I broke my back. So, when he came back from JUST being trained...he sat in a pasture for 5-6 months without so much as being lunged. He was MISERABLE! Finally I get into riding him again though, and he perks up, ready to work. I take several lessons on him and really build my confedence on him. The first day I rode him, it was like he'd JUST got back from training. Sounds like a perfect horse? He was...one problem...He's a WORK horse and me riding him every weekend wasn't enough for him. He'd escape, couldn't hold weight, and just LOOKED sad. So, finally, I knew it was 'his' time. I traded him to a woman who grew up in the percheron show ring, and that's what he became. Under her care and guidance he is a brick house that is 5th in the nation for his breed, age, training, and gender. He pulls carriages, rides english and western, does trail rides, AND has even run barrels, and not ONCE has he escaped or lost weight while with his owner. He's the woman's ONLY gray, and out of all the horses she has, HE is HER best friend. She lets me know this regularly by keeping me updated, even though it's been about 3-4 years.

Now, if you notice I said 'traded' him. 'What for?' you might ask. Well...I traded him for a belgian/quarter horse gelding who was already started and been trail ridden and was advancing to pleasure cantering and had even done a few lessons with a few girls the woman worked with. Her reason for not wanting him? Well for one he wasn't a percheron, for two, he was TINY. Having belgian in him did nothing but cause him to be stockier than the average QH. Well, i took him on and learned rather quickly he just...wasn't great. I found a girl who went to school and showed horses and she'd been part of the 'show' circut since a toddler. She'd successfully trained a few horses and had more experiance to handle his 'stuborness' issues. So, she started to work him. I watched her with him and he was GREAT! Gave her little to NO issues and worked like a champ! Never pulled on the bit, backed without being asked, or refused to go. (luckily he wasn't one to bolt or rear, though he did do small little bucks if asked to do more than walk) Well, even with all this training (months) every time I went to ride him, even under strict instruction from the girl, he showed his rear. He wasn't pleasent to be around, he wasn't easy to ride, and he was just...sour...to ME. He was fine with everyone else, but he wasn't FOR everyone else. So, I put him up for sale or trade. Was aproached by a girl's camp who had a pony who's only issue was he just went too 'fast' for beginners. I was up for that, and told them the issues I had with him, but told them they could come out and look at him. They did. They used my tack, and theirs (I had WAY better tack by this time!) and he did stellar, if a bit on the 'lazy' side, which they were fine with. So, we do the trade. The pony turned out to be too much for me and they bought it back for what I had been asking for Buddy ('my' horse). But...Buddy, now named Pringles, is one of the BEST horses they have at the camp and often 'fought over' by their riders to primp and ride him. lol.
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post #73 of 225 Old 03-25-2011, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 240
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Now comes my most epic story yet...Remember a few stories up there I mentioned a horse being 'left' at my place while my percheron was in training? Good, because this is all about her. I was told this mare was 3 years old, well behaved, and ready to be ridden. Oh yes, and she was free. This was still in my "child" phase so I jumped at it! Why was a trainer giving away a free horse? She was part belgian, a horse he didn't want to even deal with and got her as payment for training someone's horse. Made sense to naive little me at the time. Not 10 minutes after they left her there, taking my gelding to training....she broke her lead and ran off. Took me HOURS to catch her, and when I did, she was wet, spooked, and huffing like a fire breathing dragon. She was NOTHING that they told me she was....It took me 3 months to let me take her halter on and off with ease, and about that long to even let me walk up to her without her spooking. She and I had quite the 'trial', but I didn't give up. That 'something' just wouldn't let me. I actually gave up TWICE, tried to sell her TWICE, had buyers TWICE, and I backed down and ended up keeping her. A year of bonding and ground work, even when my back was killing me (because of the arab). Even when she pawed at me so hard I had a hoof shaped bruise on my thigh for a YEAR...I kept her. I didn't know why...I didn't even LIKE her that well...However...2 years later, she is my best friend. She is not only my best friend. She's a whole new horse. She's calm, patient, willing, and can pay attention without being spooked by the clouds. Who made her this way? Answer is...I did. I'm that VERY small percent that was in WELL over my head...but magic came from it. I would NOT suggest it to others, but I'm glad I stuck with her. She is my heart horse now, the one I trust above all others, the one I can safely put 2 year olds on and let idiots ride her just because they want to and know she won't freak out or hurt them. Ok, that's a lie, I'd never put an idiot on her lol. I love her too much. I did all of her training from the ground up. The only times someone else traiend her was her first few rides. I found a woman who was qualified and had 'nothing better' to do (talk about luck! Never again will I find such a wonderful, cheap trainer! lol) After those first few rides, I was on her receiving direction. Between lessons though, I rode her on my own (with someone near by 'just in case'). One story I do have to tell about her though...is she HATES people who 'force' her. Remember the girl I had train up the gelding that wouldn't work for me? Well, I was taking lessons from her one day, Caddy wasn't making a 'perfect' circle, and I didn't want to 'make' her so long as she kept up her trot and went in the direction I wanted her to. Well, this pissed off the trainer who yelled at me to 'make' her....I got so mad I yelled back and snapped "I'm not the trainer! You are! You want to make her do something, get on and do it yourself!" So...I got off...trainer got on, the first 'round' she got the one spot she didn't want to make 'perfect', trainer tried to force it, and...off went the trainer...and Caddy came trotting right up to me and nuzzled my chest! After that I got back on, and she behaved beautifully. This was also a good few months after her first ride, so while not 'dead broke' she was a ways past 'green'. Oh, and the reason she was so crazy to begin with? Her orriginal owners thought she was "big" enough to break....she wasn't even a year old yet. When they gave her to the trainer, she was a BIG yearling, tramatized, and thus, dangorous. Because he didn't want her, he shoved her in a stall with little attention other than food, water, and cleaning. She was so bad that she would turn her butt and actually kick out at anyone who went into her stall...Oh, and I had her vet checked before I started her 'riding'. It took me 2 years to get her to that point. Guess how old the vet told me she was? Three....I will NEVER trust that man again, and tell anyone I can why they shouldn't either. Granted, he trained my percheron up nice, but seriously...what person gives another person who SAYS they are a total newb a horse he KNOWS to be dangerous?! Next thing you might wonder is how I found out about her history. Well, I hit a 'drama filled' part of my life and had to board her at the place where the trainer used to work. He no longer did (wonder why) and I found out from the barn owner who recognized her, as well as the vet I used to check her over. I still can't believe someone would do that to another person...but alas, I seem to attract these issues.

I had another mare for about a year. She was broke for trails but was suborn as the day was long...she didn't stay around because when I hit that 'drama patch' she was just too much to pay THAT much to keep, especially when no one wanted to ride her. Now? She lives as a family pet and is ridden by a doting 'daddy' and 4 kids between the ages of 9-14. Not once has she acted out and they ADORE her!

Now for my next adventure! A horse that's been in the pasture for 4 years of his life, untrained, barely handled...but is a total doll. I might be crazy...but...I like being a bit crazy lol.

(on a side note I also regularly rescued horses when I could, gentled them, got them healthy, then gave them to people who I trusted could handle them, never ONCE lying about an issue or quirk that horse might have. I never considered any of them 'mine' however, so won't go into detail about each one lol It was a fun, rewarding journey though, and I have been taught so much by the animals I love, and hope to learn so much more!)

Sorry if this was a long winded post...but I feel I've experienced just about every level of 'hero' out there, with the ups AND the downs...It doesn't always work, and that's when we need to step back and re-evaluate...but...sometimes..just sometimes...it works...Anyway, I hope someone can gain something from this huge post lol.

Wishing all the best!

(broken into two posts because of epic length x.x sorry again!)
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post #74 of 225 Old 03-25-2011, 04:36 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: UK
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Well Lady, you are persistent that's for sure. And every thing seems to have come out clean in the wash.

To get back on after breaking your back takes a lot of guts - well done.

Enjoy your horse - you have earned it.
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post #75 of 225 Old 03-25-2011, 04:47 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: australia
Posts: 2,510
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Haha that might have been long but you had quite a few. Sounds like you did a good job with your mare. Oh and good on you for getting on again after breaking your back!!

My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
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post #76 of 225 Old 03-25-2011, 04:55 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Tennessee
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And I enjoy all horses ^_^
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post #77 of 225 Old 03-26-2011, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Iceland
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• Horses: 11
Amen! I am in this situation myself right now. I decided that I wanted to take Seifur with me to college for the winter. I had been riding him a bit over the summer and he had behaved pretty nicely, because of that I had no idea why my parents were so happy to "get rid of him", they were eager to let me take him away with me.
So, I take him away with me and think I am going to have a wonderful time riding and training him. Boy was I wrong... The horse is totally crazy, he bites, kicks, rears and you name it! He suddenly turned into a monster. I had the vet check him out for any pain and turns out he did have to have his teeth floated but other than that he was healthy and fine. He has his teeth floated and after that I thought he would get better.. But he only got worse if anything. He flips out if I am doing something as simple as leading him. I have completely given up on him and really want to sell him to someone who can use him and train him properly, I am not even sure if my parents will let me sell him..

I feel like crying right now. I have no idea why my parents didn't warn me about him. I had to hear it from my sister how crazy he really is. I feel like my parents hate me, they gave away my favorite mare without telling me and then force me to take care of this crazy gelding, they didn't wanna let me take any other horse with me...
Anyways, I'm done ranting. Sorry for the essay!
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post #78 of 225 Old 04-20-2011, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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I went through this when I bought my gelding.
Could not do a thing with him, couldn't ctach, tie or tack him up.
Riding was out of the question, prancing, napping EVERYTHING.
But after THREE MONTHS of "sticking with it" I am on the way to making an excellent school master. He still has his quirks, but i am SO glad i stuck it out.
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post #79 of 225 Old 04-23-2011, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Taos, new Mexico
Posts: 58
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Originally Posted by spence View Post
that's what REALLY chaps my butt about the shutting down of kill houses in the states. there ARE some horses out there that are just plain truly useless. if they had not shut them down, then those who are in over their heads and know it would have an out that would be able to even come out with a buck or two in hand instead of absolutely nothing.
Thats horrible!
I'm sorry but this is a horrible thing for a horse lover to say.
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post #80 of 225 Old 04-23-2011, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Taos, new Mexico
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Love the post!
I myself have been in over my head 2 out of the 4 I have ever owned the first was a "surprise present" for my 6th bday...she dropped me on my butt and head a few too many times and we had to give her to a new home she's a lawn ornament now but doesn't mind...then my second horse was the dream not dangerous , did evverything I wanted. All I could have asked for to help me learn all the joys of horse ownership...3rd horse another mistake she was a beauty but huge and untrained and I can't for the life of me remember wut possessed us to buy her. My mom figured she could handle her...only prosblem was my mom had no time for her and I tried my best. I don't think I ruined her. She more like ruined my ego lol. She was the kind of horse that was dangerous to others...and an escape artist might I add. But I remember coming home most days crying ...(thank god I still had my 2nd horse!) and eventually we sold her to a good friend but I dot think she's being used much which is a shame because the right person could make an amaasaazing horse out of her...and my 4th I just go And hope she's the right horse! Shes a 15,3hh TB mare that needs some refining but has the personality and the groud manners that I want and I have an actual experienced trainer helping me.
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