This Horse needs help
I need help. One of the horses at the yard is going to be probably sold for slaughter if I can't figure out how to help him.
His owner stopped riding him more than a year ago due to the horse's behaviour. At first one of the riders at the stables still tried to ride him. Unfortunately the horse started getting way worse and impossible for anybody to ride. The owner is not prepared to spend any money on a horse that he can't ride. He can't sell to another person as the horse won't let anybody ride him. So all that is left is slaughter house.
We have spoken to the owner and he is prepared to give me some time as well as pay the livery for a bit longer but not prepared to pay for teeth to be checked or physio to be checked. I think the problem might be one off those, teeth or physio.
We have been working with this horse for a month now. He was impossible to catch in the field, even offering treats did not work. He spooked for everything and anything. Did not like being touched by people. Then also does not stand to be mounted, runs away (does not stop) and worst of all rears.
I have done all the ground work and my husband the riding.
The horse has improved a great deal on the ground. I can catch him, actually I don't need to catch him he comes to me. He follows me around and loves being groomed, patted and getting attention from me. Problem is he does not trust anybody else, even on the ground. He still won't allow anybody else to touch him or catch him. If people walk past his stable he quivers into a corner till they gone. When I'm around he still allows them to touch him but you can see that he is very uncomfortable being touched by others. When with me he does not spook so easily as we have been working alot on desensitizing him. I can hug him, before if you moved towards him he freaked out.
My husband is however not making progress with riding. We have tried different bit and bridles, even bitless, nothing works. He just fights the bit and aids all the time. If he feels like he can't avoid it he rears up. Yesterday he reared up lost his balance and fell ontop of my husband. My husband is an excellent rider. Not hard on his mouth or anything.
I don't understand. He's always been a difficult horse but has been ridden even showed with a bit. What happened to cause this going to the extreme behaviour of his. Why won't he allow anybody on his back anymore.
I'm not an expert, just someone trying to help a horse in destress. I'm not a novice either and have had some experience with problem horses and have always been albe to help. I have also made a lot of progress here but not enough.
The way I see it if it was teeth should'nt the bitless helped to some degree. In this case it did not. I have also massaged him all over and experienced no twitching or quivering or any signs that he is not comfortable with my toutch. Should'nt there be signs if it was a back problem. We have used different saddles and even bareback. Not the saddle.
I have never been on him as I had a bad accident and still trying to recover my confidence in the saddle. Could it be that it's a trust issue. That maybe he will allow me to ride because he trust me but nobody else. Or maybe he is comfortable with me because I never tried to ride him?
Please I will appreciate any advice as I definitely can't afford to pay for all these costly checkups for somebody elses horse. I also can't buy him as I already have a horse, also a problem horse that I rehabilitated and then bought due to owner being to scared to work with him. I can't buy every problem horse that comes along.
All advice will be appreciated. Except from people that feel I should let him go to the slaughter house:wink:
Unless you're willing to buy him then I don't see what you can do. To be honest this horse sounds incredibly dangerous and it sounds like it is a matter or time before it causes a serious injury to its rider. You said yourself you're still regaining confidence in the saddle and I seriously wouldn't recommend getting on this horse, sounds like it would be a recipe for disaster a unsure rider plus a horse with a penchant for rearing.
It sounds like his owner has abused him. :-(
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I know that it will not be clever to get on him. That's why I have not done so. I don't think the owner abused him, except if it was the previous owner, I have no knowledge about them. I thought it might have been rather one of the riders at the stables that abused him, hit him badly or so, but I have no proof and therefor can't accuse anybody. The reason for my thinking is he acts even more scared with the one person that used to ride him. I was thinking of more lunging work than riding. Would you say that it sounds more like abuse than physical?
I'd say its either emotional, pyshical or both.
Emotional- He quivers and backs into the corner of the stall if anyone but you are aroud? It sounds like he knows your not going to hurt him but thinks everyone else will and that can make him really unpredictable so dont ever ever let your guard down around this horse. He sounds like hes trying and hes willing but to be honest I'd get his mouth and back checked over becase it could make a hell of a lot of diference. Defiently dont ride him yourself, maybe get ur husband to hang around him on the ground, get him to know him better as well. Maybe go back to full basics. He sounds like hes willing, but unpredictable so good luck but please dont get hurt trying to help him. Some people might not believe it, but some souls are damaged far beyond repair and the best thing is to let them go. So keep that in mind but good luck, you have my respect for doing this :)
Just because the horse acts that way doesn't mean the rider abused it. I work with a lad who wouldn't ever abuse a horse yet certain horses just don't like him but will quite happily be fussed over by somebody else. He has never touched them but they shy away like he has.
You have 2 choices: buy him (which doesn't sound like a smart idea to me to be honest with you) or persuade the owner to 1) do the vet check (if his back is OK, teeth are done, etc.) and 2) send the horse to the real trainer who can address rearing and other issues. I'm surprised owner didn't think about it in 1st place.
Like I said owner doesn't want to spend money on him. He sees the horse as a problem that's costing him money. I decided to ask him if he will pay half the bill. I will use my bonus and pay the other half and get this horse checked out.
Tayz: I agree that some souls are lost and no matter what you do you cant help them. I do volunteer work at a childrens home for abused and molested kids. I had a teenager in my house for a year, trying everything to help. She almost ruined my marriage and my daughters relationship with her father. She was a lost soul and I had to admit it. I see lots of these kids that can't be helped. Worked with lots off dogs also that were lost cases. and I'm sure there are horses that are also lost souls, never seen one. This horse is not lost YET. I am sure he is on his way there if not being helped, but not yet there. He tried too hard in this time that I'm working with him.
I think I agree that my husband must start working with him on the ground. That will immediately also tell us if it is possible to change his mind set around other people.
Thanks for everybody that replied. Like I said all advice appreciated.
I don't think he was abused, but of course it's possible.
Without any snottiness or anything, may I ask why you care so much about this horse? Were you asked to work with him? If it's not your horse, unless you buy him, ultimately you don't really have a say over where he goes in his future.
I'm sure he is a great horse and just needs the right handler/trainer to bring out his talent, but the way I see it, there are way, WAY too many good, well broke, sane and sound horses going for slaughter-there is no point wasting your time and risking your life working with one who's going to rear over and kill you when good, trained horses are going for a dime a dozen.
But that's just my 2 cents.
Whatever you end up doing, good luck. Keep us all posted :)
It's not just that I care so much about this horse. If you read my replies you will notice that I work with abused kids, dogs and horses. I have a passion for animals, and hate to see them in destress. Will help if I can. Yes I have been asked.
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