I don't want to make the same mistake...
Ok, so i've had my horse for 6 years, i've been riding for 10 years but the last 4 has been off and on due to the problems i've had with my current horse. I bought Tiger when I was 11, and he was a totally different horse when I tried him out the first time. He was almost lethargic, i've heard that some traders will sedate horses but I wasn't sure if that was the case with him. When I brought him home I remember that I never liked to lope/canter him. I don't remember the reason, only that I didn't like to.
A couple years later I decided I wanted to try barrel racing, so we took him to a trainer and from the start she didn't like him. She didn't give us a reason but we all knew she didn't like him. She loved my cousin's horse, but not mine. I also remember having problems with him while he was at the trainer's house and I would come over to ride him.
When we got him back, he spooked when you raised your hands and he was very different and harder to handle than ever. We quickly found another trainer who I love, and I am still in touch with her today. She helped me get him back to the way he was before. I don't have an arena at my house, and I would take him across the street to a farm that does have an arena and my trainer would help me with him. We eventually started boarding him there, and I started going to playdays to barrel race. The first time I went to a playday Tiger was acting good, but later in the evening when my event came and I went out into the arena, he broke the pattern. I had been practicing barrels with him for months so he knew the pattern. He tried to run towards the gate, but I reined him in and continued to the first barrel. I wasn't going for speed, I was just doing it for fun. Well, after that he tossed and threw his head and was just ansy for the rest of the night. The next two times I took him I didn't have him entered in anything but he would start getting ansy and excited and hard to handle when it got dark. The third time I took him, same thing when the sun started going down he started getting excited, except this time when we were trotting in a circle, I noticed him lowering his head and didn't realize what was going on until I found myself on the ground. He had laid down with me. He got back up and proceded to trot away when another woman caught him for me. My trainer hadn't seen anything, she said she looked away and when she looked back I was on the ground. Somehow I didn't get hurt but it still scared me pretty bad.
I decided it would be best to just give up barrels, Tiger has a bad hip and it really wasn't for me. He was a roping horse before I bought him, but I don't know how to rope so i've never roped off him. Anyways, i've always had problems with bridling him because, i'm 5'1 and he's 15.2hhs. He's broken two of my halters so far, dented the fence, and just recently, a bridle got broken. A few months ago I let a neighbor borrow him, she told me she would ride him and take care of him. About a month ago her son called and asked if I wanted to come see him, so I went with him. They have two other horses on the property, and they had no water! Their trough was dry. Texas weather is hot and it was getting up to 105 during the day. I couldn't believe it. The next day I went and got him and I brought him home.
When I got him, I knew I wanted to sell him. So after I brought him back I did some ground work with him with just his halter and he did fine, it was nothing big. But two days ago I decided to ride him. I saddled him up and I had his halter loose around his neck when I put the bridle on. He didn't give me any problems I got it on one ear and I went around him to put it on the other ear and suddenly he started jerking and pulling. The lead rope snapped, and in the confusion I had a hold of the throat latch on his bridle, which I hadn't buckled yet, and the part I was holding snapped off. So I stepped back and waited for what he was going to do. For a few seconds he reared a few times, not very high in fact his front hooves probably only came a foot off the ground. So I calmed him down, took the halter off from around his neck(it never hurt him I just keep it around his neck in case something like this happens, and it's what my riding instructor taught me) and I walked him around. I thought it would be a good idea to lunge him because I hadn't had any luck with it before because he never wanted to move but now I realize it was a mistake. He spooked once but after that I thought he had calmed down. I had moved on to "disengaging his hindquarters" which he knew well, it was nothing new when suddenly, he started backing up. I backed a little away from him and was about to lead him forwards when he slammed into me with his shoulder. I have never had a horse slam into me like that before so it shook me up. I was done. I decided then that I couldn't do it anymore. 6 years of fighting him and I was done.
I love horses, but i'm afraid that this is going to happen again. My family thinks I don't ride because i'm lazy and not really into horses anymore. They don't really understand that I just don't want to ride Tiger and that because of him I have a slight fear of horses that i've never had before. I had 2 horses before him, and the second one I had, I got when I was 8 and he was also probably too much horse for me, but i'm afraid it's me and not the horse. I took riding lessons for 6 years in Western pleasure, and I had the help of my trainer afterwards which gives me hope that maybe it's not just me, it's just the fact that the past 2 horses i've had weren't really the right horses for me. The second one, Robo, was picked for me by my riding instructor, I didn't see him or ride him beforehand, he was given to us. With Tiger, I rushed into it. I fell in love with him and didn't think about it.
Sorry about my long story but I didn't want to leave out any details. I want someone who knows about horses to tell me what they think about the situation. My trainer is really soft spoken and not very opinionated and I want an opinion. My horse isn't sold yet but I was looking at horses online in case I wanted to buy another one, and I found one i'm interested in. I found one before her but I didn't like her as much as I do this one. She's smaller than Tiger, and for some reason I just like her.
Any help would be appreciated, i'm kind of stuck here. I don't know if I want to get another horse because i'm afraid I will just sell it in 5 years like Tiger and Robo. :-|
That was a really long post and I hope I am answering the question you need answered lol
If you are afraid of a horse, for whatever reason, and you have attempted to work on that fear (whether on your own or with a trainer) and you are still scared....why do that not only to yourself but the horse? In my opinion (and this is just my opinion..not a professional or an expert or really even great rider or trainer)....find another horse. Let Tiger go to someone who understands his issues and develops a good relationship with him. Being scared of him is only going to jack up the issues.
As far as buying another horse and not knowing if you will not want to keep them due to issues (fear etc)...why not spend your money taking lessons or perhaps lease or half lease a horse? It gives you the time to decide if you really want to continue with horses and to discover if your issues are just because you may have had horse choices that were ideal for you.
Just my lowly opinion. :)
Thanks for all the posts, they are greatly appreciated. I don't think I could ever give up horses, I want to be an equine chiropractor :) I'm gonna sell Tiger and hopefully get another horse, if my family lets me. (I'm the only horse lover)
I have to agree with OTT, if you are scared of him then you aren't doing you or him any favors by trying to keep going with him. Probably your best bet would be to find a home for him that is a better fit and I too suggest some lessons. That way, you can ride some nice broke horses, have someone who is very knowledgeable there for tips and teaching, and get your confidence back when you know a bit more about horses in general as well as all aspects of riding. Then, when the time is right, you can start looking for another horse with a better idea of what you want and what to look for/avoid in a horse.
I agree with OTT and smrobs, it is best for you to rehome your horse. You are at a point where it is no longer fun, it is scary. It's not going to do you- or Tiger- any good if you keep him. I suggest finding a nice home for him and moving on.
I think that leasing a horse would be a great idea! That way you can get back into riding while having fun on a safe horse. And you don't have to worry about owning the horse in case something goes wrong. I would take some lessons on beginner/ intermediate horses- not because you aren't a good rider, I'm sure you are more than capable, but to boost your confidence.
I have been in a situation similar to yours, and I know it's not fun. As hard as it might be, it's time to let go. Best of luck to you.
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