Horses and Down Syndrome riders - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 24 Old 10-07-2015, 06:34 AM
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I don't think having Down Syndrome or any other mental disorder is the reason. It's definitely something to do with the 'innocence'.

I photograph a local team penning event and have seen numerous cases of horses changing completely for their rider. One in particular, a boys mother was riding his horse. This horse spent more time with two legs on the ground than four and honestly was acting crazy. The son got back on the horse, and she was perfect.

A friend has a horse that is similar. Her daughter rides this horse in team penning and the horse is capable of moving as fast as any in the sport. Put the girls step-father on, the horse turns into a bronc. Put her brother, who has a brain injury, on him and the horse is quiet as can be, not putting a foot wrong and refusing to move faster than a plod. Needless to say, she's had a LOT of offers to buy him, but I think a lot of horses have the ability to do similar.

Heck, I have a horse that is different for every rider, but that's more about him knowing who he can fool and who he can't.
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post #12 of 24 Old 10-07-2015, 09:11 AM
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Some horses are tolerant. Some are not.

Some children, with or without Down's Syndrome, are calm and easy for a horse to be around. Others are not.

I think you are better off focusing on your interaction with horses and pattern your behavior off people who have positive experiences regardless of their age or other abilities.
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post #13 of 24 Old 10-07-2015, 09:23 AM
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I also believe it is the innocence of the person, coupled with the personality of the horse. Not all horses are meant to have innocent people around them, much less sitting on them.

My Arab loved loved loved babies, toddlers and anyone else too young to think they knew more than he did --- about 12 years was his max for giving undying love and patience. I wanted to use him as a therapy horse, but anyplace I contacted wanted me to surrender him to them and that was not about to happen.

In terms of being as safe and gentle as my Arab, the TWH in my avatar was safe and gentle but he did not know what to do with anyone who, themselves, didn't know what they were doing. He would become nervous around little children, not wanting to hurt them.
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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #14 of 24 Old 10-07-2015, 11:25 AM
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I think it has more to do with certain people being less intimidating to a horse than age or mental capacity for some horses. My mom was extremely gentle with horses and never had a problem with flighty or defensive horses on the ground. She just wasn't a strong rider and would only ride quiet and well broke horses.

I have seen horses be extremely tolerant of young children but also seen horses take a dislike to bratty children. The horse may certainly behave and tolerate them but doesn't like them. I have seen horses refuse to do anything beyond the rider's ability, child or adult. I don't know if this is actually consideration on the horse's part or simply that anything beyond carrying the rider at a walk doesn't feel right to the horse that they refuse. I knew of a draft cross mare that was a true baby sitter. but the few times that I rode her she had a lot of go. She could adapt to any level rider.

There was a mentally challenged nine year old girl at a hack stable where I worked. The BO was very fond of "Suzie" and made sure she learned the basics of safe horse handling. Suzie only needed one lesson and never deviated from what she was first taught. She was gentle and methodical about everything she did and never had a mishap. She only worked with the good quiet horses but had an excellent relationship with them. She could also correct the other children and would often holler out " You're not doing it right, he doesn't understand, try it this way" I think part of it was her having been taught correctly and being consistent, and part of it was just her
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post #15 of 24 Old 10-07-2015, 06:05 PM
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There are so many things about horses we need to learn about. My trail horse, being 16/1 would stand on a tire and steal hay from the shed. The arab couldn't reach so the big boy would step down and turn his head to offer the arab part of his mouthful. Before the arab arrived, this horse, at grain time would turn his head and dribble oats so a rabbit could have some. Prior to the rabbit it was a goose.

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post #16 of 24 Old 10-08-2015, 07:51 PM
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They know...not all will allow things, but usually they just know.

It may be a lack of "busyness" in that person's mind...lack of "we are going to do this" and more "I love you"..but they know.
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post #17 of 24 Old 10-09-2015, 12:23 AM
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My brother-in-law has a downs brother and their animals never responded any differently with him than they do any other person. He's really not an animal person though. I think it's a combination of the animal and the person.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #18 of 24 Old 10-09-2015, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Palomine View Post
They know...not all will allow things, but usually they just know.

It may be a lack of "busyness" in that person's mind...lack of "we are going to do this" and more "I love you"..but they know.
Yep, suspect it may well be just our unconscious bodylanguage, nothing 'fluffy' or mystical to it, but whatever, horses know how we're feeling... often when we're not even conscious of it ourselves! That's why I believe being open & honest with them is the way to go - because if you go there stressed or angry & try to 'leave your troubles at the gate', you might just come across to them as a liar & untrustworthy when you try to 'put on a happy face'.

*Not that that means you should take your anger out on the horse, in case anyone takes it that way!
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post #19 of 24 Old 10-10-2015, 01:17 AM
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This is a great topic.
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post #20 of 24 Old 10-10-2015, 09:21 AM
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When I mentioned the big horse feeding the arab, it wasn't that they were without hay. He seemed to enjoy stealing it, along with his little cohort. Something that used to mystify me was that my Shetland mare could boss two full sized geldings. I was fortunate in being able to watch all the subtle silent horse language. The geldings were enjoying a snooze and she felt it was her turn. She was standing about 15' from the nearer one. No sound that I could detect she just pinned her ears and the closest horse aroused, looked at her and got to his feet. It was his turn to stand guard while she lay down. The other never stirred. So comical watching a 44" mare boss a 16.1hh 1300lb gelding.

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