(Long) Aggressive Gelding - Best Long Term Solution?
I have a 4 year old paint cross gelding. I have owned him since May of 2012. He was mouthy when I first got him, which I took to be typical young horse behavior. I begun ground work and light riding with him, and worked on reprimanding the mouthiness and teaching respect on the ground. His mouthiness persisted, however, although he was calm and fairly agreable under saddle. For the entire month of December and January, I was riding him daily for short periods of time either in the indoor or outside, but his behavior deteriorated. He would try to run me over when I would get him in the indoor, and generally act up whenever I asked him to stop or back on the ground (throwing his head, trying to bolt). About 4 weeks ago, I asked him to stop and back by the mounting block, and he lashed out, aggressively, to bite my face. Luckily I was wearing a helmet, so he got that instead. I then proceeded to make him think I was crazy and going to kill him (deep angry voice, flailing my arms, chasing him off) and lunged him very hard for at least 20 or 30 minutes straight. He was very respectful when that session was done, and seemed to get the message completely. I was pretty shaken up by the experience, and was away on vacation for the week after that incident. A friend of mine, who is more experienced with young horses, rode him while I was gone, and he did the exact same thing to her again at the mounting block. He also reared and struck out at the barn managers head when being led in a few days ago.
Since he tried so aggressively to bite at the mounting block specifically, I thought maybe he may be in some sort of pain when he is mounted. I have scheduled a lameness exam for him for next week to see if maybe he is in pain. But, it seems to me that his behavior has been progressively getting worse the more training and riding he's had. I have been reluctant to work with him in the last few weeks as I am just emotionally drained from trying to deal with his aggression.
I do not have the money to put him into a professional full time training program, and honestly am not sure it is worth it to spend hundreds on this upcoming vet exam. I am considering having him put down humanely, as I would not let him go through the local auction to a slaughter house or someone who might starve/abuse or neglect him. I would not feel right trying to sell him cheaply or give him away when he is so dangerous to handle.
I would love some positive feedback from anyone who might have a suggestion. I know the concept of putting a horse down is awful in itself, and it is a last resort for me, but I want to do what is best for him in the long run. I do not want to risk myself, or others, getting hurt.
I'm not sure if this is the right section for this topic, if not I apologize.
Thank you for reading and for any help you can give!
I am going to try and be as nice as possible.....my tongue will likely be bloody so to speak, since I will (at least figuratively) be biting it. but-you are new here, so here goes.
When you post something like this and then say you want just positive feedback, good luck.
You are in way over your head, you know this. Honestly, this is not the horses fault. My guess would be that there have been incidents that perhaps you thought were nothing, that were, in fact this horse testing you-and guess what-you failed. So, he has taken advantage. Yes, you called him out on one occassion-but many horses need to be reminded regularly. I own one. You have to constantly watch for hints that they may be puching the limits, and nip it in the bud.
Now, you have yourself a mess. It is not the horses fault, and my guess is that there are probably other folks, who, with full disclosure, might be able to help this horse become a good citizen again. Just because YOU have failed, and YOU don;t have the emergency funds you should have is no reason to put him down. THere are VERY FEW horses who are truly dangerous and cannot be helped. Yes, they do exist, but typically the euth decision is not reached by one person who is not a professional trying to deal with the horse. He deserves a chance. I am disgusted that you do not even want to spend the $$ to see if it is pain......but want to dismiss his life rather lightly. JMHO.
If you are now afraid of him, which most folks probably would be-it is time for him to go-but please at least TRY to find someone who will knowingly take him.
I have to say I agree with franknbeans. My horse and I were a pretty similar situation. I was afraid of him and he knew it. I was fortunate enough to be able to afford some training for him and me. Two years ago I almost traded him away but am glad now I didn't. He is 4 now as well (almost 5) he still tests me and actually had me afraid again recently after being on stall rest but we are working on it again. Actually you don't have to put him in full training, if you can pay someone to come and help you. I did that after Hunter came back from training, the trainer would come out and work with me while I worked with Hunter. She still does when we have issues.
DO NOT put this horse to sleep. Sell him if you don't want to keep him but advertise him honestly and let people know up front what his issues are.
I do have to agree here. If you don't think the horse is 'worth the money' to find out if he's hurting, and you're so sick of his aggression that you're avoiding him instead of trying to fix it, then give him to someone who knows how to handle/fix things like that, because he deserves a different home.
It sounds like you're in way over your head even if you did try to help him, and he does not deserve to get put down. Plenty of people will take a horse that needs work - pay for it, probably not. But he doesn't deserve to get put down because you don't want to take the time/money to figure out if he's in pain and you avoid working with him because he scares you. That's just going to make matters worse.
Honestly it makes me sad that people like this even think of buying a horse, when many people out there with the time and money may never get to live their dream. Please, sell this horse to someone who gives a crap about his well being.
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Again agree with everyone here! This is an accident, or worse waiting too happen. You're in way to far, and really do need professional help. JMHO.
It sounds as if you are at a boarding stable. I am assuming there are some knowledgable horse people there that would have some background and be able to say if this was an issue from him getting away with things or pain. I wouldn't spend money on a lameness exam because spomeone should be able to watch the horse and see if it is lame and then opt for further investigation. It could be in pain elsewhere if it is determined that the horse is not bullying you.
I would guess you have next to no experience with horses?
This will happen with every horse you own ever, if you do not learn to handle them, and how to be in charge. From a Mini, to a Clydesdale, they will all act exactly as this one is doing to you, because of how you are handling him, or not as the case may be.
Too many people have done just as you have, gotten a horse when they don't know enough to make sure the horse remains a good horsey citizen under their care. Without a strong leader, the horse will begin to run the show, just as this one has done to you.
And I've seen a horse that behaved for me, act like the village idiot the second another rider went up. It can happen that quickly. Some horses will not take such quick advantage, but most will.
Find someone to take this horse, more than likely it is not that the horse is ruined and dangerous, but that you don't know what you are doing with horses. Horse should not pay the price for your mistakes.
There is a "sticky" post in the training section:
"Playing the Hero" -- when to 'stick with it' & when to realize it's time to move on.
It might help you to read through that.
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