Do I keep my horse? HELP - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Do I keep my horse? HELP

I am 51 and bought my first horse in February. He bucked me off last night - hard. Now I don't know if I should sell him or send him to a trainer for 30 days. Need Advice....

I have ridden off and on for several years but never owned by own. I bought a horse in February and now think he might be too much for me. I took my riding instructor with me when I bought him. We both rode him with no problems - the only thing we saw was that he would not pick up the correct lead on one side - no big deal. He is a 7 yr. old gelding. Right after I bought him we had bad weather off and on for six weeks. Only got to ride a few times.

He has good ground manners, loads, stands to be groomed, for the farrier, etc. I usually lunge him before riding him for about 10-20 minutes. I have only been riding him at a walk and trot. Could not get him to canter on the lunge line until last week. (I am new at lunging so didn't think much of it). Last week I got him in to a canter in both directions for about 1/4-1/2 way around the arena. No problems.

Last night we lunged and he cantered a little in both directions and then I mounted. We walked and trotted for about 30 minutes and he was fine. When my riding instructor came out to watch, I asked him to canter - first direction was fine. Then the other direction he took off in a canter and then started bucking hard (like rodeo bucks). I stayed on for 2 of the bucks and the 3rd one I came off. Hand burned from trying to hold on to reins, but otherwise okay. Very stiff and sore today though.

My riding instructor is saying maybe we should send him to a trainer for 30 days and then he should be fine. I have my doubts. I don't know if I will ever really be able to trust him. I really like him, but am scared to ride him now. Am I giving up too soon. If I send him to a trainer for 30 days - does that usually fix this kind of problem. My riding instructor thinks he is a little lazy and just doesn't want to work hard.

I am considering selling him and buying a horse that is a little older and more bomb proof. Welcoming any and all advice. Thanks.
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post #2 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 09:55 AM
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If you think he's too much for you and you're afraid of him, it'd be best to sell him on.

Sure, you can check saddle fit and send him to training for 30 days, but if you feel you'll never be able to trust him again, it'd be better for both of you to sell him to someone who can properly handle him.

At 51 you're no spring chicken (I'm 56), and I understand completely about not wanting to get broken. Once we're over 50, we don't bounce anymore. We splat and break things, and it takes much longer to heal than it did at 25.

May I also recommend you take some lessons on a quiet schoolie? I got badly hurt from being bucked off when I was 52. Broke my right collarbone, several ribs on the left side of my body, and quite a lot of deep bruising on my left side. I still have some numbness, and it's been 5 years. Also got a pretty severe concussion which ultimately resulted in a retinal tear in my left eye, even though I was wearing a helmet.

I wasn't just afraid to ride, I was literally terrified. I shook every time I thought about it, and knew I needed help if I ever wanted to ride again. I took a year's worth of lessons, going from a complete deadhead schoolie to more challenging horses when my trainer thought I was ready. Best thing in the world for me, which is why I'm suggesting it for you.

I got bucked off while mounting, so even now I have a small moment of fear when getting on a horse, but once I'm on and they're not acting up too much, I'm fine.

I have a sweet, goofy, lazy TB gelding who can go a year without being ridden, and will come right back to it as if he was ridden the previous day. That is the kind of horse you need, and I'm so grateful to have found this guy. There are plenty of them out there, so you do NOT need to settle for a horse who scares you.

I'm a used-to-be-fearless rider. Anything that had a hide and hooves, I'd ride. Not anymore. After almost 40 years of riding, I have nothing to prove to anyone except myself.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!

Last edited by Speed Racer; 05-05-2015 at 10:04 AM.
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post #3 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 10:00 AM
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I wouldn't give up just yet. I know all too well what it's like to lose all your confidence and want to give up. My suggestion is this- lessons, lessons and more lessons with your horse and with other horses. I don't think he really needs to see a trainer for 30 days- but he does need some work. Consistent work. Saddle pad soaking work. I think he's got your number and now knows what he can get away with. I will tell you this...you can find the most bombproof horse out there and they will still test you. They may not test you to the extent of a rodeo ride, but they will see what they can get away with. And a lot of times it can be more dangerous because you saw it "coming out of nowhere!" It's important for you to find how to recognize and ride through that and correct your horse.

I suggest riding some other horses in your lessons just to get some of that confidence back up. Learn what it feels like to get the correct response from your cue. It will take time, but you can get there. Look at it this way- you CAN ride that horse. You probably stayed on a few more bucks than I would have. But you need to now find how to recognize and anticipate when you might be in this position again and how to correct it- instead of just riding and hoping it doesn't happen again.

He sounds like a good horse. But with all horses, he needs to know that you are confident- once he knows your confidence will not falter, then he will trust you. And in turn, you will be able to trust your horse. It will be a long learning process, but one that will make you a much stronger horsewoman.
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post #4 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 10:03 AM
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He is young so it's normal for him to act childish. You'd probably better be suited for an older horse but I wouldn't give up on this guy just yet.

Have your riding instructor ride him for you for a little while - maybe you can just do stuff on the ground to boost your confidence.

Saturday I was riding a 6yo horse. And we always lunge him first so I did. Asked him to canter and he started letting his bucks out. Which is fine, I'd rather him let them out with me 10ft away.

Always lunge this horse first. At least ten minutes. If you ride Western, there's a trick I use to know if he's good to go - besides not bucking and doing everything nicely. He'll have a "hump in his back", where the back of the saddle is raised. Lunge for several minutes and the pad and saddle are sitting normally.
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post #5 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 10:28 AM
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I'm with Speed Racer. Sure, you can power your way through this, but ****, girl, you're 51. I'm forty-five in June. I know *I* don't bounce like I used to, and I'm sure you don't, either. Look, it's your first horse. You don't need to spend five years learning to ride him, waiting for him to be safe. He's young, he's probably a good horse, under all the childishness. Find him a more appropriate, active home. Find yourself a good, solid, older horse that has no agenda of his own. Find one that is as happy going down the trail at a walk as he is going around the arena at a canter. It won't necessarily be easy, but it will be worth the search. Plan to spend a little bit of money for something like that--up to five grand.

On the other hand, a girl at my barn found a green-broke mare for seven hundred that has all the ambition of a slug. She was the calmest, most sensible horse on the trail ride of about twenty people last weekend, including mine. I wouldn't recommend anything green for you, but the point is, you can find absolute treasures out there, if you aren't worried about looks, color, breeding, or papers. My old gelding, who was a wonderful horse, once we got past his issues, was covered in scars and had a bowed tendon....but was never lame a day in his life with me.

I say find him a home and find yourself a horse you can enjoy now. Life is short.
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post #6 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 11:52 AM
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OP - I agree with the other posters. If you really are afraid, then selling might be the best option. He is a younger horse - and is going to have his moments again in the future.

However, it might be good to consider what will happen the next time a horse gets you off. Whether from a buck, or just rider error. Is this urge to sell simply because the horse misbehaved, or because you hit the ground? There is no doubt about one thing in horse riding - everyone will fall off. Again and again.

He will undoubtedly improve with age and training, but like foxmorgan said, you probably weren't wanting/expecting to have to put in the time to train at this point in life. I would too rather spend my time riding and having fun over training a youngster.

I would way the pros and cons. If 30 days of training in your area isn't too ridiculous price wise, it might be good to consider. Even if you do end up selling him, having that 30 day session under his belt would encourage buyers, and even get you a better selling price.

Best of luck! I know the decision to sell can be an emotional and stressful choice- hang in there!
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post #7 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 12:12 PM
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You have a young horse that needs training (not picking up the right lead and not lunging well) and he has not been worked consistently. If you are going to keep him, both you and the horse need some professional help. I would find someone other than your instructor who may be good at teaching someone on a well broke horse but is not a trainer. Or, you could replace him with an older more steady horse and take lessons on that one. Getting dumped hard is discouraging. I am 65 and have a young horse that needs lots of work and it doesn't matter what I know or have done in the past, I don't want to take the risks that I used to.
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post #8 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 12:20 PM
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Also remember it is spring time and it is not uncommon for them to full of beans.

Since you are just teaching him to canter on a lunge it could be an issue related to that.

I'd also look at what you are feeding him. Is it the same as what the other owners fed him?

The obvious stuff will come up too such as having his teeth and saddle fit looked at. Also look closely at your bit, could it have pinched him?

Good luck
Ike
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post #9 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 12:39 PM
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I agree with the others who suggest selling and finding a really quiet steady horse. You are not looking for a challenge and something to work with to develope a good horse. I think you want a horse you can trust and depend on to go for a safe ride, that is the important goal for you at this time.
Your horse may do very well for someone else who is more confident but your confidence is shakey right now and this is not good for you or the horse.
I do understand where you are coming from since I have been there as well and at 74 I am not looking for any challenges either, just a safe steady horse to enjoy, time is too short for me now and I want to enjoy every ride.
All the best to you and I know you have to think carefully and make the best decision about what to do. If you go out to ride your horse and when you are mounting and if you think to yourself, "is this what I really want to do" that should answer any doubts you may have about replacing him.
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post #10 of 59 Old 05-05-2015, 12:47 PM
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Yep, at 51 her goals are quite a bit different than those of young people who have time, energy and desire to deal with a greenie and their quirks.

Being over 50 and just now buying her first horse, I'm thinking maybe a greenbroke youngster wasn't the best purchase. Let someone else deal with him who has the desire.

I know my riding goals are all about having FUN now, and at a much slower pace than I used to ride. I still enjoy a nice, rousing canter every so often, but walking and trotting are much more my speed nowadays!

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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