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Spinoff - I'm doubting my choices lately... vent and would love advice

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  • Spinoff - I'm doubting my choices lately... vent and would love advice

    Note: cross posted on "Off Course"

    I was reading the "I'm doubting my choices lately... vent and would love advice" thread - lots of good advice there. And many folks suggested that there are so many good horses why spend the time on a horse that may not be a good fit.

    That's my situation and I'm looking for help and ideas. I have a horse that is not a good fit for a beginner middle aged rider. He's big, strong and gets strong with someone he knows he can intimidate (waving hand here).

    I described him in the Give Away section under a post entitled "UPDATE - 12 year old Thoroughbred Gelding in Texas". He is also listed on EquineNow at http://www.equinenow.com/horse-ad-228509 including a link to videos on YouTube. I have spoken with numerous trainers and riders about him. No takers. And with all the good horses out there in this market why would there be?

    As an update he has been ridden consistently for this past month by an experienced dressage rider and is doing surprisingly well. Her take on Lockee is that he gets tired of the arena work and wants to GO! So she canters him as much as he wants and after a good canter session he settles down and gets to work. He could probably do training or First Level if he was given a good workout before or after schooling sessions although I still think he'd rather be out of the arena for the most part.

    This rider recently took him for a lesson with a very good local dressage trainer, who thought that his problem is a basic lack of training coupled with the fact that he has learned he can intimidate his rider. She thought he could be "fixed" but that it would take time and patience and an experience trainer/rider.

    If you know of someone who might be interested or have suggestions where I could try to relocate him please suggest away. Thanks.
    Last edited by coymackerel; Nov. 23, 2009, 10:58 PM. Reason: fixing incorrect link

  • #2
    Are you saying you want to give him to someone, have someone train him for free, or pay someone to train him?

    It's usually possible for most people to stick with a horse they find difficult, and conquer the situation. Lots of frequent riding lessons, lots of determination to make a change. New techniques from a better trainer, lots of hard work. If it really is impossible, best to sell in most cases.

    To send him to someone for training? Most decent dressage trainers could do a fine job for you. Most of them get lots of horses that have gotten a little rude and do fine retraining them.


    • #3
      Where are you?
      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


      • Original Poster

        Whoops, sorry that link to my post didn't work. I described him in the Give Away section under a post entitled "UPDATE - 12 year old Thoroughbred Gelding in Texas". He is also listed on EquineNow athttp://www.equinenow.com/horse-ad-228509 including a link to videos on YouTube.

        I am in the Austin, Texas area.

        I would be happy to give him to the right home.



        • #5
          He's really cute!!! I'm a bit far away to help with a home for him, but have you tried checking around for eventers that may be interested? Have you ever free jumped him to see if he has any natural ability there?

          Also, your online ad might be more effective if you put pictures of him being ridden instead of the face shots, as pretty as he is. When I'm looking at horse ads, the ones that catch my eye are the ones of the horse actually doing what he is being sold as doing. The way you describe him in the ad also makes me think of him as more of an event horse than as a dressage horse. If you really think he would make a good dressage horse, mention in the ad why he is or would be. What is it that is easy for him to do? What would the ideal owner really like about this horse? When you frame his qualities this way, it helps the reader see the potential in him instead of helping the reader to understand why he's not the right horse.

          Good luck with him, hope you can find him a great home and someone that will appreciate all he has to offer!
          Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
          Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
          My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com


          • Original Poster


            Thank you GG, those are excellent suggestions. Much appreciated.


            • #7
              Well, here's my two cents.

              There is nothing wrong with realizing that you are not a good fit for your horse. In fact, I'm very happy to hear that you have come to this realization before someone gets hurt or you lose your confidence. It's just not worth it! It's not your fault and it's not your horse's fault. Sometimes people "stick with it" because of pride or ego. I believe that with horses, there's nothing to prove. Find a horse you are comfy with, find a rider who is comfy with your horse.

              That said, is this horse 100% sound? Will he hurt a rider? Just scare them? Just shut down? Might he like eventing better than dressage? Try to get some footage of your friend riding the horse. Call area trainers (dressage, eventers, hunter/jumpers) and explain the situation. They might know of someone who might take over the board on the horse if you retain ownership (could eventually lead to you giving them the horse). I believe that networking is the best bet.

              For a chunk of my life, I rode other peoples' horses for experience and have free-leased (i.e. I didn't own but I paid bills) some difficult horses just for the chance to gain experience and train horses. Maybe this is an option for you. There are decent riders out there who are not ready/able to commit to horse ownership but enjoy riding/training. At the very least this option can put regular work and training on your horse while you find a better situation for him. you might find someone who falls for him and wants to keep him. Network network network.

              I'm also happy to hear that you are willing to give him to a good home rather than dump him.

              GOOD LUCK!
              Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


              • #8
                Ok immediate things that hit me were photo's are horrible (sorry) but they don't show anything good about the horse, not one decent conformation shot. So if I were looking for a horse you've lost a big portion of my interest there.

                Where you REALLY lost me was the 'Ready, Steady, Go' vidoe.....55 secs of nothing the horse standing there...not sure what its supposed to show but if I were looking for a horse you would have lost me as even vaguely interested.

                Put up one good conformation or moving photo (with him being ridden not free lunged) and one good 1 min video of walk trot canter on each rein.

                you also say
                I love this horse but Lockee is too hard to handle for a middle-aged beginner in that he will challenge a rider he knows is not in charge. A confident, experienced rider who is kind and patient but firm brings out the best in him
                then I see the video of him standing half asleep for 55 secs and I'm confused, is he a wild child or a dobbin?

                Sorry if I seem overly critical but in todays market, even for a free horse, you need to grab the attention fast and boy nothing in you ad is grabbing anything fast.

                He looks like a nice solid guy though and good luck
                I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                • Original Poster

                  Points taken - thanks for the constructive criticism.


                  • #10
                    OK, now that I've actually looked at the site...I agree with Jacksprats mom and Gallant Gesture. Your guy looks rather pleasant and calm in these clips. He looks like a nice ride for many people so i can't imagine he'd be too difficult to place. I do think he can be marketed a whooooooole lot better than how you are showing him off here.... Good luck!
                    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                    • #11
                      Can't add to what J-Lu, GallantGesture, & JackSprat'sMom have said...and kudos for trying to do right by your horse.
                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                      • #12
                        I agree that the advertising on that horse is hurting you more than helping you.
                        Advertising is ALL ABOUT slapping some lipstick on that pig.

                        I am talking horse show ready grooming, white polos, sparkling tack, freshly laundered saddle pad, finding a nicely landscaped shrub somewhere to stand the horse up next to to take his picture, and trailering to a barn with a picturesque setting to take his video.

                        Which horse would you rather buy?

                        This horse that moves like this?

                        Or this horse that moves like this?

                        Because they are one and the same horse.

                        (The horse is already leased so this isn't an ad.)

                        Most amateurs have no idea what they are really looking for when they try horses. They wouldn't know a good horse from a bad one from a hole in the ground until their trainer shows up. For an amateur buyer, no matter HOW MUCH they say they "don't care about that stuff," it is all about the lipstick. People buy horses emotionally, not logically.

                        Be honest: my horse would have been PERFECT for what you describe you need. In fact he is doing that very job for his leaser right now.
                        Would YOU have showed up based on the first evidence?
                        Last edited by meupatdoes; Nov. 24, 2009, 06:00 AM.
                        The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                        Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                        The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                        • #13
                          That horse in the videos is EXTREMELY quiet and slow. Honestly, I was really taken aback when I saw the video. That was not what I was expecting at all based on the description. I was expecting to see at least ONCE, a horse get strong, get intimidating, something.

                          He has a baby canter that is perfect for a beginner, and is going at a steady gait in all three gaits on a loose rein without even being half halted or going up to the bridle or having any impulsion, his head down and not a single attempt to speed up, nor does his back even move. He looks extremely easy to sit gait wise, both trot and canter. To be honest, he looks absolutely perfect for 'a middle aged amateur rider'.

                          To also be honest, giving away a plain brown 12 year old Thoroughbred with little training and no showing history, especially with the description that he is intimidating for an amateur, is basically giving that horse a long trip to Mexico. The country is still deep in a recession. The free to a good home people are turning loose horses because they lost their jobs. The low end of the market, for free horses and give aways, for 2, 3 thousand dollar horses, is absolutely choked. People have been complaining here for a YEAR that they can't sell their average horses and can't find 'free to a good home' homes.

                          So what's really going on? Why don't you want to just learn to ride this horse? Can't afford lessons? Can't afford to keep him? Can't tolerate lessons? Or just scared?

                          You CAN do this, you know. What's the successful recipe? Spend some money on training - not the horse - yourself. The horse knows how to walk trot canter in a ring. That's all you need to do. He is obedient and quiet for a trainer. All you have to do is copy what the trainer does. Work with the trainer, copy her. Do what she does. Ride the horse in lessons with a good trainer. Get the horse on a feed and turnout program, longe him before you ride him, practice being assertive and calm with the trainer there helping you and encouraging you. Find a person who can lead you to confidence.

                          PLEASE reconsider. In this market it is just so chancy.

                          Emotions are just emotions. That feeling that this is hopeless and can't be any different, can change. Habit, technique, lessons give people confidence and then emotions can change and the grip of fear can be broken. I've seen people master these situations. I've seen people who were terrified to even just do a little canter on a given horse, spend a few months working at it and then ride with joy and freedom and love their horse again.


                          • #14
                            Frankly, I looked at the video and wondered why you would want to give away a nice steady packer like him? Sure he might get a bit heavy and fall into the canter but are you sure that isn't a balance problem a bit with yourself and something that might repeat on another horse.

                            I have pupils with horses (ex-racehorses at that) who are no better than he is and who are learning heaps. Maybe your instructor needs to help you address your seat and balance and the horses balance before you take on another "devil you don't know".


                            • #15
                              For once in my life I agree entirely with slick.
                              The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                              Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                              The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                              • Original Poster

                                You've all given me good input - thank you.


                                • #17
                                  If this is you riding him in this video, then i agree with the others here, find a REALLY GOOD instructor, because if you've been taking lessons, you arent getting anywhere. The rider in the photo looks like they've ridden western most of their life and probably used to a REALLY slow and steady mount. I see a rider who is insecure about jogging around a ring with a very wobbly seat that is doing nothing to help her insecurity.

                                  I see a saint of a horse... Not a "pretty/perfect" horse, but one that is packing around its not "pretty/perfect" rider and putting up with it to the best of his ability by not throwing out anything that rider cant handle.

                                  That being said though, if you arent comfortable on the horse you have, get one that you are comfortable with. Life is too short to waste it messing around with a horse you arent happy to ride that will crush your confidence and take away the one "fun" thing you've got in life. Been there, done that!

                                  I dont care if you find the PERFECT horse, if it's got an attitude you dont mesh with, its not going to be a fun ride... Perhaps that is the case here too.

                                  Like the others mentioned, good photos/video of this horse will get him sold, and i doubt you would have to resort to giving him away. He's a cute guy, but marketed terribly. Really good example of the appendix above on what not to do and what just made that that thing look like a million bucks, or at least really desirable in this market... People seem to think posting any old pic and any old video will get the job done, my horse will sell itself... But it just wont. It's some STIFF competition out there, you've got to make that horse look AWESOME. Even then, you may not find a home for a long time. This price bracket is flooded.

                                  I sure dont see "give away" though looking at him. I just see a rider that needs lessons.
                                  Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                                  • #18
                                    I do understand, though, really I do. It can be scary when a horse gets fast on you, even when it doesn't look like he's getting fast to someone else, if you still feel it, you do. I have a friend who has the loveliest mare, and she is taking lessons with me, and getting braver all the time, but it's hard, because this mare WILL take the bit in her mouth and just bolt (or at least she SAID she bolted - she really just ducked and took a few leaps - that's not really bolting to me; again, perception). I rode her for a month for her, and that stopped that nonsense, but it was still in her mind that she could do that.

                                    So she's just working slowly through it, and riding mostly with me and my gelding in lessons, which really helps. Having that other horse there to steady her is a real confidence booster, and seeing how I handle HIS antics is the best medicine for her, because he really CAN be bad.

                                    Even if you do decide to rehome her, please rethink carefully your reasons for doing so, and rewrite your ad accordingly, because it could be important to this mare (I would always go with the "can't afford her" line). Unless she is doing something much more volatile than this, she is looking about right for someone who is intermediate to bring along, but you don't want to scare them off. It's a sad fact that horses are going to do stuff. They will get uppity with you (no, most of them don't WANT to work, but once they get into the habit, they get better) and they will get a bit strong.

                                    What I'm mostly worried about, now that you've waded through all of this, is that you'll get into what I've seen with so many adult amateurs. One horse gets a little strong with you, so rather than working through the problem, you get another horse. Well that horse is likely to get your number, too, because guess where the problem was? Only that horse's problem might be worse - my friend's mare ducks and bolts just a little (she wasn't really bad, just a quick turn and a few steps), but another friend's horse rears - there isn't much cure for that one. Sometimes it's better to get some instruction and just work with it.


                                    • #19
                                      OK, I'm going to jump in here and probably make a few enemies in the process (well, I hope I don't, but things can get heated around here). I think all of you are being way too harsh on the OP about this horse. I am emerging from a similar situation even as we speak (vet check on new horse in two hours!), and I can tell you that there is a point at which one's confidence and one's relationship with one's equine partner is so broken that even if the horse seems like a perfect fit, there's no going back.

                                      I have officially retired my half-Arab mare. If you stopped by my farm today, you'd say 'GBED, why would you do that? She has beautiful gaits. She's a sweetie on the ground. She's perfect! Get off your fat butt, get on her and learn to ride her.' I could provide some wonderful video of her walking and trotting around like a packer. Heck, I could even tell you how sweetly she recently behaved when my trainer's 8-year-old daughter rode her. Looking good all around.

                                      Now, let me tell you the rest of the story that a first glance can't reveal. This mare has a work ethic issue. One of my best friends who has ridden the mare extensively could give you a list of resistances the mare will offer a rider. My friend is a confident, experienced rider, too, and my mare has flummoxed her from time to time. (Laid down while being ridden; bucked; spooked, whirled and bolted; etc.) Imagine what that does, over time, to a less confident and less experienced rider. You need only watch me ride for a few minutes to get an idea...

                                      My husband calls the mare Legion. As in "my name is Legion." She can be a complete and utter doll on the ground; but sometimes she has these little mare breakdowns. The other day? She came after me in the pasture, teeth bared, hooves flying. I threw a bucket at her and chased her off. A few hours later? She was nuzzling my arm and giving me big doe eyes. Don't tell me that I need to work on ground manners with her because I have. When I got her she cow-kicked, laid down in the cross ties, bit, was a pushy b*tch on the ground, etc. I cleaned up her act. People were afraid of her. Sure, I learned a lot, but I also lost a lot of confidence in the process.

                                      My new trainer and I restarted this mare this summer, and things were looking up. I spent an entire month just walking her, building our collective muscles and focusing on working correctly. I was still a basketcase in the saddle because the mare likes to spook/whirl/bolt with me, but we were improving. Then we started adding harder work--more trotting, some baby steps toward lateral work, the canter. (By the way, I haven't cantered in two years because this mare offers so much resistance.) Adding this new work didn't go well, so my trainer started riding the mare for half of each lesson, and the mare was worse for her because my trainer was actually asking for work. Things devolved.

                                      My point with all of this is not to steal the OP's thunder but rather to say you can't know what's really going on in the OP's heart and head. If she needs to call it quits with this horse, I believe her. The horse looks fine in the video, but that's a few minutes out of hours of riding. The OP is still the one who has to gather up the frayed edges of her confidence and get on the horse. And let me tell you, sometimes that can be the emotional equivalent of walking into gunfire.

                                      I finally called it quits with my mare in early September. I spent an entire lesson weeping and trying to explain to my trainer why I couldn't do it anymore. "I'm not a quitter," I said between sobs. (Meanwhile, my trainer was riding through a series of baby bucks and pig-like grunts on the mare that had well and truly crushed my confidence.) My trainer finally drew up alongside me and said, "I know. And if this isn't fun for you anymore, we need to do something different. You tried. I saw you do it, and I'm proud of what you accomplished."

                                      Those words meant the world to me. Our next step was to draw up a list of what we wanted/needed in my new equine partner. Top of my list was been-there, done-that and quiet, quiet, quiet. If I get unbalanced in the saddle, I want my new horse to stop. If I need to learn something new, I want my new horse to be patient, sweet and forgiving about my mistakes. If I get scared, I want my new horse to get a little bossy and babysitterish.

                                      I'll bet that sounds boring to the more experienced riders here, but that's exactly what I'm looking for, and I suspect that's what Coy has in mind now too. Some of us love to ride but we're not as serious as the rest of you. I'm not ashamed to say that. I'm serious about taking good care of my horses. I'm serious about having a good time riding. I'm serious about learning new things. But I'm not serious enough to ride a horse that feels dangerous or that just feels no fun to ride.

                                      I'm glad Coy is looking to rehome her horse, and I hope she will find that perfect dead-quiet equine partner that can help her rediscover and reclaim her love of riding. We should applaud people who are realistic about their abilities. God knows, there are enough wannabes and frauds in this sport. Isn't it nice to hear from someone who can honestly say "I'm overhorsed, but I want to make sure this guy ends up in a good place"?


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by butlerfamilyzoo View Post
                                        If this is you riding him in this video, then i agree with the others here, find a REALLY GOOD instructor, because if you've been taking lessons, you arent getting anywhere. The rider in the photo looks like they've ridden western most of their life and probably used to a REALLY slow and steady mount. I see a rider who is insecure about jogging around a ring with a very wobbly seat that is doing nothing to help her insecurity...

                                        That being said though, if you arent comfortable on the horse you have, get one that you are comfortable with. Life is too short to waste it messing around with a horse you arent happy to ride that will crush your confidence and take away the one "fun" thing you've got in life. Been there, done that!
                                        I think we were posting around the same time, but I agree with much of this, particularly the critique on seat and wobbliness in the saddle. (I can't speak to the horse being a "saint" which is why I snipped out that bit. We don't really know how he behaves in the ten million other hours she's riding that aren't caught on video.)

                                        For many of us who end up with the wrong horse, it has to do with our riding ability and the suitability of the horse. Unfortunately, horse shopping can be so aspirational, as in "I aspire to ride to first level dressage, but right now I'm having trouble just not riding in the fetal position." (Ask me how I know that one...)

                                        You'll find the right partner, Coy, and if you follow the excellent advice offered here on how to market Lockee, you'll be able to do it sooner.