This horse is TOO quiet.
I got back about half an hour ago from helping out a friend of a friend whose husband recently left her by stripping 20 stalls and exercising a few horses. She had me start her 9-yr old stallion, a Peppy San Badger grandson, while a prospective buyer was there.
The thing is....this horse is TOO quiet. We turned him out in the indoor after being inside all day, and he stood exactly where we left him and hardly moved. I tried to lunge him, and he would walk around me while someone led him, but nothing more. Someone got out a feed bag and waved it at him behind my back, to which he trotted a few steps and then stopped. He acts so listless and his eyes are so disinterested...
We saddled him for the first time in five years. I tried to work on bending and backing from the ground but he was very stiff through his neck and would hardly flex. I mounted and he was a little wary, trotting a few steps, but soon stopped. I tried to flex him again with his sidepull, but again, he was very stiff. He would not respond when I cued him to walk with voice and leg commands, so I had his owner lead him off in a walk when I gave him the cue to go forward. He soon relaxed after a few turns around the arena, but still would not walk without someone at his head. Even then, his walk was very slow. I did, however, teach him to back up very nicely under saddle.
The other thing is, he has a very interesting build. His hindquarters could be those of a cow, if you can picture that. Flat croup and weak hind end. His lower stomach is very large, and I would call him fat if his ribs weren't prominent. it looks like a worm belly, but he's been wormed religiously every six weeks.
He has me absolutely stumped. He knows what we're asking, but he is either very lazy or in some serious pain. The owner will not have him vetted; she claims he is healthy and just very lazy, but our mutual friend and I both think it's something more. All of her horses are in great condition and well-cared for, so I don't know what the deal is with this boy. She wants me to come back often to work with him. Any thoughts? Stomach ulcers possibly? I really want her to have this horse vetted.
If your gut tells you there is something wrong, I would listen. :( The way I imagine him from your description sounds terrible, but pictures would help. What's he like when he's turned out with other horses? Even lazy horses usually show some spunk when out with the herd, if he doesn't, I would probably push more for vet visit before working him too hard, but it's tough when it's not your horse.
The prospective buyers thought it was quite comical--they'd wanted something quiet, but they weren't sure if they wanted something THAT quiet. The owner calls him Peppy after his grandsire....he doesn't exactly live up to his name! He doesn't look all that terrible other than the belly, but the way he acts is bizarre. Assuming I can convince her to have a vet look him over, I think he would be a very interesting project for me to work with when I have time. I'll try to get some pictures next time I come over; the lighting was too poor for my cell phone camera, but I'm going back Thursday during the day.
I have no idea how he acts when he's turned out with other horses. I'll ask Peggy about it Thursday.
I agree with Sharpie. If your gut tells you something is not right, I'm inclined to think that you are correct.
Very few STALLIONS are quiet. Period. I've known a couple well-behaved ones that you never heard a peep from, but none that were "dull".
If he does seem to not want to do things, not because he doesn't know how, but because he doesn't want to move because it hurts, that horse has got to get to a vet. Do whatever you can to get your friend to see that.
I'm not sure if you got ON him but how was he then?
We have a similar horse (a baby.. 3 years old!) at the barn and he's so lethargic. No sparkle in his eye.. he just has no desire to live.. he just kind of stands around and maybe takes a few steps. But no curiosity, no eagerness to play, no spunk.. no nothing. It's very sad :/
Computer has eaten my reply twice, let's try for a third.
Thanks for the replies. I did sit on him while someone led him around, and I soon had him pretty relaxed under saddle. We did establish a very good backup.
It is very weird that a stallion is this dull. He shows no interest when mares are led past his stall, no excited pawing when the grain is being distributed....he's just dull. My friend is going to try to convince her to have a vet look at him because this is just not normal.
I have one just like that only he is very well trained and has reining points and earnings. He is also cutting/cow bred --- being a grandson of Colonel Freckles and out of a Zan Parr Bar daughter.
He lives in a 200 X 200 foot pen. Never runs or plays, never whinnies, never acts like a stallion until spring when you start leading mares past his pen. Then, he will trot to the corner and 'talk' to her unless you have him in hand. Then, he does nothing.
People come and go and never realize he is a stud. He is 11 years old and has quite a few get.
I just sold our other stallion, also 11, to the UK. He was a double bred Driftwood horse and he was the same way. Never had him run or play and never heard him utter a peep unless we were breeding him. People in the UK will start seeing his foals next year. They are easy going and 'born broke' which is why they bought him. He or his babies just don't come with much if any resistance.
The Colonel Freckles horse has a lot of training and a lot of speed. He has been headed and healed off of and has never been outrun by a cow. He is fast and very quick footed. He will work a cow and could have been shown (quite well I believe) in Reined Cowhorse competition. This was when my back got so bad that I could no longer ride at that level, so, he was never shown as a cowhorse. He is absolutely explosive under saddle when you ask him. He is dead quiet when you don't. He has several foals in the UK and all over the US. Everybody that has them loves them.
I have known several other stallions that have been the same way. They are really trainable and don't waste any energy or act silly. I have also stood Arabian, Thoroughbred and racing Quarter Horse stallions to the public, but these easy-going guys really spoil you.
The Driftwood horse was pretty lazy. Flash (the cutting bred one I still have) is anything but lazy under saddle.
I have also had several Little Peppy bred horses. I sold a grandson a few years ago that we used for breeding for 2 years before we sold him. He was also that laid back. His sire was a pretty nice cutting horse with decent winnings and a COA and his dam was a producing daughter of Freckles Playboy. He also has a 1/2 brother (stallion) out of the same mare that won over $100,000.00 barrel racing . They said he was that easy going, too, but obviously not slow or lazy to win over $100,000.00.
As for the big belly -- I assume he is getting grass hay free choice. If a horse does not 'self exercise' much, they just get hay bellies.
If this horse was trained as a cutter earlier in life, he would wake up if you worked a cow on him. If he was never trained, It would be a real chore now that he has spent most of his life doing nothing.
Bottom line -- I don't see any reason to think anything is wrong with him. If he is stalled and NOT eating hay free choice, you might check his blood count. He could be anemic and have ulcers lowering his red blood count. A CBC tells you very quickly if that is a possibility. That's the only possibility I see.
Thanks, Cherie! He hadn't been saddled in five years, and I was the first person to ever actually mount him. I'll try to get a video Thursday. I'll mention the blood count thing as well. He gets grain and hay only twice a day, two flakes to a feeding, and eats Stock and Stable feed.
The belly indicates he is not processing his roughage correctly. Check teeth and ulcers.
His teeth are very bad, I forgot to mention that. I think he has a wolf tooth bothering him as well. We tried a full-cheeck snaffle on him, but he was obviously uncomfortable, so we put him in a sidepull and he went much better. I'll definitely mention the possible problems with processing roughage, thank you!
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