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The unrideable horse and early retirement ... anyone been here? (long)

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  • #21
    Yes. I retired the paint pony at age 11, when x-rays showed pre-arthritic changes in his knee caused by a conformational flaw.

    He'd been a rearer as a young horse, a problem that a couple of trainers more or less successfully worked through. As in, he stopped doing it with that particular trainer. But I suspect it was a behavior that would have recurred given the right situation.

    The vet said if I wanted to continue riding him we'd try injecting the joint and monitoring. I decided
    a. given the behavior problem, which may or may not have been pain-related, and
    b. the possibility of injuring the knee to the point where he'd no longer be pasture-sound
    retirement was the best option.

    So, he's a pasture companion and has been for the past three years. He's fine with it, although he does love to have a job.

    So I started doing target training with him. He's a bright little fellow and enjoys having something to do that doesn't hurt him. Also, it gives me a way to exercise him without hurting his knee. If you're interested, I learned how to do this from Shawna Karrasch. Her website is http://on-target-training.com/
    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


    • #22
      I am so right there with you, BES.


      Only you know what is right for you and your horse.

      I don't have any words of wisdom except to say there is nothing wrong with keeping a horse as a pet if you can afford to do so. Riding should be fun. If you are not having fun, then what's the point?

      Hugs and best wishes you fill find peace with your decision.
      Last edited by drmgncolor; Jan. 29, 2013, 01:49 PM.
      Dreaming in Color


      • #23
        I'm a little short on time, but I did read your post (just not any responses). If ths was my horse (which it practically could be - I have a very sensitive chesnut TB gelding - when he is in any kind of pain, he gets downright dangerous!), I would slowly restart the horse.

        I bet you will be pleasantly surprised. You've owned her a long time and I think will be able to read her well. I would definitely give it a try. She is smart enough to know when pain has been removed, and, if she is anything like my horse, she may be a little wary at first but will quickly figure out that the pain is gone and things are okay.

        When my horse is in pain, he is a true menace and could really hurt someone. When he is feeling good, I trust him completely. I can ride him bareback, etc. when he is feeling good. I can barely hand walk him when he is feeling bad (and, PS, his go-to when he feels bad is rearing, so I really do get how scary it is).

        Just my two cents. I would not write her off just because of a now-resolved physical problem that caused some behavior issues. I think your trainer isn't the right one if she is taking the position that she won't work with the horse anymore. Most professionals would not react that way under the circumstances. You KNOW what was causing the problem, and have now fixed it. This isn't a rank horse that has always been rank and no one knows why. Thsi is your nice horse that you have known since birth that faced a physical issue that you fixed for her. It's totally different. Most trainers would see that.


        • #24
          I have a horse that I retired sort of young, he went blind at about 14, he's now about 23. I am lucky in that I have a boarding barn so he's "free" to keep (plus my 4 other horses).

          I occasionally will hop on his back and ride him, but just not very often and only for short rides (3 to 15 minutes). He also has some developing ring bone that isn't causing him any pain right now.

          He's my boy, has me wrapped around his hoof. I often threaten him to become Alpo if he doesn't STOP MAKING NOISE but I would never do that.

          About his "noise": He thinks he is a musician, and will "play" anything. He will "pluck" the stall wire guard's with his teeth (also open the damn stall if you don't put a clip on it) bang on the gates with his foot, pull and "pop" the corner mounted feedbowl. Now he isn't stalled unless really nasty (has a run in in the barn and his stall is there) or if there will be loud noises (4th of July, bulldozer working in his paddock, etc.) and if I don't clip closed his stall he will pull open the door (has a bungie for a "closer") and go in and just hang out. All I can do is shake my head and smile.

          Here he is napping in his barn run in and laying in front of his stall (he's a saddlebred) : http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e2...604001936a.jpg
          I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

          Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.


          • #25
            I've been hurt by a pure accidental spook and now I won't get on anything that appears at all dangerous. I used to have a very good seat and could and would ride anything. Now, my seat may still be there but my heart won't allow a test run.

            So, I understand your hesitancy. I would find a reputable "cowboy", there are TONS of them. And send her to him. Go watch. Wait til you feel comfortable. Nobody can tell you when and if that will ever happen. I sent my cooky babies to be broke by a close friend this year (I used to break them myself). Strangely enough after knowing how she handled them and knowing what they'd been introduced to, I was more comfortable on the one that is especially goofy on the ground. But my first ride on both my heart was pounding. (I was hurt on a baby).

            Find someone you trust and give the horse one chance. Watch and see if you would be comfortable riding her again. If not, then you tried. And retirement is nothing to be afraid of at that point. That's my opinion.
            Race training and retraining Thoroughbreds.


            • #26
              I have one

              Retired at age 8 from injuries. He's 19 now and looks great. Retire the mare, get something to ride and remind yourself that you have nothing to prove to anyone. Your gut is usually right with these things. Going against it usually ends up less than desireable.
              Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!



              • #27
                I think the idea of leasing a horse for 6 months, giving you mare a break until spring
                then start lunging her tacked up and see what you have is a good one. The couple of months off will give you both a break - mentally and physically. If you don't like what you see at that point, then stop and retire her. You know her better than anyone.

                It's a real confidence buster when something like this happens. No shame in
                having a strong sense of self-preservation !


                • #28
                  FWIW, I would not get this mare "cowboyed." It doesn't sound like she is bad. She was just in pain, and now is not. No reason to send her to someone who may be rough with her. I think that just guarantees she won't be rideable again.


                  • #29
                    (If you want to continue with this horse), I second the bitless bridle idea. I've seen real improvement for horses with mouth fear.


                    • #30
                      I have a mare that was retired at age 4 because she was diagnosed with bi-partite navicular and it hurts her to have weight on her back. I have had her 8 years now and wouldn't dream of getting rid of her. She is my little pasture pet!! I have my horses at home so I was able to buy another riding horse. She will live the rest of her life with me as a pasture pet
                      RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                      May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                      RIP San Lena Peppy
                      May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by BansheeBreeze View Post
                        I just don't consider a horse "unridable" when she says the horse was going perfectly just before this and they were having some of the best rides of their life and she had NEVER done anything like this before. If she had a history of issues, then yes.

                        I just think it'd be really sad to give up on her and have to go looking for another horse when there likely isn't anything wrong with this mare and she'd be just fine. I had my own "unrideable" horse that I had to give up on, but she was truly unrideable-nothing wrong with her physically but a slew of mental issues that couldn't be fixed by professionals and she was extremely dangerous.

                        I would never suggest anybody put themselves in harms way or try to stick it out with a dangerous horse, I just don't think this situation counts as that and the mare should at least be given a chance considering the circumstances.

                        There is plenty that can be done on the ground to see how she is, then find a professional to work with her for awhile. If she starts acting up again, then it wouldn't be bad to not dump the money and effort into continuing with her. But if she's just fine, you've got your horse back :-)
                        Except that is not what she said, but that the horse has had problems all along and is quirky, maybe because of those problems, not just the current teeth problem, that was the worst she has acted up with.

                        That is not a horse that was "perfect" before, sadly.
                        If that was so, yes, just one bad experience would be considered worth working thru.
                        Several and this one serious resistance, dangerous behavior to the rider, to the point the trainer doesn't want to keep trying?
                        She doesn't need someone to cowboy up and try to see if she will kill them, the trainer and OP already have seen what she does and it is bad enough to scare the sensible people that know her.

                        That is why we really ought to question this, as the OP is doing with this thread.


                        • #32
                          I see no shame whatsoever in retiring her and getting yourself something you enjoy.

                          While I would probably give it another go now that she is theoretically no longer in pain, I am also no longer 18 and what that means for me is that my horse time is exquisitely precious and it darned well better be fun.

                          Go ahead and retire her. She won't care, I promise. Do what makes you happy.
                          bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                          free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


                          • #33
                            If it scares you to ride her than don't. It is no fun to get hurt once you pass your teens and the bills are your responsibility( not your parents). I have a 7 year old mule that I bred for and have raised. I need a saddle that fits him and every time I get some " saddle money" saved, a need for it elsewhere arises. So I haven't done much with him in his life-- riding wise. He is perfectly happy and content being a pasture ornament--although my husband isn't..


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                              He is perfectly happy and content being a pasture ornament--although my husband isn't..
                              I know. I've tried putting my husband out to pasture, but he keeps finding his way back in the house.
                              I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                              • #35
                                I have a ten year old gelding that's just been retired due to navicular changes and lameness. Since he lives in my back yard it's not an issue. Makes me more than sad to lose my "go to" guy, but I'll let him hang out and maybe take the grandkids on pony rides in the back. I have another horse who's sound, and my now retired guy can just be his buddy.


                                • #36
                                  1) Yes, I have one that I basically retired at age seven due to nagging NQR-ness. We also had a bad history together of him bucking and bolting and dumping me, and frankly I didn't want to ride him anymore anyway. I've tried to move him on a couple of times, but no one really wants a giant NQR horse with a history of bucking. So there he sits in my pasture being expensive! I do feel that he's (financially) holding me back somewhat from being able to do more with my other horses or, say, get my kid a pony, since I don't want to have four on my feed bill, but I've come to terms with it at this point. He's fourteen now.

                                  2) Why not just try a bitless bridle? You'll probably find out very quickly if she's going to just snap back to her normal self, or if she has a bit of PTSD that you'll need to work through. I would ABSOLUTELY at least try riding her a few times before making any major decisions. If you only have time to ride twice a week as it is, you'll be hard pressed to find enough time to give to two horses.


                                  • #37
                                    I have one I retired at about age 10. Very sweet boy, loveable but too much horse for me and a NASTY spook that would put all but the best on the ground. PLUS he has issues with legs on his sides. After getting lost to his signature spook...roll back, rear and leap...and breaking my arm, I decided not to take a chance on him.

                                    He doesn't scare me BUT I know when he does this, I will come off. So far all my landings have been lucky. I'm not willing to give up riding in general, or the loss of my arms/legs and brain function just to say I didn't give up. I haven't given up...I found something more suitable to ride. And yes I have come off him once in 5 years but he's slower and the fall was much less severe.

                                    I won't sell my pasture ornament. I always fear that when a horse has a *behavioral issue* some cowboy will decide to show him who's boss and get really rough with him. This horse has a temper...rough handling will elicit a very negative response. I envision that scenario as pure torture for everyone involved. He will live out his days in darling daughter's pasture.

                                    So he's retired to the pasture. I lunge him and line drive him...which we both DEARLY LOVE to do. And he's a vital 3rd member of the herd...low man in the pecking order. I feel that having him in the herd gives the two show horses someone to pick on when they feel the need...a good ying and yang. Plus their picking on him amounts to merely pushing him around which he doesn't mind.

                                    So, I will keep him. And yes, the least useful will probably live the longest. But he's well-mannered on the ground, a generally happy horse and very quiet. Easy to keep!
                                    Ride like you mean it.


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                      FWIW, I would not get this mare "cowboyed." It doesn't sound like she is bad. She was just in pain, and now is not. No reason to send her to someone who may be rough with her. I think that just guarantees she won't be rideable again.
                                      FYI my idea of a cowboy is not someone that will be rough, but a natural horsemanship type of cowboy that can actually handle something like that.
                                      Race training and retraining Thoroughbreds.


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by doublete View Post
                                        FYI my idea of a cowboy is not someone that will be rough, but a natural horsemanship type of cowboy that can actually handle something like that.
                                        Yes, exactly. I know someone that had a rodeo champion cowboy out to work on a horse that had a bad bucking problem. The horse would be perfectly fine one moment, or one ride. then out of no where go insane and bronc hard. The cowboy was able to sit those out (as well as worked the horse on the ground) so it knew that it couldn't get someone off. He just knew when to add pressure and when to take it away. The horses ended up not being able to be fixed, as it really did have a screw loose, but the cowboy was not "cowboying" the horse. It was just good training but he wasn't afraid to get on a crazy horse.


                                        • #40
                                          I think everyone who has posted has had great insight to add....but that in itself sort of defines this situation....we'd all do it differently. This isn't a 'what should I do for this horse' scenario. This is about you, and your comfort level and your own personal wants....there really isn't anything we can weigh in on that, except to say you won't be 'wrong' with whatever (!) you choose. I might be more inclined to continue working with the mare, Joe Blow might want to involve a trainer, John Doe may say retire her......none of those are wrong. Sounds like you really love this horse, and will always do your best by her. Knowing that, I say, give yourself a break, and continue to love her in the way its best for both of you! best of luck.
                                          "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                                          --Jimmy Buffett