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usernameunkown
Feb. 26, 2012, 11:40 AM
I have been spending the winter determining what the future holds for my horse and me.

Horse is fun to ride. 6 year old OTTB. Is green-ish, challenges me, and is fantastically athletic. I have been riding my entire life so I appreciate riding a horse that is a little bit sassy under saddle. I really enjoy riding him on the flat, over fences, and down the trails at the forest preserve. Our potential will be limited by my skills and ambition rather than by his abilities. I have owned him for two years.

His negatives are that he has lousy manners on the ground. Kicks out, nips, crowds, etc. I am not posting this thread for suggestions on how to manage his behaviors. I am an adult and am under the supervision of a qualified trainer.

These behaviors make him rather "unloveable" in the way that many nice, quiet horses can be. I respect him. I enjoy riding him. I can safely manage him and work around him as can the person who handles him daily, the vet, the farrier, trainer etc. Sometimes I jokingly compare him to a cactus or a porcupine - just by their nature they are hard to love. I am not suggesting that I want to hug his neck and kiss him on the nose and spend hours playing with his mane and tail - when I am talking about love here I am suggesting that I have few feelings of affection for him. I do like him though.

What do you think? Is it necessary to love your horse? Would you keep one that you enjoy riding but that you don't enjoy working with on the ground? Does anyone else out there own a horse that they don't love?

Angelico
Feb. 26, 2012, 11:59 AM
Take it from someone who works for a 50-70 horse operation, no it is not necessary to love your horse. It is necessary to respect and appreciate the animal, however. I personally don't get attatched to many horses, my main show horse and I are partners, not friends, we just don't click, but we both have a job to do. As long as the horse is happy and healthy, I don't think you have to "love" him.

yellowbritches
Feb. 26, 2012, 12:02 PM
I think this is such a personal thing. I have had horses in my life that were real a-holes to be around, but I have loved them to death because I respected their character, what made them THEM, and made SOME consessionsin dealing with them (obviously, they had to be safe, but there have been things I let slide for some of these guys). Given time, I find that these rather jerky horses learn to appreciate their human(s) who allow them to be themselves and become more open to being "buddies."

However, not everyone wants to deal with a jerk just because he's fun to ride, and I respect that. But it is a personal thing, and one you have to decide on your own what you can deal with in your horsey relationship.

For the record, while my horse isn't as bad as your guy, but he isn't a pet by a long shot. While he oozes character, it isn't the "omg! I'm soooo sweet and wonderful" kind. He makes faces and expresses his distaste for things (a lot of things) loudly and clearly. He can be a handful on the ground and under tack when not occupied sufficently. His vet refers to him as a "punk." He's not everyone's cup of tea, but I ADORE him. He is both an icredible ride and an incredible character....even if he is a punk!

JumpinBean17
Feb. 26, 2012, 12:06 PM
usernameunknown... I wish I had your problem... mine is reversed. I love my horse he is a giant puppy dog, and I have never been around a more talented atheltic animal... but I am not sure him and I click under saddle... he is the first horse I have owned that I wonder if he just might be too much horse for me. Add spooky to his talent/athleticism and wowza!
He is completely made for a show program with pro rides sprinkled in but at the moment I have a new full time job and zero $$... I am also planning a wedding and kids aren't too far off in the future (weird? haha) so I wonder... will I ever have the lifestyle to support this kind of horse? BUT MAN CAN HE MOVE/JUMP! So do I suck it up and make it work, find a great trainer and figure it out... or understand that I could be wasting his amazing talent and try and sell and find something else...?
It's getting to the point where riding him isn't fun anymore.

yellowbritches
Feb. 26, 2012, 12:24 PM
Take it from someone who works for a 50-70 horse operation, no it is not necessary to love your horse. It is necessary to respect and appreciate the animal, however. I personally don't get attatched to many horses, my main show horse and I are partners, not friends, we just don't click, but we both have a job to do. As long as the horse is happy and healthy, I don't think you have to "love" him.

I think the difference is being a pro and being an ammy, especially a one horse ammy (I actually do work in the industry, and most of the a-holes I have gotten on with horses I groomed and cared for). Some people really want to feel bonded to their horses and love them. That's why I think it is such a personal thing. If someone feels they are missing something in their horse relationship because their horse isn't sweet, friendly, and cuddly (despite being a fun ride), then I think it is fine and understandable to want to find something that suits you in ALL aspects. But, if someone can respect the horse for who is and is ok with missing that little snuggle at the end of the day, then that's good, too. :yes:

As pros, yes, we have to respect all the horses we are asked to work with and deal with them. However, I personally have horses that I really bond with in my care, horses that I respect for who they are, and horses who just grate on my nerves (usually the spoiled "pet" horse who is "so sweet" that they are allowed to do whatever the hell they want!).

Big_Grey_hunter
Feb. 26, 2012, 12:35 PM
I think this is such a personal thing. I have had horses in my life that were real a-holes to be around, but I have loved them to death because I respected their character, what made them THEM, and made SOME consessionsin dealing with them (obviously, they had to be safe, but there have been things I let slide for some of these guys). Given time, I find that these rather jerky horses learn to appreciate their human(s) who allow them to be themselves and become more open to being "buddies."

However, not everyone wants to deal with a jerk just because he's fun to ride, and I respect that. But it is a personal thing, and one you have to decide on your own what you can deal with in your horsey relationship.

This. My favorite horse is a complete a-hole. He's rude, pissy, herd bound, and has a wicked sense of humor. But I absolutely adore him. He's not big into cuddles, but we've become quite close over the last two years since I bought him. He perks his ears up when he sees me, followed by trying to smack me in the face with his tail, threatening to kick, or some other nonsense.

alterhorse
Feb. 26, 2012, 12:56 PM
What do you think? Is it necessary to love your horse? Would you keep one that you enjoy riding but that you don't enjoy working with on the ground? Does anyone else out there own a horse that they don't love?

Because you're asking a specific question about only horses that might be considered as "your horse", I'll leave out the concept of having a love for horses in general.

For me personally, all of the horses that were in any way "my horses" at some point, were loved. Some were like the horse you have now, and seemed to have zero interest in any type of interaction that we think of as affection.

One pony in particular was such a trouble maker, that we eventually decided to give him away because he was just too destructive, and took too much time to manage him.

But did I love that pony? I'd have to say yes, but not as much as I do certain other horses. The pony had no interest in being affectionate, but he still had a likable personality. So I did my best to find him the perfect home with a good friend who I knew could give him a job that would provide him with the best life possible.

The last time I visited that pony he was still not affectionate, but he was surrounded by many children that truly loved him for who he was. When I said hello to him I got this sense that he was profoundly happy, what I call a horse smiling with their eyes. I said to him "I told you I loved you, I found you the best home, didn't I".

So yes, I think every horse probably enjoys the benefits of care from being truly loved by someone, even if they never seem to reciprocate that feeling in ways "we" might desire.

Another horse I had was a business only type, he was extremely well behaved, but was also extremely head shy, and only after getting to know him after several year did I earn his trust to pet him on the nose. That meant so much to me that he allowed to do that.

When he finally had to be put down, I kept bursting into spontaneous tears for quite awhile afterwards, so I guess I must have loved him.

Fharoah
Feb. 26, 2012, 01:02 PM
I used to own fancy grinch. He actually had a good heart but his mom was a grinch so he was a grinch. He would lounge at me, bite me. He once nailed me leading him into the ring an we ended up ridding in a flash nose band. He was lovely undersaddle, trainer adored him but I just was not in love with him. So I sold him to a girl in the barn whom adores him. To this day he is a grinch, but his family loves him and he will stay with her forever.

Now the next horse I bought did not have a mean bone in his body, and I am in love with him and will never give him up.

Lucassb
Feb. 26, 2012, 01:20 PM
If I had a talented horse that I loved undersaddle but found difficult to manage on the ground... I think I would take a real run at correcting the behaviors I didn't like (send to a cowboy or whatever.) From the OP, I assume that might already have been tried, and the horse is what he is.

I personally don't think I would keep a horse that was a complete PITA on the ground, even though I am pretty competent. As am amateur adult, I really enjoy having a horse that is easy and pleasant to work around, and being able to hang out with my horse in a relaxed fashion is as much a part of the fun as the riding portion of the equation.

horsetales
Feb. 26, 2012, 01:22 PM
I have a retired OTTB that has never been a "pet" He never came to me in the field and would wait for me to get him. he has never been a snuggler or one to seek human attention. he was a safe, fun ride that would give 100%, 100% of the time and for that I owe him a debt of gratitude, so he is now retired in my fields and will never have another home. So I would say no, you don't have to love or gush over them, but you should be committed to their health and well being

MySuperExAlter
Feb. 26, 2012, 01:34 PM
My first horse I absolutely adore and I will never ever ever give him up. He is a big dog on the ground and perfect u/s. He is an all around gentleman and a barn favorite. I love him to death..

My second horse is very lovable on the ground as well, pretty much a gentleman u/s too, but he is a sale horse. I don't allow myself to get attached to him.

I have ridden horses that I do not love, but I respect. I don't think love is necessary at all when owning a horse, but I think it depends on the person. I'm not you, so I cannot answer that question for you.

englishcowgirl
Feb. 26, 2012, 01:41 PM
You are saying you don't "love" your horse because of his poor ground manners. Then put on your big girl panties and train him. He is young and green and off the track, he will have issues that need to be worked out. This is a horse not a dog, no need to be all hurt if it has behaviors that offend you. It takes more than a year to bond with a horse anyway, not an instant thing and a LOT of work with some of them. If you don't enjoy him sell him, end of story.

Equilibrium
Feb. 26, 2012, 02:02 PM
I get what the OP says. I actually never owned a horse til I was 32 but galloped at the track. I loved many horses and always had that stupid little girl fairytale in the back of my head for when I owned mine. Let's just say when you do all the work yourself, raise your own, ect, I personally love all mine to bits. But I did learn quickly that love was mostly a one way street on my part. I have lovely horses and some can have lovey moments but they are horses. They are not pets. They work for me and try for me. I do not expect the magic bonding which everyone seemingly thinks you need nowadays to accomplish anything. I also think people tend to "make up" just how much a bond they have with their horse or horses and then we question ourselves.

All these people with the "I'm the only one who can ride, handle, manage my horse". Well from what I've seen it does horses no favors to be treated as such and I'm much more proud if I've bred and raised horses that can get along in the world with different people of varying levels and still be good competition horses.

I'm saying all this because I think as of late we are being led to believe if we don't have that magic bond maybe something is wrong. Maybe that's what you are questioning? Don't know.

Terri

spacytracy
Feb. 26, 2012, 02:05 PM
I need something to love. That's just me. I think because I don't need a super talented horse, that something that can carry me around safely and get the job done is fine for me, I expect that a puppy dog personality to go with it. In fact, its a huge turnoff to have a horse that's a PITA, is grouchy, or any behavioral habits. I mean, mine all have their quirks. But being sweet and kind on the ground is definitely high up there on my list of needs.

alto
Feb. 26, 2012, 02:21 PM
Horse is fun to ride. 6 year old OTTB. Is green-ish, challenges me, and is fantastically athletic. I have owned him for two years.

His negatives are that he has lousy manners on the ground. Kicks out, nips, crowds, etc. I am not posting this thread for suggestions on how to manage his behaviors. I am an adult and am under the supervision of a qualified trainer.


:confused: why haven't these issues been sorted after 2 YEARS! :confused:

I don't expect a horse to be a pet but I do expect good manners on the ground & undersaddle.
I suspect that you will be happier if you either deal with your horse's lousy ground manners (as good as he may be u/s at the moment, I bet he gets even better) or sell him.

OTOH if you haven't treated him for ulcers, I'd try that for 4-6 weeks, then reassess his ground manners :)

(in one recent study, ~ 80% of TB's had some degree of ulcers - look up the "blue pop rocks" for a very economic Tx, if you prefer a paste, then try this company (http://www.horseprerace.com/canadian-omeprazole-paste-p-83.html) )

saddleup
Feb. 26, 2012, 03:18 PM
I completely understand her question. I have had that One In A Million horse. After he died I thought I'd feel it again with my next horses. I don't. I have great affection for my horses, but I accept that it probably won't ever happen again. That's okay. I like the three I have now, have good partnerships with them.

It's enough for me now.

That said, I wouldn't keep one that was touchy, irritating, threatening or ill-behaved. Life's too short, too many nice horses out there.

CruisingforGold
Feb. 26, 2012, 04:28 PM
Such an interesting thread! I have nothing worthwhile to offer though, sorry. My bay horse could give a rat's ass if anyone showed him affection. And he's a rescue too! My mares, on the other hand - I do believe they like me, as they seem to know when I am at the barn and according to my friend, who is the barn owner - they look for me when I am not around.

HobbyHorse101
Feb. 26, 2012, 04:38 PM
It really is personal preference, I have eight and love three, the others have my respect & adoration but I can't play with them or "love" on them like the other three. On a side note my mare was rude pushy, and generally rotten but now has come around and is my ridiculously talented & very sweet hunter.

TheHorseProblem
Feb. 26, 2012, 04:57 PM
I think it depends on what you want out of horse ownership. I only have money and time for one horse, and I want that horse to also be a good pet. I owned one horse whose ground manners made me dislike him, and I kept him only 5 months before selling him along. I also refused to sell him to a teenager as her first horse because I knew it would only lead to tears. Now, maybe if he had been a fantastic riding horse, I would have given him more of a chance, but his attitude under saddle was similar: you want me to go? Okay, make me!

Life is too short.

So when I went looking for another horse, I specifically looked for a horse that would make a nice pet, that I could hand walk and graze and love up all I wanted. This is also because I am older and not always fit to ride myself.

But I know plenty of people for whom this is a non-issue. One rider at the barn lost her 28 year old horse and mourned him deeply. Once I had walked by that horse's stall and his blanket was hanging half off him, so I started to go in and right it because it could be dangerous. Someone saw me and shouted, "Don't go in there! He'll attack you." I was like, huh??? And sweet little old lady rides him every day? Well, her only contact with the horse was when the groom helped her mount and dismount, and under saddle, he was a dream. So go figure.

Janet
Feb. 26, 2012, 04:59 PM
It depends on why you have horses in the first place.

usernameunkown
Feb. 26, 2012, 05:36 PM
Thank you everyone for your kind - and if not kind, at least frank - comments and responses. All of you have provided me some food for thought.

Angelico - I like your idea of being partners and that we both have a job to do. The job we do gets done so that's a plus. We get along well under saddle - I would probably have less angst if we didn't get along at all!

Yellowbritches - Good to know others have dealt with a-holes too! This horse does have "character" and has endearing qualities. And he is young so likely will mature along the way, too.

JumpinBean17 - One thing that helps me to stay sane which I read here on this board is to remember that the horse doesn't care if you are wasting his talent. He probably doesn't even know what his talent is. I empathize for your situation. This isn't easy!

alterhorse - something makes me think that deep down inside I might like my jerk more than I even am willing to acknowledge...hmmm...

Lucassb - horse did come from a cowboy (the real, rodeo and ropes kind)

englishcowgirl -my panties are probably bigger than yours - and I mean that literally :) My post was not asking for suggestions on training, re-training or working on his vices but thank you for the suggestion. My question was more general in nature - Do other members on the board think that love is a necessary component of their interactions with their horse(s)?

Equilibrium - great insights. I am of the camp that relationships with horses are certainly different than with dogs, family pets, children, etc. I agree with you that the people who are proud of being the "only" ones who can manage their dogs, horses, whatever are doing them a huge disservice. You have given me something to think about though - maybe I am looking for something that is only in the movies.

alto - I do think there are factors that are playing into his vices. Ulcers may be one of them. Good idea. I agree with you - for me, horses are not pets.

saddleup - after reading through all of the responses yours is the one that rings the loudest with me. Three years ago I put down my first horse that I had owned for 20 years. He was my everything as many first horses can be. I think you see the real question I am asking.

Perhaps every horse that comes into ones life takes a different spot and is appreciated in a different way. Childhood horse was a loveable, even-tempered, quarter horse. Current horse is not. Maybe that is the short answer to my question. Appreciate the ones you have for what they bring to the table....and as others have suggested, if it doesn't work for you, for whatever reason, find a good buyer for them where there is a better fit and move on.

Thanks everyone. It is an interesting, philosophical question to consider.

RAyers
Feb. 26, 2012, 05:46 PM
First, consider the true definition of "amateur." It means "love of." Every one of my horses have been total jackasses on the ground for a variety of reasons. I love all of them. To me, to be competitive at the highest levels as an amateur you have to have more than a "partnership" where each has a task. You have to be at a point of complete, implicit trust in each other. And on the human side that comes from loving your horse.

From my experiences, a rider who loves their horse will beat an equivalent pair but the rider only sees their horse as there for the job. It has let me run against some of the best riders in the world.

P.S.: I am writing this from the pen of my super greenie while he is tossing his hay everywhere and making a general mess of things. Love him!

bits619
Feb. 26, 2012, 05:48 PM
Give me long enough (6 months, a year?) And I'll love any dang horse that doesn't try to decapitate me. Bonus points awarded exponentially for a horse who takes care of me while riding or can take a joke with a minimum of hatred for his rider.


I'm probably not the best example, because I really am a sap for horses, but so long as they don't try to kill me under saddle, I'm probably going to love any horse. To me, behavior under saddle is more important than on the ground. If I fear for our lives and doubt the mental functioning of the 1000lb beast under me... Love may be harder to come by.
There have only been two or three horses that I really, really disliked- years ago as a preteen, and they were touchy sensitive mares. Probably if I rode a similar horse now, id have a better skill set (including maturity and coordination) not to entirely enrage the animal, and we'd get along better. As easily swayed as I am, I'd probably come to love that horse, too.

That 'sucker' stamp across my forehead?? Yeah, I see it.

Western
Feb. 26, 2012, 06:03 PM
I believe that love is one third of the equation: Love, Language, Leadership, in three equal parts.

When one finds oneself in the "paralysis of analysis" or operating from the intellect/one's store of knowledge, the words, "A horse doesn't care how much you know till he knows how much you care," might be helpful to recall.

horserider12
Feb. 26, 2012, 06:54 PM
interesting question. I can honestly say out of the hundreds of horses I have owned over the years I have truly loved two. One was a plain chestnut school horse mare who came to me as a barrel racer and went on to teach little kids to canter and jump. She was beautiful inside, the sweetest kindest animal i've ever known and I cried like a baby when we put her down at age 30. The other was my horse of a lifetime in some ways. I bought a young colt in europe, brought him herer at 2, broke him and dealt with stallion antics for the first few years as I showed him on the line. He was the most amazing horse to ride, never spooky, so easy to train and loved to jump. He was a complete ass on the ground. He won his first 7 classes he ever went in in the young jumpers and went on to win in wellington last year. Then I had to put him down and I don't think i'll ever get over it. I truly loved that animal for some reason. I do tend to get attatched to the ones I have to work hard on though, and get bored with them when they are easy and sell them. This one was never for sale and I said that from the start. I now have a new young jumper who is the sweetest most talented animal. I have no feelings for him whatsoever even when riding him. He's just a horse. But he is not for sale and we will see if he can go the distance.

Crown Royal
Feb. 26, 2012, 07:21 PM
The horses I own and end up working the best with (having a great partnership), I do really love. I'll give examples of a few of my horses.

My first pony has TONS of personality, can kind of be a troublemaker (I mean, he is a pony), can be obnoxious and a little mouthy, but can also be cuddly. I do love that pony for everything he is and we have a great relationship both under saddle and on the ground. Because I love him so much, I could not sell him.

My second pony I did not pick out and would not have bought him myself (my mom got him for herself and he did not work out). He did not have a good life before he came to us and is a nervous sort that really just wants to be obidient. He is very very sweet, calls out to you when he sees you coming, but doesn't have a super outgoing personality (probably partially because of his abuse and neglect). We worked very well together under saddle and I like him just fine, but I'm not really in love with how his personality is though...he's just not really my type, if that makes sense. If I knew he could have a good future elsewhere, I might be okay with selling him, but he's older, semi-retired and just mega-sensitive and a difficult ride so he's here for life.

My first horse (who I still have and compete) is not the type most would get along with under saddle or on the ground. :lol: He seems quite reserved at first, but his personality comes out once you get to know him well. He doesn't like his nose touched, hates being groomed, he doesn't really care to be hugged or have his ears fooled with, and he rarely comes up to you in the field unless it's feeding time. He does not do anything nasty on the ground (not that I would allow it) but is mostly grumpy. He does like my attention though when we are waiting around at horseshows or I'm just sitting in the stall with him. Under saddle, he is sensitive and a hard ride but definitely trusts me which makes it easier. It took me around 3 years before I really bonded with him though. At first I didn't think I'd really love him but just got along with him, but now I do and could not sell him. I'm too attached to even lease him. :lol:

My next horse I just recently purchased as a resale project. He has SO much personality and everyone that has met him immediately takes to him. He's so loveable. Loves to be rubbed on, is the first one to come up to you, likes to "give kisses", just very very sweet, quiet, and easy. He's an amateur's dream- it's more difficult to not fall in love with him. I'm trying very hard to remember he's a training project, but I love everything about him.


So no, you don't have to love your own horse (assuming this horse is your main ride). If you have it just to ride and enjoy under saddle and you work well with it under saddle, then that's fine. I've had horses where that's about as deep as our partnership goes. But for me, I like to be able to love everything about the horse if I want a long partnership with it (both riding/showing and on the ground). Does that make sense? It's really quite personal for each person. There are plenty of people that have a couple horses for different purposes. That one horse that may not be taking them up the levels competitively, but that they get along with so well and keep just so they can spend time with it and trail ride. And another that they purchased because it was appropriate competitively- maybe it's a large pony they plan to use for a couple years and then sell, maybe it's a jumper that has the scope for the next level up. Whether they end up loving that horse's personality doesn't always matter to some people as long as they get along with it enough under saddle for it to serve it's purpose.

yellowbritches
Feb. 26, 2012, 07:22 PM
Just to be clear, I truly have loved some of the a-holes in my life. One of them, who I had really bonded with and felt like I "understood" him, was taken out of my life through very rough circumstances a few months ago. I miss a lot of the horses that I had to move away from, but I truly miss that horse, despite the fact that he is truly just a jerk. I loved him dearly, and got along with him well and knew how to coax out of him what his owner and even his trainer couldn't always get (we jokingly referred to it as his estrogen fix). I mentioned a few weeks ago to my farrier how much I missed that horse (he shod him while he was in my care). His response was "Why? He was such a jerk!" But he was MY jerk!! :lol:

I will admit to being drawn to that type of horse. I like them with attitudes and ego and even downright jerkiness...IF they get the job done. This is why I probably adore my horse so much. He's a punk and a jerk (he tried to bite somebody tonight who was being nice...he got a swat for that!), but he is great fun to ride, loves his job, and truly thrives on it. My last horse was a pet, and I did love him dearly and still miss him...but he hated the dressage aspect of his job, and most of our dressage rides ended with me in tears. :no: Of course, he did have a little bit of a wicked streak, too, and a huge ego. :cool:

Opus1
Feb. 26, 2012, 07:31 PM
Everyone keeps saying this, but it really is such a personal decision. Since coming back to riding a year ago, I've had the chance to ride several very different horses. Knowing that I'd want to lease/own eventually, I've been trying to figure out what kind of horse I'd like to own, qualities that were important to me, etc.

The main thing I learned is: I can love (be fond of?) just about anything that gives me a good ride, who's safe, not spooky, and does their job with minimum fuss. I rode two horses this past year who had sketchy ground manners at times and had a few quirks under saddle as well. Not many people enjoyed working with them, but I still think of them fondly at times.

Having something who has a sweet, goofy personality with no bad ground habits would be a big plus for me, but would not be a requirement. I think eventually, I'd like to have a 'buddy' I can dote on and all that, but for right now, I'm open to anything safe and sane.

Opus1
Feb. 26, 2012, 07:39 PM
He's an amateur's dream- it's more difficult to not fall in love with him. I'm trying very hard to remember he's a training project, but I love everything about him.

And where are you located?

:D

CBoylen
Feb. 26, 2012, 07:41 PM
I can't imagine owning a horse for two years and not feeling attached to it. Have you owned other horses? Other pets?
I happen to own a horse with dreadful manners and an unpredictable streak under tack. He spends his days plotting new ways to torment me, and I generally receive the same looks from bystanders as that mother you see in the supermarket with the two year old throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the produce section. But he's MINE, he makes me laugh every day, and even when he's horrible he manages to look adorable. I love him and would take up an axe in his defense. So I have a hard time understanding how love of a horse can be conditional on good behavior. Either this isn't a horse for you or owning horses isn't for you. Or, maybe it's not necessary for you personally to love a horse like a pet. But the fact that you're asking the question in the first place seems to indicate that you're feeling a lack.

usernameunkown
Feb. 26, 2012, 08:12 PM
I can't imagine owning a horse for two years and not feeling attached to it. Have you owned other horses? Other pets?
...So I have a hard time understanding how love of a horse can be conditional on good behavior. Either this isn't a horse for you or owning horses isn't for you. Or, maybe it's not necessary for you personally to love a horse like a pet. But the fact that you're asking the question in the first place seems to indicate that you're feeling a lack.

Hi CBoylen,

You ask some great questions and I am in a philosophical mood which is why my original post was written. I feel as if I know myself pretty well - I have a 90 minute commute to and from work so that gives me lots of thinking time!

Yes, I have had wonderful, caring, loving relationships for both horses and dogs previously (and cats and lizards and you-name-it). I am not one of those "the horse is a vehicle for me to win ribbons" type of person nor am I "this horse is my child that I could never have" type. We have both of those at my barn and they make me a little sick to my stomach. In fact, I work at the barn part time and see the whole gamut of relationships from "pony love" to "win me a ribbon or you are off to the sale barn." I have loved some of the schoolies so much that when they needed to retire I took them home and saw them out to their final day. They worked hard for me and others - I loved them and they deserved it. Yes, I do have the capacity to love horses deeply and honestly.

If I was going to be completely introspective I would suggest that since I lost my heart horse a few years ago (owned and loved for 20 years) and two dogs in the past 18 months perhaps my heart just needs some time to mend. Perhaps I am pushing it a bit too quickly. I do have a fondness for this horse and he is well-cared for and provided for. Actually, I LIKE him quite a bit but certainly not "take up an axe in his defense" type of feelings.

Which is why I posed the initial question: Is it necessary to love your horse? I am interested to hear others' thoughts on this and so far it seems there are feelings along the whole spectrum.

In a very "meaning of life" kind of way I think all horses are put in our path to teach us something about ourselves. I am trying to figure out what this guy is here to teach me.

Crown Royal
Feb. 26, 2012, 08:22 PM
And where are you located?

:D

Maryland. ;) He really is just a saint to deal with and he definietly kind of fell into my lap! In fact, tonight was his second time ever being around a pair of clippers and he stood completely still 95% of the time it took to body clip him. The other 5% he was holding his own lead rope and playing with it. :lol:

Irishrose261
Feb. 26, 2012, 08:44 PM
My first horse was my PET. I loved her, but she was not my ideal competitive partner.

My next horse was a great PARTNER but I didn't love her the way i did my first horse. after she died, i realized how much I missed that type of partnership.

I currently ride one now whom I LOVE on the ground as a pet and under saddle as a competition partner. If I am ever able to own again, I will seek out this type of relationship with the horse. Neither of the first two were bad situations, but both were less than ideal. Life's too short to not LOVE the time you spend with your horse.

Burbank
Feb. 26, 2012, 08:54 PM
ok here it goes, I like my horse, he is a cool dude, pretty mover pretty horse funny personality but he has some quirks and while he doesn't try to kill me he has some moments undersaddle, but I don't love him the way I have loved other horses
he is my first horse and selling him would not kill me but I am not trying to sell him but he is cool and a good guy but not my perfect match but we make it work

and I am ok with this, I know it but that doesn't keep me from some spoiling and chilling and enjoying him

like others said it all depends on you as and individual, for me if my horse is constantly trying to maim me, I really doubt that I would want to keep paying his bills

JumpingAddict93
Feb. 26, 2012, 08:55 PM
I have a hard time understanding... i havent connected with every single horse i have ridden...but still had a lot of emotion for them... i have ridden horses and just reeeeaaallly fell inlove with them... one ottb that ive been riding the second time i rode her we just really clicked.... i would say u have to love ur horse....you cant just like to ride him.... hes not ur co worker that u like to work with...hes ur horse he wants to please u even if he isnt the best on the ground... theres a horse for everyone to love

specialK
Feb. 26, 2012, 09:03 PM
I think horses come into our lives for reasons.... there is something that they will teach us if we can be open to that experience. I have a 12 mare that I got as an unbroken 2yo and have done all the work myself She is wonderfully forgiving and gives her all to me everytime we ride. As a parent of 5 children who works fulltime, she acted as a peace maker. I could always hang out and ride her and come back 100% calmer, more grounded and feeling good about life.
I have a coming 4yo mare who has just been started under saddle. She is tough...totally alpha but has the talent to back it all up. The horsetrader said it best 'she's nt afraid of much because hse thinks she is the most evil thing in the valley'. I want to love all over to her to build the relationshp or because that would meet my needs but I know that I can't do that with her.... at least not yet. I'm quite sure that this horse has come into my life to teach me to be consistent. I've always had huge issues with consistency but with her it is critical and a safety issue... She may just teach my the lesson I couldn't learn from parenting 5 kids. I am also leanring form her how to be calm and assertive at the same time. I am a very active person and this filly feeds off my energy level so I have to learn to bring it down. I am now in place that I can truly say that I do love her but it has taken 3 yrs to get to this point. I am hopeful that by paying my dues now and really making each of us tow the line that we have a magical relationship on the other side.
I am an eventer and I would have ot say one of the things I enjoy most about the sport is seeing the caring relationships eventers, in generl, have with their horses. This filly is as smart as they come. She is the kind of horse a rider wants on cross country. If I get her wrong, i hope and believe that she is the horse that will be able to get us out of it alright.
I will work hard to be the consistent leader that she needs and can trust.
I imagine that your horse has come into your life for a reason and that their are important life lessons that you can learn through your relationship with that particular horse.

bits619
Feb. 26, 2012, 09:06 PM
Maryland. ;) He really is just a saint to deal with and he definietly kind of fell into my lap! In fact, tonight was his second time ever being around a pair of clippers and he stood completely still 95% of the time it took to body clip him. The other 5% he was holding his own lead rope and playing with it. :lol:

Ahhh, adorable!!
The sweeties and goofballs sure make it easier to love them!!

The horse i loved in high school would always fiddle with brushes and lead ropes while I was grooming him. Fiddle fiddle fiddle, THROW it on the ground. Bob head. Pick brush back up. Fiddle fiddle fiddle. The whole time.

JumpItHighPie
Feb. 26, 2012, 09:11 PM
Is it necessary to love your horse?

If you have to even ask, I'd say in your case then, no.

Would you keep one that you enjoy riding but that you don't enjoy working with on the ground?

To me, these two go hand in hand. I would never find it acceptable to have a well behaved horse u/s but a terror or hassle on ground. There's a core piece of training missing somewhere in that puzzle.

Does anyone else out there own a horse that they don't love?

Nope.

Preposterous Ponies!
Feb. 26, 2012, 09:30 PM
I adore my horse. I tell my boyfriend every single day that "My horse is freaking awesome". I love everything about her - her grouchy mare moments, that she'll leave her grain to come see what I'm doing, the way she whinnies... My horse is perfect.

I didn't love her when I first got - she was my first horse and while I liked her, I bought her because she ticked the right boxes and wasn't a pain in the ass. It took me a couple months to really click, and only recently have I realised that I am head over heels in love with my mare.

I work with horses on a daily basis - I like them all. I even liked the stallion that tried to kick the crap out of you at every opportunity (he was a real cuddle muffin, deep down).

There are a handful of what I call lottery horses: If I won the lottery, I'd go to their owners and ask them to name their price. One of them is a chronically lame pony, another is a complete and utter nutcase who can lose it at the drop of a hat. But I LOVE those horses.

I don't think you HAVE to love your horse. As long as you enjoy your time at the barn and your horse gets well cared for, that's great. But it sure as heck feels great saying "My horse is freaking awesome" every single day.

War Admiral
Feb. 26, 2012, 10:04 PM
I'm going to be unusually honest b/c I've been sitting on this post for over a YEAR and I can't do it any more.

Is it necessary to love your horse in order to win with it? Clearly not; see my sig.

But that's not enough for me. As cute as he is, my horse and I are NOT a good emotional match. I've never had anything but TBs my whole life long, and trying to switch to another breed at the END of my life was a huge and horrible mistake. This horse is SO clingy and SO emotionally needy that he actually gets on my nerves. If he were a boyfriend, I'd break up with him; if he were a human, I'd suggest psychotherapy. This horse WANTS to belong to a kid, who worships the ground he walks on and wants {{{HUGGLES}}} all the time. I am not that person. I can't DO the doglike devotion thing. It crowds my space.

So, naturally, the horse in question has now suffered what may be a career-ending injury and I'm staring down the barrel of being stuck with him for literally the rest of my life. :dead: It takes EVERY ounce of discipline I have not to post him on Giveaways, it really does. But my last nerve gets EVER thinner - he bore down on it VERY hard today with his incessant shrieking every time I went back to the tack room for something, and frankly I'm not sure how long I can keep doing this...

AlyssaSpellman
Feb. 26, 2012, 10:58 PM
Maybe you just "love" your horse in a different way. I have the same kind of relationship with my three mares, but very different ones with my current gelding and the gelding I recently sold. I loved all of them to death, but in completely different ways.
There have been other horses that I have clicked with in the tack, and really loved riding.. however, if given the chance to not have to deal with them any other time (not that I was ever given the chance, being a working student) I'd take it in a heart beat, because I really didn't like them on the ground.

I don't feel like it's necessary to love your horse.. as others have said, I feel it's necessary to respect, care for, and have a good working relationship with him/her, which it sounds like you do.

I also wouldn't consider getting rid of a horse I worked well with in the saddle just because he had undesirable ground manners. My guy is a total jerk.. will bite and kick, expresses his (many) opinions, can't stand still for more than three seconds without pawing a hole through the floor, doesn't get along well with most other horses, gets pushy, knows he's 17hh and uses his height to his full ability. But he's an absolute dream to ride, and so talented with loads of potential. He's been more than I ever would've wished for, and I'm willing to deal with his attitude on the ground because of that.

paulaedwina
Feb. 26, 2012, 11:13 PM
LOL! I just spent a couple of hours with Fella today loving on him playing with his mane and tail! :lol: I love my horse. In the beginning I tried to force the relationship -go figure; I was as bad at making my horse relationship work as I am with humans :lol: I had to relax, settle down, and appreciate what I had. Now we're like partners in crime. He comes to me at the gate, he'll stand in the round pen for me to groom him. Heck today I boosted his strangles vaccine -that's intra-nasal with about a 4 inch cannula and he let me do it with a minimum of fuss.

I need to love my horse. He's the only one I have. I can't imagine not loving an animal of mine.

Paula

Mukluk
Feb. 26, 2012, 11:30 PM
I loved my very first horse. I am head over heels for the one I have now. That means I will never sell her because she is my most very special girl. I suppose if you work with lots of different horses you don't love them all or it is too emotionally difficult if it's a sale horse. But I am so happy to have my girl and to feel that we are truly a match made in heaven. I adore her.

fargaloo
Feb. 26, 2012, 11:33 PM
Interesting to read everyone's take on the question!

You ask if it's necessary to love your horse -- necessary for what?

The relationships between horses and people can be as varied as marriages. Lots of people around me have marriages that work for them but wouldn't work for me. My brother and SIL, after 30 years, can barely stand to be apart for a day. I'm going to be out of the country for fieldwork for 5 weeks and, while I will certainly miss my DH, it won't kill us to be apart. I certainly don't think we love each other less than my B & SIL love each other; just different.

I think the question you end up having to answer, with a horse or a human, is the old Ann Landers standard -- am I happier with him/her or without him/her ;)

leilatigress
Feb. 26, 2012, 11:39 PM
Simply no. More complicatedly sure. I LOVED my PITA mare with all that wide eyed wonder any horse crazy child can give. I love the little schoolmaster pony that gives my DD weekly lessons. But I respect the horses I get to deal with. Love makes people do radical things, me personally, I would rather respect than love.

SugarAndSpite
Feb. 27, 2012, 01:16 AM
I think it depends on if you love horses, or love horseback riding.

If you love horseback riding, I don't think it matters. Two of the most fun horses I've ever ridden had rank personalities, but were fantastic to ride. I've experienced owning a horse with a great personality and no talent, and if she had not had the personality she did, I would have sold her much sooner and saved myself lots of time and money. As long as you respect the horse and are committed to do right by them, I don't see why it has to be a problem.

On the other hand, if you're riding because you love horses, then there's no point in owning a horse you don't love.

ElisLove
Feb. 27, 2012, 01:31 AM
I need to love my horses, but I train all my horses to be well behaved in all situations, and I buy horses who are both athletic and well tempered.

Hauwse
Feb. 27, 2012, 07:07 AM
I love horses, always have, at the, I can sit on a fence all day long and just watch them do what horses do, level.

When I was younger, 10 or so, we had a horse come to the farm that was sick, and I took it upon myself to care and nurse him back to health, never considering much what that entailed, or if his condition was reversible. He died, Mom told me over breakfast, expecting some reaction, but I was so, so mad at him for up and dying that there was no way I was going to cry over him, I have leaked plenty of times since that, but I think that experience kind of shaped the way I look at loving horses.

Like someone stated it is a one way street, and I can love them as much as I want, does not mean they will reciprocate in any recognizable way, and I am fine with that as they are horses, and for me every time I get in the saddle and they do their job, instead of leveraging their considerable advantage over me, I figure that must amount to some type of reciprocation, and perhaps that is all one can really ask.

I do not mind however if a horse looks forward to seeing me beyond feeding time.

LittleblackMorgan
Feb. 27, 2012, 07:19 AM
I have a retired gelding I would move heaven and earth for. He's got the biggest heart, does whatever is asked of him no matter what. He can't jump anymore, he's little and can be a bucker undersaddle but I love him. He's a giant dog.

I have great respect for my mare-she's very very sweet and loves people, but she's too much horse for me under saddle, attitude wise. She shuts down and pouts or has a hissy fit. She's got the stuff to be upper level dressage.
I don't. I like her a lot and love her a little. The money to keep, feed train outfit and insure something that is "ok" to you (even though I should, by all rights, love her) is too much.
She's for sale so I can find something less pretty, less high strung. Less top blood lines and more brave. Gimme an ugly brave horse any day!

So yeah, for me it matters

TB7
Feb. 27, 2012, 09:24 AM
I tend to love horses with "attitude" problems. Maybe because I was around horses more than boys in high school I liked the "bad boys" of horses. My philosophy was I could be more stubborn than the horse and if they fought, I'd fight back. I'd play their game. (Probably not the best philosophy in hindsight considering the horse weighed about 10x more than I did)

Growing up, there was one grouchy lesson horse who liked to bite people, was stubborn, and poky. He, of course, was my favorite. Girls would compare bite marks in the barn - he bit one right on her back before prom and she had a big welt there and had to use a lot of makeup to cover it up. I liked him because he was a challenge and I thought he was "misunderstood". If you could make that horse stay at the canter longer than a lap, you could get any horse going. Our instructor said he really shouldn't have been a lesson horse - that he probably would have been better as a 1 person horse.

When the barn closed, my family took him. He now enjoys semi-retirement with my mom as his mount. All he has to do is trot around with her once a week, MAYBE do a canter departure. He has mellowed considerably since becoming a 1 person horse. Of course, I don't think my mom loves him like I do since she was kind of thrown with him since he happened to be more a beg/int horse and didn't really jump anymore.

I definitely love my pony - who had similar attitude issues. Very mareish. She was a project pony who liked to kick out and turn her back on trainers in the ring. Of course, once she learned people=cookies, most of that issue melted away. She is now an adorable, retired cookie monster. She definitely gets jealous whenever I take my horse out to groom and ride. She will poke her head over her stall guard nickering, hoping I'll come back to her (and give her cookies). She knows I am her girl.

Although I do feel I love my TB, I feel like I probably love the pony more and I think he knows this and is not pleased, especially since he's the one I'm riding. (She always comes out for grooming first - when she walks by, he pins his ears and starts weaving as if to say, "HURRY UP! IT'S MY TURN!")

For me, I think it would be necessary to love my horses, but I am not a very competitive rider and riding is more of a hobby. I don't buy a horse and sell it later - where it would probably be best if the person didn't love the horse. When they come to me, they're with me for life.

magicteetango
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:31 AM
I don't think it is necessary. I really loved my first horse, and I kept pressuring myself to have those same feelings for other horses... And it's almost like I was so forcing myself to love them, that I did not stop and appreciate them. So I took it off the table, all I have to do is like them (and not even all the time! lol). It has made it easier, and I love my one mare like I loved my first horse, and the other one I am definitely starting to feel some L word to... But it's because I did not make myself, or feel uncomfortable that I didn't love them right away.

It's important that you respect the horse, and enjoy your rides. What they are is a partner, and they really don't care if you don't love them provided you are kind to them, and feed them. I have no doubt, OP, that you definitely care about your horse... and that is really what it comes down to. Of course you should not keep a horse you actually dislike, but it's okay to feel neutral or just appreciate the horse's good qualities.

ponyface93
Feb. 27, 2012, 11:23 AM
Havent read the whole thread so I'm not sure if someone said it already. It is a personal decision of what you want with your horse. Whether you love him or you two are just partners, you have to decide if you can deal with it.

Personally, I work too damn hard and piss away way too much money not to have a horse I love. The fact that we have a good relationship on the ground makes it worth all of it.

fordtraktor
Feb. 27, 2012, 12:11 PM
Of course it is not necessary.

But I wouldn't keep a horse I don't like. It is not about ground manners or anything else, a horse with "character" doesn't bother me

It is so particular. I just don't enjoy horses that don't enjoy their jobs, so a surly, lazy horse is not for me. If you've had the horse a few years and you still don't tend to get a little fizzy spark of "yay, there's DOBBIN!" when you see him, sell and try again. Like men -- there are too many horses out there to stay in a bad horse relationship.

TSWJB
Feb. 27, 2012, 12:55 PM
i want a horse that i love! they dont necessarily have to be the most affectionate or sweet but there has to be something i love about them! like if its just undersaddle, then wanting to give them that end of work big pat on the neck! even if you dont want to pat them in the barn!
i looooooooooooooooove my horse! love him!
i would say he is wonderful most of the time, but he has his moments!
like one time he spooked and whirled me off and ran away from home in the dark and freezing cold. i was crying hysterically! had 4 people driving in cars looking for him. the police found him! why did he do that? but i forgave him!
i dont like how he freaks out now when i clip his legs and his face. he lets me clip his body. he used to let me clip his face and legs. its a real pita. as i do this stuff myself. but i still love him!
i dont like how some times he pops the fences soooooo hard that i fall off. but i still love him!
he is semi affectionate but he only tolerates sooo much! then he will push you with his nose and he is a big horse and he can really push you around!
i wish he would come running when he is int he field and sees me. or even knicker to me! but most of the time he does not! mostly when he feels a little insecure. like when i first moved him into the barn i didnt know what field he was in and it was dark. i called his name and he screamed and came running!
sometimes he knickers to me like on saturday and walked up. not running up!
when i give him goodbye turnout mints he seems to not care as he wants to get back to his friends. but forget to bring them and he is standing at the gate looking at me lovingly like where are my mints!
all in all, i think that my horse really does love me! and he shows it when i ride him. he is such a joy to ride that i dont care about his pita moments. he definitely is a horse that needs riding and attention. when i go away he starts acting up! (according to the barn owner)
i am happy every day i think about him and every day i spend with him. so yes its important to me to love my horse!

acoustic
Feb. 27, 2012, 01:38 PM
No, it isn't necessary to love your horse. It isn't even necessary to love horses in general to be a good and reasonable owner and/or rider.

I have a friend that is logical and pragmatic. Her emotional attachments do not make it past people (she is completely capable of loving people). She worked in an animal hospital for many years, owns a dog and cat, and was a horse owner previously. Her animals receive excellent care and are happy as could be. Still, she does not love animals in the sense that many people experience. If someone came along that could offer her animals a good home, she wouldn't think twice about letting them go. They came to her as rescues with no other options and she took them into her home, but not her heart. She likes animals, respects them, cares for them physically, and they are happy to see her when she comes home, but does not love them. She is a great horseback rider and is patient and respectful with the horses in her life.

I loved my fat Arabian horse, but I have worked very well with horses that I've felt no emtional attachment with. I worked as a trainer at a 20+ horse ranch and didn't love any of the horses that I worked with. I liked some, I disliked others, but I treated them all with patience and respect. They learned from me, I learned from them, and they never suffered from my lack of love for them.

I do love animals, but never as much as I can love my husband, my family, and my friends. I feel that should go without saying, but there are many people that I've met through the years that would take an animal over another human being. To each their own.

Ponyclubrocks
Feb. 27, 2012, 02:19 PM
As other have stated I think it depends. I think it would be tough to be a professional and get attached and yet be expected to sell horses. So I would think a little emotional distance would be prudent in that instance. For me however, riding is my passionate hobby. I keep my horses for life, even long after they can do their jobs. And I suffer great grief when they die. It is the relationship with my horses that brings me the greatest joy and satisfaction. But that is just me. I don't judge others as long as they treat their animals with respect and kindness (as appropriate of course!).

bambam
Feb. 27, 2012, 04:14 PM
Of course it is not necessary.

But I wouldn't keep a horse I don't like. It is not about ground manners or anything else, a horse with "character" doesn't bother me

This is kind of my take but more for the reasons that War Admiral states- I have a gelding that has been unsound for most of the 10 years I have owned him. I often think, thank goodness I love your personality because dealing with you on the ground for the last 10 years would have sucked if I did not like you on the ground as opposed to just under saddle.
I need to like my horses- that does not mean they have to be pocket ponies or openly affectionate, but I have to like them and find their personality endearing/likeable in some way. I spend way more time with my horses standing next to them than I do on them (not playing my pretty pony, but grooming them, rehabbing them, traveling with them, etc) so it would suck if I did not like them.
A horse that is nasty on the ground would not fly for me personally. They don't have to be snuggling with me but neither do I enjoy a horse that snarls at me. But that is me- everyone is different which is a good thing,

Kris26
Feb. 27, 2012, 05:02 PM
I think I understand what you mean. I infer that you respect him but it makes it hard that he doesn't give an inch when a horse that is bonded to you would.

I look at it this way: I have been riding a talented mare for years, she's a PITA under saddle sometimes, and really aloof on the ground. I tried to bond with her at first and then I just settled into the fact that she prefers to have a business relationship. She respects good rides, I know her inside and out and I love her for what she is. Do I think about her starry-eyed all the time? No.

So I think there are different levels of love and if the horse (for whatever reason, be it personality, or acting out) are not open to furthering the love connection, it can always feel like something is missing. The talented mare was offered to me for free and I seriously thought about it but I realized I need that full connection. I found it with my new OTTB and although we are still getting to know each other we have much more potential than myself and the talented mare.

I agree with previous posters that it is an intensely personal thing and I also will say that if you find you aren't "needing" that puppy love bond then don't feel guilty or feel like you missing a component that everyone else has.

Good luck whatever you choose to do, and I sincerely believe that the fact that you are even posing this question gives you a better answer than anyone else here will.

Trevelyan96
Feb. 27, 2012, 05:40 PM
I don't think its necessary to love your horse to have a good partnership, but I think if you do you will have a better partnership. But the most important thing is that you care enough for them to treat them well and try to find the best possible situation for them.

For me personally, I've had 3 horses I loved, one I detested, and 2 that I appreciated but was not so attached that I would not hesitate to move on to a suitable home.

Even the horse I detested, I took excellent care of, gave her my best, and made the extra effort to find her the best new home possible. My biggest regret was sellling one that I loved because she could be 'difficult' both on the ground and under saddle and I thought she'd do better in a more consistent program. I've lost track of that one and have nightmares about what may have happenend to her.

OP, it sounds to me that you have a genuine appreciation for your horse, even if its not an affectionate relationship. As long as you do right by him and are not miserable, I'd say you may be surprised how you feel about him in a few years. The only time to be concerned is when you dislike the horse so much that you really don't care what happens to it.

showidaho
Feb. 28, 2012, 08:20 AM
I have yet to meet a horse that has awful ground manners that can't be corrected. Horses with poor ground manners just need to be taught what to do with themselves - it's the same as teaching them how to be good under tack...That said, and I don't mean this in a mean way, but I really can't understand your post. If you don't love your horse that's fine, but I don't see how his ground manners dictate your love or lack thereof. I love all of my horses - even the ones I've sold I still keep track of and receive regular updates about years later.

Dewey
Feb. 28, 2012, 09:07 AM
Our barn has a gelding that is a notorious biter. My daughter leased him for three years because he is lovely under saddle, and I couldn't afford to buy her the horse she needed. She learned to read his expressions and could handle him, and so could I. However, he is not trustworthy and has nailed people at the barn who let their guard down...at IHSA shows he wears a muzzle when being held and mounted.

Leasing him was tough for my daughter because she wanted to love him; that's a big part of riding for her. The horse does not like to be groomed or fussed with. He's girthy, and his rider has to mount quickly or else. DD tried to make him happy, hoping he would bond with her, but he never really did, although I think he respected her. She was happier riding a less-talented horse that she taught tricks to and fussed over.

This gelding is on ulcer meds; I can't really say that it has made a difference in his attitude. I often comment to the horse that if he weren't so nice to ride he would be dead because no one would put up with him.

fibbermaggee
Feb. 28, 2012, 09:53 AM
I think it's completely individual. I don't "love" my horses like I love my people. I respect them, care for them, think about their needs and appreciate different facets of their personality. I am totally horse obsessed but that is kind of in a "sport" way. I like to do some breeding and I consider it craft. My riding is sport. My horses are partners in these hobbies. I do want to enjoy them though. If I had one that was not enjoyable due to some nasty habits or vices, if I couldn't fix it, I would probably be much more likely to move them along. My mother, on the other hand, loves her horse. She would never sell her. She is a pet like her big poodle.

BarnMom64
Feb. 28, 2012, 05:24 PM
I find this thread really interesting. Not too long ago we chose a pony with lease to purchase option for my daughter. We had a few "safer" options and went with this one pony that surprised some on the board, for good reason, because guess what, we are having exactly the issues with the pony that many on that thread predicted. We knew the pony would be a little in need of training up, which made it a gamble considering my daughter's age and experience.

Guess what, great pony who has now figured out that my daughter is someone they can pull a fast one on ... so we are now leasing yet ANOTHER gentler pony together with training rides with older girls for the pony "we love" so we can try to ride it out (ha) until the end of the year's lease and see where we stand then.

Ah love. The pony we love is a stinker at the moment but we still can't let them go.

gallopinggal
Feb. 28, 2012, 06:48 PM
I get what the OP says. I actually never owned a horse til I was 32 but galloped at the track. I loved many horses and always had that stupid little girl fairytale in the back of my head for when I owned mine. Let's just say when you do all the work yourself, raise your own, ect, I personally love all mine to bits. But I did learn quickly that love was mostly a one way street on my part. I have lovely horses and some can have lovey moments but they are horses. They are not pets. They work for me and try for me. I do not expect the magic bonding which everyone seemingly thinks you need nowadays to accomplish anything. I also think people tend to "make up" just how much a bond they have with their horse or horses and then we question ourselves.

All these people with the "I'm the only one who can ride, handle, manage my horse". Well from what I've seen it does horses no favors to be treated as such and I'm much more proud if I've bred and raised horses that can get along in the world with different people of varying levels and still be good competition horses.

I'm saying all this because I think as of late we are being led to believe if we don't have that magic bond maybe something is wrong. Maybe that's what you are questioning? Don't know.

Terri

THIS. WOw. Read the thoughts right in my brain.:)
I've owned three horses in my life time. The first one who I couldn't ride was AMAZING. I truly was bonded to that horse. But that was 6 years ago and I Was 12. Looking back, while here I am searching for that same love for a different horse, I start to question if I ever did have as strong a bond as i thought. THe horse died after three years of being together and I feel like she was my savior when I was becoming a teenager. Often times the place where we are in life and how badly we need a friend determines our love for an animal.

Next I got an a-hole Arab who had NO respect and bucked under saddle if you asked for anything harder than 20 meter circles and cantering. :no: He was not the horse for me as I didn't have the skill and he was only ever tolerent of me. For a 14 year old, the bond was a neccesity.

Now I've got my Anglo Arab boy whom I have had for 5 months. He's allowed me to accomplish everything on my horsey wish list but not because he's well trained, mainly because I feel like i understand him better than any other horse I've owned. He's simple, sensitive, and straightforward. But like the above poster siad ^^ I think it is all on my part. It isn't because we are 'connected' be rather I understand his langauge better than any other I've owned. I love this horse and am commited to him. I am excited to go even farther with him. I hope to have another 15 years with him at least. He is not partuclarly affectionate but he isn't rude. I've seen horses that ADORE their owners and BEG for snuggles but I've found they are rare.

Looking back on my very first horse. I think that maybe all that love and bonding I had wasn't as real as I thought and i am not going to expect the same from my horse that I have now. Having said all of that, my first horse was an older mare who was lonely and reliant on me. I think horses, after years and years, get so used to seeing their owner and relying on them for their needs that it is like an old married couple. I think that's why my first horse loved me so much was because she needed me and i knew it. Younger, spunkier, more athletic horses don't seem to have those needs.

Simbalism
Mar. 2, 2012, 01:07 PM
I spend alot of time with my horse and find that I need them not to be a jerk on the ground. I currently have a 17yo TB mare who can be grumpy at times. She will occasionally nip at me(not connecting, just "voicing her opinion") She also flaps her lips like she is cussing me out and will very infrequently cock a hind leg like she is thinking about kicking. However, all I have to do is make a growl noise and the ears come up and she looks at me like "who me?". All this said, she stands tied, is very mannerly to lead or groom, and is the best darn riding horse I have ever owned. She will do whatever I want from trail riding, CT's, foxhunting, hunter paces, team penning, parades, you name it. Do I love her, yep, I do. I find that as much different stuff that I do, I can't tolerate truly rude ground manners. If the horse you have is fun to ride, perhaps just a bit of work with tweaking the ground manners will make him more pleasant for you in that aspect.

xxreddxheaddxx
Mar. 2, 2012, 01:19 PM
I don't think so. My last horse had terrible aggressive ground manners and I just learned to work with it. The first few years we had him he was really not the right horse for me and I created some bad habits in him and learned some myself, but we started to work with the right trainer who educated me and him and he became one of my all time favorite horses who I thoroughly enjoyed riding. I finally outgrew him and we bought my current horse who is completely opposite!!! He is the sweetest thing in the world and I absolutely adore him, but I would most definitely not rule out one with ground manners that are a little rough around the edges( it sounds like yours is just a tb, mine would charge someone with the teeth bared and ears pinned :/). In this case I would ask yourself what is more important, a horse you like to ride and can easily work with or a horse that can be your friend in the barn? For me it will always be the horse who goes best in the ring because that is where my goals are centered.

OneGrayPony
Mar. 2, 2012, 01:28 PM
I pondered this for awhile after I lost my heart horse. I realized that I was looking for the same kind of love, and wasn't finding it.

Incidentally, I'm also attracted to the bad/weird horses, which can be a mixed blessing.

I think for me it boils down to time. I need to spend a lot of time - somewhere around a year or two of regular riding - with a horse in order to fall in love and stay there. I have had horses that I clicked with immediately, almost the equivalent of romantic chemistry, but the bond takes a long time to form (for me anyway).

I find my horse's quirks amusing. He's not nasty on the ground and he's generally very well behaved, but he does things that I've been unable (or unwilling) to extinguish. He makes me laugh. He's green, and does silly things. If I rode for the "enjoyment of riding" I think I would hate him.

But that's not why I ride.

I ride because I love being around horses. I ride because their personalities fascinate me, and I could watch them just stand and eat forever. I ride because when I'm on a horse, it's the closest thing I've ever felt to truly being one with another being. That feeling takes a year or two to accomplish for me on a new horse, but when I get there it's the most amazing feeling in all of the world. When I can breathe and think things and the horse responds...it's wild.

I've never been much of a catch rider for that reason. I can "ride" a new horse tolerably well...but it's not the same as having this weird linked-brain thing. I'm an addict for that feeling. A total junkie.

Ozone
Mar. 2, 2012, 01:37 PM
Is it necessary to love your horse? Not necessarily :) But if you do that makes riding and horses in general that much more fun!

I unconditionally LOVE my horse! Through thick and thin and BTW - we have had both. Through the nasty rearing habits to the nice rides where rearing is no longer in question to the many health issues that were touch and go to soundess to the biting and bitch-ness I would get from him and he would get from me! LOL I don't "half" love him.. i.e. love his riding but not his ground manners etc, I completly love him for the guy he is and the guy he always will be. He is in no way perfect but neither am I ;) When I say he is my lifetime horse I so mean it :)

Horse #2 .. Ahh the overly willing over achiever who will jump the moon to please even George Morris ;) Yes, I LIKE this horse. I hope to love him some day but there are no promises to that. I cannot pin point what the hang up is with him. We click, we are riding good but there is just 'something' off with us as a pair.

SquishTheBunny
Mar. 2, 2012, 07:32 PM
One of my horses is a jerk - he bites. But, I love him to bits. I think all horses need love, and Im sure you do - but maybe you just cant express it as you would like.

Prime Time Rider
Mar. 2, 2012, 10:23 PM
I think it's important to question if you love your horse. I bought a new horse a couple of years ago and after a year of owning him changed trainres. I will never forget after the second or third lesson with my new trainer (God bless her) she asked me if I loved my horse. I waffled, not wanting to admot that while he was a nice horse, I didn't love him. In fact, I think I defensively said "of course I love him".

The truth is I didn't love him. My trainer had the wisdom to challenge the lack of love I was feeling and communicating to my horse. She said "I don't think you love him, and I thikn he knows it." I contemplated the truth i n her observation. I didn't love my perfectly fine horse, and he could tell.

Two years later my relationship with my horse has improved. I'm happier and he's happier. Do I love him? No, although I've become very fond of him. We've never developed the relationship that I've had with my mares.

I think it's essential to love your horse because I believe horses are sensitive enough to know when you don't.

RugBug
Mar. 3, 2012, 12:40 AM
I did learn quickly that love was mostly a one way street on my part. I have lovely horses and some can have lovey moments but they are horses. They are not pets. They work for me and try for me.
<snip>
All these people with the "I'm the only one who can ride, handle, manage my horse". Well from what I've seen it does horses no favors to be treated as such

I don't think it's a one way street at all. Maybe my horse only loves me because I'm his primary care taker, but they know me, respond to me in different ways than they do to other people...even people that also feed them on a regular basis.

I do agree with you on the "Black Stallion Syndrome" that a lot of people have. Owners are doing a disservice to their horses by not letting them get used to being handled/ridden/whatever by multiple people.



From my experiences, a rider who loves their horse will beat an equivalent pair but the rider only sees their horse as there for the job. It has let me run against some of the best riders in the world.


Agreed


If you've had the horse a few years and you still don't tend to get a little fizzy spark of "yay, there's DOBBIN!" when you see him, sell and try again. Like men -- there are too many horses out there to stay in a bad horse relationship.

Yep. You don't have to be all googley-eyed but feeling some sort of affection/respect for them makes all the time/money, etc a whole lot easier to spend.


My trainer had the wisdom to challenge the lack of love I was feeling and communicating to my horse. She said "I don't think you love him, and I thikn he knows it." I contemplated the truth i n her observation. I didn't love my perfectly fine horse, and he could tell.
.

My first horse was a huge pocket pony. He loves people and being around them. When I got my second horse, I was so discouraged, because while I had only planned on keeping him a short time, he was super aloof, kind of a grumpus. I swear that horse would clinch his freakin teeth together every time I tried to bridle him for about 6 months. I had to be super correct, by-the-book-including-thumb-in-mouth to get that stupid bridle on. He was very flat personality-wise. I did not like him for the first 6 months I owed him and considered selling him. I even had to put a moratorium on thoughts of selling so that I would give him a chance. It was a good thing because he has turned out to be what I wanted in the first place, but couldn't see under the bad behaviour.

These days, 2.5 years later, he looks forward to seeing me. Sure, he pins his ears at other people and even me sometimes, but he also nickers and calls to me as well. Now, I basically show him the bridle and he dives for the bit, opening wide on his own without me doing anything other than showing him the bridle.

I noticed that when I switched my main attention from the first horse to the second horse and starting focusing on him more, he really blossomed. When I started having more positive thoughts about him, I was kinder to him and he trusted me more. That's when our "partnership" began. He's still a grumpus but it's all bark. (and yes...he does like to have his head hugged...and I like hugging his head :winkgrin:).

I think it's Jimmy Wofford who says something like you better like seeing their head hanging over the stall door. When they are bad, you will cut them some slack. If they get injured, caring for them won't be a chore, etc. I absolutely believe this.