When to sell? Difficult horse. I'm exhausted - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 46 Old 12-27-2019, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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When to sell? Difficult horse. I'm exhausted

Hey! I hope I'm posting in the right place. It's been a few years since I've posted on this site.

I've got a 15 hand fourteen year old ottb mare that I'm seriously considering selling.

Will start off with some background info.

I've been riding and owning horses for the past ten years.
My family and I have had our fair share of difficult horses in the past and I personally find myself drawn to the tricky ones.

I was without a horse of my own for about a year while going to school then bought Daisy after I graduated and had saved up.

Daisy came from a bad situation, she was abandoned on a friends property and though very sweet and calm she had major trust issues and I bought her knowing she wouldn't be an easy horse. I since learned from her breeder and past owners that she's never been and easy horse but she's sweet and loved despite her quirks.

My barn owner and coach knew I had confidence issues after dealing with a young horse who would explode under saddle and she was certain daisy would be a good match for me so I bought her.

The first few months I had Daisy she was very standoffish and not too sure of people or other horses but she was still very sweet and our only main concern was that she was still green at the canter and that she would nip being tacked.

I've had her for a year and a half now and it's been a major roller coaster with her. She has bit me numerous times, kicks out at me and has had an on and off problem with refusing to lunge. She's reared at me, spun around to try and kick me etc.

About six months into owning her we were walking out on a trail and she out of nowhere bolted and threw a massive buck resulting in me going flying and breaking a couple ribs. I also had a massive concussion. It took about four months to properly heal and I got back into work with Daisy.

Despite all the attitude she's a super smart and silly horse, loves my sister's horse to death, and has the most give and heart of any horse I've met.

I've spent lots of time working with her on all her quirks and have done everything I've been told/taught to gain her respect and trust and I'm just not making the progress I thought I'd be making. As soon as I think I'm getting some where with her a new issue pops up.

Fast forward to now.

I'm working full time and going back to school in a few months. My 13 year old sister, whose an incredible rider, and my mom have been helping care for Daisy when I'm unable to get to the barn. My sister's made lots of progress with her but Daisy isn't getting the time she needs and the odd times I get to work with her are always frustrating and result in me either just walking around on her under saddle or putting her away in annoyance cause she decided to rear again.

Right now I'm on winter break from work and I've been making it a habit to ride her everyday even if it's just for a walk. She was very ornery during my ride yesterday and kept tossing her head when asked to trot. My sister got on her and she worked beautifully with her until she out of nowhere bolted and threw a massive buck resulting in my sister falling off.

It was the same thing that happened to me the day I broke my ribs.

My sister was in the hospital this morning cause she couldn't stop puking. She's got a major concussion and has been sleeping most of the day.

And so, the thought has popped up before and is back even stronger. Maybe it's time to sell.

I think I bit off more then I can chew.

I love this horse dearly but I'm terrified of getting hurt or my sister or mom being seriously hurt and after a year and a half of this battle to gain her respect I honestly believe she's just not a fan of me.

Should I keep trying or sell her?

Would someone even buy her?

I'm not one to give up easy and I'd be heart broken if she ever got sold to meat but I'm exhausted and scared and don't know what to do.

I'm having a talk with my coach tomorrow about things but the more advice I get the better.


Last edited by boots; 12-27-2019 at 11:18 PM. Reason: Insert paragraph format for clarity
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post #2 of 46 Old 12-27-2019, 11:30 PM
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I'm so sorry you are going through this. That must have been difficult to write out.

I can sit here, far away, and guess about why your mare behaves as she does. Ulcers? Saddle fit? Poorly started? and so on.

But, the fact remains you don't have the time to put into her. Both you and your sister have been injured by her. The mare isn't getting the chance to be a "good citizen."

I think I know what I'd do.

I hope you come to a solution that works for you, your family, and the mare.
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post #3 of 46 Old 12-27-2019, 11:31 PM
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It sounds like this mare needs to be taken back to the beginning, but it also sounds like you don't have the time to work with her on a daily basis. With her current issues, I'd be worried about anyone getting hurt unless you could find a good trainer to take her. You could also consider surrendering her to an OTTB rescue.
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post #4 of 46 Old 12-28-2019, 01:18 AM
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If it were me, in your position, I would sell. And I love my horses and generally never sell one, but this horse sounds like it is 1) more dangerous than average and 2) has taken the fun out of it for you. And I think riding should be enjoyable.

I had to rehome a horse I raised from a foal last year and he generally didn't buck or bolt or do anything like that, but he spooked and was so quick he would dump me once in a while. Maybe for someone else, braver and more confident, it wouldn't have been a big deal, but for me it gave me anxiety and I started to dread riding. And I LOVE riding. I didn't want to give up on horses. But I knew if I kept going on the track I was on I would probably quit because the anxiety got to be too much. I didn't enjoy riding if I was scared.

So I rehomed him and it was a good decision. It's been about a year now and I don't regret it. I sold him to a neighbor down the road who really loves him and isn't a chicken like me. And I have a wonderful horse now that I really LOVE to ride! It's taken a while to get over the anxiety but it's pretty much gone now, and it has taken about a year. But I truly love and enjoy my current horse.

So even though it's hard, I think the right decision is to rehome. Practically, riding is risky enough without riding a horse that bucks people off multiple times like yours has. And emotionally, riding should be enjoyable. Horses are expensive and labor intensive so at the very least you should enjoy your time with them. And it's really nice when you feel like you can trust them! Then you feel like it's a partnership.
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post #5 of 46 Old 12-28-2019, 09:31 AM
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I think it's time to sell, and I think that in your heart, you know it too. You've done all you can with this horse, but someone is going to get hurt even worse. Riding this horse isn't fun anymore and if you keep pushing yourself to get on her, it may destroy your confidence in yourself as a rider - or worse.

I also had a difficult mare. I haven't re-homed her yet, but my daughter's coach will be taking her to her place on a free off-property lease just as soon as a stall opens up. I just didn't want to ride her anymore after falling off over and over again. I found myself a young, but very solid horse and my love for riding is back! I don't get anxious on him, even when he acts foolishly because of his age and lack of experience because he's not trying to hurt me or get me off his back - he likes being ridden! The worse that happens is that he speeds up a little, or jumps sideways, but never enough to unseat me, not even close.

I worked really hard with my mare too. I did liberty work, ground work, thought I could fix her. But now I know I have taken her as far as I can go, and it's time to let those with more experience ride her. I don't really want to sell her because I need to know she's ok, so a free off-property lease to someone I know where I can see her regularly works best for me. So I understand your concerns about selling her, and how you feel you've invested so much in her. However, think of it as you saving her from a worse fate and getting her to the point where someone else can take over. You've done her a favor to get her this far, but if you keep going with her, you may be reinforcing bad habits (my mare first threw me off accidentally, but eventually, she was doing it intentionally because she learned she could get rid of her rider this way - that's not a good thing for a horse to learn!). Let her go so you can start over with a new horse when you're ready. It's unlikely you will make any money, but maybe a free lease or a rescue that works on rehabbing and rehoming horses would be a good option.
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post #6 of 46 Old 12-28-2019, 09:51 AM
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Some horses are more challenging than others. Sooner or later, we meet a horse that is too much for us.

That is true of every person, because there are some horses, for whatever reason, just are not safe under saddle.

She is a mare, so there might be a market for her as a broodmare, but at 15 her options are decreasing.

She might be fine as a companion horse, maybe check with rescue organizations to see if there is a place for her.

I am sorry to be the one to bring it up, but with some dangerous horses, euthanasia is a humane choice too.
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post #7 of 46 Old 12-28-2019, 07:36 PM
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There could be a myriad of physical reasons the horse is behaving like this & it's not clear whether any of the possibilities have been checked out/treated. There could be a number of reasons mentally/trainingwise the horse is like this, and it sounds like, assuming there's nothing physical behind it that's been disregarded, if you've been 'trying' for a year & a half, you (respectfully) don't have what is needed to get her through it. Therefore, unless you have the time & money, to rule out/treat any physical probs & find her a good trainer to rehabilitate her, it is definitely time to call it quits.

BUT I would NOT sell her, unless you can find someone who is very experienced dealing with dangerous horses(pref not a 'CA style bozo' either), and will sort her out, physically & mentally. Not a likely prospect, even if she's tried & tested 'star material'. Selling her on to just anyone is only likely to cause her & her new owners further damage. Selling her at auction is either going to do the same, or cause her days to end in a stressful truck drive to mexico to be killed. Therefore I'd either keep her as a 'paddock ornament' if you can afford, and if she behaves acceptably & safely on the ground, or get a vet to come put her down. For her sake.
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post #8 of 46 Old 12-28-2019, 08:20 PM
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Have a vet come out and have this horse euthanized.

You have worked with Daisy for over a year and she has severely injured both you and your sister. You were encouraged to take this horse on by people who already knew you weren't the most confident rider, this horse has a difficult past on an already challenging personality.

You do not have the knowledge or know how to deal with this horse any longer. She is going to either hurt you or one of your family members, if not outright kill someone at some point. You likely do not have the time or the money to figure out what the exact issue is (If there even is one!). Her prospects for resale are incredibly poor- Most likely she'll end up going for a long trip down to Mexico and that will almost certainly be after being shuffled from person to person, from bleeding-heart to do-gooder over and over again until something tragic happens.

Don't do that to her, put your big girl pants on and call the vet to schedule the appointment. There are far worse fates than death and no one loses sleep over a dead horse. Which you will if you pass her onto someone else.

If you insist on keeping her alive and selling her, than for the love of god, please sell her to someone who at least has experience dealing with dangerous horses. Someone who can handle them without getting killed and has the experience, time and money to totally rehabilitate them. Do not sugarcoat her to whoever expresses interest in buying her- Her behaviors aren't "cute and quirky", they're dangerous! Tell them how she's already put two riders in the hospital. Tell them about the sad situation you pulled her from. And keep in contact and reserve the first right of refusal if you can.

If you can't sell her and still want to keep her alive, then look into placing her at a horse "retirement" home. Those places are hard to find, expensive as hell and Daisy could easily live for another 15 years, but assuming she can at least be handled on the ground safely, keeping her at such a place would at least ensure she could live out the rest of her natural life in a manner that's safest for everyone involved.

I wouldn't put much faith in surrendering her to a rescue. Nearly every one I've encountered is already filled to capacity, operates on a shoestring budget and is staffed by volunteers... who usually aren't the most experienced with horses. Most of the founders seem to have more heart than commonsense imho too. I'd be worried that Daisy would still end up being harmed or harming someone in such a situation.

I'm genuinely sorry that you've found yourself in this situation, but mostly I feel sadness for poor Daisy. Clearly someone failed her early on in her life and if they hadn't, perhaps she would've been a lovely horse for you. But as it stands, there's too many nice, reasonably well-behaved horses in the world to have to deal with a dangerous one.

Humane horse slaughter is possible.

Last edited by QtrBel; 12-28-2019 at 08:27 PM. Reason: Bring into line with policy
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post #9 of 46 Old 12-28-2019, 08:38 PM
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@Monotail in paragraph three you say "No one looses sleep over a dead horse" ??? WHAT???

I've lost a LOT of sleep over a dead horse, and know of many others who have lost sleep over them
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post #10 of 46 Old 12-28-2019, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
@Monotail you say "No one looses sleep over a dead horse" ??? WHAT???

I've lost a LOT of sleep over a dead horse, and know of many others who have lost sleep over them
I meant more along the lines of not having to constantly worry about where the horse is and how its being treated if the horse in question is dead. Dead is dead, the dead want for nothing and harm no one. Ergo- Instead of selling Daisy and worrying about her fate for the rest of her life, the OP can choose to euthanize her and not have those kinds of worries.

Obviously if a horse dies and the circumstances behind the death are tragic or the death itself was sudden or unexpected, then yes, I can see and understand people being upset over a dead horse and losing sleep over it.

That doesn't apply to this situation and only distracts from the main point- What to do with Daisy? And I stand by my statement that the most humane thing that the OP could do for her is to have her put to sleep, given how dangerous of an animal she is.
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Humane horse slaughter is possible.
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