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

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  • #41
    I have an almost 20 year old chestnut TB gelding that was retired at nine for a combination of unsoundness and naughtiness that was not suitable for a "light-riding" lifestyle. He is handsome, and when my boyfriend moved in I pointed to Alex and said, "that's your horse now." Boyfriend was elated and loves having his own horsey. I've looked out the window on the weekend to discover boyfriend standing there having elaborate conversation with horse- with hand motions and pointing and everything.

    I would certainly have vet out to determine if she is still in pain. Even if she is retired, that will eventually pose a problem with eating. Then give her a few months off and see how you and her feel. It's not wrong to retire her at 12, but if you really love her, you might really enjoy her older years. I think horses, just like people, gain wisdom as they age, and the elder years can be very enjoyable for both horse and rider.

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    • #42
      I don't know the back story on this horse and think all the points that have been made are valid. I wanted to note that we had the most gentle, quiet, "safe" horse that I have ever known. A kid's horse to the core....never too a wrong step, good horse. No lameness problems. One day he flipped out and started rearing badly while my younger sister was riding him. Dangerous and we do not tolerate rearers. We were devastated. It turns out he had chipped a tooth in turnout and was in SEVERE pain. Tooth removed, a bit of time for healing, he is the same sweet horse that he was before and has been for the last 15 plus years. My other horse, had a canine that got infected below the gum line and despite yearly dentals and frequent tooth checks this was not caught. He was a head shaker and not comfortable with the bit. It was identified, proper vet attention was given, again a new horse. I don't know you or your horse, but do not under-estimate the power of pain. We would have lost two very nice rides if we had stopped riding after fixing these dental problems.

      If I were to proceed with this horse (with only the information I do know), I would also look for someone qualified to ride the horse with full disclosure of past issues. We have several very qualified natural horsemanship trainers where I live who have taken on such horses with full disclosure and who are very kind and gentle, but ride the horse! I would make sure I could be available to watch and give it a month (or less if it is really not working). Riding should be fun, safe, and painless for both of you.

      Having horse number 2 always sounds tempting but IF horse number 1 can meet needs and make you happy (I don't know this), that is a lot of money and time caring for another horse that could be saved, invested, etc if you already have the rideable horse that you want. With my luck, you could end up with 2 retired horses.... or a horse with a different sort of problem. I would personally reserve this option only if I KNEW horse 1 was completely unsuitable and unsafe or I really wanted to have 2 horses (plus two vet bills, two farrier bills, two x/y/z). Life with 1 horse, unless you need 2, really is much simpler and cheaper (with more time) in (in my opinion as someone that has 2 who are not going anywhere).

      Good luck!

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      • #43
        Haven't read the rest of the posts, but...

        You seemed to of found the root of the problem that she is now healed from, but won't get on her to see if that was really it?!?!?

        She seems to be telling you she feels better. I would do some groundwork with her and then hop on her at least once. I bet you anything each one of those times that her actions came out of no where to you, it was not out of nowhere to her. The bit must of hit her wolf teeth which you have established were clearly causing her pain.

        I am sorry, but labeling a horse unridable after finding a clear source of a reason for her action is just weird.

        Get on the horse and ride it before you decide that and unfairly label her. Or find someone with the balls to get on her!
        I love cats, I love every single cat....
        So anyway I am a cat lover
        And I love to run.

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        • #44
          Originally posted by ElisLove View Post
          If the pain has been removed, you could be able to get on here and have no issues. Or it could be something that would take a rehab. I would at least lunge her in side reins (starting off loose, then tightening up, trying them in multiple positions on the surcingle so try to bring out the response she had before). If no response is given I would want to at least have somebody (even if you have to hire a cowboy for a ride or 2) and see if you get a response. If you removed the pain your horse could be the horse you used to have just like that. If not I would hire a cowboy (or a trainer willing to take it on) and see if a month of riding would totally fix it and go from there. 20 years of paying for a useless animal is a lot more money than paying for a trainer for a month to see if the problem is gone or easily fixed once the horse realizes the pain isn't there.
          Obviously those teeth were extremely painful and he had full right to react to it in distress (they can't tell us it hurts like hell, they can only show us).

          However, if her other injuries are holding her back from doing what you want to do with riding, and you have the money to spend to pasture board this horse, then do it. I would still want to see if the issue is solved or not. You never know what the future holds. And after a few years off, maybe soundness issues will resolve completely and leave you with a horse fit enough to do what you want.
          Ditto, this is exactly what I would do.

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          • #45
            OP- If you do retire this horse, what happens to her if something happens to you?Stuff happens,and
            if for some reason you are unable to keep her, won't she have a better chance at finding another loving home if she can be ridden? We have a responsability to all our animals to make sure they have the education and good health they need to make them desirable enough to be re-homed if the time comes.
            Please give her a chance with a very qualified trainer. As long as the pain is gone she should come back to her true self.

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            • #46
              Originally posted by csaper58 View Post
              OP- If you do retire this horse, what happens to her if something happens to you?Stuff happens,and
              if for some reason you are unable to keep her, won't she have a better chance at finding another loving home if she can be ridden? We have a responsability to all our animals to make sure they have the education and good health they need to make them desirable enough to be re-homed if the time comes.
              Please give her a chance with a very qualified trainer. As long as the pain is gone she should come back to her true self.
              Then, what would happen to her if something happens to the new owner?

              "Her true self"?
              Did you miss she has been a difficult horse all along, this was just the worst time she was being difficult and escalated to dangerous?

              The story of the good little pony that became dangerous and then was resolved and was good again is another horse, not the OP's.

              Not saying that more could not be tried to find out where the OP's horse's mind and body are now if she so desires, but it sounds that she has tried with this horse thru many problems already.

              Maybe this is the time to say enough is enough, or not?
              Those are such hard decisions to make.

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              • #47
                I like the idea of line driving first from the ground because that will involve contact. Judge from there.
                pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

                Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill

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                • #48
                  I agree with GrayCatFarm.

                  I do have a 14 year old unrideable horse due to a traumatic hoof injury. He seems to be just as happy as can be that he doesn't have to go to horse shows anymore. Howevr, since his dx, I have been contacting other vets with possible solutions. This guy is like a dream u/s and o/f. It breaks my heart that I will never feel that again

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                  • #49
                    I retired one of my competition horses earlier last summer. He was 10. He gets niggling soundness issues particularly toward the end of the shoeing cycle that don't have him outright lame but make me hesitate to ask much of him for fear that he will BECOME lame.

                    I have another personal horse that is much fancier and moving up the levels, so why push this second horse to max power and hold him together with duct tape and baling twine just to end up half as good as the other horse?

                    Additionally I have too many training horses on the list to regularly ride two of my own.


                    So he is mostly retired and teaches a couple beginner lessons a month, but otherwise he just surveys the food options from his stall to the turn out and back again. He likes teaching the lessons. He gets to be the Big Expert and has always taken pride in his work. These low impact sessions are great for his ego without being too taxing for him.
                    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                    Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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                    • #50
                      Originally posted by csaper58 View Post
                      OP- If you do retire this horse, what happens to her if something happens to you?Stuff happens,and
                      if for some reason you are unable to keep her, won't she have a better chance at finding another loving home if she can be ridden? We have a responsability to all our animals to make sure they have the education and good health they need to make them desirable enough to be re-homed if the time comes.
                      Please give her a chance with a very qualified trainer. As long as the pain is gone she should come back to her true self.
                      This is a very good point, and the primary reason that I try to keep any horse that can work, working, at least to some degree. Even if it is light work. One of the best things we can do for horses in the event something happens to us is do our best to make sure they would be useful to someone else. I'm not talking about keeping a horse that should be retired going, but in a situation like this, where the horse is likely just fine to be ridden...I would keep that one in work.

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                      • #51
                        Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                        Then, what would happen to her if something happens to the new owner?

                        "Her true self"?
                        Did you miss she has been a difficult horse all along, this was just the worst time she was being difficult and escalated to dangerous?

                        The story of the good little pony that became dangerous and then was resolved and was good again is another horse, not the OP's.

                        Not saying that more could not be tried to find out where the OP's horse's mind and body are now if she so desires, but it sounds that she has tried with this horse thru many problems already.

                        Maybe this is the time to say enough is enough, or not?
                        Those are such hard decisions to make.
                        I did not get from the OP that this horse was THAT difficult. I mean, most horses do come with some difficulties. Very few are perfect all of the time, and many (most?) do face some injuries or health challenges at some point in their lives. I didn't read in the OP that the horse has not recovered from her prior injuries. So, with this new problem resolved, it seems the horse should be rideable again.

                        Also, regarding the "cowboy" comment...sure, I agree that not all cowboys are created equal and that "cowboy" does not necessarily mean "rough" (although sometimes it absolutely does). However, people seem to view this horse as a "problem" horse when in fact it is a horse that had a medical problem causing a behavioral issue. The medical problem is resolved. The behavioral issue is likely also therefore resolved. The OP's trainer is being a weenie and scaring the OP for no good reason, in my opinion.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          I'm a little surprised that the trainer won't try her again. Back when I was training for the public, some of my easiest training cases were ones where I removed the wolf teeth...and subsequently the horse went from being unrideable to being perfectly behaved...I had two come deemed as unsafe by their owners, I looked in their mouths, saw they still had their wolf teeth, pulled those, and the horses immediately went fine for their owners. Teeth can have a major impact. I have since had others that would go right in the air when you touched their mouths...even had one go up and over...had the vet out to do the teeth, and problem was solved; never had another issue.

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                          • #53
                            I agree, x, tooth problems (or mouth problems in general) can make them absolutely nutty. I once got on my horse and I could barely stop him from rearing repeatedly long enough to get off. Turned out that he had some kind of hard swelling on the inside of his cheek/lip area (never did figure out what it was, and he has had similar things a few times since, but it went away with warm compresses and a couple of days of bute). I had not noticed when tacking up because the location wasn't somewhere you normally touch, and he actually seemed fine about putting the bridle on. But as soon as I got on and picked up the reins (mind you, still on the buckle), he just would NOT stop rearing.

                            Now, rearing is kind of his go-to thing when something isn't right. It's gotten a ton better over the years and I do feel safe riding him because I know what kinds of things trigger rearing for him. That said, I did not feel safe at all with the rearing due to the mouth problem. He was quite desperate and not at all "with it." BUT, once that was fixed, he went back to being a good citizen.

                            ANY horse will rear under the right circumstances. ANY HORSE. OP, the fact that your horse was rearing/spinning when she had a wolf tooth problem is actually quite normal horse behavior. You say in the OP that in the 12 years you have had her, she has not behaved this way before. To me, that's proof that this was all due to the teeth and won't be a problem anymore.

                            Seriously, I hate to keep harping on the trainer, but gosh, why even bother having a trainer at all if they are going to cash out when the going gets complicated for a brief period (not even tough, just complicated). Does the trainer want to sell you a horse or help you buy a horse, by any chance? Sorry to even bring that up, but I've seen this happen before.

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              This is the most beautiful thing I've read in a long time!

                              Quote:
                              "So he is mostly retired and teaches a couple beginner lessons a month, but otherwise he just surveys the food options from his stall to the turn out and back again. He likes teaching the lessons. He gets to be the Big Expert and has always taken pride in his work. These low impact sessions are great for his ego without being too taxing for him. "
                              Ride like you mean it.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                I was just in your position, retired the horse and we are both happier than ever. It was my first horse, so I was very attached to him. I bought him as a 7 y/o with only a few months off the track and he was always hot and somewhat spooky, but definitely rideable and could even trail ride fairly safely with the right company. I sold him after 2 years as I was going off to college, had put some great flat work on him and he was going solidly W/T/C, would even lope around on a loose rein and doing basic lateral movements, also had put some trail miles on him, although that was never his favorite.

                                In a twist of circumstances and the woman who bought him honoring a first right of refusal, I ended up with him back 5 years later @ 13 y/o. He came back basically the same horse I had sold. I kept him in my neighbor's pasture with her mare, and pretty much just trail rode him. Within 3 months of acquiring him back, he badly fractured his sesamoid and sustained an annular ligament injury. 8 months of stall rest later, I restarted him. He was never the same.

                                I had moved him from my neighbor's to a boarding facility as I needed more full time help managing his injury, and he came back fairly well...for the first 6 months. I spent almost 4 years (!!) getting lameness evals, lessoning frequently, chiro/massage work, saddle buying and fitting, changing out bits, trying all different types of work weeks, scoping and treating ulcers, etc to no avail. He was also living the life, 24/7 turnout, free choice hay and a consistent buddy. Some times he was better than others; I had one sane enough day, I was lucky enough to have a friend who is a photographer come out and take photos of us BAREBACK out on the trails, but most days we couldn't even trot down the longside without dropping his shoulder, spinning and losing his mind. It took a lot of teary-nights, heartfelt talks with the boyfriend (who is so understanding, and could actually relate to what I was going through) and finally a final lesson with my instructor in which we had a heart-to-heart about what he was, and what my options are.

                                I ended up retiring him 3 months later at a privately run retirement farm 1600-miles away from me. He had just turned 18. I shipped him down there without seeing the facility, strictly on a reference from a very trusted horse person, and it was the best decision I've ever made...for me and the horse. I get monthly photo updates, am contacted immediately with ANY health concern, and am going for my first visit in a month ! The complicating factor with my decision was that I couldn't immediately afford a 2nd horse, so I have been essentially out of the saddle for ~9 months now, but hope to start up again soon. Listen to your gut, it was the best advice I was given and I don't for a second regret my decision.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Hi, BES, how is Pixie? Did you decide to try to ride her, or get someone to do it? Just crossing my fingers that resolving the wolf teeth issue got her her old temperament/behavior back.
                                  If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great

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                                  • #57
                                    i personally would hire a different trainer to go back to the basics with her, ride her thru her difficulties, and try again. if this does not help her, then i would consider another horse.

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