Would you buy a very spooky horse because they are good at showing? - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 44 Old 08-24-2019, 05:47 PM
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I think it's important they are offered turnout or walks or something. At my old yard if the field was really bad and the staff didn't want to turnout,. because they didn't want the fields totally trashed mostly more than the footing, I would still (when I could get there) take her for 30min handwalks. In all sorts of weather. Torrential rain and howling wind. I'd stick her in a rug, put my own weather gear on and hand walk. Even if it's slow and just to mooch around chewing on things or just hanging out. Something other than just stall>arena turnout>arena ride>stall>arena turnout>arena ride. Typing it out is boring me to death much less live that routine! If he's hard to control and calm on the ground though this might not be viable for you. I don't know how much time you spend at the yard but have you tried other things than just riding? Like maybe dabbling in a bit of liberty or trick training? He might be getting enough physical exercise and not enough mental stimulation. Maybe too smart a horse with too little to do? What about a treat ball? Is there any reason you yourself can't turn him out and supervise for half an hour? I do that with mine in the evening and just read a book. Sometimes though she'll nudge me and ask to accompany her around the field coz she doesn't wanna graze that part over there alone.

Based of what you say... there is hope for this horse. Would I wanna risk it? Probably not but then again you're probably 10x the rider I am in skill. However I'm not looking to compete and would love the chance to work with improving a horses mental well being- ground up. The turnout thing... I agree in trying somewhere with winter turnout. Even if you turn him out and 15minutes later he's at the gate asking to get back... It's the fact he was offered it. That he wanted to come back in on his own. Being stuck without no choice I think is what can really get them down. I've turned my mare out and she immediately does a 180 and is like sod this, I want back in! I personally also think its REALLY important that when stalled excessively that they are OK with their neighbours, where even possible. Mine gets VERY VERY stressed if she hates her neighbour, it makes her really ugly and miserable and that's for a few days much less weeks on end. But there are a few she's really calm with and likes. Food for thought I hope.
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post #32 of 44 Old 08-25-2019, 12:22 PM
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Well, that explains everything.

1) I suspect he definitely has ulcers. It only takes 8 hours without food to get ulcers.

If he gorges his food and eats aggressively, what does he do after eating? How many hours does he go between meals?

2) He needs turnout in winter. Months of being locked in a jail cell? How often does he get exercise in the winter?

3) Does the stable use slow feed hay nets? If not, then I can pretty much guarantee that this horse has ulcers.

Selling him probably is for the best. Hopefully whoever gets him turns him out and treats him for ulcers.

When was the last time he was turned out with other horses? Allowed to interact in a herd environment?

I would find a different stable and trainer. It sounds like they mean well, but are treating the horses like show machines and not addressing their mental health at all.

I've been to stables like that- some people see nothing wrong with locking show horses in a stall, while the horses are practically pounding on the walls to be let out.

Constant stalling = food aggression and feuding between neighbouring horses. Even if he is turned out for the summer, months of being locked up in the winter is hugely problematic.

I wouldn't pay more than $2000 purchase price for any horse. Simpler for me to train my own. My best mare who is completely unflappable, I paid $600 for. I figure she's worth 4 times that.

I know show horses are very expensive and perhaps it would be different if that was my goal. But there are huge problems with how those horses are being treated, from a management perspective.

Horses were not meant to be locked in stalls for months- no wonder they have mental health issues. Certainly some handle it better than others- I remember one mare who had no vices from being stalled all the time. I felt sorry for her because she just stood there in the same spot, looking depressed, all day, every day.
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post #33 of 44 Old 08-26-2019, 09:12 AM
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I could not agree more with @4horses .

Also, my daughter's show horse is turned out 24/7 year round and he is winning division championships (granted, these are not high end shows, but still, Equine Canada sanctioned shows). I really can't wrap my head around why some people think show horses have to live in a stall. This barn has its priorities wrong IMHO.
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post #34 of 44 Old 08-26-2019, 11:34 AM
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You'd be nuts living in a 10 x 12 room with no interaction, too-- and humans handle isolation better than horses.
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post #35 of 44 Old 08-26-2019, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mmshiro View Post
That's interesting how everyone is focused on "being spooky." That actually wasn't what caught my eye. What caught my eye was "being mean-spirited and aggressive."

I can deal with a little spooky. Boogering at strange objects, balking at something new, teleporting when they see the shadow of their own reins move across the trail (Nooo, Trigger. Is not snake. No, really, is not... ) It's the mean spirited and aggressive part that I won't deal with. That's what will get you hurt.

I'd have to pass on this horse. All things being equal, if he's a good show horse, but horrible everywhere else because he's spooky and mean-spirited on top of that, I think there's massive potential to get seriously hurt by this horse just doing mundane things, like loading in a trailer.
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post #36 of 44 Old 08-28-2019, 06:13 PM
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Call me a wishful thinker, but I don't believe that any horse is "beyond help", for lack of better terms. The biggest question is if he/she is right for you right now. It doesn't sound like he is. If you are convinced that you'd like to keep him, there needs to be some serious digging into why he's so reactive and unpredictable. Find a way for him to "think" and use his brain vs. trying to run it out of him. In the natural horsemanship world, I try to dig into the horse's personality and such to try and find out the "why". Not that this helps a whole lot, just something to think about.

Last edited by jaydee; 08-29-2019 at 09:40 PM. Reason: Clarification
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post #37 of 44 Old 08-28-2019, 06:47 PM
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If you have to write the post then clearly that is your answer. From the information given it sounds like this is absolutely a human made issue and not the horses issue. If you're not willing to change things for his sake then suggest they sell him and someone who is a better home can come along.

I worked at a barn when the horses were in anytime it was cold, windy, cloudy, 1% chance of rain, etc. In the winter they were in for weeks on end, then would get a few hours turnout in triple layered blankets then back in (almost worse then just leaving them in?) It was borderline abuse. Riding those horses was like taking Cerberus for a walk. The part that made me ANGRY was that is wasn't their fault at all. Luckily no one was hurt during my time there but it was seriously a ticking time bomb. Plus the horse who was explosive anyways (but super sweet luckily) would LITERALLY explode about 3 times a minute. I've been in the same situation at other barns just not as extreme.

It is by FAR in this horses best interest to rehome him. If you do want to purchase him I would move him asap and start ulcer treatment as well as keeping him on a preventative long term. This isn't about whether this is the right match for you this is about the horses well being.

I am in New England. I understand winter weather, I also know keeping them in 24/7 is wrong. Winter DOES mean more indoor time in many climates, it's not an excuse to lock them in a tiny pen and leave them there. I understand that this is how your barn does things and you don't get a say in it, but it also offers a very obvious explanation for this horses behavior, he is literally being driven insane.

I would pass, it doesn't sound like the right match (again, that you're even asking this) and it sure sounds like the horse needs to be in a very different situation for his wellbeing. If you do decide to go through, please follow through with what is best for him he's very clearly trying to tell you something. You'll have a different horse if you do and will likely do even better showing.
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post #38 of 44 Old 08-28-2019, 06:49 PM
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I would not own one, but I sure would show one like that.

I played (polo) on a horse that spooked at so many things. Getting on and off the field was a trial. But once the play started she was all business and knew the game better than me! Playing her was a treat.

You've gotten good suggestions from everyone else. I agree it's worth looking into if you really gel with this horse.
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post #39 of 44 Old 08-29-2019, 01:10 AM
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Please don’t take this as a thread highjack. How do you that mention having an overly spooky horse or one that crow hops or bucks not get worried about getting on every time? I’m green and saw my horse turn into a bronc the first time I finally watched him being worked (back/chiro issue now fixed) and then the time he took off with me over an entire crop field. I’m currently working through getting over that. I literally have him hand walked the first few minutes I’m on him. And he’s been a saint to me since but it’s omly been a few rides so far. Just tonight a horse that shouldn’t be ridden because of lameness was being ridden and in turn reared and bucked just after I got off my trainers leadline. Mine just had one medium spook and settled right down. Other horse kept acting up though and I got so nervous I had to get off until they removed other horse from arena. I’m also an 85lb 44 year old. Not that that has much to do with it but it actually does in some instances.

Last edited by BeckyFletcher; 08-29-2019 at 01:17 AM.
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post #40 of 44 Old 08-29-2019, 05:06 AM
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It sounds like you are capable of handling this horse at it worst. If you were to purchase it and move it to a more suitable environment, imagine what it could be at its best!

I am not on board with horses being stabled 24/7. Even the racing stables I have worked at refuse to do that - hot feed, no turnout, ya just sitting on a timebomb! Granted I do not know what your winters are like, but it sounds like this horses needs that turnout to remain happy. Or at least a major feed adjustment over the lockdown times (slow feed hay nets are a great suggestion). More pasture time would reduce its ulcer stress and keep the horse sound in mind and body.

Goodluck, whatever you choose. It is a gamble, but it may well pay off.
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buying a horse , horse showing , hunter , spooky horse

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