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All my life, my horses came when I called them. I felt like @ACinATX , if the horse didn't come when called, then that was VERY BAD. But then we moved to 40 acres of lush grass, and they didn't come when called. When my husband and I got older and keeping cows and mending fences and mowing pasture was too hard, we moved to a smaller 10 acre place. My horses sometimes do come when called, when they feel like it. In the spring, when the grass is lovely, they won't even come up to eat. I have to go down with a halter to bring them up for meals. So, it just goes to show. Ya live and learn.
 

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Recently I lost the folks I took riding regularly, some due to covid, some children due to growing older and losing interest, one to getting married and moving away. So, I found some new riders, and both happen to be adult beginners. One of my new adult beginner riders thinks she will soon get a horse of her own because she likes it so much. Yesterday, she showed me a photo of a free quarter horse that she was considering acquiring. The horse was drop-dead gorgeous, seven years old, green broke and free. Biiiiigggg red flags to me. I warned her that getting a green broke horse when she has very little experience is probably not a wise thing to do. Also, the horse is free most likely for a reason, especially one advertised as free. I think that @gottatrot and I are offered free horses from time to time because people know we can manage their problems. But a free horse on Facebook? I don't think so.

This new rider thinks she knows how to train horses. She told me a few weeks back that she would train Isabeau for me. When you don't know very much, you don't know that you don't know very much. I felt like answering, "I'd like to see you try," but I didn't want to be rude because she is a nice person and I have enjoyed riding with her and getting to know her. I know with a year or two of rides with me, she will discover she doesn't know nearly as much as she thought she knew. Fortunately, she is getting riding lessons with @4horses as well as riding with me, so she is learning more and more every week.
 

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Just wanted to say I finished your Training Problem Horses and loved it so much. I wish every new horse owner would read it. Such a well-written, down to earth, easy to read book. I hated for it to end. By the way, are you working on another one????? Hope so!!!!
 

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I'm going to be the optimistic one and say that I've known a bunch of horses that just click with certain people. I really like the Morgan, and I'm going to hope for the best all the way--that the new friend turns into a true friend, and that you have lots of great adventures training him, and was meant to be that nurse's horse.

I gotten horses that were terrible for other people but just fine for the person who ended up with them. Last week I went with my neighbor to look at a horse, and the horse acted really badly. The seller was mystified and said, "She never has done any of that." I believe that horse just didn't want that man to buy her.

That same man had a horse, appropriately named Angel, that he sold to an extremely experienced, kind, easy riding friend. She buys kill pen horses as a hobby, gets them going nicely, and sells them to people that want them. She loses money on just about every sale, but it gives her pleasure to find good homes for good horses. So, she bought Angel, and the day we took her to that farm, Angel was horrible. Nobody could ride her. They kept her for two months, and she did all kinds of terrible things. We went and picked her up and she was fire breathing dragon.

We took her back for someone here on Horse Forum to try her for a week, and she was lovely. Never had a moment's problem with her. That person ended up not buying her, but someone else on Horse Forum bought her and used her for riding lessons. There was something about that friend's farm or something about her that Angel just didn't want to be there.

I think if it's meant to be, the horse will tell you. But until then, I am going to be excited for you. The Morgan is lovely and the new nurse friend might be just the one!
 

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My mother always used to say, "Don't get your hopes up, now." When I was in college I decided, "Why not get my hopes up? I'm not so fragile that I can't live with disappointment." And I decided to enjoy hoping for things rather than walking around thinking nothing will work out.

One of my favorite quotes is by Barbara Kingsolver.
"One of the very first things I figured out about life...is that it's better to be a hopeful person than a cynical, grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you're hopeful, you have more fun.”
 

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Even more fun, some require that you do this very often.
Ha ha ha ha ha. This is why I love your books so much! I wish everyone would/could read your Training Problem Horses. It is written so clearly and sensibly!

@Knave, I don't think my way is necessarily the best way. But my mother was an angry, upset, sad person, and I decided I didn't want to be like that. I often go into things expecting the best and get slammed. But I think I'd rather be slammed than be worried, sad, and angry like my mom was.
 

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This is going to be so fun! What are your plans for getting her in the trailer? My neighbor has put many an untouched colt in a trailer. Also, they get the mustangs in for people (although they have specialized equipment to do it). I once delivered two unhandled donkeys in my trailer for someone. They got them in by moving panels closer and closer to my trailer that was backed up to a narrow space.
 

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Wow, @gottatrot, I hope you are feeling better. That was an accident that could have gone really badly. I had a foxhunting friend who bought the horse of her dreams. This mare was everything my friend had longed for, very expensive, and she was over the moon. A few weeks after getting this lovely mare, she made the mistake of tying her to a fence rail. The mare pulled back, yanking big chunks of fence with her, galloping crazily with bits of fence banging into her, and injuring herself so severely that she was never rideable again. A terrible price to pay for one person's momentary mistake.

I have to laugh at myself while examining your photograph, @SueC. I kept saying, what is that mark on Don Quijote's forehead? I've never seen a donkey with that mark. What is that? And then I realized what it was. Ha ha ha ha ha!
 

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Wow. What a mess.
It will be tricky setting limits without creating too much conflict...
No kidding!!!! My heart goes out to you. I had such high hopes for a new friend and a new horse to interact with. I am so sorry.

I listened to the Christmas present radio broadcast and disagreed with the presenters. I would not give gifts to the children. How cold is that? Some people are overwhelmed at Christmas and just would rather not fool with the whole thing. Do kids really need piles of gifts anyway? Maybe it's just kind of unspoken, "Let's not give gifts." That has NOTHING to do with @gottatrot's situation; I just thought it was curious that I was completely opposite of the presenters. I wonder if I am opposite of most people?

I get along with just about everyone. I have had some riders I have invited to ride get presumptuous. I usually find reasons for them not to come out. They come out fewer and fewer times until it just gently fizzles out.

I wish both of you had not had those experiences. I did a farm stay once and I expected to help with the farm chores--that's part of a farm stay, I thought. I fed and took care of the chickens and sheep and helped with the laundry. It was fun.
 

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I have a difficult person story that I will share. I was teaching special ed and had a number of difficult and troubled children. I mostly did OK with my kids. I was not the best teacher in the school, but far from the worst--very appropriate nickname from 4-H as a kid--I was known as "The Third Place Kid." And I'll guess that I was a "Third Place Teacher."

So, one year we got a new vice principal who decided to harass me. I have no idea why, but I've seen it happen to others many times and a few times to myself. Made no sense. She'd come into my classroom and find fault with what I was doing. She made suggestions that were not especially helpful--you can imagine the scenario.

She made that school year quite miserable for me, and I was ecstatic when she was promoted to principal of her own school and went away.

Years later, I was a librarian at a different school and discovered that her daughter was attending 3rd grade at my school. How I dreaded having her come to school for parent visitation! But she was OK with me, so it was kind of OK.

When the daughter was in 5th grade, we took all the 5th graders to sleep-away camp for 3 days. I had been in charge of the horses for years and didn't think anything of it until this former vice principal, whom I almost hated, came as a parent volunteer.

And I was super anxious because when she arrived at the camp, she grabbed my arm and said she was going to depend on me because I had done camp with 5th graders for many years. She plopped her sleeping bag and suitcase on the bed next to mine. My heart sank. I couldn't stand this bossy difficult demanding harsh woman!

That night she and I stayed up almost the whole night whispering to each other side by side with our beds next to each other. She confided many of her hurts and fears, including her failure as a principal, being demoted, and miscarrying her baby because of the stress. I felt it was her way of apologizing to me. From that camp experience on, she became like a friend and often helped me in the library as a parent volunteer. I had a wonderful supportive cadre of amazing parents those years, and she was one of them.
 

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That obviously was vastly more extreme, but it illustrates the problem. Some people have something terribly wrong inside them but we judge them based on our experiences. It is tough to deal with situations outside our experience precisely because it is outside of our experience.

If we've had positive outcomes with people, we expect positive outcomes with new people we meet. And I've had mostly good luck in trusting people, actually. Some of my best experiences have come from trusting people. But that trust allows one to be burned as well.

This is me, exactly, @bsms . I started taking people riding when I was in high school. It has been very rewarding. On only a few occasions has it not worked out well. One time, for several years, I took an elderly man every week. He was so sweet and dear. Then his son moved in with him to make sure he was doing OK, and I started taking the son. The son was a little not-as-fun but had a very good heart and I came to appreciate his good qualities. The elderly man's health failed and he could not ride anymore. Then his other daughter moved in and she was invited to go. I didn't care for her at all, but tried to tolerate her because it was the right thing to do. Then the son's fiancé started coming riding. Couldn't stand her. Yikes. Then the son moved in his 16 year old daughter. I adored her and asked every week if this hurting wistful needy teen could come every week instead of the sister and fiancé. But the other two women usually came themselves instead of this precious young person. I finally said that because another rider I regularly took had a fall on the road and let my heart horse go, I decided not to take people any more. It made me sad because the son was actually pretty nice to ride with, and his daughter filled my heart.

My most recent rider was one I found on Facebook. We started out far more good than bad, but I wondered if this was going to be OK. I have discovered some really great qualities about this woman and am starting to truly value her as a friend.

@gottatrot , I can really see how you got sucked into such a mess, and my heart goes out to you because it could so easily have happened to me. I hope you get an amazing pony out of it.

Now, I will tell a funny story about a gift horse. For a short time, I had to board my horse at a nearby stable. There were two sisters who boarded there. They had one quiet docile old gelding and one spicy appaloosa mare. They both loved both horses and we often rode together and had great times. The girls were quite proud of the appie because she was given to them when the original owners couldn't manage her. The girls were inexperienced, but good sensible kids and figured out what worked and didn't work and got that mare riding quite well. A few years went by with everything being fine. One thing they never were able to teach the mare to do was load in a trailer because they didn't have one. I had one and we often talked about how they could work with their mare using my trailer . . . but we hadn't gotten around to it.

The original owners must have heard how well the mare was doing at that stable. They showed up one night with a trailer at 2:00 a.m. and haltered up "their" mare. The BO heard the commotion and came out, saying they couldn't take the mare. The original owners said the mare was only a loan and they were now taking her back. There had been no formal agreement, so the girls were helpless.

BUT--those original owners were inexperienced horse handlers and they couldn't get the mare in the trailer, no matter how hard they tried. The BO and girls watched as they struggled for hours, but the appie would not load.

The next day the girls rode 10 miles on their two horses to a new (secret) boarding facility.
 

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I am really excited to read about your progress with Aria. I am looking forward to some comparisons. Could Aria be an "easy" horse? You've never had an "easy" horse of your own to train. This is going to be a journal I click on the moment I see a new entry!
 

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This is a great discussion, as yours always are! I have seen horses loaded in trailers in what appears to be harsh ways, but the horse quickly learns to load without fussing. I have never done it that way myself, but I have seen it often enough, and it doesn't seem to permanently affect the horses' loading . . . except that they load beautifully after the tough lesson.

I also have seen (again never done it myself) the rope dragging halter work quite effectively. I probably don't have to use these methods because I've always gotten youngsters and taken my time because I had piles of time anyway.
 
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