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I'm feeling defeated. Last May, I adopted a BLM mustang mare. She's beautiful. And has tons of potential, but the longer I have her the more I feel out-horsed. I'm soon to be 21, and have had horses since I was 5. But my confidence is shot, I'm out of practice because I'm scared to ride my horse, and I'm frustrated because I don't want to give up on her! Realistically, I have time to ride 3-4 times a week easily, yet I've only been on a handful of rides the past year.
She's come a really long way, but she is still hard to catch and nervous/shy. Once she's caught she's very well behaved. She has perfect ground manners and is very willing. I tend to take her on hikes more than anything, because I adore her on the ground. But she's very spooky and I'm struggling to decide now whether I want to send her back to training or if I should try and find a more suitable home for her.
I think at this point I would be better off with an old, trusty horse. I'm just having a hard time with this decision.

Just to add, she had 30 days with a great trainer when I first got her, and is walk/trot under saddle. I handle her often but still don't feel comfortable standing behind her. She doesn't offer to kick/bite/buck, she just is unsettled, and obviously that rubs off on me and makes me nervous.
 

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Could you send her to a trainer or lease her out to someone who can put the miles on her? That way you wouldnt have to let her go completely, as you say you care about her and love her on the ground, but maybe someone more confident can enjoy her for a year or so, after which she may have settled down? In the meantime you could see about leasing an easier horse to get your confidence up, and who knows, by next year you and this mare might be a perfect match :)
 

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I really feel for you because I’m facing this same situation now. I adopted a Haflinger gelding back in November who at first seemed like he’d only need a bit of work to be a great horse, but over time has started acting studdish and just this weekend reared at and struck out at someone who was trying to separate him from the mares in our herd- and he was aiming for her head. I had also realized before that incident that we did not trust one another, so it made working with him a fight every time, and the incident just clinched my thoughts that it was not going to work out. I have had one other horse that I didn’t trust, and she also wound up being dangerous. So I decided that life’s too short, I only have so much money and so much time, and I want to spend it with a horse that I can trust and that I have a good relationship with.

I think if you are nervous, she will definitely pick up on that. Mustangs especially can be very sensitive to human emotion – it makes them awesome horses, but it may be that she needs a more confident handler for a while. Have you considered taking lessons on a more trustworthy horse for a while to build up your confidence? You could lease her out to someone with a bit more confidence in terms of riding young, green horses, and it may just be that she needs that extra bit of time and consistency. If you otherwise get along with her and she’s got a great temperament otherwise, I think it’s worth working on.
 

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I had to make a similar decision six months ago. I had a beautiful gelding who I had put over four years of work into, but we didn't click and, after a serious accident that was not his fault, what little trust I had for him shattered. It was me, not him, but I just couldn't relax around him anymore and he fed off of that. He now has a wonderful new forever home and a job he loves. It took me a long time to let go, way too long. The accident was two years ago. But I finally realized that I wasn't being fair to him. We were both miserable and we just weren't meant for each other. Fortunately I already had a beautiful mare who I get along fabulously with to help me pick up the pieces from that. So take heart, there is hope.

You sound like you know what you need. You also sound like you've made up your mind but just aren't ready to face it yet. It will be hard, but it's for the best. Do not hang on like I did and end up with a shattered spine. Trust me, it's not fun and I am very lucky to be walking, much less riding. The right horse is out there for you somewhere. :hug:
 
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