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Giving up on a horse while rehabbing injury???

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  • Giving up on a horse while rehabbing injury???

    Well, I'm posting under an alter as I feel like a horrible person for even contemplating this idea. But, has anyone ever given up on their horse while the horse is rehabbing from an injury?

    Here’s the background: I’ve owned said horsey for approximately 6 years. I bought horsey as a fun project to bring along. Horse was young and had an inconsistent back ground, but I’m experienced and have brought up babies in the past (albeit not recently), so I thought I was up for the challenge. He was very difficult to break, but with the help of good trainers for several years horsey has become a pretty good guy. He’s actually pretty talented at his job, but requires me to be a type of rider that I am naturally not. Horse is pretty strong and if you’re not always really riding the pants out of him he will take over the ride. For me, it is not pleasant. I am an adult amateur who works really hard to support my fun habit, but it’s just not fun for me on this horse. And although we have had some good days together, I feel like my confidence has been knocked and it’s not really fair to either of us to keep struggling over the same issues.

    So, over the winter I decided I would get horsey going again this spring and try to find him a loving home where his quirks won’t matter. But, over the winter my horse had a fall and ended up needing a bone chip removed. He had the surgery and we’re currently hand walking. He is better for others than he is for me. I’ve been kicked twice and I’m to the point where I’m terrified even to hand walk him. I dread going to the barn everyday and I’m paying someone a lot of my fun horsey money just to walk him. He is to be started walking under saddle next week and I’m already not sure how I can bring myself to get back on him. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I really only want what is best for him. He is a really sweet horse, but he’s got my number. We’re just not the best match.

    If you’ve made it through my sniveling tail this far, thank you for reading! I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. So, has anyone ever given up while their horse is rehabbing from an injury?

  • #2
    re-read this part: "He is a really sweet horse, but he’s got my number. We’re just not the best match."

    It doesn't sound to me that you're really giving up on him, just that you two don't really fit together. And that happens. We had a fantastically talented hony at our barn that a kid owned and they just didn't match. Hony moved on and kid now has a wonderful jumper pony that she'd jump the moon on. She's also at the barn three times as much as she was before b/c she's enjoying it.

    I know you probably feel like you "have" to keep him b/c of what you've put in, but if you're afraid of your own horse and are miserable at the barn (that's what it sounds like to me), then maybe he needs to be moved along to someone who enjoys more of a challenge. No shame in that.

    Just my (long) two cents.
    "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"


    • #3
      Yes, I have passed horses on to others when they didn't work out. I know that that is a harder decision for some people than it is for others. I don't count my chickens before they are hatched. In other words; when I buy a horse I don't dream about where we will go together but, instead, dream of what we will accomplish tomorrow, then the next day, and so on. You just never know all the variables and any one of those can crop up and destroy your "long term" goals. So, I don't "fall in love" to the point of where it is hard for me to let the horse go when he doesn't work out.

      There is no disgrace in it. There is a horse out there to suit everyone and you don't know until the horse is fully trained, if the one you bought will suit you or you suit him. Don't feel badly, just hunt him a suitable home. You HAVE done the best you can with him and that is all any horse could ask. If you and he don't really enjoy one another under saddle..........let him move on to someone he will be happy with.


      • #4
        Don't feel bad, find him another home where someone might be a better match. He'll be happier and so will you...


        • #5
          I think you are just being realistic. It's not giving up. It's giving him a chance...with someone else. I had a horse a bunch of years ago that was going to be my project horse and hopefully my A/O hunter. Well horsey had other plans. He wanted to be a dressage horse. So, i made the decision that it was better for him to be happy as a dressage horse. And I was much happier, too. You have to do what's right for YOU and him. If you aren't a good match, then you aren't a good match. Find him a nice home and move on. Horses are too expensive for you to dread going to the barn...
          Good luck. You are doing the right thing for both of you.


          • #6
            Thanks, guys. It's such a hard decision, and I had decided I was going to find him a new home this spring, but his fall and subsequent surgery changed my plan.

            My biggest concern for him is that he's still rehabbing from surgery. He is sound at the walk and trot (and gallop when he's gotten away from me!), but he's not even back under saddle again. His prognosis is good from his surgeons, but is it fair to try to place him when I don't know if 1) he'll come back and 2) what, if any, restrictions he'll have in the future.

            Am I not being fair to him to not fully rehab him before trying to find him a new home? I suppose it will probably take awhile to find him a new human and I can pay the trainers at the barn to get him going under saddle for me.

            Ah, thanks guys! I'm feeling better already.


            • #7
              I've been in your shoes many years ago. Purchased what I had hoped would be my dream horse. We never clicked. I turned him over to a pro to get some show mileage and sell. Injured himself. I started rehab with him (luckily he was a good boy for hand walks for me), but had no desire to continue on with him. I advertized him with full medical disclosure. Market was very strong then and I found someone who did well with him. In this market, you are in a tough spot, but nothing wrong with selling him. Good luck
              Epona Farm
              Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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              • #8
                Just really check out the home. Or free lease him with a written contract and an offer of giving him to them at the end of a yr if they want him/it's working out. I don't think you'll be able to actually sell him in his current condition, unless he was very talented and winning classes before his injury.


                • #9
                  Is it giving up? Yes. But, giving up is not always selfish and the cheap/easy way out of a problem You've obviously tried to make the relationship work, make it more of a partnership, but he's just not buying it from you.

                  There's NO reason to feel guilty about something that isn't working despite having tried
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • #10
                    While I too have no problem with you wanting to move on to a horse that is a better fit for you, you seemed to have glossed over the obvious which is it is hard enough to find bhomes for sound horses. I can't imagine it will be easy or even possible to find him a suitable home until he is sound again. In the meantime drug the crap out of him! There is no reason to put yourself in danger.
                    McDowell Racing Stables

                    Home Away From Home


                    • #11
                      I actually thought you meant "giving up" as in euthanizing, which I also don't think would be out of the realm of possibility. He sounds pretty unmanageable, and I would be hesitant to give him to someone if he could hurt them. You said he's already kicked you...

                      But if you find the right home for him, I definitely don't think you should feel one iota of guilt!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                        While I too have no problem with you wanting to move on to a horse that is a better fit for you, you seemed to have glossed over the obvious which is it is hard enough to find bhomes for sound horses. I can't imagine it will be easy or even possible to find him a suitable home until he is sound again. In the meantime drug the crap out of him! There is no reason to put yourself in danger.
                        Completely agree! And I think you need to seriously think about getting someone else to put him back to work if you are that nervous about handling him. Really not worth the risk!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by caryledee View Post
                          Completely agree! And I think you need to seriously think about getting someone else to put him back to work if you are that nervous about handling him. Really not worth the risk!


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't feel bad about wanting to sell the horse, BUT I wouldn't try to sell him (or give him away) until he is fully rehabbed.

                            In your situation, I would pay someone else to do his rehab. Yes, it will cost you some money, but considering that you feel unsafe working with this horse during his rehab, I think it is money well spent.

                            And, trust me, I know how horrible it can be to rehab a horse. Hand walking a rogue dragon isn't fun for anyone, nor is getting on a jacked up horse that can only walk under saddle (though I would submit that this is actually a good bit easier than hand walking, especially if you give some Ace!). I think anyone who has rehabbed a hotter horse, even if they really LIKE the horse, reaches a point in rehab where they wonder what would happen if they just let the horse loose to fend for itself in the wild (for the record, I am JOKING...but you get the idea).

                            I know others will disagree, but I DO think you owe it to the horse to get him rehabbed to the fullest extent possible before sending him down the road. It is unfortunate that he got hurt just as you were contemplating selling him, but sometimes that is how it goes. I'm of the belief that if the horse is yours when "the music stops," it is your responsibility to the horse to deal with the injury that occurred while you are the owner. Sometimes, that means shelling out the cash to have the horse rehabbed by a pro. As you point out, that will eat into your budget for other horse purchases in the future. That is really unfortunate. But, really, I do think it is the right thing to do.

                            All of that said, it's up to you to do what YOU think is right. What I've described above is just how I feel about it, and what I would do if I was in your position. I've contemplated this type of issue for pretty much my entire riding life, and have come to the conclusion that employing the above philosophy is the only way I can continue to participate in this sport and still sleep at night. I don't mean that to be harsh at all, and I know that a lot of people feel differently...my point is really that YOU need to decide what to do with this horse that will allow you to sleep at night.

                            Good luck. It's a rotten situation to be in.


                            • #15
                              I get having horses you don't click with, but trying to find a home for something you've not rehabbed is going to be very hard. There's just not much value in that horse at the moment, and so it will be much harder to find a good home for him. Depends on what your priorities are, but I think I'd likely tough out the rehab and get him going. Whether that's through doing it myself or getting help, that's a matter of time, money, enthusiasm, etc.

                              But one thought on the rehabbing - do you have or can you find folks who can help you work with him? And do you have access to tools like ace or possibly even reserpine to help in the process? Obviously, talk with your vet, but lots of even the best-behaved horses can turn into total pigs when rehabbing - let alone one who already has your number. I find that I often can't stand even my favorite heart horses when they are hand-walking - particularly if they were at all fit before they got hurt. A little better living through chemistry meant we both stayed safe and I was less likely to want to kill them before they were done walking. Just makes the whole process a lot less scary/tense and you might end up hating him less by the time you're done with it.


                              • #16
                                But, over the winter my horse had a fall and ended up needing a bone chip removed. He had the surgery and we’re currently hand walking. He is better for others than he is for me. I’ve been kicked twice and I’m to the point where I’m terrified even to hand walk him. I dread going to the barn everyday and I’m paying someone a lot of my fun horsey money just to walk him.
                                I'd post him on "Giveaways" with full disclosure & be done with it - the parts I've bolded are the key to why I feel this is the best direction for the 2 of you: just as it's not good for you to be kicked, it's also not good for your horse to learn that he can get away with kicking (& whatever else he comes up with)!
                                In the meantime, have others do his rehab - see if your trainer etc is able to offer any suggestions to lessen the cost of all of this for you.
                                Talk to your vet & farrier & have them put the word out to clients etc.



                                • #17
                                  Thank you everyone for the advice. I have lots of things to think about!

                                  It has been a really tough last few months. I adore this horse and have tried to make it work for years. And like I had mentioned, we have had some really great days together, but he's just not the right guy for me.

                                  I contacted one of the trainers at my barn and I've asked her and her assistants to help me rehab him and find him a new human when the time comes. If they can't fit him into their already busy schedules I will look into rehab places for him. Honestly, it's hard for me to ask for help, but I think I need to suck it up and realize I'm in over my comfort level.

                                  He is ace'd up the wazzu. We're trying reserpine today. (All done under his vet's care) The ace doesn't have much of an affect other than making him a bit stumbly with his feet.

                                  Just to clarify, too, I'm not worried about his continued cost of rehabbing cutting into a new horse budget. There is no "new horse" budget to speak of! I agree with the poster(s) who say this he is my responsibility to do the best thing for him. I don't mean it to come across that I want the "broken" horse out of the barn so I can get a new one to ride. It's not that at all. If I do give him away, wich will most likely be the case, I will probably be leasing for awhile to build back up the horse funds.

                                  Thanks everyone. I really appreciate everyone's words of wisdom. It's been rough.


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with those advocating getting him rehabbed and then selling. too many horses out there for anyone to take on a rehab project unless he's spectacularly bred, gorgeous or has a fantastic show record.

                                    If the primary issue with rehab if that you've gotten afraid of him, talk to vet about a temporary medical solution. Ace or reserpine has helped many a rehabbing horse get his/her act together and through a successful rehab. Once you've done that, you can sell him with a clear conscience.


                                    • #19
                                      Big sigh of relief.

                                      Just heard back...Trainer and one of her assitants have time/room to rehab him, get him back in work, and find him a new human when the time comes. They'll do this in conjunction with his vet. He is to start u/s work next week and if no evidence of arthritis in June he can go back into full work. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I feel like I have a plan now.

                                      Thanks, CotHers! Ya'll really helped me sort this out.


                                      • #20
                                        I had to take my guy to a rehab place when he a. got to be to much for us, even with the ace, b. was ready for under saddle work, which was going to be a problem (see a.), and c. I needed to have surgery myself. Best move I ever made. I am so glad that your trainer and their assistant can help you. Good luck.
                                        RIP Mydan Mydandy+
                                        RIP Barichello