Another horse ruined by poor/lack of handling... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Wisconsin
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Another horse ruined by poor/lack of handling...

Sorry for the length... I'm not good at summarizing lol.

So not too long ago I was going to sell or trade my reg paint gelding. He is 8, 15.1 hh, beautifully built, friendly, impeccable ground manners, and does really great as a trail horse though he's not bomb proof (needs a firm hand cuz he likes to go fast if you ask any faster than a walk). I raised this guy from a yearling and did most of his training myself- So he is special to me but lately I thought about finding him a new home so I could focus on my other horses.

Any way this guy calls up wanting to trade his smaller, grade, 9 year old paint gelding. He said he puts anybody on him and sent pics of his niece riding bareback with just a halter and lead by herself. So I gave it a shot- this was also the first time someone brought a horse to trade to my house and I would be interested to see how my guy reacted to another horse on the property that wasn't part of the herd.

So when the guy arrived, the "pony" was kinda dirty- but had been brushed. He was mostly white and it had been rainy around so I didnt think much of that. I was careful to watch the pony for signs of being drugged but im not a vet so I guess I wouldnt have known for sure if he had been. He was fairly bright eyed but calm.

My guy was excited but he settled down after a while. So after some talking about the horses we saddled up my horse- I got on first and rode him- I wanted to ride to see how my horse would behave but also check the arena footing since it had drizzled earlier- it wasnt ideal but ok.

Then i let the guy get on and he rode around a little bit- he wasnt used to how sensitive a horse could be to leg cues... My horses ususally just need voice cues. Anyway so he liked my guy, after he worked him around and wanted to take him for a trail ride.

We went and saddled up his pony- who likes to puff up... I got on and rode him around the yard and in the arena and he was a perfect lil horse. Walk, trot, canter, back, and even jumped over a couple logs. So we headed out on a trail ride and the pony basically went on autopilot- (which to be honest i was ok with since I was looking to trade for something a little less manual- more push button) And my horse kept his manners around the new horse- no biting or kicking, just plodded right along side him. I was so proud!

Anyway we get back and I have my niece ride the pony around and ask her opinion- she liked him but she was partial to my horse. Then I had my husband ride and he took him out walk trot canter- and he felt safe on him... my husband does not like to go any faster than a walk or slow jog... so for him to canter on a new horse said a lot about this horse.

So we untacked and I let the guy play around with my horse. Then when I untacked the pony and started brushing him he got grumpy ears... when I went to pick up feet he threw them up so quick it took me by surprise... almost caught a hoof to the face and i was being careful/cautious but still... So after cleaning his hooves, I started just touching him (firm but gentle touch)- I have a bunch of little kids/friends that come out to see my horses and so i have to have safe horses that love snuggles and are safe to pet anywhere- i started on his neck which he had happy ears but once i got to his shoulder and his back he got grumpy ears- especially by the girth area. Then I touched his belly, and got super grumpy ears/tail swishing and when i got back to his flank he threatened to kick... and with another firmer touch he actually took a swing at me, almost got me but i was keeping an eye on him and anticipated his move so i was able to steer clear of the kick... I scolded him but i doubt that did much. I was immediately uncomfortable around him. He just did not like to be touched- by anyone or any where... I did this both sides and pretty much same reaction but no more kicking. Then the guy tells me that the previous owner to the pony never ever brushed or pet him- just threw a saddle on and rode hard then thrown back in the pasture... Said that when he got him that he was alot worse. That explained alot.

I also noticed that when i pet him he wanted bite. So just as a test I had my niece pet his shoulder while I held his lead near his head and he nipped me on my hand.... I immediately corrected him... (i was given permission by the owner to do so before hand).

That in my book is definitely a nipper and a biter... totally not safe to be around- especially with kids to be around and it would take a while for that horse to be worked through his issues- time that i didnt really have to devote to another horse- one that could potentially hurt me or anyone near him who happened to touch him at the wrong place wrong time. Its just sad that he is such a good/trustworthy boy under saddle and yet he is untrustworthy/unsafe on the ground.

I did not make the trade to say the least. I was just amazed once again that because of poor training in ground manners and handling , an awesome horse can be ruined. So any way thats how my first experience of trading a horse went- and I'm glad for the experience- makes me appreciate my herd of snuggle loving fiends even more :)
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 01:49 AM
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I wouldn't necessarily call him ruined. Far from it. Someone with the time and patience (about a week max if you know what you're doing) could break him of the biting and the touch sensitivity. My boy was a biter when I got him. All it took was one incident, and my fist connecting to his jaw, and he hasn't offered to bite since. My best friend's mare is a biter and all it took was me blowing up on her once and running her backward so fast that she didn't know up from down and she hasn't bitten me since.

So to say a horse is "ruined" because it needs basic ground manners is a bit of an overreaction, IMPO.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Yeah I guess ruined was too strong a word. Just its awfully disappointing that no one took the time to work with him and really teach him to at least accept being touched. I just did not want to take a chance with him, and have it turn out to be a lasting battle to get over his touch issues or have myself or anyone else get hurt in the process. I wanted a horse that I could use for lessons with my younger nieces and nephews and needless to say his behavior "ruined" him for me- I just didnt feel comfortable around him on the ground nor would I want little kids around him.

Last edited by LadyChevalier; 10-31-2013 at 02:07 AM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 02:04 AM
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maybe he's been ridden in an ill-fitting saddle for a long time. that can make a horse cranky about being tacked/untacked, and petted or groomed.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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I thought that could be too but the pony was totally fine with me tacking him up/untacking- he had happish ears... According to his owner he was not handled in a loving way before he got him... and said that when he when he curried him the first time he flipped out- so I'm guessing it was mostly just not desensitized to touch issue rather than a saddle fit (not that id rule it out). When I rode him he was pretty much happy ears all the time as well. Thats why I was rather surprised by his reaction to touch... He was fine with his neck and kind of his face but i guess when you ride you pet them on their neck for reward... so thats would maybe explain why he only liked to be touched on his neck.

Last edited by LadyChevalier; 10-31-2013 at 02:24 AM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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Well I dont know if i can but I would rather change what I say in my title to How poor/lack of ground handling can make an awesome riding horse not so awesome. Lol Forgive me for going a little over board with my wording.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 02:43 AM
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I think tiny has an excellent point.

My old BO runs dude string rides during the summer. He has a set group of horses that he uses. These horses are never loved on and never turned out. They are tacked up before a ride, ridden for anywhere from one to four hours at a time by complete beginners, untacked and thrown back into their stalls (that's if they weren't scheduled for another ride within a couple of hours). One thing the BO was meticulous about was saddle fit. None of his horses were ever cinchy or sore from their saddles.

The way the pony was acting screams pain from saddle fit. He was cinchy and didn't like his back touched or his feet picked up (which puts strain on their back). My very first thought would have been "This pony is not happy. Why?" not "He's ill-behaved. I don't trust him."

Not ragging on you or saying you did wrong. Just pointing out that his "bad behavior" may have been a sign of an easily fixed issue. Have a chiro work him over and put a properly fitting saddle on him and who knows, you may have had one phenomenal trail pony who was a total love bug.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 03:09 AM
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Sometimes stuff just goes away with handling.

When I went to see my boy there was a spot on each of his sides where he would kick. I thought that's something I could deal with and got him anyway, handling him every day he's never done it again.

However, I don't think I'd risk it if the horse was going to be around kids a lot.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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Like I said it was my first time trying to trade for a horse and honestly it has been a while since I bought a horse but if im looking at a horse to buy and that horse tries to bite me or kick me when I am being gentle with them and there is no real apparent reason for its behavior- I'm not going to buy him. If it was a saddle fit issue that led to soreness then the owner should have him looked at by a chiro, and then see if he improves. If he had been a perfect pony and loved to be scratched and touched everywhere, I maybe might have traded for him. But since he wasn't I was not going to chance myself or anyone getting hurt by him and then try to problem solve his issues. My horse had no issues that the guy would have to deal with- no need to call a chiro or vet or trainer. No bad habits except that he likes to go fast... which the guy said would be ok cuz he would want to use my horse for gaming some day. In the end when you compared the two horses, he was getting the better end of the deal. So I said no thanks and I dont regret it, there are too many phenomenal trail ponies out there that dont come with kicking/biting/saddle fit issues.

(a side note: the guy said that when he brushed the pony and the pony flipped out "crow hopped" he kicked the horse in the belly. I was not sure if the pony had it coming or if the guy was being overly rough... I did not witness the situation so I cant tell you but my gut tells me that the guy while he tries to be gentle gets rough in certain situations- tho i dont think hed just kick the horse for no good reason. I do believe that he has worked with this horse on his issues- but i dont know exactly how much. Also mentioned that before buying him, the horse never had his feet done. Said that the owners excuse was they rode him enough to keep his feet worn. But this guy says he was a firm believer in reg hoof trimming.... and that may be true but the pony was definitely due for a trim when the guy brought him. So that's a reason why my belief in the mishandled part but I really have no proof but by what the guy had told me.)

Last edited by LadyChevalier; 10-31-2013 at 03:52 AM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 12:26 PM
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It sounds like you made the right choice given what you told us but my two cents:

1. I think the pony was in pain or had been in pain in the past. I personally don't think he was mishandled necessarily. Also the pony's behavior sound pretty fixable and you said it was terrific under saddle - that is worth a lot.

2. There is nothing worse to me than a spoiled horse. A horse that isn't used to being babied is not a bad thing. Also some horses just don't like being treated like dogs, they just don't like being petted. Some do some don't and I think either way is fine. But for me personally I like my horses to be well mannered and know personal space boundaries - and sometimes that means a horse who isn't a real love bug and thats ok for me.
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