Is There Any Such Thing As A Safe Horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 79 Old 06-11-2014, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Is There Any Such Thing As A Safe Horse?

I've been looking for a horse to buy for a little while now, and it has been a very enlightening, eye opening experience - not always in the best way. I've noticed that a lot of horses people consider 'good' or 'safe' are really anything but.

One of the horses I looked at was declared to be '100% safe'. The day I looked at him, he threw his (experienced) owner and bolted. Another horse was everybody's favorite horse, but he was very pushy, had no respect for personal space and had to be harassed into anything but a walk. If you did get close to a canter, he would start bucking. These animals seem in sharp contrast to the lesson horses I am used to riding - but those horses I've only ever ridden in an arena.

This has left me thinking that there are a couple of possibilities, either there are lots of people who don't realize how badly behaved / potentially dangerous their horses are... or, all horses are only ever a minute away from tossing the rider off and heading for a fence at high speed. My actual experiences riding lesson horses have been largely positive, but the process of looking into purchasing a horse has made me feel as though maybe this is just way too dangerous a proposition.

So is there such a thing as a safe horse? Or does every seasoned rider eventually end up with a broken neck / back? (Seems like every rider I know has had at least one serious spinal injury at some point - and that doesn't sound like any fun to me.)
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post #2 of 79 Old 06-11-2014, 11:15 PM
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I've ridden a lot of bad horses, and showed open jumpers, and I have never had an serious injury. Now that I am older, I ride a horse that as as close to being "perfect" as anyone could ever hope to get. I feel perfectly safe on her, and although she's only 4, my grandaughter rides her. She is as safe as they come. HOWEVER, she's a horse, she's 1100 pounds of prey animal with a pretty small brain. ANY horse can hurt you without trying to. It's usually the "safe" horses that wind up causing injury, simply because people start trusting them too much and get careless. There are good horses out there, but riding is a contact sport. Even if you have the best horse in the world, you can expect at least some bruises and an occasional squished toe. The horses you have looked at certainly weren't good horses. Take your time, find an older, well schooled horse and continue to take lessons, and your chance of serious injury goes way down.
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post #3 of 79 Old 06-11-2014, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by FerrumEquus View Post
So is there such a thing as a safe horse? Or does every seasoned rider eventually end up with a broken neck / back? (Seems like every rider I know has had at least one serious spinal injury at some point - and that doesn't sound like any fun to me.)
I have not had any injury beyond bruising from my years of riding. May it please God that my experience continues.

But, I consider no horse safe. Even the best can stumble.

I do the best I can to be in shape, study/assess the horse I'm riding or going to ride, to actively ride the horses I get on, and am willing to accept the risk.

But, then, I'm the type of person who drives as though every other driver on the road is near to passing out from drink or drugs. I'm cautious.
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post #4 of 79 Old 06-11-2014, 11:21 PM
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That is a very interesting question. I bought my guy because I felt safe on him, he is pretty laid back, no buck, can't see him bolting, he did think about a rear one time, got one foot a few inches in the air, but couldn't bring himself to lift the second one, I would let about anyone ride him.

A few weeks ago I was leading him in the arena, when a wind gust caught the outside door and slammed it, and he shot forward several feet, his reaction took my by surprise, and the door obviously surprised him.

All horses are living breathing creatures, so no one can guarantee that a horse will be 100% safe in all circumstances, but there are many many like Gibbs, really laid back about life.
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post #5 of 79 Old 06-11-2014, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies, it's nice to hear about your experiences.

I know no horse is ever 100% safe if they are frightened by something, but it has seemed to me that some horses will buck and bolt for little to no reason. And it has seemed that a lot of owners have thought that they were safe for a new-ish rider.

It's actually shaken my confidence, even though in my own riding I've not experienced anything terrible, just seeing what these horses are doing to their owners whilst their owners declare how safe they are has been giving me pause for thought.
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post #6 of 79 Old 06-12-2014, 01:00 AM
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No horse is safe.

Someone's comfort level skews their opinion of safe. I think my horse is safe and for me, he is. He would murder many other riders though. Not because I'm that awesome of a rider but he and I are familiar with each other.
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post #7 of 79 Old 06-12-2014, 01:08 AM
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I think you've run into a few skrewballs (the people not the horses). Don't forget that people trying to sell these horses are trying to S.E.L.L. They may advertise above and beyond what they really have on their hands to move their 'product.'

Also, the common wisdom goes that horses that are sold usually have at least one thing wrong because the best horses are kept, not sold or bartered off to the next owner.

Your experience with lesson horses was positive so you know there are some horses that aren't completely unsafe out there. I think you may need to just bide your time and keep your eyes and ears open for the right one.
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post #8 of 79 Old 06-12-2014, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by littlebird View Post

Also, the common wisdom goes that horses that are sold usually have at least one thing wrong because the best horses are kept, not sold or bartered off to the next owner.
Now while there maybe a lot of truth in that, good horses do get sold due to changing circumstances. But as to faults, yup Gibbs was sold to me because of his fault, too slow to earn his keep on the ranch So one persons problem is anothers perfect horse, the trick is finding the right match.

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post #9 of 79 Old 06-12-2014, 06:29 AM
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Whilst not 100% safe (the most calm horse can trip and fall) a lot of horses are "safe enough", meaning they don't have the habit of bucking and bolting.

There are really lots of them. You clearly didn't find any. Those horses tend to be on the old side of 15 by the way. I know a guy who was a very bad rider, and he knew it, and his idea of riding was going bareback on trails with a horse that wouldn't bolt or buck if his life depended on it. He had those horses (plural), because he looked hard for them.

If a horse advertised as "safe" behaves like less of a saint when ridden by the owner, go away and never turn back. No reason to waste time with a horse with bad habits, with the tons of sweet, well trained and well behaved horses around.

Oh, and just today I saw this on facebook:



This horse is a saint indeed.

Annd

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOLxfBIICnQ

I think no one would trust an unsafe horse with a disabled girl
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post #10 of 79 Old 06-12-2014, 07:35 AM
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There are safer horses out there, you just aren't looking in the right place yet.

Some horses are more inclined to mosey along through life and don't get majorly upset about things.

Some would have been safe if they hadn't been owned by owners who babied them, let them get bad habits started, or did so many foolish things that horse was ruined.

Much of how safe a horse is, has to do not only with their temperament, but how they have been handled.

Horses make me a better person.
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