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What Can You Do? (Horse Abuse?)

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  • What Can You Do? (Horse Abuse?)

    Awhile back I posted asking how to help a new family at the DIY barn where my friend and I ride. They had never owned a horse and bought a 4yo for their young teenager. Didn't have a clue. The horse was sweet, but took advantage.

    Various people tried to show them how to lunge, volunteered some very informal and unofficial coaching. Child is nice, mom is nice. Clueless, but asked for help and accepted it.

    I hadn't been to the barn in a few weeks because of the heat and related health issues. I went this afternoon, and heard a horror story.

    Child's dad brought child out. Child started free-lunging horse in the round pen, running at her with the lunge whip, actually hitting her with it. Dad is egging child on, "Show her who's boss." Terrified and confused horse tries to climb out of the round pen. Can't get out, so turns on child. Dad has no idea child is in mortal danger.

    i wasn't there, so I don't know how they got horse out to arena tacked up, but dad got on horse and started beating her. Meanwhile, a boarder who actually knows what he's doing put his own horse in round pen, free-lunged him properly, took him to arena, mounted, rode. Child's dad at least paid attention (boarder did not say anything to dad) but got really really mad because he realized he was being taught a lesson.

    A few days later, nice mom brings child to barn. Light rain. Child mounts up bareback and heads out on the trail alone. Doesn't come back, doesn't come back, mom getting scared. What had happened? Child got bucked off, broke arm.

    Now they can't even catch horse when they go out to pasture with a bucket of feed. Horse won't let them anywhere near.

    I sat listening to the story, so angry at the whole mess, so sorry for poor horse (and poor child who just wanted a horse). I wished my friend or I could do a part-lease on horse, or at least try to make friends with horse. But I'm no expert and not used to dealing with horses who have been frightened.

    But I just want to do something. Or I want something to be done.

    But what? The horse may be ruined already (and was a nice homebred backyard horse before), and the child may have lost a wonderful companion and friend through ignorance and a very stupid dad.
    Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
    People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
    "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique

  • #2
    Try to convince them gently to take lessons first with a good trainer before trying to buy a horse. Maybe refer them to a good one you know? As for the horse... i have no clue. Im not used to dealing with horses like that. Maybe in the meantime try to bond with the horse amd get him/her to trust you... and if it works and you are safe and feel as though you are in a good position to do so, ask the owners if you can work with the horse "until the daughter get a bit more experienced". In oher words, try and get the horse to trust people again until the daughter has taken enough lessons to know that this is NOT the horse for her.


    • #3
      Tell them to stop! I think it's one thing to encourage people to the right way of training, but sometimes first you have to stop the abuse, and that's no time for diplomacy IMO.

      Sometimes you just have to speak up, "Okay, you need to stop right now!"

      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


      • #4
        Sounds like a craptastic situation. Its great you are trying to be proactive, and I pray the the situation improves. But be careful you don't put yourself in vulnerable position liability-wise. Maybe the kid could get involved in a 4-H group that would help encourage correct horsemanship ?


        • #5
          Can you talk to them, explain you don't want the daughter to get hurt or for the horse to be traumatized and give them a trainer's name/contact info?

          Maybe let them know that if they don't want to use a trainer, then maybe they could sell or trade the horse for one that's more appropriate as a first horse? And make your comments sympathetic enough that they can hear you - "Young horses can be challenging, require lots of specific training, etc."

          People are amazing sometimes, buying a baby when they should have a much older schoolmaster type. I'm guessing he was cheap, pretty, or both. Sad.
          Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


          • #6
            What is it with people buying horses with absolutely no training or even the basic concepts on horsemanship??? GAH! Drives me insane!

            I think I would have called dad and tell him either he gets a proper trainer and stops the abuse or I'd report him for animal cruelty.
            Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

            Originally posted by DottieHQ
            You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.


            • #7
              Where is the barn owner? They are the ones who need to tell them the behavior is unacceptable. Unfortunately I doubt the father will listen much to you.


              • #8
                if you see someone obviously and overtly abusing a horse, you need to step in and stop it right then and there. That's all you can do. Anyone who watches abuse and does nothing to stop it is morally liable.
                If you're not sure it's abuse- maybe it's just a difference in approach- or you're afraid of being harmed by the abuser- your best approach is to record it. You'd be amazed at how many people will quietly stop doing something they claim is an "acceptable" training practice if they see someone pointing a recording device at what they are doing.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by wendy View Post
                  your best approach is to record it. You'd be amazed at how many people will quietly stop doing something they claim is an "acceptable" training practice if they see someone pointing a recording device at what they are doing.
                  I've done that. I used it at the state fair to stop abuse in the warm-up. I didn't show the camera until after the officials tried to blow me off, then raised it up and said I had it on tape - boy did they hop up fast!

                  And videoing abuse seems to stop it rather quickly - I guess that the person's first thought does become 'what it looks like to others.' Cell phones are handy now!
                  The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by magicteetango View Post
                    Where is the barn owner? They are the ones who need to tell them the behavior is unacceptable. Unfortunately I doubt the father will listen much to you.
                    Yes, the BO needs to be alerted because this horse/child/father combination is a huge liability.

                    Meanwhile, approach mother (who sounds more reasonable) and suggest a trainer to work with poor horse while the child is laid-up with a broken arm anyway.

                    Poor, poor horse.
                    JB-Infinity Farm


                    • #11
                      The fall may have been enough to do the kid in as far as riding is concerned. If not, then somebody needs to tell the family about 4-H, Pony Club or someother youth organization that teaches horsemanship. The kid needs to be educated. Not sure about the Dad, but perhaps it can trickle down.

                      The best solution would be to sell the current horse and buy an older, been-there-done-that packer.
                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                      • #12
                        The word "force" comes to mind. This man was trying to force rather than build trust. Never works with horse, animals, nor people..... The dad has an issue ...and perhaps just the word being said might tigger a different path...., but this horse is done with this family.....and forcing the family to let him go....


                        • #13
                          People like this do not need horses.

                          That dad needs to get a whip upside the head. That's a great thing to teach your daughter to beat an animal if it doesn't listen.

                          I would run away too if I was the horse.



                          • #14
                            Sounds like dad has anger issues. The horse is probably not the only one in the family he gets mad at. He also sounds completely scared of the horse, which would explain a lot of that behavior, also. Once the horse turned on the kid, he probably got very scared, thus getting on and beating it.

                            Not a thing you can do. Did the mom tell you the story, or another boarder? If the mom told you, she might be open to suggestions for help.

                            At this point, though, the horse needs a refresher with a professional trainer to gain back trust of people in general. Sounds like a smart horse, actually.

                            Horse will probably be for sale shortly, anyway!


                            • #15
                              The kid (once arm heals; that will give everyone a cooling-off period, anyway!) needs to be sent to a lesson program, while horse chills, hsappily neglected. This is what happened to ME -- clueless parents bought unsuitable horse for clueless 12-year-old me, horse would run away or rear and go over backwards. So, I took lessons (on THEIR lesson horses) while own horse sat in field. I learned how to ride and handle horses, parents were out of it, and horse was eventually traded for something usable.


                              • #16
                                My plan of action:

                                1. Notify barn owner, as these people are not just a huge liability, they are a mega-liability, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were given their last warning, any more shenanigans and they're out.

                                They are also a danger to everyone else at the facility. If Dad caused a horse to crawl out of a round pen, they have the potential to cause an innocent bystander serious harm.

                                2. If you can, get the family to send horse to a professional trainer for as long as it takes to fix the horse. Not some cowboy, but a real, honest, pro who will give the horse the time and work it deserves. (A pro YOU like, not Mommy and Daddy who apparantly don't know squat.)

                                At this point, the longer the horse is with these people, the worse the situation is going to get. This is not something a few 4-H sessions a month can fix.

                                3. IF child still wants to ride, suggest to parents that she is enrolled in a reputable lesson program where she will not only learn how to ride, but how to tack up, longe, etc. Doesn't have to be Pony Club, in fact I wouldn't reccomend pony club, because with experiences like she has, she just won't get enough attention in their program.

                                4. If child is done with horses, don't push it, just suggest that horse goes to trainer to be fixed and sold, not just fixed.

                                If they decide to not follow anyone's advice, politely suggest to BO that they are asked to move. I would NOT want to have those people around my horse and me. In fact, at our barn, which is a competition barn (with horses from packers to GP), they would have been given 30 days notice the day after the first "incident." (Sadly, people have been kicked out of the barn for "shenanigans" like this before.)


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thank you all for your feedback!

                                  This is a DIY barn. It has no manager onsite and in the months I have been going there (not as often now as earlier) I have only met the woman twice. She and hubby are not horsepeople. An older relative owns the property, and when they die the place will be sold.

                                  If the apartment were fit to be lived in I would ask the BM if I could live there in exchange for actually managing the place. But it isn't and I seriously doubt they would put any money into it since they don't want it. It is in a very good location in a well-populated and well-to-do area but the barn is very basic, stalls are probably more like 10x10 than 12x12 or more, and the pastures have only electric fencing. But it could be improved. I think they could charge more if they had a manager with business and horse experience who would put time into it.


                                  But, in short, there is now no manager to tell the man anything. Most of the boarders horse owners, not horse people. Although actually there is a new boarder who is very horsey and is just taking a break from schooling and showing ..

                                  Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                                  People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                                  "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


                                  • #18
                                    Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.
                                    Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                                    • #19
                                      Barns like that scare me. I want to be at a place with an experienced manager. What happens if a horse is colicing or is hurt? Who notices or calls the owner? Obviously poor horsemanship isn't noticed or acted upon.


                                      • #20
                                        I don't think the horse is ruined for *everybody* because of this. Horses can discriminate between people, and they do, so it might be possible to put together a part lease. Heck at this point with the little girl having a busted arm the right offer might buy you that horse.

                                        I've been watching something similar with a friend of my DD. I honestly don't understand what her parents think they are doing, but she did lesson at a local barn where I got the feeling she baby sat and helped the instructor more than actually rode, then they bought a pony and brought it home and I'd ask how she was doing and get vague stories about how the bridle "didn't fit" or "the saddle broke" - finally she fell off pretty bad and the parents traded services with a reputable place, so pony went there and got some work in, and DD's friend went there and got lessons, but as soon as the deal was over it all went back to the same thing.
                                        DD's friend is spending the whole summer babysitting her demon spawn sibs AND her cousins and they spend the day inside in the AC playing video games, fighting and wearing her out. Pony isn't getting ridden and pony's feet look horrid, and suspiciously as though they've bought their own nippers but no rasp.
                                        I personally think that things could be far better for the pony and it bugs me that DD's friend gets half a$$ed support from Mom and Dad. Why buy a pony for your child if you tie up all the child's time elsewhere?

                                        With all that being said it's more a shame than abuse. I remember back in the day when we all got kicked out of the house to play my friends' pony toting their younger sibs around double and being a great family buddy and I'm sad for my DD's friend, as I am sure you are for this child. All the horse cares about is regular meals and horsey companions. Let's hope that with child having a broken arm the parents re-think what they are trying to accomplish and how they are going to do it.
                                        Being at a self care barn does pose a problem though - there is no primary figure of authority to direct them. Has the barn ever had a dysfunctional boarder before and how was it handled?
                                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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