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How bad is it not to train your horses?

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  • #21
    I agree that training is life insurance for the horses....older horses with no skills are sold by the pound. If you are independently wealthy and can afford to keep a herd as just pets then at the minimum they should be trained and handled enough to be managed for vet and farrier. I disagree to some extent those that think a horse needs to have human interaction in order to be happy. I think that if you have ten horses in a 100+ acre pasture and allow them to live in a herd environment they can be perfectly happy and will self excersize enough to keep themselves healthy. However, few of us are able to keep our horses in such a large space. If you are keeping your horses in smaller spaces you should also be prepared to provide mental stimulation.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

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    • #22
      Originally posted by PRS View Post
      I agree that training is life insurance for the horses....older horses with no skills are sold by the pound. If you are independently wealthy and can afford to keep a herd as just pets then at the minimum they should be trained and handled enough to be managed for vet and farrier. I disagree to some extent those that think a horse needs to have human interaction in order to be happy. I think that if you have ten horses in a 100+ acre pasture and allow them to live in a herd environment they can be perfectly happy and will self excersize enough to keep themselves healthy. However, few of us are able to keep our horses in such a large space. If you are keeping your horses in smaller spaces you should also be prepared to provide mental stimulation.
      The 20 year old I was talking about getting bored was kept in two, rotating, 122 and 110 acre horse pastures, each a mile long and narrower and with some topology to them, up and down, but not hills.
      In our area, when you are talking pasture, it takes 30 acres per horse.

      I don't think some horses are happy just out with a herd for a long period of time, like that one 20 year old, that had spent all his life as a working horse, ranch and team penning, with earnings over $100,000.-.

      A heavier, soggy type quiet horse, yes, they love being pasture potatoes, pretty standing out there and occasionally playing with each other at times.

      A thinner made, wiry horse like him, not so much.
      Where he is now, he is not being ridden that much or hard, but he is staying entertained part of each day with all he is doing with his little girl, while she is learning to do what 4H and playdays smaller kids do and both loving it.
      He was hard to give up he is a great horse to have around, when he is busy and happy.
      If the girl outgrows him, he will come back and we will give it a try again.
      Now older, he may have decided the pasture ornament life was not so bad after all, maybe.

      I will say, learn what is best for each horse and then manage for what that horse is, best you can.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by Bluey View Post
        The 20 year old I was talking about getting bored was kept in two, rotating, 122 and 110 acre horse pastures, each a mile long and narrower and with some topology to them, up and down, but not hills.
        In our area, when you are talking pasture, it takes 30 acres per horse.

        I don't think some horses are happy just out with a herd for a long period of time, like that one 20 year old, that had spent all his life as a working horse, ranch and team penning, with earnings over $100,000.-.

        A heavier, soggy type quiet horse, yes, they love being pasture potatoes, pretty standing out there and occasionally playing with each other at times.

        A thinner made, wiry horse like him, not so much.
        Where he is now, he is not being ridden that much or hard, but he is staying entertained part of each day with all he is doing with his little girl, while she is learning to do what 4H and playdays smaller kids do and both loving it.
        He was hard to give up he is a great horse to have around, when he is busy and happy.
        If the girl outgrows him, he will come back and we will give it a try again.
        Now older, he may have decided the pasture ornament life was not so bad after all, maybe.

        I will say, learn what is best for each horse and then manage for what that horse is, best you can.
        This is true....nothing about horses is "one size fits all". I have a smaller acreage with 2 seniors (27 and 30) plus a younger 11 yo. The 27 year old QH would rather just be left alone (scritches notwithstanding) but the 30 year old Arab/QH cross enjoys...really enjoys hacking out now and again and I can tell she looks forward to our occasional rides.
        "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

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        • #24
          Originally posted by arlosmine View Post
          The "bad" thing in a situation like that is more about the quality of the horse's life if their living situation changes. For instance: 10 yr. old untrained pasture puff's owner passes away, goes bankrupt or moves. Now you have a horse with NO "job skills" and very few options for a good home.
          This^^ I've really lost most of my interest in riding, but I love my horses and love taking care of them. Part of that is taking responsibility for their future should something happen to me. An untrained horse has a very uncertain future - so I take weekly lessons, ride my horse enough to keep him mannerly under saddle, and keep an eye on their ground manners.
          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
          Witherun Farm
          http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

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          • #25
            Originally posted by Lilykoi View Post
            . As far as their longevity and happiness, I bet they all think they are in horsey heaven.
            No doubt they are content, as that is all they know, and all their basic needs are met. But IMO true horsey "happiness" comes with human interaction and work.

            This is my very favorite short essay on "animal happiness":

            http://www.sfponline.org/Uploads/20/Hearne.pdf
            VP Horse & Carriage Association of NYC

            https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-F...ref=ts&fref=ts

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            • #26
              I got rescue horses to retrain or to just train as they were not trained at all. The reason they got good homes was because they were taught manners and how to be good saddle horses. They learned word commands and learned that when I said Whoa they froze. What ever they were doing they stopped and looked at me to see what was the next command. Many mornings in the round corral they were learning word commands. They learned to be great horses. They all loaded in trailers with no fights. Just throw the lead over their shoulder and tell them to load up. And they did. This was why they got such wonderful homes. They were trustworthy as much as a horse can be. No biting , no kicking, no pinning of the ears at a human. This kind of behavior got immediate discipline. My QH mare was a spoiled brat when I got her. She ruled where she came from. She did not at my house. It was rough to change her attitude but I did. She turned out to be a great family horse. No training is a sentence to the canners. A horse that is not trained is dangerous to himself and his owner. It is a great dis-service to the horse not to train him to behave when around humans. He will either go to the auction yard or be put down. It is the same as letting children grow up with no training. They end up in prison or they have trouble fitting in society the rest of their lives. Just some basics in manners and respect would have changed their lives for the better. OK I am done. JMHO

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              • #27
                Originally posted by HHH
                . . .

                What do you consider possible physical idleness issues, and are they really worth worrying about? For example, stiffness and one-sideness that increases, older horses that may irreversibly "drop" their topline...
                Well, we keep a come April, 27 year old and he has developed stifle issues that if I were keeping him in more regular work might not have developed, which leads to difficulty trimming and picking his hooves, which exacerbates his tendency to chronic thrush and in a worst case scenario could shorten his life span if his deep sulcus thrush were to migrate up into the bone. He also needs a refresher or tune up for things like ordinary manners when he is left to his own devices. In addition he really seems to welcome a good grooming/scratching.

                OP it seems as though these are your horses and that you intend to have them euthanized when you pass away. I'm a little puzzled. If they are aged then retirement care, grooming, feet, deworming, stalls if they are used to it, blankets and clipping and fly protection, all the things they were used to during their working lives.
                A
                nd there are some that need a job as well. I think they'll let you know.
                Just because they are retired doesn't mean they need no care at all.
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by arlosmine View Post
                  The "bad" thing in a situation like that is more about the quality of the horse's life if their living situation changes. For instance: 10 yr. old untrained pasture puff's owner passes away, goes bankrupt or moves. Now you have a horse with NO "job skills" and very few options for a good home.
                  Yep. Unless you are going to write your will and advance directives with them at the forefront, which I personally have, you can't say for certain what will happen to them later if something should happen to you. Even then something may happen and it will be out of your hands. Your horses should have as many prospects for a hopeful future as you can give them.
                  America dialed 911. Donald Trump answered the phone.

                  Stop pumping money into colleges and start getting ready to earn money in the projected tradesman shortage of 2024. Make Trades Great Again!

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                  • #29
                    The horse should be easy to handle for shots, farrier, vet work. They need to be able to be led in and out of buildings and trailers. They SHOULD at least be backed and ridden for 90 days or so even if you never get on their backs again (they never forget). The horses could care less but if something happens to YOU then nobody but you know who is going to be in the market for well fed, unbroke and/or unhandled horses or horses with no manners. It's life insurance for equines.
                    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                    Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by HHH
                      Are you referring to the same as training being live insurance? Or do you mean that horses should always be physically exercised if not sick or injured? Please elaborate a little, would love to hear more!
                      I mean if person is going to own a horse they have a moral and ethical duty to make the horse a good equine citizen.

                      Carrying out this duty has beneficial "side effects" and that's a Good Thing.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by HHH View Post
                        Provided the horses are kept in a herd in fairly large and varied paddocks/pastures (24/7 in the summer, stabled for 8-10 hours in winter), and not overfed, how bad is it not to ride or otherwise train them regularly?

                        Would like to hear your personal views on this. What is negative about it? Do you think it lessens the horse's longevity?
                        I have a corral full of geriatric cripples. The youngest is 16, the oldest two are 23. All are retired, although my 23 yr old retired barrel horse has an 11 yr old girl he's teaching to ride. He's not actually lame, he has mild navicular so he was retired. No one is ever stalled, they come and go from the barn as they wish.

                        If anything happened to my husband and i, my friends and family will take over care or euthanize (this for the 20 yr old with severe arthritis) as the case may be.

                        But for the average horse; as others have said being nothing but a pasture puff, in this economy, almost ensures their valueless state if something happened to the owners. Scary situation.
                        People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they're lost.---Dalai Lama

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                        • #32
                          Really it depends on the horse. My gelding is in his teens and was trained to ride but now is only pasture sound. He cannot be lunged without going lame so the only exercise he gets is messing around in his paddock, which he does plenty of. Granted, he does not constitute a herd by any means but he is an example of a horse that would be hard to sell. If we were no longer able to care for him, he would be euthanized.
                          My blog: Crackerdog Farm

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by arlosmine View Post
                            The "bad" thing in a situation like that is more about the quality of the horse's life if their living situation changes. For instance: 10 yr. old untrained pasture puff's owner passes away, goes bankrupt or moves. Now you have a horse with NO "job skills" and very few options for a good home.
                            I agree with this...animals need to be safe enough to handle and have some basic skills in order for them to find a new home if something happens to the owner. Same reason I crate trained my dogs, even though I don't really have any use for crates on a regular basis and don't really care for them. In an emergency, they might HAVE to be able to be calm in a crate and if something happens to me, they'll be easier to rehome if they are housebroken, crate trained and have all the basic obedience stuff installed.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                              Exactly this.
                              IMO, one of the best things you can give a horse is job skills. A horse that can do a job and do it well has a better chance of finding and staying in a good situation if you can't care for it for the rest of its life.
                              This applies to children just as well ... Although one can't use a whip or spurs on them.
                              Equus makus brokus but happy

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                              • #35
                                I think in any circumstance, horses should at least be handled and taught to lead. If there is ever an emergency situation and emergency responders need to handle the horses, they need to be amicable to that. Even if they are out on pasture all their lives, suppose a wild fire rolls through... they will need to be relocated and you shouldn't need a dart gun to accomplish that...
                                Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I agree with many of the above posters in that it greatly depends on the horse. Some are happy mostly left to their own devices, some are fine with occasional interaction but limited "work", and some crave the stimulation that "training" provides. It is up to you as a responsible owner to determine what each horses' individual needs are and provide them with the appropriate schedule.

                                  I have a horse who is essentially a pasture puff and has been for quite some time. He is not really old- coming 12- but due to an old injury, he has only really been pasture sound for years. He sat for about three years after the initial onset with very occasional (5ish times per year) rides, and since then has been in greater but still inconsistent work (at most, 4-5 light rides a week, at least, once or twice a month). I have found that he is happier and sounder when he is ridden lightly several times per week, usually gentle hacks with some trotting and cantering. The fitter he is, the better he feels, and while his soundness issues preclude us from certain options (I do very little ringwork with him and no jumping save for the occasional log we pass on the trail), it is not hard to maintain basic muscle tone by just going for walks on hills a few times a week. I think gentle work is most important for horses that do have soundness considerations, as they often compensate for these and develop secondary issues elsewhere in the body that can be greatly reduced by gently managing their fitness.

                                  Fitness issues aside, I think that training considerations are very important in that your horse must be able to perform its necessary duties politely and safely, for you and whoever else may be handling him/her. This might be limited to leading quietly, or be as extensive as performing under saddle. It's up to the owner to be familiar with how much refreshing a horse needs to maintain this basic training.

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                                  • #37
                                    In my case, I can no longer ride due to injuries. Since I didn't want to give up horses entirely, I give homes to injured, retired horses that no one wants. The horses are handled every single day and are well cared for. A much better situation than they would have had.

                                    Since they are all older, unrideable horses, I have it set up in my will that they will be put down should I die. I feel it's the responsible thing to do for them.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      In my case, I can no longer ride due to injuries. Since I didn't want to give up horses entirely, I give homes to injured, retired horses that no one wants. The horses are handled every single day and are well cared for. A much better situation than they would have had.

                                      Since they are all older, unrideable horses, I have it set up in my will that they will be put down should I die. I feel it's the responsible thing to do for them.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Gainer View Post
                                        In my case, I can no longer ride due to injuries. Since I didn't want to give up horses entirely, I give homes to injured, retired horses that no one wants. The horses are handled every single day and are well cared for. A much better situation than they would have had.

                                        Since they are all older, unrideable horses, I have it set up in my will that they will be put down should I die. I feel it's the responsible thing to do for them.
                                        You do understand that is a first world luxury, don't you.

                                        In most societies, over half the world ones today, that would be considered a terrible waste of very needed resources.
                                        We don't have that luxury for many humans.
                                        Glad you can do that for your horses, like I have for some mine.
                                        I still think we should question how sensible that use of our resources is.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                          You do understand that is a first world luxury, don't you.

                                          In most societies, over half the world ones today, that would be considered a terrible waste of very needed resources.
                                          We don't have that luxury for many humans.
                                          Glad you can do that for your horses, like I have for some mine.
                                          I still think we should question how sensible that use of our resources is.
                                          Seriously? I think you owe Gainer an apology. Owing a horse for pretty much everyone here (if not everyone) IS A FIRST WORLD LUXURY.

                                          Sounds to me like Gainer's horses suit Gainer's needs just fine.
                                          Jigga:
                                          Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

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