Is There Any Such Thing As A Safe Horse? - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 79 Old 06-13-2014, 06:08 PM
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^^I agree with that. I would never do a trial on a horse I was selling. The potential buyer would be more than welcome to come anytime to try the horse, take him out and try him on the trail. I'll go along but I'll hang back so that I'm just barely within sight. Try him in the ring. If we've got cattle at that time, we'll take him and try him on cattle. Try him doing anything you want...but until money changes hands, the buyer will try them under my supervision.

I'm not about to spend hours and money training and caring for a horse only to send it out on a trial and have the potential buyer use an ill-fitting saddle that will ruin my horse's back or almost cut the horse's tongue off by sawing on a twisted bit because "they saw it on tv" or "at the neighbor's house". Then, send the horse back with an "I don't want him" after they've ruined him. Then, I have to spend months or years trying to undo the damage they did before I can try to sell him again. Yeah, not happening at my house.


Anyway, sorry for the rant LOL. Back to the original question. Yes, there are certainly horses out there that are safer and more trustworthy than others, but they can be difficult to find. For the most part, you should take any seller's description with a grain of salt. Don't judge by what they say the horse can do, judge by what the horse shows you when you go check them out.

In my family, we've had many many really good horses over the last 35 years. The problem most folks run into, like others have said, is that folks only sell good horses like that when they have to.

IME, the best way to find a good horse is through word of mouth. Talk to vets and farriers. They know who has well behaved horses and they often know when one is for sale but isn't publicly advertised. If you are in a ranching type area, you might consider looking at ranch horses. Some of them lack finesse in the training arena, but they are often the brokest and gentlest horses you'll find.
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post #42 of 79 Old 06-13-2014, 06:54 PM
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I wouldn't trial a horse that was going to a BYOB (Be Your Own Buyer) but have trialed horses with trainers I knew well that I could trust (and had trained with) and had a buyer or multiple prospects in mind for the horse. I knew how the horse would be treated, fed, cared for, what saddle it would be ridden in and it went with the bridle and bit it had been been trained in. I was welcome to stop in anytime and was available for questions should they come up. They were responsible for injuries that occurred.
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post #43 of 79 Old 06-13-2014, 08:13 PM
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yes there are some 'safe' horses out there. You just cannot expect to go get a safe sane 5 yr old. I have seen where a lot of people want a young horse to be safe. Most young horses will be safe for an experienced rider.
An older , trained been there and done that horse would most likely be what you need.
But some older horses that have been used for speed , competitions, roping, cutting etc may be a little more excitable and move to quickly. Ifyou are going to rail ride you need a horse that has been extensively used on trails, ir you only plan to ride in arena an older show horse would most likely work.
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post #44 of 79 Old 06-14-2014, 02:42 AM
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I disagree over the age of a horse making it safe or not.

I would buy Welsh Mountain ponies from the muster sales, all were totally feral, only ever been chased into corrals, wormed, weaned and roughly handled. I would bring eight or ten of these ponies home.

They spent the next weeks in converted pig sties in a scrap yard. Heavy lorries driving past their noses, noises galore, people walking past them, guard dogs. I tied coffee tins with lids and a few pebbles in them to manes and tails, and let them get on with it. They were mucked out and fed, learned to accept all going on som when I brought them to the stables to start them nothing fazed them at all.
When I sold them they were mostly four to five years, some were older because they were older when I bought them, but they were sane and sensible children's ponies. Bomb proof in traffic, children could stand on their backs and they wouldn't move. Yes, they were somewhat green with schooling but generally safe.

One of these ponies was at a major show in the First Ridden class. These are for ponies 12.2 and under, children 12 years and under, they have to be bomb proof.
In the adjacent arena they had a class for fancy dress farm tractors. One tractor with a bucket on the front was dressed as a swan, its 'neck' going up and down as it was driven around.
Exit across the arena all ridden ponies bar the one I had trained. She had been on the mountains six months before. She won the class easily. The judge actually asked if she was blind! (Jokingly) so, with the right training there can be safe youngsters.
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post #45 of 79 Old 06-14-2014, 02:56 AM
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Sometimes horses can change in a new environment to the point where they seem like a different horse - even if the seller was honest at the time of the sale. Diet and/or the rider can make a big difference. For example when I brought my gelding last year he was advertised as forward which was fine but was otherwise very quiet for a 7 year old.

However he was a bit underweight and the property he was on had lots of horses and not much grass - he was also stabled all day. Fast forward to now and he is a much more challenging horse. His good nature hasn't changed but his weight and condition has increased so his energy has too. Our pasture is completely different to where he lived previously, its much greener and he is pastured 24/7.

He recently started bucking and after ruling out pain/saddle fit I decided it came down to the flush of autumn growth in the pasture so I now need to lunge him to get the bucks out before riding and am upping his exercise.

Unfortunately dodgy sellers are everywhere and I think most people in the horse industry have had dealings with them at some point.
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post #46 of 79 Old 06-14-2014, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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He recently started bucking and after ruling out pain/saddle fit I decided it came down to the flush of autumn growth in the pasture so I now need to lunge him to get the bucks out before riding and am upping his exercise.
See now that's something that concerns me too. Even if a seller is 100% honest, you could take a horse advertised 'no buck, no bolt, no drama' and end up with something that you have to lunge so it doesn't toss you.

Seems to me that basically, horse ownership is only for people who can handle, or who are prepared to deal with bucking, bolting, biting, etc - because even if you buy a horse not that way inclined, apparently something as simple as the grass they eat can change everything.

Personally, I'm backing way off horse purchasing at this point, and reconsidering riding too. I love riding, but it's just very difficult to get my head around the notion that a perfectly good horse could start picking up those undesirable, let's face it, life threatening behaviors. A buck or a bolt could easily kill a rider if they were unlucky.

Compare that, to say, a dog. (I know horses and dogs aren't the same thing remotely, but they're both powerful animals capable of doing great harm.) I'm 99.9999% sure that my dogs are never, ever going to turn on me and start biting me. That's because I've known them all their lives, have a bond with them and know their range of behavior. But a horse, because it's a prey animal and because they seem to be more 'primal' creatures in general, can apparently go from being one kind of animal to another in a way that other domesticated animals just don't.

Maybe this is getting blown of out proportion in my head, but the more I see other riders working with mounts which they claim to be good but which exhibit potentially lethal behaviors, the more I think that maybe horse people are just incredibly brave souls.
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post #47 of 79 Old 06-15-2014, 05:44 AM
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My horse has already been posted in this thread but I just want to emphasise one point.

She is a FOUR YEAR OLD chestnut Thoroughbred mare. She was a DANGEROUS two year old when I got her, due to improper handling. Nearly a year ago now I took her to her first show. FIRST. EVER. SHOW. Two days after moving barns.

She was better behaved than all but ONE of the seasoned show horses that were there on the day. There were buckers, rearers, even a bolter. Screaming children, show rides, prams, plastic bags, even a car alarm going off. She was a bit looky at the prams but other than that her behaviour was absolutely perfect. I trust her completely. Despite my nerves, despite some quite frankly rather poor riding on my part, she carried me to third place in my rider class [which, being the 18 and over class, is quite competitive]. I have never been more proud.

She is the closest thing to a safe horse I have ever ridden. Beginners can ride her.

SHE IS FOUR.
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post #48 of 79 Old 06-15-2014, 07:34 AM
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^^Agreed, Ferrum, don't get discouraged thinking that there is no horse out there that will be safe for you and your family. You just have to look around until you find one. Take as many times as you need to go see the horse and try them out.

All of my horses, except one, that are broke to ride are "safe". I have been riding them for years in all situations, feeding all different kinds of feed, and don't have instances of bucking or bolting. Many of them are not beginner suitable because their training is too sensitive and they respond far too quickly to very light cues, but they are safe and trustworthy.
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post #49 of 79 Old 06-15-2014, 08:02 AM
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Although no horse is every going to be 100% safe, the calm, bomb proof horses out there are worth their weight in gold! Even they can spook unexpectedly and sometimes be slow to listen (and take advantage of the beginner!) but never buck or dance.

It's the people you dealing with that are the problem. I've gone on numerous horse hunting trips with clients and would say that 95% of the horses are completely misrepresented by the sellers. Very discouraging when you've traveled 100 miles and the client really falls in love with the wrong horse. Some have bought these horses despite my strong advice to walk away.

I'd say that the 5% that were not misrepresented have actually turned out have been absolute jewels but they weren't super cheap. I'm not advocating spending huge amounts-all of the horses for sale that I know personally in the $8000-$15000 range are show horses that are drugged up whenever a potentially buyer is coming. Nerve blocks in the knees and hocks for permanent lameness and Ace for their mental issues. You are almost safer looking at seasoned trail horses and horses used casually for fun, not show.

In the end the horses the clients fell in love with and insisted on buying despite advice against it have worked out for them but only after paying me to fix the problems they came with. They would have been better off paying a bit more for a finished, safe horse as it ends up costing just as much or more to fix the problems!

Sadly, you do have to "kiss a lot of frogs" to find your prince-I've not found a way yet to know which seller is telling the truth when selling a horse!
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post #50 of 79 Old 06-15-2014, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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I think for the moment, I'll stick with lessons. I never had an issue with a horse -or being concerned about what they might do until I started looking for one to buy. I guess, in due time, I might come across a horse that I like that way or some other serendipitous sort of way. And more lessons never hurt anyone, right!
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