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View Full Version : Should I buy a horse that rushes?



eleanor rigby
May. 11, 2010, 05:30 PM
I'm in the market for a horse that I can take to local 'C' h/j shows in equitation, with the occasional 'A' to push myself. I also like to do lower-level dressage.

A friend of my trainer's is selling her horse and I've tried her out a couple of times. She's a young-ish, good looking, sweet TB. She moves very well, and supposedly did very well in a few local 'C' h/j and dressage schooling shows last summer. She hasn't been worked much in the last several months so she needs some conditioning work. She also leans on her inside shoulder and has terrible balance. And, probably as a result of this, she rushes jumps. Very badly. She's like a freight train. I can quickly regain control after the jump, but it's not fun.

If I buy her, I will likely stop jumping until we can get the straightness, balance and engagement under control. I would also have the usual checks - chiropractor, farrier, saddle fitting, etc. She's already passed a vet check with flying colors.

But, I'm wondering whether I should even try. What if she doesn't stop rushing? How can I tell if she will likely stop rushing once we have nailed the flat work? Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of investing a lot of time with her before I need to decide whether to buy.

JustJump
May. 11, 2010, 05:40 PM
There is no upside. No.

HRF Second Chance
May. 11, 2010, 05:41 PM
Pass. I just spent a year trying to work on a horse who rushed and invested thousands into to trying to figure out why. Saddles, x-rays, trainers, supplements, the gamit. Turns out I just really think the horse didn't want to jump period.

rumblepony
May. 11, 2010, 05:43 PM
IMO, it all depends on your experience, how much time you're willing to put into the mare, and what you really expect to get out of her. How does her price compare to the price of a more experienced horse?

The last horse I leased had a terrible rushing problem, and I leased him knowing that I would be working with him for a good bit of time before going to shows, which was fine with me. Rushing isn't even close to an unmanageable problem, it just requires consistent ground and pole work, and often a good trainer.

Honestly consider your situation, and if you know that you want to start showing this season, you may want to keep looking. If not she sounds like a great horse, that you could benefit from working with and training

Rhyadawn
May. 11, 2010, 05:54 PM
I would pass. Rushing has never been something I've had tons of sucess with, especially when we start increasing height. It might be "fixed" at the low levels, but increase a couple inches.. look out! Game on all over again.

eleanor rigby
May. 11, 2010, 05:59 PM
Ugh. You all are telling what I was afraid to hear. I think my gut has been telling me to pass but she's a hard one to let go.

Her price is pretty good, but not great. I don't really care about showing this season. I have a long-term perspective with my next purchase. I'm willing to put in the work, I have a lot of experience, and I have a good trainer. I just don't want to get into a situation like HRF mentioned - spending a lot of time and money to force the horse to do something she doesn't really want to do.

I wish I had crystal ball (or maybe an animal communicator) to tell me whether hard work will make a difference.

Thanks for the advice!

mALTed
May. 11, 2010, 06:17 PM
In normal circumstances, I wouldn't.

I think I'm the exception to the rule.

I bought my horse without riding, vetting, or seeing him. I knew him a couple years before and my friend bought him and moved out of state. They were getting rid of him and I knew that he was going to be 'something', so I went and picked him up. He's a FABULOUS mover, FABULOUS form over fences, but he was rushing terribly. He, too, was a freight train. We went back to basics (poles and transitions), then worked our way up. We also got his hocks injected. I can now almost loop my reins around a course in a matter of..7 months? Got him in October. Basically I can jump a course and be in the ribbons now, whereas I couldn't take him to a show and do ONE fence without, you know, steeplechasing lol. It was all bad training, confusion, trust issues, and hocks, I'm sure.

I think you really have to see what's in the horse, understand the horse..maybe know a bit about its background, and have a trainer who believes in the horse.

Case by case I guess. I'd trust your gut instinct though.

Spud&Saf
May. 11, 2010, 06:17 PM
Sounds like a case for Swami Rabbit aka Tidy Rabbit.

Maybe she and her psychic powers can chime in here :D .

Midge
May. 11, 2010, 06:34 PM
No.

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 11, 2010, 06:46 PM
I once bought a 4' type that rushed. Bought him because he was only $2,500 (um, there was a red flag!), good mover, beautiful, and I thought I needed something that "talented" (I was then jumping about 2'6"-2'9").

*sigh*

It took 6 months, but he got over the rushing. Literally back-to-basics flat work and poles on the ground. He was still hot though, and ended up being too much horse for an adult ammie working 50+ hrs a week. My trainer got paid for a lot of rides...he needed to be ridden about 5 times a week.

Now I wish I could have him back at times, but he was not the right horse for me when I owned him. I also agree with Rhyadawn--when you increase the difficulty you often get to retrain the rushing at each little increase too.

There are more horses out there.

whbar158
May. 11, 2010, 06:48 PM
It is so hard to say without seeing or feeling it. My horse use to rush pretty badly, mostly just build speed, not the scooting rush. Then again he was a former gaming horse, so he thought he was suppose to do it fast and it was some weird new game. I have dealt with others by cantering towards the jump then trotting when straight. This works best with ones that want to build more so than the flighty quick ones that rush just before the jump then come back quickly.

I guess my main question would be does the horse see eager about jumping or rushing to get it over with quickly? The later I would pass because either there is pain or they don't want to be jumping. The first is much easier to deal with.

lindsay.anne
May. 11, 2010, 09:10 PM
I can quickly regain control after the jump, but it's not fun.


There's your answer. Dont buy a horse that you already dont enjoy fully !

Lucassb
May. 11, 2010, 09:41 PM
My rule for buying horses is simple...I only buy the horse if I would be happy with him the way he is on the day I try him. In other words, I want to be able to live with the horse if it never improves even 1%.

You may well be able to improve this horse, but then again you may not. If it does not stop rushing (and you say it's not much fun to ride the way it is now...) what will you do? Are you ok with keeping one that always rushes? If not, are you OK with the prospect of having to sell it, perhaps at a loss?

Personally I would never buy one that I didn't think was fun to ride. They don't have to be perfect, of course... but they should at least be enjoyable.

Way too many nice horses out there that are happy to do that job to fool with one that doesn't. I'd pass.

watcher
May. 11, 2010, 10:41 PM
Pass. It's usually "fixable", but usually not much fun either. I prefer to enjoy my rides...

onelanerode
May. 11, 2010, 10:51 PM
In a word? No.

Why? Because you'll more often than not find issues you have to deal with after you buy a horse that weren't apparent when you did an evaluation/PPE, whether these are soundness or training related. Why start out with a big problem whose origin you aren't sure of?

If it's already not fun to deal with the horse's rushing now, it will almost certainly only get worse before it gets better. That's some Murphy's law of horse ownership, IIRC. :(

I like what Lucassb said: buy the horse if you're happy with her *right now* ... even if she never got any better. That's a good outlook.

tidy rabbit
May. 11, 2010, 11:02 PM
Sounds like a case for Swami Rabbit aka Tidy Rabbit.

Maybe she and her psychic powers can chime in here :D .

I have nothing to offer, I just found out that my horse who has always been a difficult ride for the SEVEN years I've owned him, just loves a Hackamore. I mean LOVES it. Is completely rideable to any fence. Weird. Who knew?

He's also had a bad back, but now that is fixed (has been fixed for a couple years now) and it was still difficult to jump him. Put him in a myler Hackamore and presto-changeo, I got a new horse.

My advice would be don't buy one that you think you need to FIX. A green one you need to train is completely different than one you need to fix.

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 12, 2010, 12:10 AM
My rule for buying horses is simple...I only buy the horse if I would be happy with him the way he is on the day I try him. In other words, I want to be able to live with the horse if it never improves even 1%.


Excellent advice.

Long Spot
May. 12, 2010, 12:14 AM
There's your answer. Dont buy a horse that you already dont enjoy fully !

Read this a few times. It's chock full o' wisdom.

Personal Champ
May. 12, 2010, 09:22 AM
I personally will take just about anything on. I like a challenge and find that I really tend to click with the more difficult, hotter types.

However, I do agree wholeheartedly with the other posters who are advising you to pass. I have a student, I have posted about her horse here before, who bought what we thought to be a really quiet, but green mare. Passed vet/bloods with flying colors. Has turned into a major rusher at the canter/while jumping. We are finally making progress, but the kid has not been having much fun - she is just really dedicated and loves the horse, so is willing to try like hell. But the last year or so has not been enjoyable by any means for her.

KBEquine
May. 12, 2010, 09:34 AM
My rule for buying horses is simple...I only buy the horse if I would be happy with him the way he is on the day I try him. In other words, I want to be able to live with the horse if it never improves even 1%.


Yeah. Good advice or buying horses & picking a spouse . . .

eleanor rigby
May. 12, 2010, 10:21 AM
All very good advice! Thank you so much.

I should say that she is fun to ride on the flat, but that’s not the problem. I'm riding her again tonight and I'm having my ride videotaped, so that may help me evaluate. I'm also going to have discussions with some people who have known her to find out if the rushing is a new problem or an old one. I think those conversations will be very revealing.

Looks like I am likely back in the market.

Gry2Yng
May. 12, 2010, 11:43 AM
Not only is a rusher "not fun", if it is the only horse you ride, like a stopper, it can change the way you ride. The one I have (retired now he's 28) was never totally fixed, but he became fun and he always went to the base, but it took me a long time to "unlearn" his ride.

RougeEmpire
May. 12, 2010, 11:49 AM
There are to many nice horses in the world to throw your money away on a young horse with issues. The market is low so good young healthy horses (even some with training!) can be bought for pocket change. Keep looking you will find a better horse. :)

RugBug
May. 12, 2010, 01:01 PM
Well, my new horse rushes...but it's 100% me. He didn't rush with his previous owner, he doesn't do it with my trainer. I am re-learning how to ride him. He's a very quiet TB but he is sensitive. When I stay quiet and out of his way, we're golden. When I get stiff and handsy, he rushes. I've really enjoyed the mental aspect of building exercises for us, taking a step by step approach, etc...but I would prefer not to have to go through this learning curve. Would I have bought him if I had known it would be such a long road? Maybe not. But he is a nice horse, I do enjoy riding him, and I know we'll get it figured out. He was purchased as an interim horse for a couple years, so I don't feel like it will be a waste. I'm learning a lot, and he's giving me confidence in other areas where my WB wrecked me.

I guess that's the long way of saying: if the horse is a known rusher and does it with everyone, walk away. If it's something about you...maybe buy her...but only if you really want to put the work in and all the other factors about her add up.

Catalina
May. 12, 2010, 01:49 PM
I have owned two serious rushers, one was so bad that he would catapult at the jump at 500 mph no matter what I did and no matter how severe the bit in his mouth was. He never stopped, but he would just careen around almost out of control. He, too, was a blast on the flat (nice and quiet). I eventually sold him when I got pregnant.
The other rusher, unlike the first one, had a stop in him, so in order to make sure he jumped, I would have to ride the %^& out of him, which turned into rushing. He was an easy fix once I started riding him correctly and he eventually would canter around on a loose rein.
My point is, it depends on what type of rusher she is. Are you unintentionally causing it? Or is the horse just insanely running at the jumps? The latter, as others have said, could be due to any number of things: fear, anxiety, pain, too much grain, etc. I'd pass if that was the case.

Hunter Mom
May. 12, 2010, 01:51 PM
. And, probably as a result of this, she rushes jumps. Very badly. She's like a freight train. I can quickly regain control after the jump, but it's not fun.


If she isn't fun, why would you? I ride to get away from all the stress in life - riding a horse I don't enjoy wouldn't be a good fit.

I say PASS!

kellyb
May. 12, 2010, 03:06 PM
I have nothing to offer, I just found out that my horse who has always been a difficult ride for the SEVEN years I've owned him, just loves a Hackamore. I mean LOVES it. Is completely rideable to any fence. Weird. Who knew?


Please elaborate, my dear. What was difficult about him? How did the hackamore change things? Now you've got the wheels turning, I kinda want to throw a hackamore on my guy for the heck of it.

To the OP...I'd probably pass. I bought a rusher and here I am a year later, with a semi-rusher, LOL. I would rather have a stopper than a rusher if that tells you anything. When I got my gelding he was batshit crazy about jumping. If you even went in the direction of a jump he would 'lock on', throw up his head and gallop balls to the wall to it before you even knew what was going on. Even cross rails!! GROUND POLES!!!

He's also 12, so he'd been doing it a looooong time before he met me. The first 4 months we ONLY flatted. Then introduced ground poles (yes, horse, you must take them as another stride, not gallop and pounce over them like they are 4'). Then I put together every gymnastic combination I could think of, read a lot of books and utilized their exercises, and now just finally we are making progress.

The bummer thing is that he will always revert to that, if he gets panicky/anxious, that's what he does. So I have a feeling it will always be there, though hopefully I will see less of it in the future.

I 100% would NOT do it again, no matter how nice or cheap the horse is. But then again I am a working ammy so take that with a grain of salt. If I was a magickal jumper trainer, maybe. :D

dab
May. 12, 2010, 04:53 PM
The rushing could be the result of the balance issue, so might fix itself with a little work -- But, why buy a problem?

tidy rabbit
May. 12, 2010, 07:51 PM
Please elaborate, my dear. What was difficult about him? How did the hackamore change things? Now you've got the wheels turning, I kinda want to throw a hackamore on my guy for the heck of it.

He's always been really hard to bit. Nothing ever seems to suit him. I have tried everything imaginable, including a combination bit. I have gone from a regular loose ring snaffle, to a myler, to a 3 ring french link, to a loose ring french link, to ..... it just goes on and on.

He does 2 things with a bit... 1) he roots.
2) he flings his head in the air

He gets emotionally hijacked and then just becomes difficult to ride: he will have rails where he shouldn't, he will pull you past the distance or leave really long. Just super hard to ride.

Put a myler hackamore on him last week and every ride gets better and better. He's so well schooled on the flat in a bit, the hackamore makes him WAY more rideable. He never gets upset. No more unexpected head flinging or rooting. Now I sort of feel bad, thinking of all the time he could have been happy had I just tried it sooner. :(

So it will be interesting to see how he comes along this summer in the hackamore.

imapepper
May. 12, 2010, 08:08 PM
I have nothing to offer, I just found out that my horse who has always been a difficult ride for the SEVEN years I've owned him, just loves a Hackamore. I mean LOVES it. Is completely rideable to any fence. Weird. Who knew?

I actually had a couple that a hackamore cured the rushing problem. I don't like doing my flatwork with a hackamore but I can think of a few horses that went from freight trains to loping around a course like a children's hunter. It's always worth a try :)

But to the OP.....I wouldn't buy that problem on purpose. I don't mind it myself but it really messes with your ride if you are an adult ammy and don't get to school other types to keep your riding solid. As someone else mentioned, when you have one that is unconventional, it's easy to pick up that ride and hard to stop riding that way. I have that problem myself with my current horse. When I go and actually take a lesson on something "nice", I have a tough time adjusting my ride from uber hot to ummm normal. There are too many nice cheap horses to buy a problem unless you are absolutely in love :)

Florida Fan
May. 12, 2010, 08:11 PM
There's your answer. Dont buy a horse that you already dont enjoy fully !

Too many out there that do not rush.

Gry2Yng
May. 12, 2010, 09:59 PM
Now I sort of feel bad, thinking of all the time he could have been happy had I just tried it sooner. :(

So it will be interesting to see how he comes along this summer in the hackamore.

I know you know this logically, but don't beat yourself up. You kept trying where others might have given up. Pat yourself on the back. :) A hackamore might have worked for my old man, I never thought to try it. A waterford made a big difference, but he was never soft or lopey.