My horse is a brat... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
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My horse is a brat...


Let this be a lesson to ya if you decide to buy a horse without being under the guidance of someone who knows what they're doing!

I don't regret my purchase and I'm sure things will all work out in the long run, but what I saved buying a cheaper horse, I've already spent on vet bills, extra food and will be spending a lot more on training.

I set out to buy a horse that was ready-to-go for trail and just general pleasure riding.

My supposedly nearly bomb-proof, no-vices, no buck or rear old horse is feeling his oats now that I'm feeding him well and he's managed to get a fat belly and no new muscle on top where he needs it. I don't think I can lead him around enough to get him into shape and he's a pain when ridden. He's an angel ridden in the round pen but in the large arena or g-d forbid outside of a pen/arena, he's a butt-head.

He's extremely head shy, has horrible teeth that I haven't been able to get fixed yet (the equine dentist he really needs to see is out of state till fall), won't take a bit, ignores most cues with the bitless unless we're in the pen and generally seems terrified of most tack.

I've had a lot of opinions on him and I'm told he's sound enough to ride and needs the exercise.

For now I'm leading him with my children on his back, one at a time of course. They vary in weight...50 pounds, 85 pounds, 115 pounds and 175 pounds.

He's fine if I lead with the halter and one of the smaller kids. He's very gentle and perfectly happy to walk around in circles for hours, as long as we're in the pen or arena.

He loses all manners and gets really pushy at the drop of a hat if my 14yo or 18yo ride him. If we try to have my oldest (18) rein him he starts really acting up.

My barn manager has offered to help with training and manners but he's only there midday and I have been going there around 5am to avoid the heat/sun. I suppose I'll have to get out my big girl pants and brave the elements so I can get his help and advice.

I'll probably just have to hire a trainer who can work with me early AM or at night...haven't had luck finding one yet.

I definitely should have bought a $1200 horse and not a $400 horse...I'd be ahead at this point and I'd be able to ride said horse. (The horse I leased was a TB/QH cross that was $1200 and very solid emotionally.) Now I'm waiting cause I think I'm too heavy for him.

I like him a lot...and he likes me a long as there are no saddles or bridles in view! ;) He loves that bareback pad with the little kids...he just really wants to give pony rides I guess!

Last edited by lilypoo; 07-05-2013 at 03:35 AM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 04:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Texas
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Yeah "you get what you pay for" is never more true than when you are dealing with horses! This guy is a brat for sure and for certain. My advice for you is don't be so hard on yourself, mistakes are where judgement come from. Getting him a trainer sounds like a solid game plan. Makes sure you get a trainer who is willing to train you as well as him.
Not knowing what you are feeding may just make this a shot in the dark, but you might want to examine what and how much you are feeding him, a horse who isn't working doesn't need to be fed as much as one who is. The fact that you mention he is getting a belly is ringing a bell that says he may be "hot" from too much feed.
The bit and his teeth likely go hand in hand, get them floated. The fear for tack points to an ill fitting saddle.
without more info I cant give you anything but general answers, I hope you work it out.
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 04:18 AM
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How old is he? Did you do a pre-purchase exam? I come from the medical side of things first, being a vet tech for small animals. I know there are mixed reviews on this...particularly from some natural horsemanship trainers who think if a horse is acting up when being ridden or consistently when being asked to do a certain thing there is nothing wrong with the horse pain wise. If he feels good enough to buck then he feels good enough to do what you're asking of him, they might say. I tend to disagree, it is ALWAYS a good idea to have an animal who is acting out in anyway for health issues, that way you can move forward with training knowing that there are no physical limitations. If he is always acting up when your larger children get on him, he could be painful, if your 18yo is trying to rein with him and pulling on his face or mouth because the horse doesn't understand whats expected of him. He may just be painful some where, his teeth are probably hurting him if you know they need to be done, his back could be sore or even need an alignment, he could have problems lower down his legs. You won't know until a vet looks at him and i would suggest veering on the safe side and not riding him until you're sure its just a behavioral thing. If you tested him out before you bought him and he was well behaved he may be doing more than "feeling his oats" he could just be revealing pain that you didn't see because you were lied to and he was drugged when you went to see him, unfortunate for sure but it wouldn't be the first time that happened.

Never just assume an animal is being a brat, always rule out medical problems first. I have seen many a cat and dog go wild and bite, jump, scratch and claw at the veterinary staff and their owners, all because they're painful somewhere!
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 05:32 AM
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It's not just medical problems, if a horse knows they can get one over you, they probably will.

If he misbehaved once and you let him go, he's just going to get worse and worse until you correct him.

Saying that, for $400 he may just be untrained and hasn't been worked properly long term.

Teeth problems can mean a lot...if you get this fixed it might fix a lot of your problems. You say he gets upset when your child tries to "rein" him. I don't know what you mean by that but his reaction will certainly be because of his teeth, or what bit he is in. It could be causing him a fair amount of pain or discomfort, which explains his reactions.

If you can't get a dentist out for a while, do work without a bit, teach him to respond to some kind of halter or bitless bride and work with that. Riding him with poor teeth isn't going to help the situation. And working him more isn't going to reduce his energy, it's going to make him fitter. Maintain his energy by using low energy feeds.

Good luck!
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 05:49 AM
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I'm going to mention the same thing as above and what's been mentioned countless times on the forum before - did you get a pre-purchase medical examination? It is only a small cost compared to what you will pay in vet bills in the long run.

While you say he is okay with your younger children, I'd be vary wary. If he has as many problems as you mentioned above I wouldn't put a young child anywhere near him. Just my personal opinion.

You mentioned he was better with lighter children? Maybe this says something about the fitting of your saddle, or his back? I'd get all the medical and ill fitting gear boxes ticked before I went any further. Especially the teeth, even when you do not have a bit in - his teeth could be still causing him great discomfort.

What are you feeding him? How much turn out is he getting a day? I've seen horses change within a week when they have been put on a more suitable diet. Also, the longer you allow him to get away with these things - the worse its going to get. You either need to go out in the middle of the day, or pay another trainer to do it. You seem to be quite stuck with this horse and it may slowly become more dangerous.

Good luck, I hope it all works out well for you an your new horse.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 06:08 AM
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Adding to everything that others have said, not taking a bit with unfloated teeth is not bratiness, it's pain. Also, acting up in a bitless can be related to teeth problems, as sharp teeth edges can be a source of sores, which are painful even to pressure that's used outside mouth cavity.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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I've never had a bit in his mouth; I can't get near him with one. I have two bitless bridles and he seems to even just prefer a halter with the lead tied around. I was recently told it'd be best to use a side-pull and direct reining. Which we basically do.

He had a vet check at purchase and the vet said he was sound but needed to gain weight and develop muscle along his top line and around his hips.

I had a second opinion after I bought him and that vet said he basically was only good for slaughter. Or pony rides.

I had several other "horse people" come out and look at him/work with him and they've all been of the opinion that he needs weight-bearing exercise. They've all told me the second vet has a reputation for being negative with green owners.

The farrier rode him bareback with the halter in the round pen and said he is a very well-trained former roper who simply has no respect for me (it's women in general). He will be doing some corrective shoeing as soon as his hooves grow enough to do it; he was recently shod badly...right before I purchased him.

I've considered saddle fit but I'm told it's fine. I bought a new pad designed for swaybacked horses with muscle loss. I'm going to have more people look at it for me. I'm thinking of switching to a cordura saddle so it'd be lighter.

Now for feed, he very well could be hot from it but we're trying to put on weight. He's getting Equine Sr., soaked beet pulp, corn oil, Vitality Supplement, Sho Flex. He has grass hay and alfalfa twice a day but he picks at it mostly. And one cup of oats a day, which I mix into the soaked beet pulp. Since he's not eating enough hay by weight, we've got him on about 10# a day total of the Sr. pellets and beet pulp (dry weight). This could be totally off but it's what we calculated on FeedXL.

We've done a few different dewormers due to the belly.

I also bought a calming supplement to see if that helps but he's only had it for one day.

His feet are the next thing I can address since the 2-3 weeks we were waiting for growth are almost up. I'm also scheduling a recheck with the original vet. She didn't think he was in pain but I'd like her to see him again now that he's at my place.

I've addressed the fact that he seemed drugged (in hindsight!) at the former owner's house but of course she insists she would never do such a thing and that I just have to be more firm with him.

His teeth...there's one more vet who does floating that I can call in but I'm leery of her based on some things I've heard. But the "expert" equine dentist that everyone raves about and loves is out of town. I could have the same person who did it last do it...but I've been told he "has no business doing teeth." My best advisor told me to wait for the good dentist to come back...that it'd be worth waiting. I'm not sure we can or should wait though!

He does seem very happy with the bareback pad and halter as his only gear. And with the lighter kids. I have them in a helmet and I wouldn't let them ride on him if he were acting up in that situation, but it's one of the only riding situations where he doesn't act up.

I also have trained him to walk along side me without a lead and to stop when I stop and by verbal command. Works great on the ground but not when the older kids ride him. My 18yo is the 115# one...she rode him with the bareback pad and he was a little annoyed and quickly stopped responding to the side-pull.

When the male farrier rode him bareback he performed wonderfully.'s just been very draining emotionally and financially. I'm not giving up on him and I think we can get him better. I have a call in to a trainer I found last night and I'll ask the vet about anti-inflammatories when I see her next.

We won't be putting the older kids on him again till we resolve some of the issues. If he continues to behave well for them, I would like to keep doing the "pony rides."
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 12:14 PM
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If his teeth are really bad then of course he won't take a bit and is head shy. They hurt and he doesn't want to mess with them to make anything worse. My horse was the same way. He had a bad tooth and he wouldn't even let us halter him hardly.

If he has bad ground manners then I would say that you need to do lots of groundwork with him to let him know you are the boss and he needs to respect you.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-05-2013, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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I am so torn on whether to get the teeth done by someone I can't find good reviews on, or wait. They were done so badly in the past that they are too worn down in some places and the vet who really looked at them said they would never grow back in enough to be right.

Oh and I do think I should mention that he hasn't reared or bucked with a rider! He bucks when we're finished with groundwork or pony rides and I've turned him out. At first I thought it was an expression of "I'm freeeeee!" but lately I feel like it's, "Take that, lady!" LOL
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