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Advice needed, dangerous horse on lease

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  • Advice needed, dangerous horse on lease

    I am completely at a loss and have come here for some much needed advice and opinions.

    In the summer I was looking for a horse to free lease. After trying many I found a gorgeous mare and actually beat out 2 other people wanting to lease her. When I tried her she was great, aside from some baby moments, and seemed calm. She had just turned 5 and despite her young age her owner said she was bombproof and a packer mentality.

    When I got her home, I put the mare on private turn out, as she's intended to be my show horse and owner said she was ok with it. She was stressed, running all over the place and would not settle - even with Ace. So I put her out with my 2 other horses and she was fine, but has become herd bound. Aware of where they are and upset when she's not with them, even when she's waiting a few minutes for turn out. Tried putting her out first and she tries to run back to the barn.

    For her 6 weeks here every day her stall needed to be gutted, she stall walked at night. I put her on Feisty Mare and it has had a slight affect, but not enough for me to be happy! She's also one of those horses that will make nasty faces when you come in her stall. Only occasionally doing more than a face.

    All this I could put up with, as she was great to ride, aside from some difference of opinion moments But, as of recently, she has gotten worse. I'm not sure if it's the change in weather, reduced work or both but she's becoming dangerous. When I walk in her stall she will turn her butt towards me and hop, like she's going to double barrel me. I have a girl that helps out a couple days a week and she is refusing to deal with her.
    I've carried a whip with me, but it's like she recognized it and knew what was coming. She actually gets worse when disciplined! Today I was putting a polo on her front leg and she tried to cow kick me with her hind leg. I got up to smack her butt and she turned it towards me and kicked. I was luckily able to run into a stall in the nick of time! While I was in there she threw a fit and was rearing.

    My dilemma is first and foremost I do not want to be injured, but secondly this is a horse that I have leased. The owner is out of the country until the summer and I have signed a contract that if I send her back I have to pay board for her until a new leaser is found. I don't want to give up, but it's becoming dangerous. I did enjoy riding her, but I made it clear that I was a nervous rider that had just gotten my confidence back. Now it's starting to be shaken again. I was laid off my job so sending her back and paying board is not an option. My vet, coach and the owner's previous coach all have recommended 24/7 turn out but the owner says no.

    Any advice on how I can possibly get out of this situation would be much appreciated!

  • #2
    Have you tried to contact the owner recently? Sounds to me like you need to turn out the horse at your place, not ride her, and just be extra careful about handling her until the lease is up. How unfortunate, the current situation benefits no one!
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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    • #3
      Has the vet looked at her for any other signs of health issues? How drastically did her diet change when she moved barns? Was she on 24/7 turnout before?

      Not sure on how you could get out of the situation, since it isn't your horse and the owner is out of the country. Are you able to contact the owner while she is gone?
      Originally posted by rustbreeches
      [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        She's out from 8am - 6:30pm. Diet did not change drastically since being here. I took out beet pulp and added Finishing Touch. Kept her on Fat n Fiber. I've contacted the owner and am waiting a response. I'm just a bit anxious and have never encountered this situation before so I posted here.

        Vet did not examine her, was here for another horse and she did not like being out without him. So we brought her in and she was pacing the whole time. Vet just commented on her attitude. She used to be stalled beside my retired guy but her constant movement was driving him insane, there are marks all over his walls from scraping his teeth - extremely out of character for him.
        Last edited by SherwoodAcres; Nov. 6, 2012, 01:53 PM. Reason: additional info

        Comment


        • #5
          It sounds like she needs a CTJ meeting about respect. My mare was perfect when I first started with her. A little hot, but not bad, some faces, dancing on the x-ties, and general stall obnoxiousness. After a month or so, she figured out that she had my number and was walking all over me(kicking, biting, ignoring me on the lunge line and under tack, not allowing me to catch her, etc.) It was my own fault for babying her, because she's nice and I didn't want to screw anything up, so I just worked around her naughtyness until that was all there was to work with! She's a smart, smart mare.

          We had a week of honest ground work. I dropped the hammer on her happy butt when she set a toe out of line. By the third day she'd changed her mind on how she wanted to behave, but I kept it up for a the remainder of the week. It was 7 days straight of walking in hand, trotting, turning away from me, and then lunge line work. If my feet weren't moving, her feet weren't moving. It was non-negotiable. She didn't get her feed until she was in the far corner of her stall, facing whomever was feeding her. She wasn't allowed to approach it until whomever was out of the stall. When she starts to space out, we got back to basics.

          I stopped worrying about hurting her feelings and also took my feelings out of the equation. If she toed out of line, we discussed it for the appropriate amount of time to get my point across, and then she was expected to go back to work. The first day there was a lot of hysterics, but she got over it. It helped that I'm not afraid of her. It sounds like this mare is along the same lines.

          Comment


          • #6
            Can your trainer or other professional not help you address her ground manners? This is typical spoiled young horse behavior and is dangerous if not addressed, but really... if the horse is nice to ride, why not just do some training on the ground (or have a professional do it, while you watch and learn) and have a nice horse afterward to enjoy?
            **********
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
            -PaulaEdwina

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            • #7
              I suspect that the horse was misrepresented to you and therefore you should be able to get out of the lease without paying the mare's board for the rest of the year.

              You need to ask around at the facility where she was boarded before.

              Or at least try to get in touch with the people you beat out. Lucky you.
              A helmet saved my life.

              2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm probably going to get flamed for this, but if this was your horse, and you felt confident with learning a new way of dealing with this issue, I would tell you to run towards Downunder Horsemanship as fast as you could and immerse yourself in the program. I have 2 large TB's who were not handled much for 10 years except for the usual trimming/vet visits. No grooming, no leading, pretty much left on their own to graze and live a happy life. I decided to do something with these horses in spite of being old and not wanting to show H/J any longer. Went to a Downunder Horsemanship tour, got the equipment, got started. One horse was pushy, the other flighty. Now both are well mannered individuals with no respect issues. It takes time & commitment to do the program but the results are outstanding. It can look a little bizzare to those who don't know what is involved, as we tend to back our horses everywhere, into the arena, through gates, in & out of the stall, etc., but if your problem is a "respect" issue and not something physical or mental, then it might work for this mare!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a mare that is wonderful on individual turnout, but herd bound and a complete PITA in a herd.

                  Did she have other horses in sight when you had her on individual turnout?

                  I would also wonder about depo?

                  as for the weather....I joke I have winter Kissey and summer Kissey (my 5 year old). ANYONE (my beginner niece showed her w/t this year) can ride summer Kissey, jump her, do whatever they want. Winter Kissey requires a quick lunge to work out the frisky stuff and in the words of an eventer watching me warm up at the show this weekend for my hunter class "wow, she's so FORWARD!"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Try treating for ulcers. My 4 y/o developed ulcers when I switched barns and went to individual turnout; while he settled and wouldn't run (out 24/7), he wasn't licking his bucket clean and left a lot of hay. He also went from being calm, mellow, and pleasant, to spooking and seeing dead people, and hot hot hot. He was minorly girthy, but not overly so. When I treated the ulcers, he went back to his happy self.
                    “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                    ? Albert Einstein

                    ~AJ~

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bristol Bay View Post
                      I suspect that the horse was misrepresented to you and therefore you should be able to get out of the lease without paying the mare's board for the rest of the year.

                      You need to ask around at the facility where she was boarded before.

                      Or at least try to get in touch with the people you beat out. Lucky you.
                      I think that is about as likel, or in fact less likely, as the horse being fairly represented but green and a mare and the OP is simply overhorsed.

                      She'd had the mare for more than 6 weeks and it sounds like the mare started off fine/acceptable and has been deteriorating. To me, that speaks far more to a clever greenie taking advantage of a timid and less experienced (I handling this behavior) person than a horse who was misrepresented but managed to hide the behavior for weeks and weeks. Sounds like the mare is not used to the decreased work and less consistent handling... and is getting worse as a result.

                      At any rate, it's not the OP's horse. I am not clear how long the lease is for and whether it makes financial/emotional sense to invest a lot in veterinary diagnostics and/or training or just cut the losses and turn the mare out until the owner comes back. I think step one needs to be a frank discussion with the owner.
                      ~Veronica
                      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                      http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sounds like she has your number and realized she can get away with being a total brat. It doesn't sound like you're going to get any cooperation from the owner in the immediate future, so I'll focus on advice to help keep you safe with the situation you're currently having to live with.

                        IIWM, I'd get to work on those ground manners right away, with focused intensity. It might not hurt to have her checked out for something like ulcers, which could be a possibility due to the change in environment and feed, but eve if she has them, there is no reason you can't still work on those ground manners. Use whatever tools are at hand. Positive reinforcement should be the philosophy, but when she's downright mean or dangerous, don't be afraid to correct her quickly and sharply, then just move on.

                        Look into clicker training. Don't let her turn her back to you in the stall. Wait at the door out of biting/kicking range until she faces you. When she does, click/reward. At first, you'll be rewarding a lot... then start making her face you quietly for longer and longer periods before you click/reward. You can use this basic technique for everything from standing still on cross ties to leading in/out politely.

                        Just don't hesitate to correct her quickly and sharply for any attempt to bite or kick, and don't enter her stall, or feed her until she is facing you quietly. It usually doesn't take them long to actively try to figure out what you're asking.

                        In the beginning, you need to keep your expectations very simple and clear.

                        Good luck. I hope for the mare's sake that you can resolve her issues before she gets really out of control and ends up in a bad place.
                        Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                        Witherun Farm
                        http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have no ideas for how you can get out of the lease. To me though, this sounds like a mare who got stressed out from the move and has ulcers now. Also, my vet was just telling me how many calls she gets in the fall about horses with drastic changes in behavior and most of the time it's due to the time of year.
                          Pam's Pony Place

                          Pam's Pony Ponderings

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just my opinion but that's what you've asked for. I would SEND HER BACK. Been there and done that.


                            http://community.webshots.com/user/ballyduff
                            \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                              I think that is about as likel, or in fact less likely, as the horse being fairly represented but green and a mare and the OP is simply overhorsed.

                              She'd had the mare for more than 6 weeks and it sounds like the mare started off fine/acceptable and has been deteriorating. To me, that speaks far more to a clever greenie taking advantage of a timid and less experienced (I handling this behavior) person than a horse who was misrepresented but managed to hide the behavior for weeks and weeks. Sounds like the mare is not used to the decreased work and less consistent handling... and is getting worse as a result.

                              At any rate, it's not the OP's horse. I am not clear how long the lease is for and whether it makes financial/emotional sense to invest a lot in veterinary diagnostics and/or training or just cut the losses and turn the mare out until the owner comes back. I think step one needs to be a frank discussion with the owner.
                              This

                              As others mentioned, I'd treat for ulcers - if you go with this product it's very affordable to treat for 1 month, followed by a gradual removal of the med.

                              You mention a coach, can you work on handling this horse on the ground for the next several lessons?

                              Do involve the owner - there was obviously a reason she chose you over the other potential leasers & she likely will want what's best for the mare. If you really can't see a resolution, then ask the previous coach/your coach to help find an alternate leaser (I assume there are provisions for this in the contract).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                i had a horse like that one time- who had was nice on the ground but then had a death wish for both of us under saddle (he bolted through a 4-board pasture fence with me on him & other crap)- and it turns out, he was a "sub-lease" that wasn't legal. my trainer asked around, we called local hunts and turns out the horse was indeed psychotic. the true owner had prohibited him from being ridden, esp never by a junior and he was purely supposed to be a companion horse. i was lied to, as a junior, doing pony club, eventing and foxhunting. fun factoid: it was one of jackie kennedy's old hunt horses who went crazy with her.

                                the reason i share is because it's worthwhile figuring out a horse's background in cases like these. also, i'd have an attorney look at your lease. you can do ground manners and work with her but she's got your number and if you are uncertain, she would be best going to someone who's not or going back home.

                                it also seems a little fishy to me that you'd have to pay board on her if you ended your lease early. maybe that is the norm now tho
                                And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Let us know what the owner says back. Might be best to get help from a professional horse trainer, not your riding coach, but someone who knows how to start young horses or handle problem horses (unless your riding coach is one in the same)

                                  Tell the owner you want to try 24/7 turnout as a last resort before you give up. Maybe they will go for it. Ulcer treatment cant hurt either.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    A mare in a new situation with an admittedly "getting confidence back" nervous adult... Isn't the simplest answer likely to be the correct one? OP took this green horse home, changed all the rules/handling (I assume the horse went from more of a show barn/regular riding and handling situation to a more low key situation), and is letting the mare get away with being a b*tch. And she's doing what any smart mare would doing in the situation--- seeing the inch and taking a mile.

                                    Last I checked, being herd bound, running fences, and even kicking are completely annoying behavior but not unheard of for green horses that aren't properly handled. I highly doubt this is really the "rogue horse of the area" secretly leased to the OP. The mare's 5. She hasn't had a CHANCE to become that bad horse yet. But I bet the bad habits are getting ingrained pretty quickly now
                                    ~Veronica
                                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                                      Last I checked, being herd bound, running fences, and even kicking are completely annoying behavior but not unheard of for green horses that aren't properly handled. I highly doubt this is really the "rogue horse of the area" secretly leased to the OP. The mare's 5. She hasn't had a CHANCE to become that bad horse yet. But I bet the bad habits are getting ingrained pretty quickly now
                                      agreed. don't want to assume but in case the rogue horse thing was directed at my story, i was hoping my craptastic experience would be helpful in seeing a different perspective. =) besides, my horse was older, a gelding, and not acting like a cow- more like a schizophrenic mule.
                                      And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Have you seen the movie, Buck?

                                        Watch it, or better yet, go audit once of his clinics. And then find someone who trains horses in the Tom Dorrance/Ray Hunt way. If they try to sell you a bunch of special equipment, run the other way and find someone else.

                                        I think they would tell you that serious ground work is in order to establish order, respect and obedience before she hurts you.

                                        JJ

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