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Horse Shopping: Question About Ethics--Of the Buyer

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  • #21
    I find I am very picky when trying horses. I think I picked it up when watching an Olympic level rider come and try out one of the horses where I was a working student. The horse was tacked,(by the barn owner) she pulled the saddle off. Looked at the bit (bubble) and said I want an eggbutt snaffle. And proceeded to re-tack the horse. I understand why she did these things. She did not want to see how well the horse can go with the harsh bit, she anted to see what she had to work with and could base training off of that. And was checking the saddle fit, and placing it where she preferred.
    Ever since, I have removed and tacked up a horse I am looking at.

    In your situation, I would have looked at the rub mark, and said 'Oh, what happened here?' I wouldn't have said look, your saddle doesn't fit, and this is why your horse is upset. No one likes that.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by Anna.m View Post

      In your situation, I would have looked at the rub mark, and said 'Oh, what happened here?' I wouldn't have said look, your saddle doesn't fit, and this is why your horse is upset. No one likes that.

      This was my thought. It could be from something different entirely. I have ridden horses with rubs under their saddle without issue. Those hairless spots are healing bite marks, not saddle rubs. So, it is not a given that a mark under the saddle is always due to the saddle.

      Whether or not I was interested in the horse, I would comment and ask questions.

      Just recently at a horse show, I saw a horse with a weird looking leg so I asked what was going on. The owner/rider told me that it was an old scar and as I was talking I approached the horse and commented that it just looked different from where I originally stood and the hair below the scar being still a but puffed out/winter hair. We had a great conversation and her tone did not reflect defensiveness at all. The conversation continued to his age, how awesome he was and note the missing eye - when he does something to himself he goes all in according to owner.

      So, a conversation isn't necessarily going to put someone off, if you start it right. If you start with "well this mark obviously means you are doing this wrong" then yeah, people are going to get defensive but if it starts with, "this looks odd, where did this come from?" it is a different story.

      We sent one horse to a new home with what looks like no muscle on the one side of his face - he rode great, great attitude, reminded owner of owner's first horse - but we didn't know where the issue came from as he came to use like that and at 8 years old seemed to be function fine that way.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by phippsie62 View Post
        I tried a gelding recently. I'd already heard that he had to be led into the show ring on a lead rope, wouldn't go in on his own. I watched a class with his regular rider. Yes, they led him in. When the rider tried to send him forward, his ears pinned and he bucked a little. Rider tapped him with the whip, horse said "Oh, all right," and started the course. Rider made all kinds of mistakes but the horse knew his job and covered. When it was time for me to try him, horse was presented all tacked up and ready to go. Again, objections. But once jumping commenced, all heart, great technique, knew his job.

        Then: Afterwards, I untacked the horse to do a once-over of his body. Yikes--on one side the saddle had rubbed him right down to the skin. It had apparently never occurred to rider or trainer that the horse's behavior might be the result of pain from a poorly fitted saddle.

        I said nothing and still feel bad about it. But my trainer was there, the other trainer was there...I guess I got intimidated and also confused about the right thing to do. Nobody had asked for my advice, and people tend to resent unsolicited advice, especially when it could be construed as critical. In a situation where I'm just trying a horse, this kind of thing may come up again. What should I do--say something and try for tact, or just keep my mouth shut? As I say, I still feel rotten about the whole thing. Poor horse.
        What can you tell us about the rub? Is it likely it just happened that day? Or is it likely it has been there for a long time?

        If the horse has a reputation of needing to be led into the ring, it is unlikely that a simple tack swap is all that is needed to fix his behavior. The owner/trainer of the horse would have tried that already.

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