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Please help! I feel like my horse will one day kill me because of his habit

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  • Please help! I feel like my horse will one day kill me because of his habit

    So, my name is Ana and I have a lovely 13 year old dutch warmblood gelding named Winchester and I’ve owned him about 11 months, almost a year, and ever since I’ve gotten him we’ve honestly never clicked but we still bought him because he was experienced.

    Winchester is a big warmblood, I’m sure he easily makes it over 16hh (he’s maybe at the cross about 1.65m), so I wouldn’t be surprised if he were strong but he’s SUPER strong. He runs, bolts, the second he knows he can beat you or you’ve put your guard down slightly, he will try to escape from you and take the reins away from you by lowering his head or throwing his head up aggressively and speeding up if he see’s the chance. While jumping he gets even stronger and just BOLTS jumps, grids, POLES ON THE GROUND and shows no sign of stopping, most times we either give a full lap before stopping or we have to use a wall to stop him (as in redirecting him into a wall so he stops to not bump into it). He wasn’t trained by my trainer or me, he was trained by someone else, so we suspect he may have been taught to bolt whenever he wanted to to just be fast but it’s incredibly dangerous because we’ve had accidents before where he bolts, gets a bad distance, and he lands on top of the jump. In that instance I broke my arm and he ended up sore for a whole week.

    We’ve tried everything, two months no jumping and only dressage/flat work, didn’t work instead he got stronger, we did small jumps and grids that were incredibly hard to bolt and he somehow found a way to bolt, and we’ve tried every bit you can imagine. We’ve tried every snaffle in existence (probably), pelhams, pessoas (three rings), hackamores (bitless and with a bit), chain under the chin, and double rein and NOTHING, he couldn’t care less and still bolts and takes the reins from you. He really is a nice horse, on the ground he likes to be with you and cuddle and he really does like to jump but he’s simply too strong, too old, and he’s been taught badly. I’m at my wits end and so close from just throwing in the towel and giving him away.

    Usually when he doesn’t bolt he just gets really strong in your hands, as in he’s constantly putting pressure on the bit and leaning against it, it’s completely exhausting and it leaves you sore for hours after. My hands can’t take it! I don’t know what to do and I need advice badly, please help!

    PS. We’ve tried the whole stop him before the jump and circling if he gets to excited, he does not calm down and he couldn’t care less. Also, my trainer can ride him and he says that he’s a bit hard mouthed but with an experienced rider he obeys after a while (though he still puts constant pressure) and I’m barely 3 years into this whole jumping thing. Send help

  • #2
    This horse is too strong for your current level of riding skill.

    Since he sounds like a talented horse that goes well for a more experienced rider, I would suggest you sell him on to a home where he can be safely used, and you get yourself a horse that is safe and fun for you right now.

    It is very common for juniors and ammies to be over horsed. It is no fun and often the horse develops really bad habits before the rider can develop skills.

    Who taught the horse to bolt? You are teaching the horse to bolt every time you get on him.

    This is no fun for you, bad for the horse, and dangerous. You know this already.

    Sell.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bepau View Post
      So, my name is Ana and I have a lovely 13 year old dutch warmblood gelding named Winchester and I’ve owned him about 11 months, almost a year, and ever since I’ve gotten him we’ve honestly never clicked but we still bought him because he was experienced.

      Winchester is a big warmblood, I’m sure he easily makes it over 16hh (he’s maybe at the cross about 1.65m), so I wouldn’t be surprised if he were strong but he’s SUPER strong. He runs, bolts, the second he knows he can beat you or you’ve put your guard down slightly, he will try to escape from you and take the reins away from you by lowering his head or throwing his head up aggressively and speeding up if he see’s the chance. While jumping he gets even stronger and just BOLTS jumps, grids, POLES ON THE GROUND and shows no sign of stopping, most times we either give a full lap before stopping or we have to use a wall to stop him (as in redirecting him into a wall so he stops to not bump into it). He wasn’t trained by my trainer or me, he was trained by someone else, so we suspect he may have been taught to bolt whenever he wanted to to just be fast but it’s incredibly dangerous because we’ve had accidents before where he bolts, gets a bad distance, and he lands on top of the jump. In that instance I broke my arm and he ended up sore for a whole week.

      We’ve tried everything, two months no jumping and only dressage/flat work, didn’t work instead he got stronger, we did small jumps and grids that were incredibly hard to bolt and he somehow found a way to bolt, and we’ve tried every bit you can imagine. We’ve tried every snaffle in existence (probably), pelhams, pessoas (three rings), hackamores (bitless and with a bit), chain under the chin, and double rein and NOTHING, he couldn’t care less and still bolts and takes the reins from you. He really is a nice horse, on the ground he likes to be with you and cuddle and he really does like to jump but he’s simply too strong, too old, and he’s been taught badly. I’m at my wits end and so close from just throwing in the towel and giving him away.

      Usually when he doesn’t bolt he just gets really strong in your hands, as in he’s constantly putting pressure on the bit and leaning against it, it’s completely exhausting and it leaves you sore for hours after. My hands can’t take it! I don’t know what to do and I need advice badly, please help!

      PS. We’ve tried the whole stop him before the jump and circling if he gets to excited, he does not calm down and he couldn’t care less. Also, my trainer can ride him and he says that he’s a bit hard mouthed but with an experienced rider he obeys after a while (though he still puts constant pressure) and I’m barely 3 years into this whole jumping thing. Send help
      Sell.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bepau View Post
        So, my name is Ana and I have a lovely 13 year old dutch warmblood gelding named Winchester and I’ve owned him about 11 months, almost a year, and ever since I’ve gotten him we’ve honestly never clicked but we still bought him because he was experienced.

        Winchester is a big warmblood, I’m sure he easily makes it over 16hh (he’s maybe at the cross about 1.65m), so I wouldn’t be surprised if he were strong but he’s SUPER strong. He runs, bolts, the second he knows he can beat you or you’ve put your guard down slightly, he will try to escape from you and take the reins away from you by lowering his head or throwing his head up aggressively and speeding up if he see’s the chance. While jumping he gets even stronger and just BOLTS jumps, grids, POLES ON THE GROUND and shows no sign of stopping, most times we either give a full lap before stopping or we have to use a wall to stop him (as in redirecting him into a wall so he stops to not bump into it). He wasn’t trained by my trainer or me, he was trained by someone else, so we suspect he may have been taught to bolt whenever he wanted to to just be fast but it’s incredibly dangerous because we’ve had accidents before where he bolts, gets a bad distance, and he lands on top of the jump. In that instance I broke my arm and he ended up sore for a whole week.

        We’ve tried everything, two months no jumping and only dressage/flat work, didn’t work instead he got stronger, we did small jumps and grids that were incredibly hard to bolt and he somehow found a way to bolt, and we’ve tried every bit you can imagine. We’ve tried every snaffle in existence (probably), pelhams, pessoas (three rings), hackamores (bitless and with a bit), chain under the chin, and double rein and NOTHING, he couldn’t care less and still bolts and takes the reins from you. He really is a nice horse, on the ground he likes to be with you and cuddle and he really does like to jump but he’s simply too strong, too old, and he’s been taught badly. I’m at my wits end and so close from just throwing in the towel and giving him away.

        Usually when he doesn’t bolt he just gets really strong in your hands, as in he’s constantly putting pressure on the bit and leaning against it, it’s completely exhausting and it leaves you sore for hours after. My hands can’t take it! I don’t know what to do and I need advice badly, please help!

        PS. We’ve tried the whole stop him before the jump and circling if he gets to excited, he does not calm down and he couldn’t care less. Also, my trainer can ride him and he says that he’s a bit hard mouthed but with an experienced rider he obeys after a while (though he still puts constant pressure) and I’m barely 3 years into this whole jumping thing. Send help
        Are you a young adult or a teenager? (it matters).

        Comment


        • #5
          What Scribbler said

          "This horse is too strong for your current level of riding skill.
          Since he sounds like a talented horse that goes well for a more experienced rider, I would suggest you sell him on to a home where he can be safely used, and you get yourself a horse that is safe and fun for you right now."

          ^^^ yup, that about covers it!
          A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

          http://elementfarm.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Your trainer says the horse is "a bit hard mouthed but with an experienced rider he obeys after a while" but never stops pulling.

            The horse obeys after awhile of what?

            It sounds very much as if your trainer is unable to ride the horse, as well as unable to teach you how to ride it. If you and/or your parents want to keep the horse then you require a different trainer.

            You have broken your arm and are understandably afraid of the horse. Your trainer is obviously unable to help or you would not be asking strangers on the internet for help because you are afraid the horse will kill you.

            You need a proper trainer, whether to teach you and your horse, or to sell the horse and find a suitable replacement. Perhaps someone here who lives in your area can give you a recommendation.

            Comment


            • #7
              New horse, new trainer, or both. Be safe!
              Life and times of a mediocre amateur...
              www.another-bay.com

              Comment


              • #8
                2 weeks without jumping is not enough. This horse needs a knowledgeable, skilled rider, who is not you. I agree with everyone above.
                It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sixthed.

                  Too much horse for you. Sell (cheap or free) and find a more appropriate mount.
                  Last edited by mmeqcenter; May. 21, 2019, 02:51 PM.
                  "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM

                  www.mmeqcenter.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sell the horse.

                    Get a new trainer because this one continues to put you in a dangerous situation. This is not the kind of person you want to ride with.
                    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                    that's even remotely true."

                    Homer Simpson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      He needs to be properly trained and a full vet workup wouldn't hurt. He may have some ulcers or some poorly fitting tack or something that's making him in to a fire breathing dragon. Either way, this is not the horse for you or your trainer. Your trainer has played musical bits, took him off fences for only a short time, and can only make him obedient for "a while". You are over horsed and so is your trainer. To be honest, I don't know that I would have the time to fix a horse like this. He needs an experienced trainer that has lots of time for him.

                      I see that you have two options.
                      1)Drop a chunk of money into him for a full work up and find the right trainer for him

                      or

                      2) Sell him and get something you can ride.

                      If it's not fun, it's not worth it and this doesn't sound at all fun for you or him.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This is not a "lovely" WB horse. He's a bolter, and that's not lovely. As you have found out, it's dangerous, especially for a young and/or green rider. Did your coach advise you to purchase this horse? Did your coach gain a commission on the sale price you paid for this horse? Are you being charged for "training rides"? If so for most of these questions, you need a new coach, because you have been given advice that is contrary to your best interest IMO. Did you ride this horse before purchase? If he did not behave like this when you rode him before purchase, did you get blood taken by a vet to test for calming drugs? Has the situation got worse in the time you have owned him, or was he like this right from when you first rode him?

                        As every good coach knows, and every good trainer practises, a horse must hold his own pace to the jumps, and between the jumps. If he does not do this, he is not ready to jump because he needs more training on the flat first. Not adhering to the classical training scale when training a horse results in this sort of behaviour, it's a well known and often documented result. Investigate the "Classical Training Scale" or Pyramid. None of it involves pulling on the reins.

                        Yes, you should probably move the horse on to someone else. Whether you can actually recoup at least some of the money you have sunk into this horse or not, is unknown. Whether he can be rehabbed into a safe horse for a more experienced rider is unknown. You need a horse you can safely ride, and learn riding and jumping skills on. Your coach should have already advised this.
                        www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I definitely agree that you need to sell this guy on to somebody who can retrain him before his bad habits become so engrained he’s a danger to anybody.

                          Just wanted to add that being physically large does not mean a horse should be expected to be “strong” in terms of pullling on the bit or running away, or that being “strong” should be tolerated. Being the kind of strong you are describing is a result of poor training, not size. I had a lovely riding vacation in Ireland, one of the horses in their string, “Little John” was an Irish Sport Horse (Irish Draught X TB) and easily one of the largest riding horses I’ve ever met. He was taller than many pure drafts I’ve met and only a bit more slender than some. They had a Pony Club rally at the place one day, and a young lady was short a ride as her pony had turned up lame when they unloaded him from the trailer. Little John was the only horse in the string that was still available, so they let her ride him. Girl probably weighed as much as that horse’s head, and they had a grand, safe, controlled, day of it, including (intentional) gallops across open country. Going the other direction, there are any number of poorly trained ponies out there that are plenty “strong”.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Not a good match for you. Sell him before you get hurt. You have already figured out this horse is dangerous (for you). Listen to your gut.

                            I also agree that your trainer isn't doing you any favors. He/she allowed you to buy an unsuitable horse and hasn't fixed the problem in a year.
                            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, I suspect that you are indeed likely to be seriously injured if you continue with this horse, in this situation.

                              Sell the horse. Or give him away to someone that is capable of riding him WELL, and has a chance of rehabilitating him into a good citizen.

                              Also, please consider a trainer that has better success with a green rider, and a horse with poor training. There are trainers that would have recognized this horse's reactivity and lack of basics, and recognized that it was an inappropriate horse for you. Maybe a stron,g experienced rider could indeed muscle the horse around a course...but that doesn't mean that the horse is safe with a really good rider. It just means that you would need a really good rider to restart and retrain him.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Agreed, the trainer does seem to be part of the problem here.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  You can not ride this horse. It is dangerous. Put him in training with your trainer to polish him up as much as possible and sell him on with full disclosure. Now.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The horse is clearly dangerous for the OP, and the trainer may be dangerous as well. The horse may or may not be dangerous or difficult for an experienced rider. I've seen a lot of juniors and ammies get into trouble with horses that were above their skill level, but just fine for another rider.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Did the horse go well for his prior owners? Was he in work or showing when you bought him, or had he had some time off? Did he go well for you when you tried him out? Did you have him vetted before you bought him? Did anything come up suspect when you had him vetted? Did you have your saddle professionally fit to him when you brought him home? Did you change anything specific in his care when you brought him home? Has he ever gone well for you or your trainer, as in was he like this as soon as you brought him home or did this come on over the last 11 months?

                                      He may have pain or discomfort - hocks, stifles, kissing spine, saddle fit. He may not be comfortable in the routine at this barn - not enough turn out or change in feed. He may not be suited to your or your trainer's style of riding - heavy hands or an unsteady seat. It is probably a combination of several of these things.

                                      From your description, this is not the horse for you. However, he will be hard to sell if he is bolting like this consistently. And he's probably not bolting because he was specifically trained to do so, that isn't something that even halfway decent trainers do. Even a more experienced rider may not be able to ride him well in a short trial ride since he's been bolting for a few months it may be a little ingrained now.

                                      From your description, your trainer does not sound experienced enough to deal with this horse.

                                      You're going to need help selling this horse. You'll likely need a new trainer if you want to progress in your riding (based on your descriptions of the situation and your trainer's response to the problems you are having).

                                      If the horse went well for the prior owner and trainers, I'd suggest that you (or your parents if you are a teen) reach out to the prior trainer about putting the horse in training with them to sell - AFTER a thorough vet workup and saddle fitting evaluation to be sure that there isn't a simple or obvious problem.

                                      It will cost money to do a thorough vet work up and put the horse in training, but it also costs money to pay medical bills for a broken arm and to pay for months and months board and lessons on a horse that is for sale but no one wants to buy it because it rushes and is dangerous. Three or six months of training and then selling to a decent home at a decent price costs less in the long run, and is better for the horse, than 2 years of having a horse for sale and paying board and lessons and dropping the price every couple of months and then eventually selling it for dirt cheap just to have it off your hands.

                                      More than once, I have seen people sell a horse for around $2500 after more than a year of having it on the market, when that horse would have gone for $15,000 - $20,000 (their original asking price, and what it was worth before they stopped riding it) if they'd kept it in work and had the trainer take it to a couple of shows.

                                      If the horse did not go well for the prior owners/trainers (as in - he'd been off work for six months and was priced low because he was "out of shape") then find another, more experienced local trainer to take him for training board and to sell. Find a trainer whose students and horses seem happy and they perform consistently in shows. Not necessarily a barn that wins championships at every show, that may be out of your price range and they may be winning as much due to wealthier riders having nicer horses than due to the trainer being able to help problem horses. A nice, mid-level barn with happy students and horses and consistent results, with a trainer that is skilled at getting the most out of a horse with problems rather than good at picking the nicest horse for someone with a high budget. (Not a knock on high-end barns, just trying to help identify someone that would be able to make the most out of your situation).

                                      Maybe after a vet workup and saddle fitting and moving to a different trainer you can make this horse work for you. But even if not, you'll sell him quicker, get a better price and have a better chance of finding him a decent home than if you try to sell him as is from his current situation that is clearly not working for him or for you.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I agree with many comments above except the one that said use your current trainer. The horse and the trainer are the problem. A decent trainer would have already had you get a vet out for a workup and a good saddle fitter out and would not muscle the horse around the course but instead be retraining the horse starting on the flat or have advised you to sell it. Sure, any horse can be excited and may get strong or bolt from being spooked but the first should respond to half halts and the latter to a pulley rein. Trying different bits for one with stopping power does not train the horse to stop. The pain from the harsher bits just make the horse more reactive. That horse should stop with your seat. When you ride a horse that is in to you and likes people, the biggest problem is they anticipate because they want to please, not careen off at the slightest opportunity. I find behavior issues start with pain so the workup is a start. The tricky part is getting a horse that has been in pain from injuries, tack, or abuse to trust, listen, and cease bad habits. Horses can be damaged from tack or injuries or panic at unbalanced riders, I’ve seen one that jumped beautifully unless the rider jumped ahead and then the horse would buck the rider off every time from being unbalanced by the rider. Retraining a reactive mishandled horse can require going back to the beginning and spending weeks or months just riding at the walk in a round pen or closed arena slowly building trust and the habit of obedience. Jumping wouldn’t begin until the horse would be trustworthy on the flat for many months. It can be impossible with the best and most patient trainers or amateurs or stubborn patient kids. This is very dangerous. Please listen to all the advice you are receiving and your gut. You are absolutely right. This horse can maim or kill you. So sorry you are having this experience. I’ve been overhorsed and hurt by mishandled horses as a kid, the ones we could afford. The keepers were the ones that figure out they were safe with me and wanted to connect. That happened in less than 6 months. After a year, this horse is not the one. Your gut is right. Listen to yourself. You are right.

                                        Comment

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