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 :)