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Advice on lease horse. Sriracha is pretty spicy!

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  • Advice on lease horse. Sriracha is pretty spicy!

    So, the good news is that I took some COTHers' advice and found a horse to lease (month-to-month with a buy option included) to give myself a break from the drama of shopping.

    Sriracha is a 5 y/o TB/Trakehner gelding. Gorgeous mover and seemed well-trained / responsive under saddle when I tried him. Was quite mellow in a fairly stressful situation (no arena at his old house, loose horses running along side of us on three rails of the dirt field where we were riding, noises from someone loading a truck, etc.). His owner swears he is unflappable.

    When he arrived at my barn, I heard rather than saw them coming down the road. He was kicking like a mad man and came off the rig drenched and sweat, whites of his eyes rolling. The owner had told me that he trailers well...um, apparently not.

    He's had several days to settle in, but I quickly discovered that he has absolutely no ground manners. He acts like he's never been hand-walked in his life. No sense of a personal space "bubble" either. He's not dangerous, just very immature. He spooks at pretty much everything and is still afraid to go into one end of the turn-out.

    My trainer rode him today (I've had viral bronchitis for seventeen days and am not up for it yet) and said that he was very behind the bit, like head to chest behind the bit. I'm worried because he was only a little behind the bit when I rode him and just needed some leg to engage his hind end. She also said that he spun on her several times and lacks confidence.

    Any advice on addressing his ground manners? I've dealt with green beans before, but usually the issues are under saddle. I've always steered clear of the ones that are hard to manage on the ground. A tiny part of me is worried that he may have been drugged when I tried him. He seems so different now than he did then. I feel like he should have settled in within a week, but maybe that's unrealistic of me? I really was hoping this would be a fun, stress-free situation, but it seems like I have a lot more work to do with him than I had thought.

  • #2
    You're right, he should have settled in within the week, easily IMO. When we take a horse to show there's usually no "settling in", just get on and ride, so it should be the same when they move barns too. Granted he's getting used to a new routine/new people/situation, but again, it shouldn't be as big of a deal as it sounds. I would worry about drugging too.

    I think you should get in touch with his owners, or ask your trainer to do so, and try to get the real story before you put a lot of time/money/effort into addressing anything. This is supposed to be fun, and if you are not going to have any on this horse it may be better to move on quickly without devoting a lot of resources to it. There is something to be said for a horse who can teach you, of course, but you also shouldn't be totally miserable in the process.

    Just food for thought.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

    Comment


    • #3
      Green....how often has he been off the farm he was previously at? If you were looking at OTTBs.....not having manners on the ground is also pretty typical. So this looks like a good time to learn how to teach some. It just takes consistency. I'd give it more than a week for a young green horse. Plus...Trakkenhers are a bit...different. I have an TB/trak. He is tough. Talented....but trust is a big thing with them. You need to earn it with them. Not let them walk all over you but be very clear.

      In a lease situation....I doubt highly that he was drugged. What would be the point with a month to month lease. He was probably so different as he was comfortable in his surroundings (and perhaps had been in consistent work). He sounds just like a green horse....whether that is what you want to deal with or not is for you to decide.
      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

      Comment


      • #4
        Give him more time. Some horses need more time to settle than others. My horse stayed at the same farm from a weanling to 7, so it takes him more time than other horses his age-8 (who have more exposure) to settle. My guy is pretty good on outings with other horses from his barn that he is familiar with, but on his own or at a new barn he's quite nervous and all manners and training goes out the window.

        My goal for this summer is to get him out and about more on his own. Trailer to lessons, trail rides etc.

        Comment


        • #5
          Was he on any supplements that they forgot to tell you about?

          While I am normally all about wet saddle blankets for hot behavior, I finally broke down and put my hot-hot-hot mare on Quiessence because she was just so unreasonably reactive and just not learning.

          HUUUUUUUUUGE difference. Night and day. She's still hot-hot-hot (which is how I like them) but it's no longer one teensy step forward and six back. I feel like she's got a brain in her head now.

          Alternatively, did you change his supplements, or his grain? What sort of hay was he on before? How much turnout is he getting? What was his routine like at the old place? Take a good hard look at what's changed. MSM can sometimes make a horse nuts. A higher NSC grain can certainly cause problems. Less turnout might be an issue. Or maybe his routine is just screwed up and he's upset about it. Even something as simple as they always longed him for 5 minutes before riding and you are not can throw them off--it's not that 5 minutes is enough time to blow off steam, it's that the routine is different.

          Otherwise, it's lots of repetition, consistent and FAIR handling. If a horse like this feels you're being unfair, all is lost.

          Comment


          • #6
            Remember you don't have to MAKE this work. The bonus of this being a lease is if he doesn't settle and get with the program he can go back. Its like dating - sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't... New horses are never totally stress free, but don't feel the need to force it to work for you. Trust your gut.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by islgrl View Post
              Remember you don't have to MAKE this work. The bonus of this being a lease is if he doesn't settle and get with the program he can go back. Its like dating - sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't... New horses are never totally stress free, but don't feel the need to force it to work for you. Trust your gut.
              I would talk with the owners and say that if he isn't settled and more like the horse you tried by the end of the month, you would like to send him home then....if you don't want to deal with what sounds like a very green and unschooled horse (oy vey. The things you describe on the ground would drive me batty).

              DO be sure you haven't made any unintentional huge feeding or management changes. Be firm but fair with him on the ground. He may need to wear a chain for a few days, and you may need to carry a long whip to install some "this is how we walk. This is how we stop" manners. If he's really reactive, might be prudent to wear a helmet and gloves....just in case.

              But, if you don't want to deal, then don't. You don't have to!
              Amanda

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm not one of those "every cranky horse has ulcers" people, but if a horse went from unflappable/pleasant/well trained to walking off a trailer as a spooky nutcase with no ground manners and an unwillingness to move forward under saddle, I'd be thinking ulcers. Horses rarely make that kind of Jekyll and Hyde transition unless they were drugged or they feel like total crap.
                Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jn4jenny View Post
                  I'm not one of those "every cranky horse has ulcers" people, but if a horse went from unflappable/pleasant/well trained to walking off a trailer as a spooky nutcase with no ground manners and an unwillingness to move forward under saddle, I'd be thinking ulcers. Horses rarely make that kind of Jekyll and Hyde transition unless they were drugged or they feel like total crap.
                  I thought ulcers as well. Also....significant feed changes and turn out changes can really unsettle green horses. Hell...it unsettles some of my not so green horses.
                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree with Yellowbritches. Be the calm, confident person he needs. He sounds insecure, green. I have a lease who was similar in the beginning. Almost identical to the behavior you described. I wore my helmet around him when I felt it was necessary, set firm, but clear boundaries, carried my whip if I needed, but I seldom needed it. Just the presence of the dressage whip was enough. He has settled, but occasionally has his moments. This has been an eight month process. But as a horse, he is fun to ride (for me at least), and was worth the work, as if I didn't have him, I wouldn't have anything to ride, period!
                    “Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves
                    Jump Start Solutions LLC

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Some horses are very quiet and calm in a familiar environment but get upset in a strange place. I disagree with the posters that say he needs more time to settle in, if you took him to a show he'd need to settle in after a few hours and then go right to work.

                      Ground manners you can work on but if you are paying money to lease him then I'd expect him to at least be well behaved under saddle. Buying a green horse as a project is different.
                      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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                      • #12
                        You are in Southern Ca, right? How much turnout is he getting?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I disagree with those suggestion medical issues (drugging, ulcers) and while I suggest looking into what you changed in his management (more/less grain, turnout time, turnout buddies, etc), to me it honestly just sounds like a "farm-raised" baby who has not had a lot of exposure, and you're just rocking his world right now with everything being changed up.

                          Yes, in a week he should have started to settle, but he IS part Trak and they ARE known for being particularly sensitive.

                          There's a Dutch mare at my barn who is five, raised and handled on the same farm her entire life, and then imported. She's been here almost a month and is still not completely settled.

                          Of course, if the owner says he trailers well and been off property many times and is unflappable at shows, and you're looking at the exact opposite, well, then he might just not be the horse for you, no matter what.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                            I disagree with the posters that say he needs more time to settle in, if you took him to a show he'd need to settle in after a few hours and then go right to work.
                            .
                            While I agree with you....with a green horse this is something you often have to teach. I've only had ONE out of over 30 horses both homebred and OTTBs that didn't take significant work to teach them how to go to new places and settle. It starts with lots of little outings....going to different farms to have a lesson or even just hack around, then going to little quiet local schooling shows, then going to shows.

                            If this horse has NOT had that kind of ground work laid down, then no, it will take him longer to settle. He has no one consistent thing in where he is now. He very well may not be the right horse for this OP....but that is a different issue.

                            For the lease..most leases with green horses and an option to buy IME are free leases. If she is paying for the lease...I agree, it is a bit of different situation.
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Also keep in mind that Trakehners are slow to mature. I think my Trak was at least 7 before he really knew where all four feet were! if this horse hasn't been off the farm much, I'd spend some days working him on the ground and getting him used to YOU. When you take a horse to a show, yes he has to settle right away but generally the rider is the constant and the horse takes its cues from you. This guy is in a new place with new people. Give him some more time.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                I'd give it more than a week for a young green horse. Plus...Trakkenhers are a bit...different. I have an TB/trak. He is tough. Talented....but trust is a big thing with them. You need to earn it with them. Not let them walk all over you but be very clear.

                                In a lease situation....I doubt highly that he was drugged. What would be the point with a month to month lease. He was probably so different as he was comfortable in his surroundings (and perhaps had been in consistent work). He sounds just like a green horse....whether that is what you want to deal with or not is for you to decide.
                                Yes, I get the sense that he's very sweet and wants to please but is SUPER immature. He acts more like a 3 y/o than a 5 y/o. I think he was a homebred, so I doubt he left the property a lot in his formative years, and then he went straight to the owner he has now, who also hasn't taken him off the property. She kind of made it seem as if he had show miles, but the real story is that he was supposed to go to a show and had a meltdown on the way there.

                                Funny you mention that about trak's, because I leased one for about six months before and she had a screw loose when it came to jumping. Beautiful, safe, experienced dressage mare, but just lost her mind on course. Lol, apparently that's why she was for lease. I have to say, though, she taught me a lot about jumping.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                  I'd give it more than a week for a young green horse. Plus...Trakkenhers are a bit...different. I have an TB/trak. He is tough. Talented....but trust is a big thing with them. You need to earn it with them. Not let them walk all over you but be very clear.

                                  In a lease situation....I doubt highly that he was drugged. What would be the point with a month to month lease. He was probably so different as he was comfortable in his surroundings (and perhaps had been in consistent work). He sounds just like a green horse....whether that is what you want to deal with or not is for you to decide.
                                  Yes, I get the sense that he's very sweet and wants to please but is SUPER immature. He acts more like a 3 y/o than a 5 y/o. I think he was a homebred, so I doubt he left the property a lot in his formative years, and then he went straight to the owner he has now, who also hasn't taken him off the property. She kind of made it seem as if he had show miles, but the real story is that he was supposed to go to a show and had a meltdown on the way there.

                                  Funny you mention that about trak's, because I leased one for about six months before and she had a screw loose when it came to jumping. Beautiful, safe, experienced dressage mare, but just lost her mind on course. Lol, apparently that's why she was for lease. I have to say, though, she taught me a lot about jumping.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by barnworkbeatshousework View Post
                                    I agree with Yellowbritches. Be the calm, confident person he needs. He sounds insecure, green. I have a lease who was similar in the beginning. Almost identical to the behavior you described. I wore my helmet around him when I felt it was necessary, set firm, but clear boundaries, carried my whip if I needed, but I seldom needed it. Just the presence of the dressage whip was enough. He has settled, but occasionally has his moments. This has been an eight month process. But as a horse, he is fun to ride (for me at least), and was worth the work, as if I didn't have him, I wouldn't have anything to ride, period!
                                    That's very helpful. Thank you! I pulled out the old stud chain yesterday, sick of being taken advantage of, and he was MUCH better. We walked into and out of the wash rack a dozen times and by the end he was a gentleman. We walked all around the arena, full of freshly painted, brightly colored jumps, and walked over some ground poles and he got the picture...eventually. We even walked up to a tarp and with no encouragement from me he walked right over it. Woo hoo. It's weird. One moment he acts like a baby, and the next he acts like walking over a tarp fun and no big deal??? He's so different from my last horse. I'm having a hard time figuring him out.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                                      Also keep in mind that Trakehners are slow to mature. I think my Trak was at least 7 before he really knew where all four feet were! if this horse hasn't been off the farm much, I'd spend some days working him on the ground and getting him used to YOU. When you take a horse to a show, yes he has to settle right away but generally the rider is the constant and the horse takes its cues from you. This guy is in a new place with new people. Give him some more time.
                                      Okay, will do. He seems to like it when I really take charge, whereas my last horse preferred more of a dialogue. Obviously all horses need leadership, but I get the sense that this lease horse is extremely insecure. The more I tell him what's what, the more relieved he is. I'm not used to having to be so assertive, but it's good for me. At the very least, it will be a learning experience and I will be a better horsewoman for it. And, I have SOMETHING to ride!

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                        While I agree with you....with a green horse this is something you often have to teach. I've only had ONE out of over 30 horses both homebred and OTTBs that didn't take significant work to teach them how to go to new places and settle. It starts with lots of little outings....going to different farms to have a lesson or even just hack around, then going to little quiet local schooling shows, then going to shows.

                                        If this horse has NOT had that kind of ground work laid down, then no, it will take him longer to settle. He has no one consistent thing in where he is now. He very well may not be the right horse for this OP....but that is a different issue.

                                        For the lease..most leases with green horses and an option to buy IME are free leases. If she is paying for the lease...I agree, it is a bit of different situation.
                                        Nope, not paying anything. It's a free month-to-month lease with a $5500 buy option any time therein or at the end of one year. I wasn't totally down for a lease, but when this deal came up it was so low risk it felt right for me at this point in time.

                                        If it does work out, I can work him for a year and see if he's suitable for my purposes and whether or not he stays sound before I shell out money for a vetting. If he doesn't work out, I have something to play with for a few months, a breather from shopping, and only stand to lose $ for hauling.

                                        I have insurance on him and only have to pay the deductible in the event of an illness or injury. She covers the rest. Lol, too nice to pass up! Also, if he'll get with the program, I could see him being a very nice eventer. Just not sure if he has the mind for it. I jumped him when I tried him and he seemed more than willing to pop right over. Here's to hoping : )

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