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Signs of a Beaten Horse

831 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  krisadreyer
I’m trying to figure out what is wrong with a pony. He isn’t mine, he belongs to a family friend. He was pretty underweight when they got him. At first, after getting him to a healthy weight, he was a good little pony. He was sold as a kids pony. But now he is bucking and is very hard to catch. I’m working with him in a round pen right now and if I walk up to him he is extremely jumpy and literally shivers if I put my hand out. He is very protective of his right side. If I put my hand too high he freaks out. Not like a normal spook but eyes wide and shivering. Hates being patted. Once the halter is on he seems like he’s shut down. He seems zoned out. I think who ever broke him just threw a saddle on and rode him. Skipped everything else.
I’m not saying he was abused but it seems pretty likely, to me. What do y’all think?
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I had one that had been so badly mistreated, he never fully recovered from it. Horses can get PTSD, just like people. Certain things would definitely set him off...the sound of gun shots had him running the fence line, trembling, and pouring sweat. The sight of horse trailers and people on a camping trip had him pacing a hole in the ground, and if tied him to the trailer, he would dance in place from nerves.

You can tell if a horse has been mistreated... Most horses spook at something, jump a couple strides, and then they are fine. They come down from the fear and go, okay, I'm okay. A horse that is abused, does not trust, has an over responsive panic/flight response, or freezes and tucks their tail while trembling and showing the white of the eye.

If you have worked with enough horses, you can definitely tell the ones that are mishandled/abused. That doesn't mean they can't overcome the abuse. Some do. Some don't. Some improve to an extent.

Horses are smart enough to associate abuse with just that one person, while other people are considered safe/okay. Those are easier to rehab because they have trust. The most difficult ones are the ones that do not trust anyone and always fear people.

There are some horses that are more reactive, but I think you can definitely tell if it's abuse related vs. over reactivity. An over reactive horse, snorts and blows, and spooks at many different objects or situations. Abused animals seem to react to specific situations in a more dramatic manner then would be expected from a horse with similar training or experience.
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