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what to give up to keep horse happy?

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  • #21
    It could have been me writing this post. I've had my OTTB for nine months. I wasn't looking to buy a horse either, but while I was helping a friend look I found him and had to have him. At month 5, he started getting miserable under saddle, hated being touched. The works. Had the chiro out and it turns out he had some very serious pinched nerves that he was very tired of being stoic about. He got better and then worse, and the even worse over the course of several injuries until we finally figured out and treated the physical issues that were making him miserable.

    After month two of horribleness and the second issue, but before we figured out what the third was, we had a cranky horse on our hands and no idea why. My trainer sat me down and told me to consider getting rid of the horse. Her reasoning was that I love to ride, and dealing with all the problems was taking the joy out of riding and having a horse for me. I was investing all my very limited resources in trying to fix something that may just be his personality. That meant I wasn't spending my money on the things I enjoy.

    It ended up that the next thing we tried was the cause of the crankiness, and he is back in work and back to his old self. But I really appreciated my trainer's advice. While she would benefit financially from me selling my horse and freeing up money to take lessons or show, but that wasn't her intention. Part of her job is to look out for me and help me to make the right decisions about my horse and my riding.

    Only you can decide what it is you want to accomplish. Part of the reason I stuck it out with my guy is because I didn't think it was fair to him to pass him on to the next home. It was worth the sacrifice to make sure that he had that chance. Think about what your trainer has to say and then decide what your priorities are. Don't just assume that she is only after her bottom line. She might be, but she might also be looking out for you.


    • #22
      The horse probably gets the trainer verbs and is nervous they will talk you in to something. You might consider a new barn, they don't seem to listen to you, your vet recommendations and have their own agenda


      • #23
        the test you want is the " Multiplex" test done by Cornell.....it is the best one available ! Most of my horses issues were from Chronic Lyme which means he had it more than 6 months......plus his Vit E was so nonexistent he would get muscle spasms out of the blue.....After being treated for both and he lives on a Vit E supp. he was 80 % better.
        And I am Not a person that normally says "check for lyme"....with my horse the vets did not even think in that direction. When all else failed I was the one that said please run the test.
        A Neuro exam will Not tell you if you should test for lyme.....but his touchiness, grumpiness, etc will!
        Happily retired but used to be:


        • #24
          I don't know why everyone immediately assumes the trainer is greedy and is all about getting you off of current horse so they can profit from new horse. What they probably see is a frustrated owner with a physically/mentally unsound horse that has the potential to be a real money pit. I'd guess they are actually trying to help you, OP, so you can enjoy riding and feel that your money is well spent.

          Having had a horse previously with intermittent soundness issues, I wish I had listened to my trainer to find him a job that was more suited to the level of work he could sustain, and buy myself something sound that could do the job. Instead I spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to diagnose him to no avail, lost a year of riding/competing, and ended up donating him to a therapy program to do walk-rides.

          So having been in your situation, I'd really not suspect the trainer of anything nefarious besides for wanting to see you happy with the time, money, and emotional energy you spend on your horse.


          • #25
            I don't think the trainer is being greedy or is to blame for anything. I think she probably just has a barn full of horses without these issues doing more with happier riders and that's what she wants for you, OP.
            I've been there too. I grew up a successful rider on nice horses in a decent show barn, but I took a break and came back as an adult with a different motive...and without daddy's bankroll! I got my current horse (an OTTB) cheap because I just wanted to ride again and not dump a lot of $ into it. Truth be told though, between the professional training with two different trainers, lessons, and gas money for all that trailering to the trainers, I've probably dumped into her over the last 2 years what I could have spent on a nicer, well started OTTB! And this mare is still a pain in the a@# to ride! But she is healthy and an easy keeper, I'll give her that. I just had to adjust my goals and find stuff that's fun to do with her, and not worry about what so and so is doing on her made hunter every weekend or whatever.
            BUT, if your horse has physical issues, then even scaling back your goals isn't going to work. I think there's a small window where you need to figure out if the physical issues are worth addressing and will result in a rideable horse, or if you're better off just retiring him to pasture board a companion or light trail horse or something before you dump thousands into trying to fix it.
            I would recommend a second opinion from both a vet and another trainer to help you decide.


            • Original Poster

              Well it has all come to a head. It has been ulterior motive on trainers part. My vet feels there is nothing wrong with the horse. He is horribly uncomfortable because he needs shoes and is very off balanced, not to mention his poll is out because he pulled back in the cross ties. We had a new farrier come out yesterday that did alot of work on the horse's feet, put shoes on and he is looking good. BO wasn't happy about that. Farrier said his feet are very fixable with two rounds of shoeing. Apparently TBs are not respected, loved and appreciated by alot of people. Really really sad.


              • #27
                My Tb mare has been most happy after getting out of the showing "rut" and doing lots of different things. She lives on pasture board in a huge field with 4 other mares. We ride in the ring a few days per week, trail ride out from the farm a few days and trailer to area state parks several times per month to trail ride. We also participate in different types of clinics. The last year or so, we have tried hunter paces, fox hunting, low level dressage shows, a couple of Combined Tests, team penning, and parades. I never drill her on things and she does so many different things she always seems to be happy and interested. Do what works for you and your horse.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by OTTB-HP View Post
                  My vet feels there is nothing wrong with the horse. He is horribly uncomfortable.
                  Well the easiest way to tell if it's a training issue or a pain issue is to give an "all around" pain medication like Equioxx/Previcox for a week or two (whatever your vet feels is best) and note if there are improvements.

                  Also, a second opinion on the saddle fit may be in order. Even Master Saddlers (sadly) get it wrong sometimes.
                  A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing


                  • #29
                    Wow, interesting. That's why it's always a good idea to get that 2nd or 3rd opinion from a non-partial vet or trainer. I hope things start improving for him. And there are plenty of barns out there that appreciate OTTBs these days, hopefully you can find one near you and not deal with the BOs BS any more!


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by Simbalism View Post
                      My Tb mare has been most happy after getting out of the showing "rut" and doing lots of different things. She lives on pasture board in a huge field with 4 other mares. We ride in the ring a few days per week, trail ride out from the farm a few days and trailer to area state parks several times per month to trail ride. We also participate in different types of clinics. The last year or so, we have tried hunter paces, fox hunting, low level dressage shows, a couple of Combined Tests, team penning, and parades. I never drill her on things and she does so many different things she always seems to be happy and interested. Do what works for you and your horse.
                      It sounds like you are doing the types of things I am planning on doing with my guy. I haven't done any team penning activities with him, however I have ridden many other horses in those types of events. I think he would enjoy that. I would love to try a hunter pace and some CT events. I think he gets stressed easily and that is partly to blame for behavior and anxiety. Now that his feet are fixed he is doing much better. I am traveling to see a saddle fitter towards the end of the month. I think that the catch is making sure he has enough turnout and never getting bored. I'll have to look into fox hunting, I've always wanted to try that, I just have to stay warm!