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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new horse is turning out to be the polar opposite of what I wanted, so much so I have decided to sell him.
It's hard to believe he was the super quiet, almost shut down animal I bought 9 weeks ago.

I have a great trainer who has been riding him - he is flawless for her. But today in my lesson, I had this cranky, very resistance horse who would not move forward. She rode him yesterday, and she described him as getting to work right away, freer in the shoulder, and better moving off the leg.

Last Friday in a lesson, I used my stick lightly to reinforce a leg aid, and he bucked 2-3 times. I came off but luckily was mostly unscathed. In previous lessons with my other coach, we have seen this balky, cranky behaviour. For a while I was on the fence about was he the right horse for me. Now, it is a definite no. From what I can see, I have to decide if I want to ride through the fight with a horse that kicks, bucks, and refuses to move forward. At 65, nuh huh, no, nada. Life is too short to not have fun with your horse.

I have his trainer riding tomorrow, and will be curious if he is the same compliant fellow for her, or not. I am not even sure I want to sit on him and warm him up for her.

Saddle fit has been addressed, and the next question is ulcers. I could do a gastroguard regime just to see if it helps, but I am pretty certain this disposition and I are not a good match, ulcers or not.
 

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I think you're right to make this decision. You've given it a lot of time and work, and he's not working out for you.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
:( I never would have thought this would happen. So frustrating as his ground manners have improved 80% with consistent handling....and isnt it supposed to transfer under saddle!! I wish i could laugh about it, but its pretty demoralizing.
 

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I also think you are right in this decision. I'm younger than you, but even I'm pickier in what I will ride now. Falls get harder to bounce back from the older you are and you are not wrong in being cautious of that. I had one bad fall incurring an injury 6 years ago and I'm still carrying issues from it now. I worry about it getting worse, in the future. Not worth it, in my opinion.

That being said, I think you'd also want an easy going horse that clicks well with you. Sometimes it takes more time to see if it works, and you are now seeing that it does not with your current horse. There is no shame in that and I'm sure you will be able to find him a good home that does work for him.
 

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Has he been tested for Lyme at all? Just curious. My mare began to not want to move/go forward under-saddle (which was not like her at all), & it turned out she had Lyme (along with other symptoms, but that was one of them). Good to check for ulcers too, but they can share similar symptoms.

If it's not working out, & everything else has been ruled out (saddle fit, physical issues, etc.) then if you feel in your gut you should sell him, that's okay.
 
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My advice? Go back to basics. This guy is having some respect and trust issues. He doesnt respect your requests, and doesnt trust you enough to not buck if you try to gain respect. Go to ground work, build that respect, that trust, that confidence with each other, then pretend you are saddle breaking him for the first time. Slowly desensitize to the saddle, , walk, work on direction, stopping lots of praise etc, work your way up just like starting a new horse. With problems like that, the best way to fix it is to find the bug in the base training, and work it out. The rest should follow. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry. I dont agree. This gelding has discovered I dont have the riding skills to make the corrections to his resistance so has upped the ante, so to speak. That will be for another younger, more skilled person than I. When both your coaches support your decision that says something.
 

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Sorry. I dont agree. This gelding has discovered I dont have the riding skills to make the corrections to his resistance so has upped the ante, so to speak. That will be for another younger, more skilled person than I. When both your coaches support your decision that says something.
I think you're right. It is common advice to start over with a horse and do ground work. But as you've seen, ground work and trust on the ground translates very minimally to what happens in the saddle. I don't believe horses that misbehave under saddle are having problems because someone didn't teach them to lead properly or respond to cues on the ground. For the behaviors to improve, someone must be able to ride through and teach what is necessary under saddle. I've known people who literally spent years trying to work on saddle issues through ground work.
My advice is that at your age you should get a horse that will be safer to ride. Since he goes well for your trainer, that is the type of rider he needs, at least for this stage of his life.
 

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I have a 11 year old QH gelding that replaced my mare when she died. I bought this horse with the idea that he'd be the last horse I'd ever own. I'm 64 years old and wanted a horse that'd be my riding partner.

He performed well while being ridden by a more experienced rider during the presale review. I fell in love with him and paid waaaay more than I ever thought I would for any horse. Horses are living animals that will die someday. But I brought him home with high hopes.

Came the day he put me off, over a year ago, and my shoulder has not been right since. During the last year I was forced to chase him around the pasture to catch him, sometimes for hours, closing gates and eventually corning him so I could ride. After months of my chasing him, I decided that I'd had enough, that life was too short and there are too many good horses out there to fool around with a bad one. I decided the two of us needed to effect a change or I would sell him.

I picked a date and I went out to inform him of my decision. I could use all sorts of words to describe what took place in the pasture that day and some of it would sound like a spiritual experience or some would sound like some kind of soft fuzzy metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. Our relationship changed, instantly, that day and my approach to riding changed as well. My horse doesn't run from me any more and we've been riding weekly since then.

When I think about what happened to change our relationship I think of a story related by Mark Rashid about a training event he experienced when he was much younger rider before he became a professional trainer. I won't type the story here and I highly recommend Mark's books, but the point is that I "stopped chasing him so he stopped running away."

This horse is the best behaving most skilled horse I've ever ridden and he continues to amaze me each and every time we ride. I'm glad we were able to come to an understanding.

In those minutes in the pasture I feel as if we shared the details of an agreement to trust each other. That conversation continues every time we are together. I've never felt closer to any horse since that day and our relationship continues to evolve. We've begun to ride with a western bit and started training with a "neck rope" (cordeo). We have become partners in our riding experience and the communications has nothing to do with training.

It is my opinion that all horses know everything they need to know about being a horse and riding. What we as riders must refine is our ability to speak horse, to communicate more effectively. That day in the pasture, my horse and I began to communicate better and we continue to work on that part of our riding.

I'm not telling you how to handle your horse. However, changing the way I think and realizing that there are different ways we can communicate has changed our riding. I've been searching for a willing partner in my horsemanship and we've begun traveling in that direction as a team. This has become an exciting journey.

I hope you can resolve the problems your having with your horse/riding partner. I hope you can find a safe quiet ride in your current horse partner or another horse. Good luck.
 

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I do not think there is any shame in saying tha the hrose is not for you, and life is too short to spend it on a hrose that is too difficult to be enjoyable.
I would like to say that a lot of people think that becuase the horse is 'going well in ground work", that he is going to be all good under saddle. The thing is, a lot of people do not SEE that the hrose is not really doing well in ground work. Or,, that he is doing fine as long as things are 'fine' in the round pen. They can not see that the real issue with the horse is unchanged, becuase they never dug deep into it. So, they think that because the horse goes around, or turns directions, or stands still while you whack the ground with a bull whip, or whatever, that it is ok now and the groundwork phase is over.

The groundwork only has any value if it affords a change in the behavior problems that are a problem for the rider. Sometimes, it's not on the surface, or, the horse will go through the motions, but not really make any change in their mind set . It takes a skilled eye to see when a horse is still in need of help and if that can be done in the round pen or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update: i got on before the trainer today and he was resisting going forward. My trainer then got on and found my gelding to be as cranky but he did move forward after some time. She commented he was "a different horse" from 2 days ago. So we will investigate if it is pain related ulcers. The internist will scope in a couple weeks. Hopefully he may go back to his former self but Im still not sure we are a good fit. But, update to follow
 

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Update: i got on before the trainer today and he was resisting going forward. My trainer then got on and found my gelding to be as cranky but he did move forward after some time. She commented he was "a different horse" from 2 days ago. So we will investigate if it is pain related ulcers. The internist will scope in a couple weeks. Hopefully he may go back to his former self but Im still not sure we are a good fit. But, update to follow
How are his hooves? Also, you mentioned there was a saddle fitting issue. It could be that his back is still sore. I've seen with many horses that after having been ridden in a poorly fitting saddle, it made their back muscles have knots and cramps that took some time to resolve. This meant they also disliked being ridden in a well-fitting saddle for a while. If you haven't tried pushing on his back muscles and having him lift his back, you might assess it to see if there are any sore areas.
 

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I've seen with many horses that after having been ridden in a poorly fitting saddle, it made their back muscles have knots and cramps that took some time to resolve.
Yes, that was true with my Pony and his bad-fitting saddle. He also became very resistant to moving forward. After the problem ended up making him lame, he got a three-week break from being ridden.
 
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If it is ulcers, great - fix it and see how he does then.

If he doesn’t start behaving: I am 20 years younger than you and I wouldn’t carry on with such a horse either. From your posts I gather you aren’t a professional and neither am I. Training resistant, bucking horses is for pros and young people. Even pros your age usually don’t take on such horses but direct their younger protégés on what to do. It’s simply biology.

@tinyliny I agree that ground work does not fix ridden issues. I have seen it many times. Also, I rode a mare which had shocking ground manners. Tried to kick and bite anyone who approached her. It took three people holding her for me to mount. Under saddle, she was the best trained horse I’ve ever ridden. If I didn’t see how well behaved the other 20 odd horses were, I would have thought that the owners are were torturing her every day, three times a day. They told me they tried ground work and it actually made her worse (and these people were highly experienced pros). Ground work usually helps but it isn’t a panacea, especially for riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi, Gottatrot: His hooves are not the best: thin soled TB hooves, pads on the fronts for now. As for body soreness, the trainer checked and thought he had some sore bits, but nothing like it used to be. He gets massage and chiro regularly. Its time again soon I think.
ACinATX: I think the gal I had (who wasn't a great fit with him) and likely rode him in such a way he got tight and stressed. My sense is that that week began him going down that ulcer-y slope. Then the "good" trainer got on him and he was worked - still maybe sore from the previous week. But he behaved for her.
Horsef: LOL no pro am I. My previous TB, while only trail sound in the last couple years - was the most sensitive but compliant horse I was lucky to own for 8 years. Ground manners and under saddle. Corrections were rare, so I was spoiled. And, probably made me less of a "rider" if you know what I mean.

Yes, I feel that even if the ulcers correct this horse close to what the trainers said recently was 'a nice horse', that I am inclined to sell him still. There are many things that I am not happy to put up with. Two of the biggest things are: ground manners around walking near grass - too many corrections! Sometimes he blows up when there is one correction too many, which is irritating and not relaxing to just go for a walk in hand, which is part of my partnership enjoyment with a horse. The other is he can't just stand quietly minding his own business. It's like a relationship with a 5 year old. You're always saying, Stop that! Sometimes he wants to play when you are hand walking him. You see in the corner of your eye the neck arches, and then there's that foreleg lifting upwards. Yeesh!

I am beginning 10 days worth of gastroguard today, and soon there will be the scope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I want my confidence back! I've always thought myself fairly confident until now, in this situation, with this horse.
I guess that topic belongs in a different thread.
The good news: ulcer scope to be done Feb. 27. It can't come soon enough because I have a plan (another thread to follow). Meanwhile I have been doing trail rides and no arena on him, but the trainers are still working with him (and they seem happy with him).

One of the strategies I will do is, I will ride after the trainer and if he puts up a test again, the trainer hops back on immediately.
 

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I want my confidence back! I've always thought myself fairly confident until now, in this situation, with this horse.
I guess that topic belongs in a different thread.
The good news: ulcer scope to be done Feb. 27. It can't come soon enough because I have a plan (another thread to follow). Meanwhile I have been doing trail rides and no arena on him, but the trainers are still working with him (and they seem happy with him).

One of the strategies I will do is, I will ride after the trainer and if he puts up a test again, the trainer hops back on immediately.
The horse knows which of you is mounted.
 

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This horse has issues, clearly, it is whether or not you can solve them or not. If you don't think you can, it's probably best to pass him along to someone who can.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
update: It was ulcers all along. I was lucky enough to find another trainer with a quiet property more rural. He is coming along fabulously with all sorts of riders....is in full training, healing up nicely from the meds, and is for sale. He wouldn't be happy in my boarding barn, its just too busy. Because he is such a nice mover and is an all round type of guy, there is lots of interest in him. We are clear that the best home for him will include field turnout, and I expect he will be a happier boy.
 

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I did not read but the first few responses honestly...I stopped when your trainers, both of them, agreed the horse was not for you and selling is best in your situation.
If you trust your trainers, then that is the answer for you..
Just realize the horse should not be valued at less as he rides beautifully for more skilled riders he requires and the animal has been in "training rides" all this time should of increased his worth, not lessened it.

So, what I did see and wanted to mention is...
You commented "So frustrating as his ground manners have improved 80% with consistent handling....and isnt it supposed to transfer under saddle!! I wish i could laugh about it, but its pretty demoralizing."
Horses do not often transfer in-hand on the ground handling and ridden astride work...
You have to earn that "respect" and attitude given in each area...
That is two different scenarios for them and it takes a lot of time for that transition to be seamless.
It also takes time to expose to the left side of their brain education and then to expose the right side of the brain that education and come out with a balanced horse...
Horse brains work different than human in how they process everything...
🐴...
 
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