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Should I buy a horse that rushes?

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  • Should I buy a horse that rushes?

    I'm in the market for a horse that I can take to local 'C' h/j shows in equitation, with the occasional 'A' to push myself. I also like to do lower-level dressage.

    A friend of my trainer's is selling her horse and I've tried her out a couple of times. She's a young-ish, good looking, sweet TB. She moves very well, and supposedly did very well in a few local 'C' h/j and dressage schooling shows last summer. She hasn't been worked much in the last several months so she needs some conditioning work. She also leans on her inside shoulder and has terrible balance. And, probably as a result of this, she rushes jumps. Very badly. She's like a freight train. I can quickly regain control after the jump, but it's not fun.

    If I buy her, I will likely stop jumping until we can get the straightness, balance and engagement under control. I would also have the usual checks - chiropractor, farrier, saddle fitting, etc. She's already passed a vet check with flying colors.

    But, I'm wondering whether I should even try. What if she doesn't stop rushing? How can I tell if she will likely stop rushing once we have nailed the flat work? Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of investing a lot of time with her before I need to decide whether to buy.

  • #2
    There is no upside. No.


    • #3
      Pass. I just spent a year trying to work on a horse who rushed and invested thousands into to trying to figure out why. Saddles, x-rays, trainers, supplements, the gamit. Turns out I just really think the horse didn't want to jump period.


      • #4
        IMO, it all depends on your experience, how much time you're willing to put into the mare, and what you really expect to get out of her. How does her price compare to the price of a more experienced horse?

        The last horse I leased had a terrible rushing problem, and I leased him knowing that I would be working with him for a good bit of time before going to shows, which was fine with me. Rushing isn't even close to an unmanageable problem, it just requires consistent ground and pole work, and often a good trainer.

        Honestly consider your situation, and if you know that you want to start showing this season, you may want to keep looking. If not she sounds like a great horse, that you could benefit from working with and training


        • #5
          I would pass. Rushing has never been something I've had tons of sucess with, especially when we start increasing height. It might be "fixed" at the low levels, but increase a couple inches.. look out! Game on all over again.
          Riding the winds of change

          Heeling NRG Aussies
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          • Original Poster

            Ugh. You all are telling what I was afraid to hear. I think my gut has been telling me to pass but she's a hard one to let go.

            Her price is pretty good, but not great. I don't really care about showing this season. I have a long-term perspective with my next purchase. I'm willing to put in the work, I have a lot of experience, and I have a good trainer. I just don't want to get into a situation like HRF mentioned - spending a lot of time and money to force the horse to do something she doesn't really want to do.

            I wish I had crystal ball (or maybe an animal communicator) to tell me whether hard work will make a difference.

            Thanks for the advice!


            • #7
              In normal circumstances, I wouldn't.

              I think I'm the exception to the rule.

              I bought my horse without riding, vetting, or seeing him. I knew him a couple years before and my friend bought him and moved out of state. They were getting rid of him and I knew that he was going to be 'something', so I went and picked him up. He's a FABULOUS mover, FABULOUS form over fences, but he was rushing terribly. He, too, was a freight train. We went back to basics (poles and transitions), then worked our way up. We also got his hocks injected. I can now almost loop my reins around a course in a matter of..7 months? Got him in October. Basically I can jump a course and be in the ribbons now, whereas I couldn't take him to a show and do ONE fence without, you know, steeplechasing lol. It was all bad training, confusion, trust issues, and hocks, I'm sure.

              I think you really have to see what's in the horse, understand the horse..maybe know a bit about its background, and have a trainer who believes in the horse.

              Case by case I guess. I'd trust your gut instinct though.


              • #8
                Sounds like a case for Swami Rabbit aka Tidy Rabbit.

                Maybe she and her psychic powers can chime in here .
                Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                • #9
                  You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.


                  • #10
                    I once bought a 4' type that rushed. Bought him because he was only $2,500 (um, there was a red flag!), good mover, beautiful, and I thought I needed something that "talented" (I was then jumping about 2'6"-2'9").


                    It took 6 months, but he got over the rushing. Literally back-to-basics flat work and poles on the ground. He was still hot though, and ended up being too much horse for an adult ammie working 50+ hrs a week. My trainer got paid for a lot of rides...he needed to be ridden about 5 times a week.

                    Now I wish I could have him back at times, but he was not the right horse for me when I owned him. I also agree with Rhyadawn--when you increase the difficulty you often get to retrain the rushing at each little increase too.

                    There are more horses out there.
                    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                    • #11
                      It is so hard to say without seeing or feeling it. My horse use to rush pretty badly, mostly just build speed, not the scooting rush. Then again he was a former gaming horse, so he thought he was suppose to do it fast and it was some weird new game. I have dealt with others by cantering towards the jump then trotting when straight. This works best with ones that want to build more so than the flighty quick ones that rush just before the jump then come back quickly.

                      I guess my main question would be does the horse see eager about jumping or rushing to get it over with quickly? The later I would pass because either there is pain or they don't want to be jumping. The first is much easier to deal with.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by eleanor rigby View Post
                        I can quickly regain control after the jump, but it's not fun.

                        There's your answer. Dont buy a horse that you already dont enjoy fully !


                        • #13
                          My rule for buying horses is simple...I only buy the horse if I would be happy with him the way he is on the day I try him. In other words, I want to be able to live with the horse if it never improves even 1%.

                          You may well be able to improve this horse, but then again you may not. If it does not stop rushing (and you say it's not much fun to ride the way it is now...) what will you do? Are you ok with keeping one that always rushes? If not, are you OK with the prospect of having to sell it, perhaps at a loss?

                          Personally I would never buy one that I didn't think was fun to ride. They don't have to be perfect, of course... but they should at least be enjoyable.

                          Way too many nice horses out there that are happy to do that job to fool with one that doesn't. I'd pass.
                          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                          • #14
                            Pass. It's usually "fixable", but usually not much fun either. I prefer to enjoy my rides...


                            • #15
                              In a word? No.

                              Why? Because you'll more often than not find issues you have to deal with after you buy a horse that weren't apparent when you did an evaluation/PPE, whether these are soundness or training related. Why start out with a big problem whose origin you aren't sure of?

                              If it's already not fun to deal with the horse's rushing now, it will almost certainly only get worse before it gets better. That's some Murphy's law of horse ownership, IIRC.

                              I like what Lucassb said: buy the horse if you're happy with her *right now* ... even if she never got any better. That's a good outlook.
                              Full-time bargain hunter.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Spud&Saf View Post
                                Sounds like a case for Swami Rabbit aka Tidy Rabbit.

                                Maybe she and her psychic powers can chime in here .
                                I have nothing to offer, I just found out that my horse who has always been a difficult ride for the SEVEN years I've owned him, just loves a Hackamore. I mean LOVES it. Is completely rideable to any fence. Weird. Who knew?

                                He's also had a bad back, but now that is fixed (has been fixed for a couple years now) and it was still difficult to jump him. Put him in a myler Hackamore and presto-changeo, I got a new horse.

                                My advice would be don't buy one that you think you need to FIX. A green one you need to train is completely different than one you need to fix.
                                Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                  My rule for buying horses is simple...I only buy the horse if I would be happy with him the way he is on the day I try him. In other words, I want to be able to live with the horse if it never improves even 1%.
                                  Excellent advice.
                                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by lindsay.anne View Post
                                    There's your answer. Dont buy a horse that you already dont enjoy fully !
                                    Read this a few times. It's chock full o' wisdom.
                                    "Aye God, Woodrow..."


                                    • #19
                                      I personally will take just about anything on. I like a challenge and find that I really tend to click with the more difficult, hotter types.

                                      However, I do agree wholeheartedly with the other posters who are advising you to pass. I have a student, I have posted about her horse here before, who bought what we thought to be a really quiet, but green mare. Passed vet/bloods with flying colors. Has turned into a major rusher at the canter/while jumping. We are finally making progress, but the kid has not been having much fun - she is just really dedicated and loves the horse, so is willing to try like hell. But the last year or so has not been enjoyable by any means for her.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                        My rule for buying horses is simple...I only buy the horse if I would be happy with him the way he is on the day I try him. In other words, I want to be able to live with the horse if it never improves even 1%.
                                        Yeah. Good advice or buying horses & picking a spouse . . .
                                        Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.