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Time to call it quits? TB gelding & dangerous behavior

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  • Time to call it quits? TB gelding & dangerous behavior

    Last edited by stock; Nov. 23, 2018, 09:26 PM.

  • #2
    I think it's quite possible that the limited vision is the issue. Either way, a horse that you have to be absolutely perfect in handling and riding, or else risk getting badly hurt, is not one I would be excited about.


    • #3
      This horse is a huge liability to even have standing around in your pasture, much less to suggest that someone throw a leg over.

      He is completely unpredictable, has no ground manners, and has now seriously injured someone.

      If you witnessed the accident, give yourself some time to deal with that shock, then I'd be thinking very seriously about what's best for this horse and the humans who have to deal with him.

      ... and Patrick


      • #4
        If ever there were giant red flags of warning that no one should get on a particular horse, this is it.

        Stop putting your friends (and anyone else, including yourself) on this horse. For their sake, for yours, and for the horse's sake as well.

        There is no equine liability law in the country that will protect you from a gross negligence lawsuit. There are any number of definitions of 'gross negligence', but generally "a conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to another party".

        In other words, it's a situation where reasonable people would know that someone is likely to be seriously hurt, even killed. Every state equine liability protection law has an exception for 'gross negligence'.

        It only takes one upset, angry, injured person with the means to pursue it to start such a legal action. They will have no trouble finding some professional, somewhere, to say on their behalf that you were woefully careless with your friend's safety. Whatever the outcome, it could deeply affect your life.

        I am not a lawyer. I have just seen friendships go *poof* and legal juggernauts roll when someone is badly hurt. Sometimes just because they are upset enough to want to dish out consequences, even if they won't profit much by it.

        If the current victims are not inclined to take action, sooner or later someone else will.

        Consider him a pasture pet from now on. Thanks for giving him a caring home, in spite of his behavior.


        • #5
          I had a Native Dancer nutcase. The final straw was when I adjusted the velcro billet straps one day, as I had a hundred times before, and he lost his mind, spun and double barrel kicked me, landed one hoof right in my stomach.

          He was a lover in the stall, you could pull his mane and he'd fall asleep, he was just so damned unpredictable. Out of the blue commonplace things we'd done dozens of times would send him into a violent, dangerous fit.

          He's dangerous. Someone already got hurt because this guy's brain isn't wired correctly.
          Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings

          Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
          Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB


          • #6
            Originally posted by wsmoak View Post
            This horse is a huge liability to even have standing around in your pasture, much less to suggest that someone throw a leg over.

            He is completely unpredictable, has no ground manners, and has now seriously injured someone.

            If you witnessed the accident, give yourself some time to deal with that shock, then I'd be thinking very seriously about what's best for this horse and the humans who have to deal with him.

            That. ^

            Why try to work with an unpredictable horse that has already been injuring people, that will always need a professional handling him and even then he acts in a dangerous way to himself and others around him?

            There are way too many normal horses out there that could use all those resources you are putting on that horse, that are not a danger to anyone.

            Had a friend with one of those horses, super nice, unless he lost his marbles.
            The friend bought him from a fellow with a broken arm, courtesy of the then colt.
            That horse put friend in the ER for a week two times, about a year or two apart, plus other times the horse lost it without getting others hurt, before friend finally gave up on him.

            You can be hardheaded only so long with those kinds of horses, until enough wrecks will bring those having to work around such horses to the realization that something is not working.

            I have been lucky all my life to be training horses for people that put everyone's safety first.
            If a horse was not sensible, the horse was moved on.
            One was this new beautiful OTTB.
            I was happy to be assigned that horse, others jealous.
            Took him next day to the indoor for our regular training session.
            Horse rode so very nice, until someone made a noise coming in and he out of the blue reared up, high up.
            He stayed up there for a couple seconds, waving his front feet high up, like he was clapping his hands.
            I had retrained before rearing horses, so was handling it and got him down and forward and turning and he went on again like nothing happened.
            He reared again when the trainer came in and he saw it, told me to get off and the horse was gone next day.
            I was very young and sad, I liked him!
            We wondered if the horse came with a story, or just a sketchy story, but everyone's safety was more important than trying to retrain a horse with a seriously dangerous habit.
            There is plenty you can retrain a horse past.
            When needing to put others at serious risk for that, not sensible.

            Horses like people come in all kinds and some of those are dangerous to others.
            We put those individuals away in mental hospitals or prisions to keep others safe.
            Do what you as the owner of such horse has to do to keep others safe, don't keep risking more accidents.

            Seriously folks, if a horse shows to have dangerous quirks, consider very seriously if putting others at risk is ever sensible!


            • #7
              Good advice here. He is not worth having on your property.


              • #8
                Last edited by skip99; Nov. 23, 2018, 09:35 PM. Reason: removed due to amount of content from OP


                • #9
                  Pasture pets who cannot be ridden and might have a tendency to be pushy (get in your space, nuzzle you a bit too roughly with their head, maybe give the occasional nip) are one thing. Horses that are downright dangerous even to experienced people is something very different.

                  If a legitimate professional trainer (who should know how to work safely with feral horses) is afraid to work with him? Then yeah, in my opinion you have a serious problem on your hands. A horse that is not just feral and needs a lot of work, but a horse who is so dangerous he cannot be worked with safely even by experienced people.

                  Bottom line is this is a judgement call that only someone familiar with the horse can make. Is he just feral and needs a lot of work? Or is he so dangerous that even experienced people can't even safely do ground work with him? If it's the latter, then yeah ... I think it's seriously time to think about "calling it quits."


                  • #10
                    Maybe send the horse to skip99??

                    This is a tough call and one I don't envy. He definitely sounds like a horse you shouldn't be riding and if pro trainers have had issues, would make me think twice, thrice about selling this horse on. In part, if the horse ends up again in an inappropriate home, who knows where his next destination may be...

                    I know many would disagree with me (and I'm fine with that) but maybe have a serious talk with your trainer(s) and vet about the mental state of this horse (yeah, maybe the eye injury is part of the problem but then what are you going to do about it short of removing the eye??). The discussion should perhaps include humane euthanasia. Maybe he'd be ok as your pasture pet but if he's putting others at risk when they handle him, is pasture pet the right job?

                    At least with a humane euthanasia (and I would say for me personally don't know enough about this horse to make this call other than having it as an option on the table) you know he won't be in a bad place mentally and people who handle him won't be at risk any longer. I believe there are things worth than death. I believe that we, as humans, don't need to persist endlessly on every single horse. I know there will others here who will disagree but wanted to put the option out there.

                    Good luck with whichever direction you decide to go with your horse.
                    When you start to observe, you become more effective... your movements soften, you see more, you are more available to becoming a team member. Be an Observer first, a Handler second.


                    • Original Poster

                      Last edited by stock; Nov. 23, 2018, 09:25 PM.


                      • #12
                        I think you are choosing a wise route. Remember that a short good life is a good life. A horse has no expectations for the future beyond his next feed.

                        We can all noodle for days on his past history and what different training techniques might be tried -- none of that really matters. What matters is that most horse people are not equipped to deal with this horse.

                        Just my opinion for the discussion - There may be someone out there who can get through to him, but how many trial and errors are worth it, given the high probability that there will be human carnage along the way?

                        In my opinion such risks are pointless. Even if someone does eventually get through to him, it is not worth the risk of damage to various and sundry humans along the way.

                        OP, I think you are doing the right thing to let him live out his life in pasture, unless even that level of care is no longer safe and/or feasible.

                        I hope you will put your own safety first, at all times. I am glad that you are ready to make the ultimate decision - but do it *before* there is a serious injury, not after. You have no control over the outcomes and consequences of the next big incident.

                        Good luck to you, and god bless.


                        • #13
                          I agree with (seemingly) the majority here - with a horse like this you're just waiting for the next injury.

                          I had a TB gelding that I bought as a 2yo. He was stunningly beautiful and untouched (never aimed toward the racing world), and as sweet as any youngster I've met. But he was weirdly fearful of pretty much everything. Found out years later that he was an orphan - don't know if that was part of it or just another check in his "odd" column. But he had a handful of weird pasture incidents, including (but not limited to) flipping upside down and getting stuck turtle-like in his water trough. Sigh.

                          He was also a slow developer - still looked like a 2yo at 4. I gave him extra time before starting him under saddle. And when I did finally start that process (as a late 4yo) I took it slower than I ever have with a horse because he was so prone to panicking. The first time I put a girth on him (having done this dozens of times with babies prior, I was slow and careful and keeping an eye on his reaction) he spun in the cross-ties, nailed me in the thigh and took off out of the barn bucking like a devil. So we worked on getting tacked up for a month before we moved on to the next thing. I sat on him in a stall for another month before ever mounting in an arena. And that was after lungeing and ground driving him for close to 2 months, eventually with a "dummy" (jeans filled with sand and tied off). It took him so stinking long to "adapt" to every new thing to him. And the adjustment period was filled with explosive moments every time. But he was so pretty..... (I probably would have given up on him sooner if he hadn't been)

                          The first time I sat on him in the ring I had my husband lead him around and we stopped and walked and stopped and walked maybe a dozen times. The second day we did the same. Except for some reason he lost his marbles the fourth or fifth time and with zero warning shot me skyward. No moment of "I might hang on," no gathering of energy or moment of tension before the explosion. It was just that one moment I was sitting on a calm horse and the next I was further off the ground than I've ever been before.

                          I sent him to a natural horseman guy shortly thereafter. He quickly became the trainer's "white whale." He's had him for 10 years now (? maybe longer?) and he is still dangerous and unpredictable and still occasionally gets rid of his rider. My vet begged me to let her put him down when I first sent him off to the trainer. But he was so good in his good moments that I couldn't imagine giving up on him when he was so young and had so much potential. In hindsight, I wish I had listened to her and done it. There's clearly something "off" or mis-wired in his brain. Or perhaps it's something like kissing spine? But I can say that with a decade of very good natural horseman work, the horse is no better than when he was here.

                          Presented with a horse like this again, I would be much quicker to make the decision to give up. Because the truth is, even if you get past whatever today's problem is, you're just waiting for tomorrow's problem. With my guy, I knew that he would never be suitable for showing (which is pretty much all I do) nor trail riding nor anything else where something unexpected might happen.

                          I wish you the best of luck, whatever you decide!
                          Flying F Sport Horses
                          Horses in the NW


                          • #14
                            OP, based on your recent topic in Off Course, IMO, time to call it quits before someone else gets hurt.
                            When you start to observe, you become more effective... your movements soften, you see more, you are more available to becoming a team member. Be an Observer first, a Handler second.


                            • #15
                              If this isn't a fabrication, pts now and hope you don't lose your house in a lawsuit after this latest incident.

                              If this is real, delete anything you've ever written on this subject.
                              Let me apologize in advance.


                              • #16
                                I have never understood why people dump resources into dangerous animals. No horse is worth a person's safety. This guy has now hurt multiple people. Time to plant him before he does any further damage.


                                • #17
                                  Because they want to be the one to fix it.

                                  OP, all fine and good to say you're the only one to handle him until his dying day but what happens when you get sick or injured or god forbid worse. What happens then? Who handles him in your absence? Life and soundness are not guaranteed. You must have a contingency plan in place when you own animals. This horse can't fit into any kind of responsible ownership plan. Euthanasia is the only true responsible choice for a horse like this.

                                  I think you know this which is why you started the thread. Putting him down is the responsible, kind thing to do. He is a large livestock animal that is a danger to himself and everyone around him. I'm sorry you're dealing with this but I'm glad you posted so you can hear this advice.
                                  Power to the People


                                  • #18
                                    At this point you have a horse that has seriously injured 2 people as well as a couple of professionals that refuse to work with him.

                                    I have to agree with Ladyj79 and Glyphica - its time to PTS, he's had multiple chances, you have gone above and beyond to help this horse and he's not responding in a correct or safe manner.

                                    You have tried your best but there are the occasional horses that are just not right in the head. Give him the kindness of release.


                                    • #19
                                      Word of advice from someone who has worked with liability claims in her career. Based on this thread and the injured trainer/HO thread, please understand that these comments are discoverable by the plaintiff. There is admission of fault here, too. If I were you, I would delete both threads immediately and say nothing more publicly about this matter. Anything you say can be used against you. And I know this is hard because you want to talk about it, but really you can only discuss it with people who cannot be subpoenaed to discuss this horse. So stick to your spouse, attorney, clergy and physician. Everyone else is off limits, including this bulletin board. And pray that your trainer has not already captured this thread!
                                      Where Norwegian Fjords Rule


                                      • Original Poster

                                        I think I may conduct a slightly different course of action with the horse.

                                        What saddens me isnt him in particular-he is sweet, but has always been the extra horse who my beloved horse loves. If he needs a bullet and a bulldozer in the front pasture, Id be sad but it would be a reasonable, fair course of action.

                                        What saddens me is how many of you report the same set of issues. In effect there seems to be a collection of these "trashcan horses" out there. They obviously have a screw loose, our fault in the end, as we humans obviously were not always breeding for temperament stability over attributes like speed. While my horse is worthless, I suspect some of these horses have had tens of thousands invested in them, so are a significant economic loss.

                                        Last year I took in a "trashcan kid" and I learned a lot of about trauma, stress and long term impact in humans. I mentioned PTSD as there are two types. One type stems from a single incident-ie I get bitten by a dog, then feel high levels of anxiety being around a dog. The second type is chronic in nature. The person lives an early life filled with instability, high stress, neglect and possibly, but not always, abuse. What happens is that they become hyper responsive to any external stimuli that is perceived as a threat and are always on guard and hyper vigilant to threats. This is perfectly natural, in that if you exist in a world truly filled with threats, you need to be hyper vigilant to survive.

                                        However the reality is that the world is nowhere near as threatening as their innate wiring tells them it is. The thought is that their are underlying changes in the HPA axis that up regulate over all anxiety in order to survive. Secondary issues are severe disassociation (ie temporary personality splitting which appears as extremely irregular, unpredictable behavior from the individual in a stressful situation), generalized anxiety syndrome, depression, self-mutilation, violent outbursts, drug use to self medicate, inability to form stable relationships etc. Obviously genetics plays a role too, as several people can experience the same set of conditions, but not all develop the same response. It may be due to innate personality. When stressed some fight, some flight and some freeze.

                                        You can treat the single instance PTSD via a lot of desensitization work. The chronic PTSD is a nightmare to treat, as most treatments just try and deal with the secondary symptoms. There is so single thing to desensitize around via counseling, as its the entire world that is the problem, ie the entire response system of the person is the problem. ie you have a "trashcan human" who wrecks havoc on the world around them in an effort to protect themselves.

                                        My trashcan kid drove me to the edge with drug use, three suicide attempts in three months, repeated hospitalizations, getting kicked out of school. This kid, not even mine, just a homeless kid that washed up on my shore, was destroying my life. Now, 18 months in, we are working through LDs, working on catching up in school, she is chill and laid back and on route to being a dentist. Its nothing short of astonishing.

                                        The turning point, remarkably, thankfully, was utilizing a new treatment for chronic PTSD that aims at unwiring the brain so that it can rewire in a more appropriate manner. Quite funny, it involves horse tranquilizer-ie ketamine. You give the person six IV infusions of ketamine over the course of six weeks, each about half an hour long. They spend about half an hour a bit high each time. You do all the normal treatment stuff-ie consuling etc in the meantime Google "ketamine and depression" and you'll find a lot of info.

                                        After the first treatment, the most obvious difference was not happiness, but reduced reactivity to external threats. Rather than responding violently or emotionally, she instead paused and thought a bit, then was open to coaching on how to handle. By the second treatment, I didnt have to worry about leaving her alone in the house. By the third, she was just a normal teen girl. Eleven months later, the changes seem permanent.

                                        Seeing this and seeing my idiot horse, the parallels are pretty obvious, so I think Id like to contact the local vet school and see if one of the vets might be interested in using him as an experimental animal to see if this type of treatment could create the same type of change in a horse. It would be at best an anecdotal example, but if a similar response is seen might be an interesting case study to add to the toolbox when no other options present themselves and a huge economic investment is at risk.

                                        And of course no one else touches the horse but me, with the reward being, as a scientist by training, satisfaction of scientific curiosity.