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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2007

    Default When you hear something bad about a good horse you knew....

    I just got a very upsetting email from the current owner of a horse I use to keep here. A salt of the earth type of gelding. Who never set a foot wrong in my memory. The email says he is dangerous! Charging and biting especially at kids

    The horse was quiet and gentle and deserved better than the kid that owned him. She finally got tired of him and I helped her sell him to a nice family when she discovered boys.

    The horse changed hands again and i know nothing about the new owner. But the horse is still boarding in the stables i dropped him off at 2+ years ago.

    I can not imagine what happened to change him so drastically. He was always such a content and lovable guy. He was here 4 years before he left. He was shown and trail ridden and schooled and never put a foot wrong! His young owner was not a nice child. Very spoiled and had a poor work ethic - and this horse packed her everywhere happily.

    Horses change from pain and mistreatment. I and saddened to hear he is so bad now. I am heart sick to think of what he endured or is enduring to make him this maniacal. I suggested a thorough exam at the nearest and best horse clinic ASAP to rule out an ailment. Or get treatment for it. The new owner sounds unwilling.

    I just feel sad for the poor guy's very distressing. And no he is not for sale so Dh will not be buying him for me. I just wish i could have a few months of him back here to sort him out. It just does not sound like he is physically or mentally healthy!

    I know it's not always sunshine and roses - but what a horrid update on a very good salt of the earth horse
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".


    I suggested a thorough exam at the nearest and best horse clinic ASAP to rule out an ailment. Or get treatment for it. The new owner sounds unwilling.
    And this folks is why so many good horses end up at bad places like the New Holland Horse Auction..... Having a horse is a huge responsibility that not everyone takes seriously.

    I know, Woodland--it's hard to take. All we can do is save the ones we can....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    The rocky part of KY


    Why would they get in touch with you to complain about him if they don't want to sell him, and don't want to perform a thorough evaluation? What's the point?

    Did they really mean to ask you about his regimen under your care - feed, turnout, work schedule, farrier? Maybe they were hoping there was some specific thing you did, or fed, or special farrier work. I hope they just lost track of what they meant to ask.

    Jingles that the new owner realizes that an exam is the best course of action, and try not to be distressed - the horse left your care and he was happy when he was with you, that's the best you can do.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2007


    I found a post about him on another web site - just stumbled upon it. I emailed that i use to keep him here and never knew him to be the way they described. I asked if they had him evaluated for pain or ailment or if there had been a change in his care or staff. The response i got was that he was completely mental and unsafe to be around children or staff. But i could stop up to see him any time - no easy feat as he is quite a ways away from me.

    Any way no they did not want advice or help or a sale just to complain that he was a flaming nut job.

    I do not know what else I can do really. It is just so evident too me that this horse is suffering and that his caretakers must attend to that ASAP! The tone of the emails was accusatory and bitter. I seriously doubt he will get the help he needs. Sadly.
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2009


    A brain tumor can cause sudden, drastic personality changes. For sure I wouldn't just blame the horse.

    I know it can be hard to hear about "your" horse's downfall. I had a lovely Appy who I'd sold on. It saddened me terribly when someone called to tell me he was in horrible shape; I went to see him and cried because he'd aged 10 years in one winter. I tried to get him back but the people who bought him from me wanted to give the barn owner "another chance."

    I agree with Cherry; not everyone takes the responsibility of horse ownership seriously.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2004
    Nescopeck PA


    I've had a few horses like that I've sold. One is standing in my pasture right now. She is a QH/Welsh mare that we bought as a yearling. Sold her at age 7, broke and quiet. Within a year I am getting emails that she is at a barn in DE and on trial and not safe. I contact the trainer and she says the mare cannot be trusted, bites, kicks, runs you over. They can't even lead her out to the pasture. The owner offers her back to me for 1/10th the price she paid for her. I bring her home, never once did she exhibit those behaviors they described. I have to wonder what happened to her?

    Currently I have a 4 year old Paint Gelding I rescued, kept for two years and sold him. Same scenario, jumping fences, rude, attacking her horses she says. Every part of me wants to save him and get him back, but she wants more for him now then what I sold him to her, and refuses to send me pictures of him. I have pictures of my then 4 year old daughter holding him for me. This lady claims he can't be trusted. Just all very sad. I guess I am just thankful that most of the horses I've sold have gone onto better lives then I could provide them, but the few that do not sure don't make that easier.
    Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
    Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
    & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt

  7. #7


    You know, I have heard of so many people who get a horse and then let it walk all over them that they then call it dangerous when it does so. I can think of at least three or four in recent memory that the people who owned them claimed they were pushy and dangerous and so on.

    Suddenly, when taken to someone else who didn't put up with the pushiness and set firm boundaries, they became completely different horses and the owners were amazed.

    Are we sure that the person who has him just hasn't let him get away with stuff and now is afraid of him and spread among those who work with him that he's "bad" so they act afraid of him and he still gets away with things?

    Do they sound at all willing to send him off to a good trainer for 30 days and see if that changes anything? (Guessing not if they won't pay for an exam)

    It's sad they won't even try to rule out whether it's a problem that's fixable or not.
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2002
    The hollers of WV


    I had a similar thing happen with a horse I sold several years ago to a capable teenage girl. He was the nicest, best minded and friendly. He went to a "good" home and was taken to a professional trainer. Last I had heard, things were going well but then I got a call this summer from some people who had this horse. They wanted to know if I wanted him back before they sold him to the local horse meat dealer.

    In extracting the story, he was given away by the girl for reasons unknown to the professional trainer who started him. The trainer did not want a 14:1 hand "pony" despite that he is a registered Spanish Mustang. Some people who knew this girl took him to restart him in work and get him sold. They were well intentioned but incapable trainers...Parellites. He bucked off a kid and broke his arm and they got him in to a major fight mode where he bucked off some rodeo cowboy they brought in. Of course when I asked, they couldn't even tell me if his saddle fit or not.

    They gave him back to the trainer who put a saddle on him and rode him with no issues so it was a major mystery as to what went wrong with the other folks. He wanted the horse gone and he had no where to go in a weekend...thus the killer buyer was most they were going to dump a healthy, sound young horse for meat for convenience.

    I went and got him back that weekend...went 4 hours one way to do it. I've had him in training and he's doing really well. Here's my training blog and his first entry back in October when I got him going again. We're just taking it slow as he's got no good base on him and his training has been fairly sketchy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2005


    Isn't it a heart-wrenching, awful feeling? I sold a wonderful, sweet, but green pony to a family a few years ago. Virtually spook-proof, had great brakes, gas, and power-steering. Just didn’t have canter leads down quite yet and did not have experience jumping anything more than 18 inch courses. But had such a great brain that his owner (I served as an agent) had no qualms about sticking her 45lb child on him for extended trail rides or pony club. The potential owners and I discussed, in length, that the pony was green and that the older daughter was to walk/trot/canter him at least 3x a week for him to be appropriate for the younger daughter. Pony was being sold because he was not suitable for a specific activity - it made him panic - and so he would not be suitable for that activity. Oldest was already in pony club - youngest was to join in the new year.

    Fast forward - you got it - oldest was riding the pony - but only doing the not-suitable activity. Pony started going too fast so they kept putting stronger bits on. Then pony wouldn't go forward. When forced to do specific activity, he would stand stock still. Their “trainer" started having them gallop the pony around in circles. So pony starts flying backwards. Did I mention this was the pony they purchased for their six year old daughter? I offered to take pony back. Let me work, see what I can do. I wouldn’t charge, I would board him at my own expense, etc. They said no.

    A year later I hear that pony has 'many loose screws" and is now misbehaving in pasture. They sent him to an acquaintance to be a companion animal. I offer to *buy* him back. They say they'll think about it, give me a call. They don't call back, and ignore messages I leave them.

    It breaks my heart. He was such a good boy. I should have realized the family would not do as they said and not sold him into this situation that, ultimately, has been a punishment for him.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2007
    Beyond the pale.


    I inherited a lovely mare with a similar story. She'd been a trail string horse, kid's lesson horse, show horse and a nice broodmare. At 15 she came with the reputation of suddenly turning and charging, biting, rearing and generally being dangerous under saddle. I kept her about 6 months and couldn't turn the behaviors around and the vet was stumped and couldn't find anything. She had perfect days and she had dangerous days and you couldn't predict when it would turn.Finally I had her euthanized. It was a slow day and the vet, who knew her, asked to crack her skull open and found a big pituitary tumour. Poor thing. On her good days she was a lovely horse. She must've had a huge headache the last few years of her life and knowing that, I was not sad we euthed her. I was particularly glad we did not try and pass her on- she had been through at least 5 owners prior to me.
    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007


    This was a long two year old I started, almost three, the sire a stakes winning QH, his dam rated, here the first time I was getting on and off him and then in a few minutes I was riding him around the shedrow bareback and with a halter, the next day around the barns and houses in the yard and the third day, with a saddle, out in the canyons:

    By the tenth ride the horse was so very quiet and gentle, had a little bit of a handle and would stop and back a little bit, correctly, all with our little grass rope hackamore, had not been bitted yet.
    That day, as we were going to check some cattle, an elderly neighbor happen to come by and liked him so well he made an offer.
    The horse was not for sale yet, because in a few months of ranch work and a little bit more mature, he would be worth double, but he wanted him so bad the owner let him have the colt.

    That fellow was very nice to his horses, but being older, decided he after all didn't want to be riding a colt and let his son in law ride him in a feedlot.
    As it happened, the son in law had some days off and let some other cowboy ride him, that we heard said the horse was spoiled and would not back up, put a baling wire beartrap around his head and fought him every day.

    When the son in law came back, the horse had a badly swollen face with cuts from the wire, a big hock and no one could get into the pen without being attacked.
    He had to ask his wife to stand by the fence with a 2x4 to fend the horse off if he came after him when he went to halter it, but luckily the horse remembered him and let him approach without fighting.

    We don't know how much of that story was so, if people that told us exagerated, but when we heard of it, we called the rancher and offered to buy the horse back, but he said that his son in law was managing fine, the horse was coming around and that the feedlot had fired the cowboy that had abused the horse.

    Next we hear, the horse had been sold thru the sale barn and no one knew where he went.

    Pass a year or so and someone in a ranch in South TX called us to ask about the horse, told us he was the best ranch horse they ever had, they could even have their kids work cattle on him and he would take such good care of them and, by the way, did we have more like him?

    So, you never know, but we spent all that time worrying about where he went and, after all, he luckily found a good home.

    I hope that your horse will also end up in a better place soon.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2006


    Oh Woodland that is such a bummer. I know the feeling though.

    I don't need to tell you this.... but even small change in management, handling, turnout, etc. can have such a big impact, especially over the span of months or years, and people fail to recognize that. It is a rare horse that is the same in any and every situation.

    Sadly most people want to blame the horse, or the seller (even if it is months or years after) etc. Few will actually look to their own handling or management techniques.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2008


    I know you said they're not selling, but if you can take him....

    ....can you go for a visit with a trailer? (I know you said it's not close....)

    Then you could offer take the wild, unmanageable horse off their hands......

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2004


    As horse people, we've all seen sweet horses turn into manics when asked to do more than they're capable at the time, compounded with either poor training or communication on how the job is done. So sad.
    "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007


    these stories make me really sad.
    Woodland, If you can, I'd put an offer out there that if they decide they no longer want the horse, that you'd take him back.

    afterall, if they can't use him, or the BO is having trouble, the only place he's going is the auction or a dealer. See if you can get him back...
    a horse remembers, and you could easily bring him around.

    In_, I'd keep the offers continuing. how sad and wrong they did this, especially after you said not to. Some people are too arrogant for their own good. Keep the offers and communication open as best you can.

  16. #16


    It IS heart wrenching. We called to check on a younger horse sold several years earlier. The gelding was an absolute honest gem- a lovely horse, great minded and kind. We were told that he was awful and that they were happy to get him off of their hands and sell him to some guy out west. We were absolutely shocked and appalled. The people we had sold to were screened and working with a trainer that we thought would be very positive.

    We tracked down the new owners to find out what conditions he might be living in and see if we could buy him back...and I will never forget the man telling us, "He's the nicest horse I've ever had. I can count on him for anything. I will never sell him. If you all are the ones who started him- thank you- you made a really nice horse."

    I would not hesitate to go look your gelding up and go get him if he deserves better than where he is at...and meant something to you.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2004
    The Great, uh, Green (?!?!) North!


    I'll second what FG said about even small changes in feed or handling making a difference. My sweet then-3yo turned into a lunatic 4.5 months in the wrong barn. The handling was too inconsistent, and I figured out later that some the people there were scared of a big WB baby when she had a moment, and that others would overreact. The poor girl didn't know which way was up, and would go on the offensive pretty quickly, or would panic and either try to leave, rear, or mow down her handler.

    Two weeks of firm and consistent handling at the new barn and her ground manners were repaired. She's rising 5 now, and is back to being her kind sweet self!
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2007


    I have put the offer out there "If you need to rehome him...." I have to consider that I know what they paid for him, but I have no idea what they would want for him now.....Lets hope shall we! I told the person who bought him from here that I would always take him back.
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

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