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Horse shopping: trainer & I disagree on this one

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  • Horse shopping: trainer & I disagree on this one

    Hi all. It's no secret I've been looking for a young horse for a couple months. From the last horse I brought on trial, I learned very well that I have limitations on how green a horse I can comfortably handle.

    Flash forward to yesterday. Tried a fabulous horse at the top of my price range. Total dreamboat to ride. My trainer loves him. He truly was awesome for me under saddle. Still green, but what a natural!

    BUT. He's kind of a turkey on the ground. Dancing around in crossties, looking for friends, head straight up, big eyes, hard to lead, etc. It's not the manners themselves that bother me, because I know that's fixable. What bothers me is the emotion behind the manners. This horse is a worrier. He's nervous in his own little backyard home. Yes, I was a new person to him, and that matters. But my horses live at a show barn. There are cars, dogs, cats, horses, trucks, golf carts, etc coming and going constantly. And what about shows? I don't want the horse that takes a cr@p ton of prep.

    That said, under saddle he went straight to work like an old pro. Honestly, he was like a different horse once he went to work.

    The bigger issue is that my trainer and I disagree. I really don't want to deal with a naturally anxious horse. After all, I'll be the one who has to handle him. I'm an adult ammy....I want a pet on the ground! She thinks I'm overreacting, and overlooking an amazing animal. After all, he's youngish and needs miles and exposure. Maybe I'm wrong about him. Maybe he'll adjust quickly and be amazing. But this is a lot of money for me, and right now I feel very reluctant about spending it on him.

    WWYD?

  • #2
    Originally posted by gertie06 View Post
    Hi all. It's no secret I've been looking for a young horse for a couple months. From the last horse I brought on trial, I learned very well that I have limitations on how green a horse I can comfortably handle.

    Flash forward to yesterday. Tried a fabulous horse at the top of my price range. Total dreamboat to ride. My trainer loves him. He truly was awesome for me under saddle. Still green, but what a natural!

    BUT. He's kind of a turkey on the ground. Dancing around in crossties, looking for friends, head straight up, big eyes, hard to lead, etc. It's not the manners themselves that bother me, because I know that's fixable. What bothers me is the emotion behind the manners. This horse is a worrier. He's nervous in his own little backyard home. Yes, I was a new person to him, and that matters. But my horses live at a show barn. There are cars, dogs, cats, horses, trucks, golf carts, etc coming and going constantly. And what about shows? I don't want the horse that takes a cr@p ton of prep.

    That said, under saddle he went straight to work like an old pro. Honestly, he was like a different horse once he went to work.

    The bigger issue is that my trainer and I disagree. I really don't want to deal with a naturally anxious horse. After all, I'll be the one who has to handle him. I'm an adult ammy....I want a pet on the ground! She thinks I'm overreacting, and overlooking an amazing animal. After all, he's youngish and needs miles and exposure. Maybe I'm wrong about him. Maybe he'll adjust quickly and be amazing. But this is a lot of money for me, and right now I feel very reluctant about spending it on him.

    WWYD?
    You want a horse to enjoy and that one, the pain in the behind ones that are nervous Nellies are ok for those that have several horses, the professionals training them that don't care, but not for a one or two horse owner, that wants to have nice, peaceful, sensible horses to work and enjoy.

    Sounds like you want a kind of a partner, not a quirky project horse.

    I understand your trainer, as one myself that a horse is wiggly was a non-issue, we coped and let them be how they were, as long as it was not dangerous quirky.

    As a personal horse, I like you, don't want those to bond to and do things with in life other than competing and then leaving them be to their own insecurities, as they are.

    Will he get over that and become a solid citizen?
    My now 21 year old has a serious nervous edge to him, has been there all his life and really, has learned to control it fine.
    Got him as a performance horse so that was kind of ok, there is just a little edge to him normally.
    If the chips are down?
    Then he reverts to his wiggly old ways.
    Lucky for him he is 98% ok, so we deal with it the other %.

    Two days ago the farrier was here, horse was a saint, stood there asleep.
    Until the last few minutes, he thought he was done and was throwing a little tantrum because he had to give his foot up one more time and he had enough of all that by now.
    Can't blame him, he is bred to be a hotter performance horse and has, when it comes to be asked to be a quiet plug, only so much of that in him, even at his now advancing age.

    I agree with you, maybe start with a horse that is NOW what you want, not one to retrain into some sensible manners, which he may never become one for you.
    There are plenty of those that are there now, don't have to gamble they will improve, eventually.

    "If in doubt, don't".

    Comment


    • #3
      Ironically all of the horses I’ve owned (they were all very green from the start) I’ve hated until I bought them haha. I guess I was lucky in the sense that I got to work/start training them before I actually purchased them. Anyways, almost all of them were horribly nervous on the ground and settled down into horses you could just throw the lead over and they’d follow! I think it just depends how much time you spend with them and how much work they’re getting. A well worked horse is a well behaved horse. If he’s got a great mind and he’s smart, he will most likely settle down.

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't blame you for not wanting a nervous horse. If the horse is nervous because a new person is looking at it...that would be a red flag for me. Any chance the seller will be bringing the horse anywhere off the property where you could see it in a different element? E.g. if they were going to a show could you meet them there and ride the horse (or at least watch it go).

        Another option that many sellers wouldn't agree to would be a short term trial. You can always ask, and they can say no. But might be worth asking before you pass it up.

        As for the trainer - it's your money. The trainer can buy this horse if they are sure.

        Comment


        • #5
          The fact that this young horse is well behaved under saddle suggests he has a good brain and the capacity to be well behaved on the ground as well. If he truly has a good brain, ground manners are easy to install if you know how.

          It is possible the handlers at the seller's barn are letting the youngster get away with shenanigans on the ground and that is why he is one horse on the ground and another under tack.

          Have you talked to your trainer about your concerns. I.e. have you told her the only hurdle you have regarding this horse is his ground manners and have you told her you could get on board if she can convince you the ground manners can be addressed.

          Most youngsters will test their handlers to see what they can get away with. If the handlers don't set boundaries, many youngsters will continue to push the envelope because they can. Before you write off this horse, you might want to be sure his ill manners aren't due to a lack of proper training on the ground.

          I would second the suggestion of a short term trial.

          Comment


          • #6
            You can get rid of all that anxiety fairly simply. And it sounds like you are looking for a horse for the long haul. I'd go for it. Any horse you buy and move to a new place will need some desensitizing anyway to help it settle down, they all usually stress just due to the move.
            "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

            Comment


            • #7
              Those saying the horse can easily be fixed....maybe.

              My personal Nervous Nellie is away with an excellent, excellent desensitizing horseman getting started, and she's not been an "easy fix." Not ready to come home yet, either. And if you are anything less, then horses pick up on anxiety and feed off it, and the behavior could easily resurface.

              Then start taking them out and about and go back 10 steps....I am not looking forward to it myself.

              FInd a horse with a naturally quiet disposition to enjoy.

              Comment


              • #8
                It's your money. Your horse. Ultimately, your decision.

                You probably would be worse off buying a horse that trainer tells you not to get versus not buying the one they do tell you to get. Do you trust trainer's eye, opinion, and morals? Is the horse perfect for you in all other aspects except this? Is trainer capable of working through the issues on the ground, and are you prepared to do that?

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's a fat pain in the butt to have a horse that's nervous at home. That's a nope from me.
                  http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                    You can get rid of all that anxiety fairly simply. And it sounds like you are looking for a horse for the long haul. I'd go for it. Any horse you buy and move to a new place will need some desensitizing anyway to help it settle down, they all usually stress just due to the move.
                    the OP said: He's nervous in his own little backyard home.

                    So, if he's nervous there, what does that mean? It may be an fairly simple fix. Or not.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My personal horse is 17, I’ve owned him since he was 13. He’s an odd duck in the barn — always has been, always will be. He’s a saint under saddle though (and strangely not quirky at shows), but has been quirky at any barn he’s been at that has been “home” no matter who owned/leased him. I chose to deal with it, because the positives outweigh the negatives.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Always avoid buying a problem
                        They can have a nasty habit of developing new ones along the way to go with it!
                        If your trainer is getting some % commission out of this sale then the more expensive the horse the more the trainer gets.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Can you trial or lease the horse for a month to see how he is in your barn? It's really tough to say how he'll be for you in a new place. That he's workmanlike under saddle is promising. Entirely possible that his owner just hasn't prioritised ground manners and he can be as professional to handle as he is to ride with a modicum of effort.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Appreciate the responses. I think the trial is a great thing to ask for. Fingers crossed! I know most sellers won’t do this, but worth a shot for a horse like this.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              how old? how many horses in his backyard barn?

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Ruth0552 View Post
                                how old? how many horses in his backyard barn?
                                5 1/2 years old. There are three horses in his backyard barn.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think coming to an active show barn where a lot of things are happening can actually help this type of horse immensely. It could be that his sleepy backyard barn is just TOO quiet and when something happens/is different/sounds different there it is a "BIG DEAL."

                                  I have seen these nervous types get a whole lot better just by the constant desensitizing a busy barn can be.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I bet this guy will calm down with a bigger herd. Not all horses do well with just a couple in a backyard- they really prefer for there to be more AROUND I guess. The fact that he focuses when he has a job and direction bodes well for him. I bet he will settle with age as well. Though, my guy is 18 and he can still be pretty anxious at times. For a variety of reasons, but MOST of the time is great. I bet when he was 5 he was a bit hot-headed and nervous.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post
                                      The fact that this young horse is well behaved under saddle suggests he has a good brain and the capacity to be well behaved on the ground as well. If he truly has a good brain, ground manners are easy to install if you know how.

                                      It is possible the handlers at the seller's barn are letting the youngster get away with shenanigans on the ground and that is why he is one horse on the ground and another under tack.

                                      ....

                                      Most youngsters will test their handlers to see what they can get away with. If the handlers don't set boundaries, many youngsters will continue to push the envelope because they can. Before you write off this horse, you might want to be sure his ill manners aren't due to a lack of proper training on the ground.

                                      I would second the suggestion of a short term trial.
                                      This ^^^^. He may not have had consistent handling on the ground and have no clue.

                                      When I bought my OTTB he was 5 and as you described, dancing on the cross ties, all over the place on the ground. The first time I groomed and rode him before a lesson, I almost didn't want to continue because of almost scary (to me) behavior on the ground.

                                      Once I got on though, he was a TOTAL gentleman. Had maybe 3 or 4 lessons on him and fell in love. Wasn't even looking to buy a horse, but guess what. Even my husband could see how much I enjoyed the ride and told me to go for it.

                                      It didn't take long for him to settle on the ground. He did need consistent handling and you to respect his boundaries even as you set down yours. He was VERY sensitive to groom, but over time we worked out a communication and came to trust each other. If the way I was grooming was a bit too ticklish, he'd very slowly raise his leg, but never, never, ever, did he attempt to kick me. That was his stop/take it easy signal and even thought I always kept alert, I totally trusted him not to kick. Over time I was able to soak hoof abscesses, dress some pretty painful cellutlitis, and give allergy shots all without even needing to tie him. He became that well behaved. Many vets, farriers, and others commented on his stellar ground manners. I really didn't do a lot of "training" those manners, just was highly consistent with how I expected him to behave - quietly and calmly. He was smart. He got it.

                                      Around age 6 1/2-7, I also noticed a big jump in his mental maturity all the way around. Calm on the ground, totally trusty ride. He maybe spooked once a year, but every time it was a sideways and stop in a way that he stayed under me or allowed me to stay on top of him. He was a big guy 16.3 and solid.

                                      At first we boarded at several active show barns and self care situations where there was all kinds of crazy going on at times. Once he figured it out, he took it in stride. Eventually I built my own place and he was the same amazing, trusty horse there.

                                      He was and still is my heart horse, buried here at home. I miss him.

                                      If you like this prospect under saddle and feel safe on him, I say go for it. He is showing you he has a brain and a good one at that. Once he trusts you, you are likely to have a gem.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by S1969 View Post

                                        the OP said: He's nervous in his own little backyard home.

                                        So, if he's nervous there, what does that mean? It may be an fairly simple fix. Or not.
                                        I agree. And it may be easy to fix for someone with a big pasture who can offer all day turnout. But she said he is going to live at a show barn, which to me signifies limited turnout. I guess my question is whether he is truly nervous or if his bad behavior makes him seem nervous. I agree with whoever upthread suggested you need to ride this horse off property before you buy it.

                                        I don’t think you are wrong to turn down a horse with a nervous temperament. I ride and spend time with horses to relax, and I do not find it relaxing to work around an anxiety factory! If I’m nervous for a show or for xcty schooling, I want to be the only one nervous! Maybe my horse will feed off my anxiety, but I don’t want the horse to be adding to the pile.

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