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bearsareneat 03-03-2010 11:05 PM

The Pros and Cons of a One Person Horse?
Hey there guys.

Has anyone ever had a one-person horse? A horse that no matter how great they are for you, the second another human enters the mix they absolutely go to pieces?

I have such a horse. She's a 16 year old arabian mare that I've owned for the past seven years. Rosie is seriously my best friend and the inspiration behind how I handle horses now. When I found her she was a victim of ignorance. She had gone through multiple owners (from what her papers indicated) and had been shipped all over the mid-atlantic/southeast. Along the way she suffered what I've come to believe was severe ear-twitching, or maybe she was just hit around a lot. Anyway, when she came to me she was what my trainer at the time called a "hot mess." With any slight movement towards her she would rear, strike out, pull back, etc etc.

Now, after years of patience, love, and "horsey-rehabilitation" she is perfect (considering all things). I trust her completely and I believe she trusts me, too.

The one problem is she will not trust anyone else. To this day, she regards all other people with anything from anxiety (jigging and blowing) to outright terror. The only people she allows to touch her are my mother, my neice (who is almost 2), and one of my close friends. My vet, farrier, trainers, and parents have deemed her a said "one person horse," but they always say it with mild distaste.

In a weird way I feel like I've done something wrong. I wonder if since she trusts me this much, shouldn't she trust me to take care of her when other's are around? Should I have done/be doing something different?

I'm taking her to a Bill Scott horsemanship clinic in a week or so and am hoping he can shed some light on the issue. In the meantime, are there any things I can do to maybe desensitize or acclimate her to others?

Sorry for the novel, ya'll. Any advice, tips, personal experiences, etc etc are greatly appreciated.

Thanks and have a great night!

Honeysuga 03-04-2010 01:19 AM

Honestly and I might be bashed for saying this, I prefer my horses to be one person horses. I buy them to ride, for me to ride to be more clear. I feed and grrom and train and care for them, they are my animals.

When I sell my horses, I make sure to work with the new owner to get both working as a pair and when I see fit let the new owner take them home and they can start their relationship together.

Now, I do not make my horses unridable by other people, quite the contrary, most have been perfectly respectful of anyone placed on their backs, sometimes more so than with me. But I do not often allow anyone else on my horses backs, unless I see they are at a level of my experience, are strictly supervised by me, or a professional. My horses are my partners, I want them loyal to me.

Void 03-04-2010 01:43 AM

A one person horse is a Pro in the Equitation ring if they ever ask you to switch horses and perform a test. lol

Wallaby 03-04-2010 01:43 AM

I pretty much agree with Honeysuga.
Lacey's pretty distinctly a one person horse. I mean, she loves everybody and she'll pay attention to whoever wants to give her attention but that's only if I'm around. If I'm not around, she'll ignore everyone quite completely and if you try to do something with her without me, well, good luck. I find it almost cute but then I can definitely relate to finding it worrisome too. For instance, last July Lacey was in a parade. She was being ridden by a 10 year old and I was going to be leading her along the parade route. She had to hang out at the head of the parade for a few hours and since the kids would get super dirty if we let them dismount, they were basically stuck on their horses. Lacey was doing well, worked up but sane, until I had to go to the restroom. I left her in the capable hands of a friend of mine but I came back (no more than 10 minutes later) to an absolutely freaking out horse. As soon as I got back to her she calmed down immediately and pretty completely. In that situation I would have loved for her to have been a multiple person horse but on the whole I kinda love feeling like I'm her entire world, yknow?

Honeysuga 03-04-2010 04:11 AM

I don't have that kind of problem with mine, they are respectful of anyone. What I mean is A) They work with everyone, but I know how to get that extra everything out of them. and B) I don't like anyone else on them. Hehe guess that would have been a better way of explaining it in the first place.

White Foot 03-04-2010 06:19 AM

I think there are many pros and cons to a one person horse. It's easier to gain their trust, you can work with them, they're loyal eta.. But the cons are you have to make sure another person can atleast lead them around, touch them all over, and the regular ground work things.

White Foot 03-04-2010 06:19 AM


Originally Posted by Void (Post 568725)
A one person horse is a Pro in the Equitation ring if they ever ask you to switch horses and perform a test. lol

Hahaha, I second this! :lol:

bearsareneat 03-04-2010 10:14 AM

Thanks for the input, you guys!

Yes, it is a nice knowing that she is my horse and mine alone. Sometimes I feel like she is my "black stallion," if you will. However, it would be nice to find one person who I could teach her little idiosyncrasies to. Just in case anything happened. Because believe me, she has a loooot of them. But that's what makes her Rosie and that's why I love her, haha.

iridehorses 03-04-2010 10:43 AM

I'm sure I'll get bashed for this but you are not doing your horse any justice. Some day you may want to take a vacation, get married, go to school, anything that involves someone else to work with your horse. It sounds like that will be a major problem. Someone else may have to do more then feed or lead her and it sounds like that may be a problem.

The same as desensitizing your horse to noise, movement, bikes, etc., a responsible horse owner should have a horse that is trained to be respectful to anyone. Yes, you should have that special bond with her but not to the exclusion of everyone else. As you mentioned, you want to take her to a clinic, you also want someone to be able to take care of a good number of quirks she has. Now you have to deal with her first gaining the trust of someone new before those problems can be dealt with.

A horse should be safe and comfortable with anyone. She can still be very in tune with you and you can be her safety; but not to you to the exclusion of anyone else.

Pidge 03-04-2010 11:09 AM

Both of my horses are one person horses. One to the more extreme then the other.

Romeo is a one person horse but others can ride him and handle him with ease. Especially young kids. On occasion he enjoys jacking with other people who are around my age. He acted a fool for my friend when she rode him. I wasn't there and thus he decided to see how far he could get with things, but anyone who knows how to properly handle a horse doesn't have an issue. He is def a one person horse though. He just doesn't respond to others like he does me and he tries to push things when I'm not around.

Bause is a one person horse and i am the only one who will handle her. I have a handful of other trusted people who have been around her for years and know what she is like (Keith, Mike, Laura, and Danie even though Bause isnt fond of Danie) who can handle her in any emergancy where i am not present but for the most part no one likes to deal with her. She is an arab and a total fruit loop for just about anyone but me and for the most part mike. I ride her and handle her with minimal issues even when she is at her worst. We are still in the bonding stage so i dont expect things to be perfect but she is def my horse and i would not trust anyone else to ride her or for her to behave for anyone else. She needs a lot of work and is a one person horse to the extreme but even with that being said i do have people who can do the basics with her.

So one person horses are amazing and i prefer it that way. Much better bonding over all. But you do need some people who can handle things in case of an emergency.

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