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Can you irreversibly damage a horse?

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  • Can you irreversibly damage a horse?

    Do you think you can damage a horse so significantly that they will never perform/behave the way they used to?

    I have a young horse who is eager to please and is exactly what I want, but I am terrified something might change. I have several trainers who work with me as well. It might just be my perfectionism and anxiety, but is it possible to change a horse for the worst, and have the damage be irreversible?

  • #2
    Yes, it is possible for a rider/trainer/human to irrevocably damage/ruin a horse. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean you will.

    Be proactive - read good books on training horses, horse management, stable management, etc. (Cherry Hill has a lot of good books), observe whenever possible (horse shows, other's lessons, vet/farrier visits), listen, learn and absorb. Ask lots and lots of questions. Rinse and repeat.
    ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

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    • #3
      What exactly are you worried about? Is there something specific?

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes •
        Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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        • #5
          Repeat the mantra be firm, consistent and kind. Don't be anxious and wishy washy. You want respect vs fear. And fear can include your indecisive behavior.

          Reward positive behavior. Don't go looking for the negatives. Step back and keep the lessons short and repeat what the horse already knows before you add just one more simple request at a time and learn to make your request clear and uncomplicated.

          With a young horse always the ground work first. The horse should learn to move (yield) each of their body parts before you begin yielding from the saddle.

          I found the biggest thing that taught me how they think was when I learned that the horse, in a herd, really doesn't care as much what his # is in the placings, but the fact is he needs to know what his # is. They need that security. And that # can change and they accept that, herd dynamics. You just need to be the next # higher.

          How young is this horse and what do you mean by several trainers?














          The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

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          • #6
            It is but in my experience, it takes a lot more than an amateur making a few mistakes. The horses I’ve known who could be considered irreversibly damaged in some way have been subjected to way too rough handling and not enough patience. Or had some type of accident that resulted in bad memories.

            I would highly recommend any of Andrew McLeans books. Learning more about how horses think and their capacity to remember/learn really made me a more conscientious horsewomen.

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            • #7
              It is very easy to teach a horse bad habits and harder to unteach them. If the bad habits are connected to the limitations of a beginner rider owner that person might never be able to fix the problem themselves.

              That said, most of the time this is never anywhere near "ruined" in a general sense.

              Pro trainers step in and fix bolters, balkers, buckers, rooters, and dirty stopping jumpers every day. So do brave ammies with some skills. One person's ruined horse is another person's project horse.

              Now if you mess them up physically especially tendons then you can ruin a horse.

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              • #8
                It can be done, but in 50 years around horses, I've never seen a horse irreversibly ruined except by abuse. At worst, you might let him develop some bad habits he'd have to be trained out of, but that's not even close to "ruined." Be conscientious, listen to your trainers, and don't fret over it.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by skydy View Post
                  What exactly are you worried about? Is there something specific?

                  He is actually a very considerate, well minded horse and at the moment there is nothing serious that needs fixing. It’s more about me being anxious that I will lead him astray.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by pony grandma View Post
                    Repeat the mantra be firm, consistent and kind. Don't be anxious and wishy washy. You want respect vs fear. And fear can include your indecisive behavior.

                    Reward positive behavior. Don't go looking for the negatives. Step back and keep the lessons short and repeat what the horse already knows before you add just one more simple request at a time and learn to make your request clear and uncomplicated.

                    With a young horse always the ground work first. The horse should learn to move (yield) each of their body parts before you begin yielding from the saddle.

                    I found the biggest thing that taught me how they think was when I learned that the horse, in a herd, really doesn't care as much what his # is in the placings, but the fact is he needs to know what his # is. They need that security. And that # can change and they accept that, herd dynamics. You just need to be the next # higher.

                    How young is this horse and what do you mean by several trainers?













                    He recently turned 6, and is living at a large training barn with 5 trainers onsite, but only consistently riden by 2.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pop_676 View Post


                      He is actually a very considerate, well minded horse and at the moment there is nothing serious that needs fixing. It’s more about me being anxious that I will lead him astray.
                      Are you confident in your trainer? Are they kind and patient with you and your horse? That is important.

                      Read books.Avoid training that is harsh. Never lose your temper. Horses need guidance, but you have to give them time to understand what you want when you are training them. It is best for a beginner not to try to train a horse without a lot of help from a good teacher of people, and a good trainer of horses.

                      Have fun! Enjoy your horse!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pop_676 View Post

                        He recently turned 6, and is living at a large training barn with 5 trainers onsite, but only consistently riden by 2.
                        Why do you have 2 trainers riding regularly your horse?
                        Do they train the same way, or have some sort of partnership?

                        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                        Originally posted by LauraKY
                        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                        HORSING mobile training app

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by skydy View Post

                          Are you confident in your trainer? Are they kind and patient with you and your horse? That is important.

                          Read books.Avoid training that is harsh. Never lose your temper. Horses need guidance, but you have to give them time to understand what you want when you are training them. It is best for a beginner not to try to train a horse without a lot of help from a good teacher of people, and a good trainer of horses.

                          Have fun! Enjoy your horse!
                          My trainer is firm but good to my horse, and I often watch her ride him. Although, she is not as good at understanding people! I have thick skin and usually don’t take it personally! Overall, I do have a lot of confidence in the trainers ability.

                          I am am not a nervous person, and I think my horse is pretty clear on who the boss is. There is just a feeling in the back of my mind worrying his amazing temperament and willingness might change.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post

                            Why do you have 2 trainers riding regularly your horse?
                            Do they train the same way, or have some sort of partnership?
                            My official trainer has many horses to ride, and goes to tons of shows so isn’t always available. Her husband is also a horse trainer with a very similar riding style, and he picks up the slack when she has too much on her plate, or at a show. They share all of the horses in their training.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pop_676 View Post

                              My trainer is firm but good to my horse, and I often watch her ride him. Although, she is not as good at understanding people! I have thick skin and usually don’t take it personally! Overall, I do have a lot of confidence in the trainers ability.

                              I am am not a nervous person, and I think my horse is pretty clear on who the boss is. There is just a feeling in the back of my mind worrying his amazing temperament and willingness might change.
                              If he is being treated well, then put you worries aside and enjoy him.

                              Has he done anything that leads you to believe his temperament is changing?

                              Horses do go through "phases" as they grow up, but rarely have a complete personality change, so I wouldn't worry that he will become a completely different horse when he is fully mature.

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