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Killer Gelding.. yeah I said gelding...UPDATED and warning!

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  • Killer Gelding.. yeah I said gelding...UPDATED and warning!

    I am posting in hopes of finding some advice to help out this boarder and her horse. I work for the barn where this horse is boarded, and because of his behavior he has become a danger for anyone to handle, which makes my job extremely hard.

    A neat little twist is that I worked with this gelding 4 or more years ago when he was ungelded and just a baby. I worked with him on his ground manners... haltering, leading, tying, grooming, picking up feet, and teaching him about personal space. He could be pushy at times but nothing too bad. He progressed well for a yearling.

    Fast forward a few months, and the owner decides that she cant keep him and the filly he's boarded with, so she decides to sell him. He is a belgian/qh cross, belgian coloring and bone structure, but quarter horse sized.

    After she sells the horse, I dont hear or see her again, nor the horses. Fast forward a few years and I start working at the super cute little farm where a familiar looking gelding is boarded. The property owner hires me on as barn help, doing the daily barn chores and horse care. She tells me that all the horses are well behaved with the exception of him. He will bite and kick his handler and his owner attempts to control that with supplements, but nothing makes a big enough difference in his behavior. Ok, so I've handled stallions, obnoxious youngsters, and grouchy mares before, I can handle him. I'm pretty sure this is the same horse, same coloring, same build, same markings, etc.

    Lucky me the weather was still decent and they were kept outside 24/7. Then we had the cold snap and the sleet and freezing rain and everyone came inside. Come Saturday morning when I showed up for chores, he was inside and had been for almost 2 days and everyone needed to go out. First 50 yards out of the back of the barn and through the large field was fine. Then he stopped and threw up his head, stared at me and then came after me! And I mean striking, rearing, trying to bite, throw his head against me to knock me down. We fought for a good ten minutes, him chasing me in circles and I was trying to push him off me and make him respect my space and I honest to God feared for my life because the more time went on, the worse it got.I couldnt breathe and my heart was pounding in my chest. If I stubbled even once and went down, I was sure he would stomp me. I threw the lead rope over his neck and slowly backed away from him and left him to graze while I went to get the barn owner.

    She was able to catch him again and lead him to his smaller field, but not without a struggle and not before being knocked down. She is a much smaller, more petite woman than I am and I'm worried that this gelding is going to hurt someone so bad one day, that the only option will be to put him down.

    I have no idea of his history between the time I worked with him, ungelded, to now but he makes any hot tempered stallion look like an angel. He's like a raging bull in a horse body.You cannot enter his field without being charged, he pins his ears and will snap when you are setting out the fence feeders and hay, paws the ground ruthlessy when he gets frustrated if you stand along the fence to long, and I cannot handle him period. I have never been scared of a horse, and I try not to let him see my fear, but he is far too pushy and aggressive. Maybe he is better suited for a life as a rodeo bronc, or maybe the owners only option will be to have him put down because no one will buy a horse with that attitude, or take him for free. He is way to dangerous. He cant even be pastured next to other horses because he is too aggressive with them as well. (and yes I'm sure he's gelded) He gets worse being kept in a stall.

    He gets approx. a pound of Strategy twice a day and his owner has him on a supplement called Lazy Days and just recently added Magnesium Oxide?? So the sugar in his diet really isnt the issue. This is pure behavior. He would make a lovely foxhunter if he wasnt such an a$$, and so would his pasture buddy for that matter who can be pushy as well. But for now this guy is a pasture ornament.

    I'm getting worried as we move into February where VA is famous for random temps and freezing rain and snow and the horse needs to come in. The property owner will be recovering from surgery and wont be there to help, and the neighbor will be helping out with chores when I cant be there. I'm not mean enough to make him suffer and stay outside in the weather, but I refuse to handle such an aggressive and bad mannered horse, and its really sad that he turned out this way.

    What do I do? What can I suggest to his owner who is equally afraid of him? I cant even think of a trainer locally who'd be willing to take on this type of horse. Any suggestions, concerns, thoughts, etc would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Empressive Award; Jul. 21, 2009, 04:25 PM.
    Crayola Posse~Aquamarine
    Love vs Money...for the love of my horse, I have no money!

  • #2
    Err... Horse steak?

    I have no help to offer but to either a) find a trainer suicidal enough to deal with his behaviour or b) have him put down because he is dangerous.
    Breeding & Sales
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    • #3
      Find a horsemanship "cowboy" with a round pen who knows how to handle a lass rope and how to work a horse in a round pen while mounted on another horse. Unless there is a medical issue with this horse, it sounds like he's just been allowed to find out how big he is (and he doesn't have to be huge to be bigger than a person) and will use it when the spirit moves him. Either find someone knowledgeable enough to put him back in his place, or put him down before he hurts someone.
      "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

      Spay and neuter. Please.


      • #4
        Some will not like my sugestions but till they are in charge of a horse trying to kill you they can just think what ever they want.

        First choice would be a 30 day tranq while he is retrained. They don't get sleepy just mellow. It completely turned the one we had around. He ony had one shot but it gave us time to retrain him and see life isn't as bad as he thought.

        The one we had before the 30 day tranq had to be led with a long wood twitch just to keep him a safe distance from you. We didn't use it as a twitch it was carried horizontally to keep distance, and if a light poke wouldn't keep him over you had to be ready to use it against him when he came at you.

        Along with that we used a chain over the nose, and a neck rope. It still wasn't working fully hence the tranq that perminently changed him into a normal horse.


        • #5
          The owner should have the vet test him for homone imbalances and do a CBC as well. Before considering putting him down, get the vet's help in figuring out behavior vs. physical cause.

          He sounds quite dangerous, please be careful!


          • #6
            Geez! Sounds like a switch or short circuit went off in his brain or he's one very frustrated and angry hoss!

            If he can be sorted out, all the better for him but if there isn't anyone capable of doing that, Alpo!


            • #7
              I boarded at a place that had a gelding like this (gelded at 18 months - already a menace). He belonged to the BO/trainer’s owner's wife. The horse could not be handled without a whip and even then would try to take it out of the handler's hand (and sometimes succeeded) and then attack. This went on for years until he finally took off a barn worker's thumb (and it couldn't be reattached, too crushed).

              Horses like this are a menace and should be put down. If I were in your shoes, I'd absolutely refuse to deal with him in any capacity. He's a serious injury waiting to happen. Hopefully, the BO grows a spine and gets rid of him. I also hope he/she has good liability insurance.


              • #8
                Sounds like a nightmare for you, but a fixable one also...

                If your not using a lead with a stud chain, do so. Start in the stall, and wrap the chain around his nose, when he gets to close to you shank down on him hard and let him know you mean business. Sounds like this horse has been allowed to get away with super pushy behaviour for a long, long time.

                Once you have his attention, try leading him this way in an enclosed space (small paddock or round pen). I would also recommend carrying some sort of whip just in case.

                When you turn him out, stand at his shoulder to take the lead off, but also have the whip in your hand. If you can do it, you can also stand on the fence so your out of immediate danger if he decides to turn on you.

                If he doesnt respect the chain on the nose, put a lip chain on him for a few days. It usually humbles them pretty quickly.

                I'm sure you will have someone tell you to use a carrot stick and round pen, but at this point drastic measures are needed NOW to keep you safe if you have to continue dealing with this horse.


                • #9
                  Cut all the grain/strategy, especially if he is a draft cross and not working.

                  I had a horse that was a teddy bear turn into a monster once and actually grabbed my arm and lifted me off the ground - turned out he had a broken navicular bone.

                  Personally, I would put a horse like this down, because even if it is hormones, pain, whatever, is it really worth all the time and energy and commitment to get him over this behavior? There are just too many nice horses out there looking for a home. I know it is not your call, just sayin'.


                  • #10
                    Perfect candidate for the killers. But, why risk everyone's life between here and there? Someone just needs a reality check and a call to the vet to hae him put down. There are just too many nice horses in this world to bother with a half breed killer gelding.
                    Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                    • #11
                      I'm sorry, but YOU, the property owner, and whoever else works at that barn, DO NOT need to work with that horse. Leave him out, I'm sure he's not going to die in the meantime. Talk with the owner, give him/her some of the suggestions that were here- like running a blood panel, tranq's etc, (although good luck getting a needle in??!??!), or find a cowboy who can deal with him, otherwise, I'm sorry, there are just WAY too many nice horses out there to mess around with a horse that could potentially kill. Life's too short as it is. Put him down if you've tried some options (other than working with him without a tranq).


                      • #12
                        If he were mine, I'd start with bloodwork too—could be some sort of hormonal imbalance. At any rate, I'd like to know before I made a decision about his future.

                        Tranq him till bloodwork results are in and decision is made; this way he can at least be handled more safely. BO and horse's owner need to discuss way of handling him safely and limiting BO's liability where this horse is concerned. OP, if you are not comfortable handling him, then don't. He's not worth you getting hurt over, and horse does not need to have any more experiences where he gets the upper hand (assuming it's a behavioral issue).

                        If bloodwork shows no abnormalities, I would see if I could find a good cowboy trainer who specialized in this sort of horse to come evaluate him; if trainer thinks he's fixable, off to boot camp he goes.

                        If the trainer route isn't an option, then I might consider contacting a vet teaching school/hospital and discussing donating him, making sure they understand his issues and will euthanize him when they are finished with him (as opposed to trying to resell him). If that's not an option, I would likely euthanize. At least then there will be no more worries about him hurting someone or ending up in a bad situation.

                        Good luck.
                        Full-time bargain hunter.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you for all the insight, I am beginning to not feel like such a bad person for thinking that this horse just needs to be put down.

                          I have not had the pleasure of meeting his owner, but I going to try too soon. I want her to know that it is not just her that is fearful of the horse, and that he has become a danger to other horses and other people.

                          Thankfully the BO has insurance on the property, but its becoming too stressful to work morning/evening chores and rotating paddocks around this horse because he is so dangerous.

                          I'm not sure how attached the owner is emotionally to the horse and why she has kept him this long and not tried to get a trainer involved, unless she just cant risk having him injure the trainer. But thats no excuse to keep this gelding, and with a mare who can be pushy and pay full care board on both horses for them to be pasture ornarments. Something needs to be done, but its not my call.

                          I'm hoping that it doesnt take a serious injury to make the owner decide to get rid of him or put him down. And I dont know of any cowboy type trainers in the area. We are in Loudoun County, mostly english discipline trainers here.

                          And I know I'm gonna get some responses from people thinking that its handler error and they can solve any training issue....well if you really think so and you want to give it a shot and meet this horse, I can put you in touch with the owner and the horse. I'd say you can have ten minutes with him, and if you think you can fix it then she'll pay for the training, otherwise chalk it up to the free "when animals attack" experience.
                          Crayola Posse~Aquamarine
                          Love vs Money...for the love of my horse, I have no money!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                            Sounds like a nightmare for you, but a fixable one also...

                            If your not using a lead with a stud chain, do so. Start in the stall, and wrap the chain around his nose, when he gets to close to you shank down on him hard and let him know you mean business. Sounds like this horse has been allowed to get away with super pushy behaviour for a long, long time.

                            Once you have his attention, try leading him this way in an enclosed space (small paddock or round pen). I would also recommend carrying some sort of whip just in case.

                            When you turn him out, stand at his shoulder to take the lead off, but also have the whip in your hand. If you can do it, you can also stand on the fence so your out of immediate danger if he decides to turn on you.

                            If he doesnt respect the chain on the nose, put a lip chain on him for a few days. It usually humbles them pretty quickly.

                            I'm sure you will have someone tell you to use a carrot stick and round pen, but at this point drastic measures are needed NOW to keep you safe if you have to continue dealing with this horse.
                            You first have to get close enough to said horsey to GET THE STUD CHAIN ON.... and still have a face.

                            and carry a whip??!?! He sounds a bit more dangerous than just a whip... I think I'd choose a baseball bat personally.

                            I take it kinda personally when ANYTHING tries to kill me.

                            Someone else's horse is NOT worth getting DEAD for. And it sounds like he is on his way to killing someone.

                            If you could get them on I"d say a muzzle and hobbles. But there inlies the same problem... can't get them on him.

                            So... I think you are left with shoot him.

                            I wonder if some depo would chill him out? Any vets want to comment on that idea?
                            If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.


                            • #15
                              Sounds like the horse is bored witless and needs a job to do and at least some turnout and some consistent training.

                              If she stops thinking she can feed him till he behaves well then that will be an added advantage but in the meantime if she just stops spending money on all these supplements she could maybe save enough for a trainer to help the horse and then to help her to stop spoiling him

                              I'd suggest that for starters.


                              • #16
                                I figured she could get a chain on him, since she can get a lead on him... you can also put the chain around the noseband first... then put the halter on...but really, if you practice putting a chain on, it can be done fast...

                                I'm not a vet, but havent seen a shot of Depo calm one down that much... or a 30 day tranq for that matter... thats not really the solution, as much as trying to teach him some ground manners.

                                For what it's worth, I've offered to take the horse and see what we can do, if the owner is interested.

                                I feel the attitude of just killing him is frightful... without trying professional training first.


                                • #17
                                  My answers would be entirely different if this were your horse. Since he is not, I would advise that you stay away from him. Horses in Canada stay outside year round, surely he can stay outside in Virginia. The BO needs to tell the owner that it is not safe for the gelding to be handled, hence he will be outside for the winter until S/HE (the owner) does something to improve his behavior -- or has him euthanized.

                                  If the owner needs suggestions you could point her to this thread. I think the best suggestions are (a) ruling out medical reasons and (b) finding a trainer who has a proven reputation for rehabilitating such cases WITHOUT CRUELTY. It is possible to be firm, even cause the horse some pain if boundaries are crossed, without abusing him. If he is redeemable at all, he will be much happier with those boundaries in place.
                                  Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


                                  • #18
                                    If this was a paint/arab mare from around Manassas, I would say you had the misfortune of coming across Ruby, the only horse that has ever made me feel as though I was going to die simply because I came in her pasture.

                                    She also only let one person catch her, but once she was caught all was well, supposedly. The day I met her, no one got that far. She pawed and threatened to charge in the pasture. Snaked and snapped over the fence, ears back, just absolutely vicious.

                                    Until that moment, I'd thought the owner was just a wuss and just wouldn't get after her to behave. I felt horrible suggesting to the owner that he have her put down. I didn't make the suggestion lightly, but after seeing that mare I could only wonder who would be stupid enough to try to fix her.

                                    The owner tried to get a rescue to take her. They refused, so he chose instead to abandon her and let the barn owner deal with his problem.

                                    THANK YOU for trying to do something with this gelding instead of just abandoning him for someone else.
                                    I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
                                    Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.


                                    • #19
                                      I agree that it's ridiculous to think supplements will solve this problem He needs a steady routine of training and work. He does not need to stand in a stall for two days, no horse needs that, BUT at this point in time, he is a project for someone who has the training, reflexes, and resources to deal with him.
                                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                      • #20
                                        It sounds like there's a little passivity/passing the buck going on that is going to get the wrong person hurt. I don't know any barn owners around here that would allow a horse on the property that endangered their own employees (or themselves). I wonder if no one has ever had the courage to tell the OWNER of the horse "you need to fix this, because if anyone on my property gets hurt by this horse, you are paying for it".

                                        I feel for the poor thing - he's either mentally unbalanced or just very very badly handled. But it's not your job to fix it, and not your job to risk 6 months in the hospital for it. But what's up with the horse owner who just throws up her hands and lets it be someone else's problem? There are trainers, vets, etc. out there to call when your horse is so dangerous you can't even lead it to the paddock.