Would you buy a very spooky horse because they are good at showing? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Question Would you buy a very spooky horse because they are good at showing?

To preface this question: I have been leasing a 9yr old OTTB for a year for the purpose of showing in the Hunters in the Midwest region.


I have never owned a horse, I have always leased / shareboarded historically. Never really showed before due to not leasing or shareboarding horses that were considered competitive. I began showing for the first time when I got this horse a year ago because he IS competitive. In fact, he's a blue ribbon pig, a division hog. I'm ecstatic with how well we did this year, considering my limited show experience.



The end of our lease has come and I have obviously been given the choice to re-up the lease or purchase. This horse had some training after the race track before he came to our barn on a trade. He is a cute mover, flashy, fine-boned, excellent jumper, only refused a jump one time (and that was my fault for a sloppy approach). He apparently didn't have much show experience before I got to him.



Sounds like a decent horse, yes? So, what's the problem?


He's extraordinarily unpredictable on the flat at home, which becomes dangerous when the horse is extremely fast and athletic. In the winter months (6 months of the year here), this horse becomes an un-manageable monster. He spooks at everything, becomes irritated at other horses in the ring (chases after them if we are on the rail and someone goes by), he's kicked a horse while I was on him, he doesn't calm after spooking(and I am a soft, gentle rider, I don't get aggressive with him because we quickly found it doesn't work). We turn him out, my trainer lunges him until he's steaming like a sauna and even then he can be a very tough ride. I have only fallen off this horse once, but he has almost shot me out of the tack many times. He's no easy ride and in fact, not enjoyable when you are cantering and know that at any moment, he might stop and leap sideways and gallop off with no warning. He's highly intelligent...but that seems to translate to everything being scary. He also is not friendly...I had to train him to not be quite so aggressive in his stall, because he was actually quite scary once upon a time.



Sometimes in the winter, my trainer even offered to give him a small bit of tranquilizer to make him safer to ride. I appreciate the gesture, but this tells me I'm dealing with a horse that isn't completely safe. To me, no one should have to 'take the edge off' of a well-finished horse just to flat. But hey, maybe I'm naive, please tell me if so.

In the summer, he is vastly better because it is usually 85 degrees here. He's an absolute saint at 90 degrees (ha, big surprise). However, I have had him get extremely unreasonable in the summer if the temperature ever drops to 75 degrees, or if the wind blows, or it might rain, or the sun is gone, etc.



On a whole: great competition horse in the spring and summer months...a time bomb in the fall and winter months, even at 3 day shows. I basically been told that any competitive horse will be hot tempered or spooky and that I should basically buy this horse because he's so good in the show ring in the summer and judges pin him even though he's an OTTB. He's not a cheap horse and he doesn't have a nice temper either. Nor do I find his lead change to be easy, which is an issue for me.


Am I crazy for wanting to hold out for a competition horse that is a solid citizen? Do they exist? Or are they all bad tempered and crazy? Would you purchase a very spooky, unpredictable horse just because they are good at competing 6 months of the year or would you pass and continue searching for something with a better temperament? I'm just lost because my trainer often just comments on how great a horse he is...aside from him being extremely difficult. I don't mind the occasional spook, I know how to ride them, but I don't like a horse that spooks like they are being PAID to do it. Does good competitor always means spooky or difficult?



Any opinions or thoughts are welcome! I don't intend to show at a national level or anything, I'm an adult woman with a full time career, so showing is just something I like to do once or twice a month...but I like to win when I do it, considering I'm dropping $1200 in a weekend for it.
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post #2 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 01:35 PM
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This for me is an automatic PASS and keep on looking. If a horse has to be medicated to take the edge off then that is not a horse you (G) need to be on under any circumstance.
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post #3 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 01:45 PM
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What would you enjoy more: the company of a good horse, or the company of a drawer full of ribbons?
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post #4 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 01:52 PM
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I got to, "He's extraordinarily unpredictable on the flat at home, which becomes dangerous when the horse is extremely fast and athletic."....
Don't need to know anymore...

PASS............


So,...what and how are you supposed to exercise, condition, take lessons, practice and then bring the horse to unfamiliar show grounds and compete...
Yea, no...
There are to many nice horses to lease, to purchase that are dependable mounts that will help you to achieve not hold you back in the show ring... or at home.
Showing is not all jumping...
PASS......
...
sorry... jmo

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 02:04 PM
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You couldn't even pay me to ride a *moderately* spooky horse. Heck, even a "sort of" of spooky horse would get a total pass from me. But then, that's me. My first horse would explode out of nowhere. Spooks, bolts, shies. I fell a LOT in the year that I owned him -- I was 11/12 at the time -- and now in my late 30s I'm STILL traumatized from it and have flashbacks to that feeling when I ride.

Spookiness is the main risk that, no matter how good a rider you are, you're still taking your life in your hands with. A violent spook can unseat -- and seriously hurt -- ANYONE.

Ribbons don't mean much if you have a wreck and do irreparable damage to your body/brain.
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post #6 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 02:15 PM
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A pass from me.
That horse is more of a problem than ‘very spooky’.

It’s possible that a very different lifestyle management regime could change him but if you can’t offer that then I see no point in having him
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post #7 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 03:45 PM
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You couldn't pay me to own a horse like that. Riding is dangerous. Jumping -- far more dangerous. Jumping on an unpredictable skittish bad tempered horse? Only for the I-Believe-I-Am-Immortal set.

Yes, there are plenty of sane, sensible hunters who do well in the show ring. They are worth actual money, though, unlike the horse under discussion, so do not be surprised by this.

Short horse lover
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post #8 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 04:20 PM
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Taking a broader look at this I would question the fact that this horse behaves at shows and messes around at home. Seems contradicting behaviour to me.

Usually the excitement of a show would make a horse behave with more unpredictability than at home so, I would be questioning why.

Being told this is an intelligent horse my first thought would be what work is he doing? Is he always ridden in the arena or does he get taken out on the trails? Is boredom the factor?

The other thing said was that if he was corrected it made him worse. This might well be because he resents being told to stop his antics. Much as a child who has ruled the roost will put up a battle when the worm turns and parents go commando, so will a horse. Quickly adding that any corrections need to be firm and fair, not necessarily beating him up but making life uncomfortable by doing very tight circles against the way he spooked, before moving him forward to what he was being asked to do.

I agree with the others that you should pass on this horse. Admit that this is a horse I would have enjoyed purely to solve the problem.
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post #9 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 04:24 PM
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I've seen horses like this given away because people didn't want to deal with them. I sure wouldn't pay money for one. as @Avna said, however, a horse that shows well and is sane and sensible will have a price that reflects that.
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post #10 of 44 Old 08-23-2019, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkie09 View Post

I have never owned a horse, I have always leased / shareboarded historically. Never really showed before due to not leasing or shareboarding horses that were considered competitive. I began showing for the first time when I got this horse a year ago because he IS competitive. In fact, he's a blue ribbon pig, a division hog. I'm ecstatic with how well we did this year, considering my limited show experience.

On a whole: great competition horse in the spring and summer months...a time bomb in the fall and winter months, even at 3 day shows. I basically been told that any competitive horse will be hot tempered or spooky and that I should basically buy this horse because he's so good in the show ring in the summer and judges pin him even though he's an OTTB. He's not a cheap horse and he doesn't have a nice temper either. Nor do I find his lead change to be easy, which is an issue for me.

Pass. He's an expensive horse that CAN be good in the show ring but is NOT solid in the show ring.


There are better ones out there, but yes, expect to pay a fair price.
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buying a horse , horse showing , hunter , spooky horse

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