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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there guys.

Has anyone ever had a one-person horse? A horse that no matter how great they are for you, the second another human enters the mix they absolutely go to pieces?

I have such a horse. She's a 16 year old arabian mare that I've owned for the past seven years. Rosie is seriously my best friend and the inspiration behind how I handle horses now. When I found her she was a victim of ignorance. She had gone through multiple owners (from what her papers indicated) and had been shipped all over the mid-atlantic/southeast. Along the way she suffered what I've come to believe was severe ear-twitching, or maybe she was just hit around a lot. Anyway, when she came to me she was what my trainer at the time called a "hot mess." With any slight movement towards her she would rear, strike out, pull back, etc etc.

Now, after years of patience, love, and "horsey-rehabilitation" she is perfect (considering all things). I trust her completely and I believe she trusts me, too.

The one problem is she will not trust anyone else. To this day, she regards all other people with anything from anxiety (jigging and blowing) to outright terror. The only people she allows to touch her are my mother, my neice (who is almost 2), and one of my close friends. My vet, farrier, trainers, and parents have deemed her a said "one person horse," but they always say it with mild distaste.

In a weird way I feel like I've done something wrong. I wonder if since she trusts me this much, shouldn't she trust me to take care of her when other's are around? Should I have done/be doing something different?

I'm taking her to a Bill Scott horsemanship clinic in a week or so and am hoping he can shed some light on the issue. In the meantime, are there any things I can do to maybe desensitize or acclimate her to others?

Sorry for the novel, ya'll. Any advice, tips, personal experiences, etc etc are greatly appreciated.

Thanks and have a great night!
 

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Honestly and I might be bashed for saying this, I prefer my horses to be one person horses. I buy them to ride, for me to ride to be more clear. I feed and grrom and train and care for them, they are my animals.

When I sell my horses, I make sure to work with the new owner to get both working as a pair and when I see fit let the new owner take them home and they can start their relationship together.

Now, I do not make my horses unridable by other people, quite the contrary, most have been perfectly respectful of anyone placed on their backs, sometimes more so than with me. But I do not often allow anyone else on my horses backs, unless I see they are at a level of my experience, are strictly supervised by me, or a professional. My horses are my partners, I want them loyal to me.
 

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A one person horse is a Pro in the Equitation ring if they ever ask you to switch horses and perform a test. lol
 

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I pretty much agree with Honeysuga.
Lacey's pretty distinctly a one person horse. I mean, she loves everybody and she'll pay attention to whoever wants to give her attention but that's only if I'm around. If I'm not around, she'll ignore everyone quite completely and if you try to do something with her without me, well, good luck. I find it almost cute but then I can definitely relate to finding it worrisome too. For instance, last July Lacey was in a parade. She was being ridden by a 10 year old and I was going to be leading her along the parade route. She had to hang out at the head of the parade for a few hours and since the kids would get super dirty if we let them dismount, they were basically stuck on their horses. Lacey was doing well, worked up but sane, until I had to go to the restroom. I left her in the capable hands of a friend of mine but I came back (no more than 10 minutes later) to an absolutely freaking out horse. As soon as I got back to her she calmed down immediately and pretty completely. In that situation I would have loved for her to have been a multiple person horse but on the whole I kinda love feeling like I'm her entire world, yknow?
 

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I don't have that kind of problem with mine, they are respectful of anyone. What I mean is A) They work with everyone, but I know how to get that extra everything out of them. and B) I don't like anyone else on them. Hehe guess that would have been a better way of explaining it in the first place.
 

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I think there are many pros and cons to a one person horse. It's easier to gain their trust, you can work with them, they're loyal eta.. But the cons are you have to make sure another person can atleast lead them around, touch them all over, and the regular ground work things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input, you guys!

Yes, it is a nice knowing that she is my horse and mine alone. Sometimes I feel like she is my "black stallion," if you will. However, it would be nice to find one person who I could teach her little idiosyncrasies to. Just in case anything happened. Because believe me, she has a loooot of them. But that's what makes her Rosie and that's why I love her, haha.
 

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I'm sure I'll get bashed for this but you are not doing your horse any justice. Some day you may want to take a vacation, get married, go to school, anything that involves someone else to work with your horse. It sounds like that will be a major problem. Someone else may have to do more then feed or lead her and it sounds like that may be a problem.

The same as desensitizing your horse to noise, movement, bikes, etc., a responsible horse owner should have a horse that is trained to be respectful to anyone. Yes, you should have that special bond with her but not to the exclusion of everyone else. As you mentioned, you want to take her to a clinic, you also want someone to be able to take care of a good number of quirks she has. Now you have to deal with her first gaining the trust of someone new before those problems can be dealt with.

A horse should be safe and comfortable with anyone. She can still be very in tune with you and you can be her safety; but not to you to the exclusion of anyone else.
 

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Both of my horses are one person horses. One to the more extreme then the other.

Romeo is a one person horse but others can ride him and handle him with ease. Especially young kids. On occasion he enjoys jacking with other people who are around my age. He acted a fool for my friend when she rode him. I wasn't there and thus he decided to see how far he could get with things, but anyone who knows how to properly handle a horse doesn't have an issue. He is def a one person horse though. He just doesn't respond to others like he does me and he tries to push things when I'm not around.

Bause is a one person horse and i am the only one who will handle her. I have a handful of other trusted people who have been around her for years and know what she is like (Keith, Mike, Laura, and Danie even though Bause isnt fond of Danie) who can handle her in any emergancy where i am not present but for the most part no one likes to deal with her. She is an arab and a total fruit loop for just about anyone but me and for the most part mike. I ride her and handle her with minimal issues even when she is at her worst. We are still in the bonding stage so i dont expect things to be perfect but she is def my horse and i would not trust anyone else to ride her or for her to behave for anyone else. She needs a lot of work and is a one person horse to the extreme but even with that being said i do have people who can do the basics with her.

So one person horses are amazing and i prefer it that way. Much better bonding over all. But you do need some people who can handle things in case of an emergency.
 

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A horse should be safe and comfortable with anyone. She can still be very in tune with you and you can be her safety; but not to you to the exclusion of anyone else.
Totally agree.

They don't have to love and adore others. It's the same concept of a child going to daycare or school, they have to respect those around them.
 

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I don't have that kind of problem with mine, they are respectful of anyone. What I mean is A) They work with everyone, but I know how to get that extra everything out of them. and B) I don't like anyone else on them. Hehe guess that would have been a better way of explaining it in the first place.
What she said. :D While my guy is fine for anyone to handle I am jealous of anyone but me riding him. He is personal, like my tooth brush, my wife, my car. Only I get to ride it.
He has enough confidence in himself to work for anyone.
 

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What she said. :D While my guy is fine for anyone to handle I am jealous of anyone but me riding him. He is personal, like my tooth brush, my wife, my car. Only I get to ride it.
He has enough confidence in himself to work for anyone.
Ditto.
Athena has manners. I don't have to be there if the vet comes out to do shots, or if the farrier comes out to trim her feet, anyone can lead her around and handle her. Other people can ride her to but... I don't like it. lol
 

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What she said. :D While my guy is fine for anyone to handle I am jealous of anyone but me riding him. He is personal, like my tooth brush, my wife, my car. Only I get to ride it.
He has enough confidence in himself to work for anyone.
I agree! My mare was my personal horse, I was the only one that rode her, and we were perfectly in sync. The few occasions I let others ride her, I cringed the whole time.

"NOOOoooo!! She doesn't like that! You're doing it all wrong!"

Everytime she was ridden by someone else, it was generally because we were on a trail ride, and I was riding my other horse who was a trail master. After riding for about 10 minutes though, the jealousy would rise and I would force the friend to switch with me.

I don't think I'd want a horse that would only respond to me, but it was wonderful to have a horse that I was so in tune with and we both knew each other so well.

I currently have a dog that's afraid of everyone except me, and it's a pain in the butt. She's creepily obsessed with me, has to be near me all the time or she cries. I love her, but I wish she was more like my other dog who's very outgoing.

So yeah... it may be flattering to have a horse that is only loyal to one person, but I would imagine it would get old, since you'd have to be catering to the horse all the time.
 

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I agree with everyone else, they need to have manners, what if something happened and you were all of a sudden in the hospital and someone else had to take care of her? at least if you were going on a trip or something you could make her familiar with someone before you left.
Rena is a one person horse, and it takes her a while to get used to strangers... when my trainer tryed teach her how to clip her ears she lunged back and then lunged forward and stuck her head in my chest, haha shes sorta a baby sometimes. but the vet and any stranger can come and lead her, do groundwork, and she will be ok with that. She doesnt like peopleriding her that dont ride like me or my mom, haha but she puts up with it when she needs to. because she wouldnt want to hurt anyone, haha and when i get on her after i let someone else ride her (which KILLS me to watch, haha i dont do it anymore) she was not happy with me at all.
but they need to be 'handler friendly' to anyone that comes near them. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
In response to IRideHorses:

While I do understand what you are saying, excluding others from working with her was not a conscious thought. The fact of the matter is, there was no one else to work her. I come from a family where I am the sole charge of my horses. My parents keep them on our pasture and they buy the hay. Everything else falls on my shoulders physically, financially, what have you. Which is how i think it should be. I don't come from money, so the prospect of buying a horse trailer to take her places and gain experience is not feasible. Nor have I had any friends (up until I joined the equestrian team last month) that have had experience with horses whatsoever. The thought of asking these people, who have all proclaimed to be frightened of horses, to handle her never seemed like the greatest idea. But, Earlier this week I bit the bullet and enlisted the help of several of these close friends to come to my barn and interact with/stand near her. Maybe its short notice, maybe it won't work, but some effort is better than none.


The fact that I have done her this "injustice" does not fall on deaf ears. I think about it everyday, which is why I came here for answers. In regard to being a "responsible" horse owner...I'm not going to toot my own horn, but will merely say I've tried to do the best I can with what I've been given.



Hopefully this reply won't be the catalyst that sends this topic spinning off into a heated debate.
 

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Arabs are known to be very possessive of their owners - indeed I am told that it is a desired trait that owners around the Mediterranean look for in a horse.

I personally do let certain individuals come near my mare
namely my wife and a young lady is who teaching my girlie "how to do show jumping". But the rules are the same for all of us, no shouting, no whips, no kicking - only gentle positive handling. The vet is allowed in close, as is the farrier or any other therapist but only in my presence.

My policy came about because I have watched my mare show distinct signs of distress when certain humans are near her. And why should I even consider letting a fight /or/ flight creature come near vexatious people.
If I am doing my best to keep my horse in a quiet and calm environment, the last thing I want is one of those heavy handed, loud voiced, ignorant people to come near her. Just what good could it do?

My male dog (a very gentle Rottweiler) is the best judge of human character I know, but my horse comes a close second. If she shows by her eyes, ears, mouth, neck
or posture she is nervous around someone, then I know to take care. However if she will stand close by an individual without moving then I know she is content with that person. I then feel easy.

Man is the key predator of horses - and horses know it.
B G
 

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Havana is a one person horse. Probably because her past owners were *horrible* I don't ride her, but if anyone else wants to lead, groom, take pictures of, TOUCH her she'll start kicking. Or biting. I don't find it a problem because I'm the only one that takes care of her...but I can see where it would be a problem with other horses. I like one person horses, not as severe as Havana, but I still like them.
 

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The fact that I have done her this "injustice" does not fall on deaf ears. I think about it everyday, which is why I came here for answers. In regard to being a "responsible" horse owner...I'm not going to toot my own horn, but will merely say I've tried to do the best I can with what I've been given.
That is an excellent attitude. Not having the means to have others handle your horse is different then not allowing them to.

I've only had Hollywood for about 4 or 5 months and he is slowly forming a bond with me. Since no one in my family rides but me, no one else handles or feeds him. He is so push button that I can't put a beginner on him without the risk of them giving him a cue without realizing what they did and him doing what he thought they wanted. I am very very selective about who I allow to ride him but I want as many people as possible to be able to handle him.

As several others have said, I am very jealous of anyone else riding him but I know it is for the best. I want him to feel safety, and a reliance with me but still comfortable with others.

Does that make sense?
 

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my horse is a one person horse. hes very lovey and sweet to me, and does anything i ask of him. he comes when hes called, follows me around, neighs when i come near him and is very gentle.

when someone else tries working with him, hes a complete brute. he bears his teeth,flattens his ears back, lounges at other people, bites and kicks, if they try handling him in a asle way, he smashes them against the walls, and so on.

i trust him as much as on can trust a horse, but i know he can never be a good multiple person horse.

the only con is, i dont think i could ever sell him even if i had to
 
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