1st horse not working out - now what?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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1st horse not working out - now what??

Need Honest advice on the challenges I am having with my first horse. Thinking I need to sell him, but not even sure best way to go about it.

Short version of background: rode English for 3-4 years in my teens and didn't ride again until mid 40's. Took lessons on and off for 4-5 years. Bought first horse last February when I was 51.

Found horse on craigslist, took instructor with me and had vet check. Seemed like a good fit so I bought him. 7-8 yr old grade gelding. Brought him back to instructors place and boarded there until December. We had a really rough winter and spring weather wise so didn't get to ride him as much as needed. He got a little testy.

Finally after a few more small issues I sent him to training for 120 days. Ended in March and now he is mine to finish. Things were going very slowly after he finished training - not very happy with end product (thought he would be pretty broke) but still having small issues. He does perfect for trainer but just has my number. Was really working on ground work and was riding him in arena at a walk and trot.

Had to leave town for a family emergency for one week and when I returns there was a new mare in the paddock with my horse. That's okay because my contract for boarding says he could be in with another horse. But now I can't catch my horse. The paddock is about 1/2 acre and he just continually runs from me and hides behind the other mare. I tried for over an hour the first night and 1-1/2 hours the second night. Using methods I read about but nothing works not even treats. I told the trainer about it and he got his four wheeler and chased him until he wore out (30 minutes). He was able to catch him and then just fed him and let him go. But when I go back out tonight I can't catch him.

I want to sell him. Trainer said I won't get anything for him because he is grade and says he is really smart but lazy.

Concern: I think I need to sell him and find an older dead broke horse, but don't want to sell him to someone who will send him to be killed. He rides great, stands for farrier, loads into trailer, does not bite or kick. Should I leave him at this place and try to sell him? Or should I move him to another barn until I can sell him- where I can catch him easily (or now that he has developed this game is it correctable) I have never had to sell a horse and not sure best way to go about it. Don't care so much about money just want to make sure he gets a good home.

Sorry for the long version, just don't know where to turn.
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post #2 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:30 AM
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Take him back to the trainer and have the trainer work with you and show you HIS number. And have the trainer work on his various issues, with and without you. Once you get over being a push over, then see if you still want to sell him. Secret that no one has told you, if you buy a BTDT dead broke horse but let him run you like this horse does, real quick you will be back to having the same problems. EVERY horse will test you to see who will be the leader, when you fail and the horse steps up to lead, it's not in your favor.

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post #3 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:31 AM
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If it were me I would put a halter and lead on the mare and hold on to her. Bring a lunge whip with you and chase his butt off and not let him come near until he was licking his lips and begging to come to you. When he comes, don't do anything with him other than petting him or giving him a small treat and then walk away. Or you can halter him, tie him up and feed him then let him loose. A few time of doing that and he should let you walk up to him. That's always worked for me with horses that initially didn't want to be caught.

Sorry, no advice on the selling part.
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post #4 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:34 AM
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For one, I think the statement "you wont get anything for him because he's grade" coming from your trainer is ridiculous. To me, it sounds like you don't have the experience of dealing with the problems he's displaying. It certainly doesn't mean that no one else has the experience to fix these issues themselves. To me, these are minor issues. To you, it's frustrating, and its making you not enjoy your horse. If you don't enjoy him or find him just too much, sell him. Some people truly don't click with some horses. I know a mare like this, she's a lesson horse who performs wonderful things with lesson(ers??) such as bridleless reining and she REALLY clicks with my coach. I, on the other hand, loathe this mare. She will scrape me into walls, run from me, lunge at me. No. I refused to be around this horse because I wasn't responsible for her and her training, and apparently it was just me she acted this way towards. If I owned her, she would be gone in a heartbeat.

Is it possible for your trainer to come down and give you both lessons? She may be able to help you, help your horse with his issues, instead of her just working with him.
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post #5 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearsj View Post
Need Honest advice on the challenges I am having with my first horse. Thinking I need to sell him, but not even sure best way to go about it.

Short version of background: rode English for 3-4 years in my teens and didn't ride again until mid 40's. Took lessons on and off for 4-5 years. Bought first horse last February when I was 51.

Found horse on craigslist, took instructor with me and had vet check. Seemed like a good fit so I bought him. 7-8 yr old grade gelding. Brought him back to instructors place and boarded there until December. We had a really rough winter and spring weather wise so didn't get to ride him as much as needed. He got a little testy.

Finally after a few more small issues I sent him to training for 120 days. Ended in March and now he is mine to finish. Things were going very slowly after he finished training - not very happy with end product (thought he would be pretty broke) but still having small issues. He does perfect for trainer but just has my number. Was really working on ground work and was riding him in arena at a walk and trot.

Had to leave town for a family emergency for one week and when I returns there was a new mare in the paddock with my horse. That's okay because my contract for boarding says he could be in with another horse. But now I can't catch my horse. The paddock is about 1/2 acre and he just continually runs from me and hides behind the other mare. I tried for over an hour the first night and 1-1/2 hours the second night. Using methods I read about but nothing works not even treats. I told the trainer about it and he got his four wheeler and chased him until he wore out (30 minutes). He was able to catch him and then just fed him and let him go. But when I go back out tonight I can't catch him.

I want to sell him. Trainer said I won't get anything for him because he is grade and says he is really smart but lazy.

Concern: I think I need to sell him and find an older dead broke horse, but don't want to sell him to someone who will send him to be killed. He rides great, stands for farrier, loads into trailer, does not bite or kick. Should I leave him at this place and try to sell him? Or should I move him to another barn until I can sell him- where I can catch him easily (or now that he has developed this game is it correctable) I have never had to sell a horse and not sure best way to go about it. Don't care so much about money just want to make sure he gets a good home.

Sorry for the long version, just don't know where to turn.
Please do not let what I am about to say offend or upset you.
I am not sure what about this you are so upset about to the point of wanting to sell him. All of these sound like easy fixes. Little things aren't a big deal. You can fix those, and if you can't, they're called little for a reason. Why don't you tell us what some of the little things are? If you are wanting to sell because of the catching issue, there's a solution. However, it is tiem consuming sometimes. Step 1: Either remove the mare from his paddock if it is small or if it is a big paddock, move him into a small arena or round pen. Step 2: Get a whip if needed. Step3: get treats, if you desire. Step 4:attempt to halter him. If he runs away, step 5: Free lunge him a few minutes. Doesn't have to be running him. If he's lazy, this'll seem like punishment. Step 6: after a few minutes, stop him and try again to halter him. If he does not let you still, continue repeating the process till he does. Step 7: When he finally does, give him a treat and immediately remove the halter, unless you need him for something.
It may sound a little harsh, but this is disrespectful behavior and shouldn't be allowed to go on. Since chasing him around doesn't work too well and you don't want to wear yourself out either, this is the better option.
I promise if it sounds harsh it's not that bad. It's like making a PE/gym/marching band student do push ups or laps for misbehaving.

Have a blessed day!

Last edited by LilyandPistol; 05-09-2016 at 12:55 AM.
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post #6 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:50 AM
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To be honest I think you might have similar problems with any horse you get, eventually. Solve your issues with this horse and if you still don't like him, you will have learned something you can use with the next horse. My horse is also smart and will test me more or less all the time in tiny ways. There's no coasting with her, and that's okay with me.

Look up some threads about catching horses. There are a number of methods but the one that seems to work best for me is "make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard"; bring a longe whip with you and if he doesn't stand for the halter, turn 'catching' into 'free longing'. Keep him moving until he asks to stop, with his attention on you. It's different than just tuning you out. Don't chase him, this isn't punitive. Stay cheerful and upbeat. Just keep him moving (the mare will quickly learn you aren't asking anything of her and will ignore you). Get between him and the mare, that's his comfort spot, with her. When he asks to stand still, move in with the halter. If he takes off again, do the same thing. The first time may be a long session but they'll get shorter.

When you do catch him, feed him a treat once he's haltered, and then let him go. Repeat.

My horse learned this trick and it took awhile to stop. Thought it had disappeared, and then someone else chased her around trying to catch her a few times without my knowledge, and now she's regressed. I'll fix it again. That's the way horses are, they don't stay obedient and in tune with you, without your working on it. All the time. That's just how animals are. At least all the ones I've ever met.

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post #7 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyandPistol View Post
Please do not let what I am about to say offend or upset you.
I am not sure what about this you are so upset about to the point of wanting to sell him. All of these sound like easy fixes. Little things aren't a big deal. You can fix those, and if you can't, they're called little for a reason. Why don't you tell us what some of the little things are? If you are wanting to sell because of the catching issue, there's a solution. However, it is tiem consuming sometimes. Step 1: Either remove the mare from his paddock if it is small or if it is a big paddock, move him into a small arena or round pen. Step 2: Get a whip if needed. Step3: get treats, if you desire. Step 4:attempt to halter him. If he runs away, step 5: Free lunge him a few minutes. Doesn't have to be running him. If he's lazy, this'll seem like punishment. Step 6: after a few minutes, stop him and try again to halter him. If he does not let you still, continue repeating the process till he does. Step 7: When he finally does, give him a treat and immediately remove the halter, unless you need him for something.
It may sound a little harsh, but this is disrespectful behavior and shouldn't be allowed to go on. Since chasing him around doesn't work too well and you don't want to wear yourself out either, this is the better option.
Gee I just should have waited for you to post and not worn myself out!
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post #8 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:57 AM
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Are you taking lessons on him? This has been hugely helpful to me as I learn to ride my new horse. Every horse has different quirks, and sometimes they try different things w/ different riders. Having someone watching me react to what he does and vice versa, and then giving advice, has been the most helpful thing of all. He is in training, too, but I really think the most helpful thing has been our lessons.
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post #9 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 12:59 AM
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Your trainer chased him with a four wheeler to wear him out, and then caught him? IMO, he just made your problems catching this horse much worse by making it a very negative experience for the horse. I second LoriF on working with a difficult to catch horse. That method makes sense. Chasing horse with four wheeler does not.

And saying he's worth nothing because he's grade? Bogus.

If it were me, I would be looking for a different trainer before looking for a different horse. As others said, you have to learn how to stand up to the horse. Its about timing and being able to speak horse (read and communicate effectively through body language), and that comes from experience. A good trainer can help you learn this much faster. Getting rid of this horse to buy a different one won't solve your problems, you will just have different ones. Its much more about how you handle the horse and much less about what horse it is.

I would recommend taking a few lessons with a few other trainers on the side and figuring out which one you like best and which one you 'click' with. If you don't really have a problem with current trainer and want to stay, do what DA said. Have your trainer work with you to help you figure out this horse's number and buttons. Working with horses is very much about reading them and having good timing, and someone on the sidelines yelling 'NOW!' telling you its time to correct horse can be very helpful.

Good luck!

"You can do something wrong for thirty years and call yourself experienced, you can do something right for a week and experience more than someone who spent thirty years doing the wrong thing." ~WhattaTroublemaker
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post #10 of 32 Old 05-09-2016, 07:02 AM
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First of all, re-think this trainer who thinks that chasing a horse around on a 4 wheeler is a solution to your problem. If anything tactics like this will cause the horse to get worse. It will take patience and tactics as suggested to you to cure this problem.

I agree with the other poster who said that even if you sell him, you are like likely to have problems, even more serious ones with the next one. I wince when a hear someone say that they've "sent" a horse for training. You need to find a good trainer (not the chaser guy) who will work directly with you on the horse and on the ground if necessary. Yes, a decent trainer knows to work a horse beautifully , but did you learn anything from it? You are the person who works the horse from day to day and you need instruction on how good results are obtained. Just as dog training requires both dog and owner to learn together, horses are the same. You need to be fully involved in every step. Horses figure out who they are dealing with in about 30 seconds and react accordingly. Become the kind of owner your horse respects and you'll soon get things straightened out.

I can hear the frustration in your post. Maybe you do have the wrong horse but then again, maybe you are not getting good advice. For every one good trainer, I know 5 or 6 who are completely incompetent yet still call themselves trainers. I'm always surprised that the owners aren't putting two and two together and moving on to someone better.
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