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necessary to love your horse?

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  • necessary to love your horse?

    I have been spending the winter determining what the future holds for my horse and me.

    Horse is fun to ride. 6 year old OTTB. Is green-ish, challenges me, and is fantastically athletic. I have been riding my entire life so I appreciate riding a horse that is a little bit sassy under saddle. I really enjoy riding him on the flat, over fences, and down the trails at the forest preserve. Our potential will be limited by my skills and ambition rather than by his abilities. I have owned him for two years.

    His negatives are that he has lousy manners on the ground. Kicks out, nips, crowds, etc. I am not posting this thread for suggestions on how to manage his behaviors. I am an adult and am under the supervision of a qualified trainer.

    These behaviors make him rather "unloveable" in the way that many nice, quiet horses can be. I respect him. I enjoy riding him. I can safely manage him and work around him as can the person who handles him daily, the vet, the farrier, trainer etc. Sometimes I jokingly compare him to a cactus or a porcupine - just by their nature they are hard to love. I am not suggesting that I want to hug his neck and kiss him on the nose and spend hours playing with his mane and tail - when I am talking about love here I am suggesting that I have few feelings of affection for him. I do like him though.

    What do you think? Is it necessary to love your horse? Would you keep one that you enjoy riding but that you don't enjoy working with on the ground? Does anyone else out there own a horse that they don't love?

  • #2
    Take it from someone who works for a 50-70 horse operation, no it is not necessary to love your horse. It is necessary to respect and appreciate the animal, however. I personally don't get attatched to many horses, my main show horse and I are partners, not friends, we just don't click, but we both have a job to do. As long as the horse is happy and healthy, I don't think you have to "love" him.

    "Pat the horse; kick yourself" - Carl Hester

    Comment


    • #3
      I think this is such a personal thing. I have had horses in my life that were real a-holes to be around, but I have loved them to death because I respected their character, what made them THEM, and made SOME consessionsin dealing with them (obviously, they had to be safe, but there have been things I let slide for some of these guys). Given time, I find that these rather jerky horses learn to appreciate their human(s) who allow them to be themselves and become more open to being "buddies."

      However, not everyone wants to deal with a jerk just because he's fun to ride, and I respect that. But it is a personal thing, and one you have to decide on your own what you can deal with in your horsey relationship.

      For the record, while my horse isn't as bad as your guy, but he isn't a pet by a long shot. While he oozes character, it isn't the "omg! I'm soooo sweet and wonderful" kind. He makes faces and expresses his distaste for things (a lot of things) loudly and clearly. He can be a handful on the ground and under tack when not occupied sufficently. His vet refers to him as a "punk." He's not everyone's cup of tea, but I ADORE him. He is both an icredible ride and an incredible character....even if he is a punk!
      Amanda

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      • #4
        usernameunknown... I wish I had your problem... mine is reversed. I love my horse he is a giant puppy dog, and I have never been around a more talented atheltic animal... but I am not sure him and I click under saddle... he is the first horse I have owned that I wonder if he just might be too much horse for me. Add spooky to his talent/athleticism and wowza!
        He is completely made for a show program with pro rides sprinkled in but at the moment I have a new full time job and zero $$... I am also planning a wedding and kids aren't too far off in the future (weird? haha) so I wonder... will I ever have the lifestyle to support this kind of horse? BUT MAN CAN HE MOVE/JUMP! So do I suck it up and make it work, find a great trainer and figure it out... or understand that I could be wasting his amazing talent and try and sell and find something else...?
        It's getting to the point where riding him isn't fun anymore.
        the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Angelico View Post
          Take it from someone who works for a 50-70 horse operation, no it is not necessary to love your horse. It is necessary to respect and appreciate the animal, however. I personally don't get attatched to many horses, my main show horse and I are partners, not friends, we just don't click, but we both have a job to do. As long as the horse is happy and healthy, I don't think you have to "love" him.
          I think the difference is being a pro and being an ammy, especially a one horse ammy (I actually do work in the industry, and most of the a-holes I have gotten on with horses I groomed and cared for). Some people really want to feel bonded to their horses and love them. That's why I think it is such a personal thing. If someone feels they are missing something in their horse relationship because their horse isn't sweet, friendly, and cuddly (despite being a fun ride), then I think it is fine and understandable to want to find something that suits you in ALL aspects. But, if someone can respect the horse for who is and is ok with missing that little snuggle at the end of the day, then that's good, too.

          As pros, yes, we have to respect all the horses we are asked to work with and deal with them. However, I personally have horses that I really bond with in my care, horses that I respect for who they are, and horses who just grate on my nerves (usually the spoiled "pet" horse who is "so sweet" that they are allowed to do whatever the hell they want!).
          Amanda

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          • #6
            Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
            I think this is such a personal thing. I have had horses in my life that were real a-holes to be around, but I have loved them to death because I respected their character, what made them THEM, and made SOME consessionsin dealing with them (obviously, they had to be safe, but there have been things I let slide for some of these guys). Given time, I find that these rather jerky horses learn to appreciate their human(s) who allow them to be themselves and become more open to being "buddies."

            However, not everyone wants to deal with a jerk just because he's fun to ride, and I respect that. But it is a personal thing, and one you have to decide on your own what you can deal with in your horsey relationship.
            This. My favorite horse is a complete a-hole. He's rude, pissy, herd bound, and has a wicked sense of humor. But I absolutely adore him. He's not big into cuddles, but we've become quite close over the last two years since I bought him. He perks his ears up when he sees me, followed by trying to smack me in the face with his tail, threatening to kick, or some other nonsense.
            .

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            • #7
              Originally posted by usernameunkown View Post
              What do you think? Is it necessary to love your horse? Would you keep one that you enjoy riding but that you don't enjoy working with on the ground? Does anyone else out there own a horse that they don't love?
              Because you're asking a specific question about only horses that might be considered as "your horse", I'll leave out the concept of having a love for horses in general.

              For me personally, all of the horses that were in any way "my horses" at some point, were loved. Some were like the horse you have now, and seemed to have zero interest in any type of interaction that we think of as affection.

              One pony in particular was such a trouble maker, that we eventually decided to give him away because he was just too destructive, and took too much time to manage him.

              But did I love that pony? I'd have to say yes, but not as much as I do certain other horses. The pony had no interest in being affectionate, but he still had a likable personality. So I did my best to find him the perfect home with a good friend who I knew could give him a job that would provide him with the best life possible.

              The last time I visited that pony he was still not affectionate, but he was surrounded by many children that truly loved him for who he was. When I said hello to him I got this sense that he was profoundly happy, what I call a horse smiling with their eyes. I said to him "I told you I loved you, I found you the best home, didn't I".

              So yes, I think every horse probably enjoys the benefits of care from being truly loved by someone, even if they never seem to reciprocate that feeling in ways "we" might desire.

              Another horse I had was a business only type, he was extremely well behaved, but was also extremely head shy, and only after getting to know him after several year did I earn his trust to pet him on the nose. That meant so much to me that he allowed to do that.

              When he finally had to be put down, I kept bursting into spontaneous tears for quite awhile afterwards, so I guess I must have loved him.

              Comment


              • #8
                I used to own fancy grinch. He actually had a good heart but his mom was a grinch so he was a grinch. He would lounge at me, bite me. He once nailed me leading him into the ring an we ended up ridding in a flash nose band. He was lovely undersaddle, trainer adored him but I just was not in love with him. So I sold him to a girl in the barn whom adores him. To this day he is a grinch, but his family loves him and he will stay with her forever.

                Now the next horse I bought did not have a mean bone in his body, and I am in love with him and will never give him up.

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                • #9
                  If I had a talented horse that I loved undersaddle but found difficult to manage on the ground... I think I would take a real run at correcting the behaviors I didn't like (send to a cowboy or whatever.) From the OP, I assume that might already have been tried, and the horse is what he is.

                  I personally don't think I would keep a horse that was a complete PITA on the ground, even though I am pretty competent. As am amateur adult, I really enjoy having a horse that is easy and pleasant to work around, and being able to hang out with my horse in a relaxed fashion is as much a part of the fun as the riding portion of the equation.
                  **********
                  We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                  -PaulaEdwina

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                  • #10
                    I have a retired OTTB that has never been a "pet" He never came to me in the field and would wait for me to get him. he has never been a snuggler or one to seek human attention. he was a safe, fun ride that would give 100%, 100% of the time and for that I owe him a debt of gratitude, so he is now retired in my fields and will never have another home. So I would say no, you don't have to love or gush over them, but you should be committed to their health and well being
                    Epona Farm
                    Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                    • #11
                      My first horse I absolutely adore and I will never ever ever give him up. He is a big dog on the ground and perfect u/s. He is an all around gentleman and a barn favorite. I love him to death..

                      My second horse is very lovable on the ground as well, pretty much a gentleman u/s too, but he is a sale horse. I don't allow myself to get attached to him.

                      I have ridden horses that I do not love, but I respect. I don't think love is necessary at all when owning a horse, but I think it depends on the person. I'm not you, so I cannot answer that question for you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You are saying you don't "love" your horse because of his poor ground manners. Then put on your big girl panties and train him. He is young and green and off the track, he will have issues that need to be worked out. This is a horse not a dog, no need to be all hurt if it has behaviors that offend you. It takes more than a year to bond with a horse anyway, not an instant thing and a LOT of work with some of them. If you don't enjoy him sell him, end of story.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I get what the OP says. I actually never owned a horse til I was 32 but galloped at the track. I loved many horses and always had that stupid little girl fairytale in the back of my head for when I owned mine. Let's just say when you do all the work yourself, raise your own, ect, I personally love all mine to bits. But I did learn quickly that love was mostly a one way street on my part. I have lovely horses and some can have lovey moments but they are horses. They are not pets. They work for me and try for me. I do not expect the magic bonding which everyone seemingly thinks you need nowadays to accomplish anything. I also think people tend to "make up" just how much a bond they have with their horse or horses and then we question ourselves.

                          All these people with the "I'm the only one who can ride, handle, manage my horse". Well from what I've seen it does horses no favors to be treated as such and I'm much more proud if I've bred and raised horses that can get along in the world with different people of varying levels and still be good competition horses.

                          I'm saying all this because I think as of late we are being led to believe if we don't have that magic bond maybe something is wrong. Maybe that's what you are questioning? Don't know.

                          Terri
                          COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                          "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

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                          • #14
                            I need something to love. That's just me. I think because I don't need a super talented horse, that something that can carry me around safely and get the job done is fine for me, I expect that a puppy dog personality to go with it. In fact, its a huge turnoff to have a horse that's a PITA, is grouchy, or any behavioral habits. I mean, mine all have their quirks. But being sweet and kind on the ground is definitely high up there on my list of needs.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by usernameunkown View Post
                              Horse is fun to ride. 6 year old OTTB. Is green-ish, challenges me, and is fantastically athletic. I have owned him for two years.

                              His negatives are that he has lousy manners on the ground. Kicks out, nips, crowds, etc. I am not posting this thread for suggestions on how to manage his behaviors. I am an adult and am under the supervision of a qualified trainer.
                              why haven't these issues been sorted after 2 YEARS!

                              I don't expect a horse to be a pet but I do expect good manners on the ground & undersaddle.
                              I suspect that you will be happier if you either deal with your horse's lousy ground manners (as good as he may be u/s at the moment, I bet he gets even better) or sell him.

                              OTOH if you haven't treated him for ulcers, I'd try that for 4-6 weeks, then reassess his ground manners

                              (in one recent study, ~ 80% of TB's had some degree of ulcers - look up the "blue pop rocks" for a very economic Tx, if you prefer a paste, then try this company )

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I completely understand her question. I have had that One In A Million horse. After he died I thought I'd feel it again with my next horses. I don't. I have great affection for my horses, but I accept that it probably won't ever happen again. That's okay. I like the three I have now, have good partnerships with them.

                                It's enough for me now.

                                That said, I wouldn't keep one that was touchy, irritating, threatening or ill-behaved. Life's too short, too many nice horses out there.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Such an interesting thread! I have nothing worthwhile to offer though, sorry. My bay horse could give a rat's ass if anyone showed him affection. And he's a rescue too! My mares, on the other hand - I do believe they like me, as they seem to know when I am at the barn and according to my friend, who is the barn owner - they look for me when I am not around.

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                                  • #18
                                    It really is personal preference, I have eight and love three, the others have my respect & adoration but I can't play with them or "love" on them like the other three. On a side note my mare was rude pushy, and generally rotten but now has come around and is my ridiculously talented & very sweet hunter.

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                                    • #19
                                      I think it depends on what you want out of horse ownership. I only have money and time for one horse, and I want that horse to also be a good pet. I owned one horse whose ground manners made me dislike him, and I kept him only 5 months before selling him along. I also refused to sell him to a teenager as her first horse because I knew it would only lead to tears. Now, maybe if he had been a fantastic riding horse, I would have given him more of a chance, but his attitude under saddle was similar: you want me to go? Okay, make me!

                                      Life is too short.

                                      So when I went looking for another horse, I specifically looked for a horse that would make a nice pet, that I could hand walk and graze and love up all I wanted. This is also because I am older and not always fit to ride myself.

                                      But I know plenty of people for whom this is a non-issue. One rider at the barn lost her 28 year old horse and mourned him deeply. Once I had walked by that horse's stall and his blanket was hanging half off him, so I started to go in and right it because it could be dangerous. Someone saw me and shouted, "Don't go in there! He'll attack you." I was like, huh??? And sweet little old lady rides him every day? Well, her only contact with the horse was when the groom helped her mount and dismount, and under saddle, he was a dream. So go figure.
                                      2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                                      A helmet saved my life.

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                                      • #20
                                        It depends on why you have horses in the first place.
                                        Janet

                                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

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