Need help deciding if I should sell my horse.
I realize that this is extremely long, but I could really use some help/advice please…
I have a beautiful paint mare, Snickers, who is about 7 years old. I've had her since I was 13 and she was 3, my first horse. When we first got her, she was the sweetest horse I'd ever been around, and had consistent good behavior. She rode better and had better ground manners than my uncles 24 year old mare that he had been working with for over 20 years. My uncle was the one helping me train her, as I was one of those people who wanted to train their very first horse (as I realize now was a very stupid idea).
After about 4 months, she started biting and occasionally cow kicking when I was working with her. My uncle and I were trying to be consistent with getting her to stop, although sometimes she would surprise me and I would forget what I was supposed to do when she did those things. Her ground manners went down the drain, but in the saddle she was still a perfect little angel at the time.
A little wile after that, she stopped responding when I was lunging her. What went from a 5 time a week start to training suddenly turned into her threatening me in any way she could and would not listen to my commands. She would work with my uncle, but never me. After 8 months of riding her, my uncle could no longer take me riding with him and help me with training her.
When we got a second horse, DJ, for my mother to ride (which I admit was very stupid when I already had a horse that I couldn't handle. Especially since the new horse was only 2 years old.) things got progressively worse. Over the next few years, I didn't have much time to work with them because of family issues. The new horse was well behaved, and for two years he as also very good under the saddle.
Over the course of March to Mid-June of 2012, I had more time to spend with the horses and would often spend hours on end with them, until these behaviors began, and even less after they became dangerous for me to be around them.
After that DJ has become an unpredictable horse. When tied he used to be able to sit there for hours, but now he would rear back, and break his halter then continue to run up and down the roads, and wouldn't stop to think about barreling over anybody in his way. When riding, he would randomly buck and rear out of control, with no provocation. Not knowing how to deal with that, we let a good friend of ours work with him. This guy kept him for an extra month than planned, trying to get him to stop these things, but he couldn't do anything. We sold him in July. (Yes this may seem off topic, but I think it ties in later hopefully)
(One note about DJ, I will admit that I did not spend much time with him. He was my mother’s horse, and we always fought over him when he was well behaved. In the end, spending time with him got me in a fight with my mother, so I stopped. Of course, she never spent time with him unless it was feeding him.)
Snickers in the last year, started being very well behaved when on the ground, when I was working with her in late spring. She would let me handle her, and being careful when working in a few areas kept her from biting or kicking, and she was respecting my space. Of course I could not ride her that often as I had when I first got her. In mid-June, when I was able to start my yearly riding lessons, she suddenly became that terrible horse again. She would bite and kick and the worst habits showed up. She would rear up whenever I asked her to something she didn't want to, and when on the ground, she would rush at me head on whenever she wasn't tied. I was most scared of the rearing, we were all scared she might fall back on me, and being 105 pounds, I probably would not survive a fill like that.At this point my riding instructor told me that she two should probably be sold also.
Snickers and DJ were incredibly buddy bound, and when being worked with they would not go more than ten feet from each other. Although after a week of DJ being away from her, Snickers always turned around went back to acting like that well behaved horse I had before we got DJ, still with some biting problems however.
After DJ had been gone for a week when we sold him, Snickers stopped biting and kicking when tied. It took a few weeks until I could bring myself to work with her on the ground, out of not only my own fear but my mother’s also. Snickers was working very well for a month or two until I started having family issues and again couldn’t work with her as much, and as of now she’s been, for lack of better words, put up for the winter until either spring or we sell her. I never could bring myself to ride her after the last few incidents we had.
Even with all of the trouble I've had with her, she was my first horse, I love her, and I don’t want to sell her. Her being better this last week or so has just made me think that there may be hope for her, if I could get help with someone and work with her more once spring comes. I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble to keep her and pay for her feed when it’s just a gamble of whether or not she will get better or worse. I don’t know exactly why I want to keep her so much, most likely because of all of the things she helped me get through since I last got her, and how important a role in my life she’s played.
We have bought a new horse in July. We did our research before we got him, unlike when we got the other two. He had already been trained to be a mounted shooting horse, and has behaved amazingly under anything we have thrown at him. We originally bought him for my mother, but after being told to sell Snickers, he has become mine (Partially because I was the only one who ever spent time with him.)
It’s probably obvious that I should sell her. Going to the trouble of writing this is probably just going to bring people making fun of me not being good with horses, telling me not to work with them, or to just sell her anyways. Although, I do thank anybody who read this entire thing, however, and I am extremely grateful to anybody who has something to say on this. I would love to keep her, because even though me and my mom fought over DJ, horses are the only thing we’ve ever bonded over, and it would be nice to start having riding lessons with my mom until she’s comfortable enough to take me on trail rides. I’m also not allowed to go on trail rides without her anymore.
Firstly, any horse you are afraid of must go. They will become nothing but more dangerous, IMO. Just make sure you are honest with whomever they go to. Secondly please fix yourself. It is apparent to me that you are NOT consistent, no matter what you think, and have not established respect from these horses. If you do not fix yourself, I will guarantee you are headed down the same road with any horse you have, some more quickly than others. I hate to say this, but I am of the opinion that this is a rather common teenage girl issue. Many of them baby their horses, and want this wonderful "friendship". You need respect. Period. THese are dangerous animals. I had a horse once who had been raised from a 2 yr old by a 14-16 yr old. i could not fix him, thought he would kill me, and I ended up getting rid of him also. Noone does any service to any horse letting them get away with bad behavior. I am sory to those who think it is bad to "punish" a horse, but bad behavior MUST be corrected immediately, particularly in younger horses. Certain behaviors, at least in my world are, what I call-deal breakers. I will be as nice as I can be with every horse. But if they take ANY opportunity to even turn their butt towards me-they are corrected. IMO, many girls-all ages, frankly, make excuses for their horses. My current horses previous owner still does, and he double barrelled her! But when he turns his butt she tells me he is looking at a bird!
Get rid of the young ones, go to an older horse for a while and fine tune your own ability to establish and maintain respect.
There is a reason your horse behaved for your (I think it was) uncle......he was respected.
You should never, ever keep a horse you are afraid of. It seems to me like he doesn't respect you and he KNOWS you are afraid of him, and he knows that by doing these things he gets what he wants.
I know he's your baby and you love him, but realistically he could kill you. You seem to know this. It's like being in an abusive relationship - making excuses for the abuse while any day you could get seriously hurt. Sure the horse might like you just fine, but there could come a day where he decided he doesn't want to do something and with one well aimed kick... Well, you know.
Sell the horse. But a new one that you can have mutual respect with that isn't so dangerous. You love the horse and he may love you too but the kind of relationship you two have is not the kind you want at all.
@franknbeans Thank you for replying to this. I know that I messed up with the two horses, and I've been trying to admit that I caused these problems. I just hate admitting that I messed up.
I'm actually quite scared that I might manage to mess up the new one.
I mean it, thank you for answering. It's been hard for me to get someone to tell me what they really think about the situation. For example, most of my family tell me that I "should have bought a cow, at least then I could eat it".
Shiningstar-sell and move forward with a horse you can learn with. Get a mentor/trainer who will help you improve your skills and gain more "tools" to use when a horse misbehaves or shows disrespect. We are all still learning, and there is nothing wrong with cutting your losses, staying safe, admitting you made a mistake and moving on. I sure have, as I say "kissed a lot of frogs" over the years when it comes to horses.......we always do before we find one that is truly a match. Good luck and stay safe.
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