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When Your Dream Horse is Not Your Dream Horse *UPDATE p. 3*

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  • When Your Dream Horse is Not Your Dream Horse *UPDATE p. 3*

    ***UPDATE ON PAGE 3*

    Purchased an 18 month old. Waited for her to grow up. Started her in long lines at age 3. Had her professionally started this summer of her 4 y.o. year. Just got her back home and realize with all certainty that she is not the horse for me. She is somebody’s dream horse. But not my dream partner.

    I’ve put an unreasonable amount of money into her at this point. Doubtful I could make enough money selling her to buy my next ‘dream’ horse. I feel stuck. Should I tough it out and learn to love riding her? After waiting two+ years and spending thousands on training, do I owe it to myself to at least try her for a year? Do I just need an attitude adjustment and a lesson in gratitude for having a nice horse at all? *sigh*

    The horse is a trendy friesian/andy cross. She is quiet and sensible and oh-so-loving towards her people. Just a darling personality. No behavior issues, no behavior issues under saddle. She should be exactly what I wanted: a pretty, *safe*, sound ammy dressage prospect. My complaint is her lack of energy under saddle. I knew she had a laid back personality, but I did not take into consideration that our personalities may not match up well. I want more energy, more brio. She does exactly what she is told, but requires more encouragement from me than I am happy with. I have always ridden hotter, more emotional horses. She feels so dull to me. I’m not having fun when I rider her. I love her soft, easy gaits, but she is not . . . fun. She feels like work.

    Should I learn to be a different rider? More active? More responsible for the energy? It’s just not my style. *whine*. Should I chalk it up to experience, cut my losses and try to find her a perfect match who will love her steady-eddy personality? Someone told me all the training in the world wont fix things if the horse and rider are not a good match.
    Last edited by Guarda&TheDiagonal; Aug. 5, 2009, 01:33 PM. Reason: UPDATE

  • #2
    I am sorry she is not working for you. What a weird cross - sorry i know they are "trendy" but there is no guarantee a cross like that will produce the best of the breeds as it can also produce the worst of the breeds as well. A mixed breed is a mixed breed trendy or not.

    My understanding is that friesian's have small lungs compared to their size which can make them unable to perform with energy. While i have worked with 2 like yours and one with impossible energy - so i am not sure how true it is.

    I'd send her packing. If she is not for you then changing you is not going to make that better! I also have a dream horse - not a dream horse story - I never regretted selling him & that was 25 years ago.
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


    • #3
      Start hacking her out.

      Then send her to me. I like kick to go ponies.
      My Draft cross was quite phlegmatic until we started schooling Novice level XC then wheee.........
      Would poke into the jumper right and then when the bell would ring....snort.. buck let's go. She's young.... she might end up being a really fun ride, just remember there's a 10 second delay on all greenies from the word go to the reaction in the brain. Sort of like the difference between hitting the accelerator in the car vs the truck.
      Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!



      • #4
        Only you can know what's best for you, but I have a couple of thoughts for you...

        One, the combination of safe/sane/sensible and brio/energy is very hard to find. My older mare was like this and I've never known another like her (and sometimes I think I never will again). It may be a long search to find exactly the personality you're looking for.

        Two, often we like to think that there should be an instant or easy connection with a horse, when sometimes the best relationships take work. I know from personal experience that it can be very hard to appreciate the good qualities when you're used to something else. For example, my old mare was very social, loffed attention and wanted to be the official barn greeter. My younger mare is much more aloof and reserved, and it took me a long time not to feel mildly rejected when I went to the barn and got "Oh, it's you, ehh" and not "OOOOOO, you're here!!!!" Could you focus on all her nice qualities as you work to get more energy in your rides?

        Third, have you spoken with the trainer that started her? The trainer that started my younger mare was very clear with me that he has two approaches to training: one to produce a safe, sane ammy horse and one for a highly responsive, reactive pro ride. Your trainer may have assumed he was supposed to emphasize safe&sensible over brilliance. It may be something that can be changed with a different training program. Also, having the trainer observe you ride would probably be a good idea. Maybe you're doing something without realizing it that is somehow blocking the forward energy you want.

        If on the other hand, you and your trainer feel that this is just the way she is, I don't see a problem selling her. There are many ammys out there looking for just the sort of sweet, quiet, safe horse you're describing. Some are probably on COTH now, reading this and thinking, geez if you don't want her, I'll take her!

        Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
        Crayola Posse: sea green
        Mighty Rehabbers Clique


        • #5
          I have seen other horses of that type being advertised because they are too hot for their owners - maybe they get set on having that baroque style of horse without considering whether they are really suited for them or not. Why don't you start advertising to see if you can find a trade for a similar type of horse more to your liking?


          • #6
            If she's as you describe, I think she would be quite valuable to some segments of the horse owner population. Some of us amateurs actually like kick-quiet horses. I'm too old to ride fire-breathing dragons anymore.

            I think you might be surprised...there is quite a market for nice, sane, easy horses.


            • #7
              Sell her.

              I've only owned him for 10 days, but I think my new horse is going to end up being my dream horse. He is so much fun....I loved my mare, but my new OTTB is opening up a whole 'nother side of horse ownership for me that I didn't even know existed.

              I have a friend who bought her "dream horse" in-utero. Foaled her out, weaned her, raised her, had her broke....but she and the horse never got along, and she finally admitted to herself that she and the mare were not a match. Sold her, and got a horse that suited her personality. She and her new horse ADORE each other.

              Having now personally experienced the difference between "loving a horse because you own it" and "loving a horse because you are equine/human soul mates"--I would NEVER hang onto a horse that I really didn't get along with or like.

              Take your time and ensure she goes to a GOOD home, but move her along and find something that suits you. Life's too short.


              • #8
                I'll take her I love those kick rides.

                That being said, my horse can be quite lazy to start off a ride but once we start jumping he's definitely going. Same on trails-it's like pulling teeth to gallop in our outdoor ring even though it's HUGE but on trails he's all go, go, go.
                No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
                www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


                • #9
                  sell her! I got lucky, my dream yearling turned into a 16.2 SSH/TWH doll baby of a mare who bats her big googly eyes....at my husband. She's sane, she's safe, she's not got a wholatta go- but he can handle her with a little sweet touch and they are madly in love.

                  Me, I'd be bored and irritating to her asking for more more more. It'd be like making me an accountant- I guess I could do it, but I'd HATE it . I want more brio, too- So I took the idjit TWH we'd bought for him (found him to be an idjit after he came home and the bloom was off the rose) and gave him my dream baby.

                  I bet she'll find just the perfect home. And no, you can't make money, this is horses we're talking about find the balance of money vs good home, and go with it...


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Woodland View Post
                    I am sorry she is not working for you. What a weird cross - sorry i know they are "trendy" but there is no guarantee a cross like that will produce the best of the breeds as it can also produce the worst of the breeds as well. A mixed breed is a mixed breed trendy or not.

                    My understanding is that friesian's have small lungs compared to their size which can make them unable to perform with energy. While i have worked with 2 like yours and one with impossible energy - so i am not sure how true it is.

                    I'd send her packing. If she is not for you then changing you is not going to make that better! I also have a dream horse - not a dream horse story - I never regretted selling him & that was 25 years ago.
                    Um, that's not a "weird" cross. She is a Warlander. An awesome breed, in my opinion. Also they tend to be stunningly gorgeous! I am the owner of a 3/4 andalusian (Azteca) myself, so I'm a bit partial. I'd give her, and yourself, some time. There are way worse things than a quiet ride!!!!


                    • #11
                      I'm in the same boat but on the other side, my horse is too hot for me. Sweet heart, darling horse but just so not my type. I feel bad because I know he wants to be loved but I just can't. I bought him as a two year old and also bought a yearling at the same time. This one is just not for me, I haven't spent TOO much money YET, I plan on sending him out for training and sale all in one. I am sure he will be a wonderful horse for someone but I don't think I will ever WANT to ride him, just not my speed. I like the kickin quiet... I am torn because I am the type that wants to keep my horses forever but a horse with no purpose isn't good either.


                      • #12
                        I hear you, though sometimes what you want isn't always that easy to find.

                        I have owned my horse for 2.5 years and he is SAFE, sane, very fancy, but DULL and huge. It was okay when I was a bit more novice but now that I want more of him, riding him is often hard and frustrating. I really don't think I can progress to where I want to go on him (level wise) because of his size and his difficulty in carrying himself. That said, his good qualities are so good that I am constantly questioning my ability to replace him. I am sure I can find something that carries themselves better and isn't as huge but will they have a good mind and take care of me? Will they be fancy enough to take to an A show?

                        I don't know how experienced you are (you don't say in your OP) but I generally think the perfect match is hard to find. That said, if you continue to be truly unhappy with her, then I would cut your losses and send her packing.

                        Good luck.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for your responses!

                          I've gotten some great advice here! Its given me more to think about. Especially as it relates to youngsters in general (including response time); things I may be doing to block her energy; or in the alternative, just cutting my losses and seeing that she finds her 'dream human'.

                          Thank you, Springer, for the comment on her breeding. They are a lovely cross. I would buy another in a heartbeat. There is nothing wrong with this filly. But as of now, we are not a match. I've been feeling so guilty for even considering selling her. I bought her to be my long-term partner. I want us both to be happy.


                          • #14
                            I started one (Appendix) as a late 3 year old and thought she was the laziest thing in the world. She is now a very responsive 5 year old. I would consider letting her grow up a bit more. She does sound like she might be a pretty easy sale since she is quiet and sane but as she gets her job a little more, you might find that she turns into a much lighter horse off the leg than she is now.

                            Just a thought since she seems to otherwise be just what you ordered.


                            • #15
                              Well you might take a loss but why not put a high price tag on her and show her while she's for sale. Most schooling shows will allow you to announce that she's for sale, won't they?

                              I think you pointed out that she will be someone's DREAM HORSE because it's not that she's a problem but that you aren't the best match and you want more spirit or brio. So why not help her find that dream rider that will want her just as she is. I don't see where that is wrong in fact I think it's very right, help her too by finding her perfect match. Even if you do lose money on her, and you're showing her off at her best or if you get someone to campaign her maybe you can get more money and I hope you do. Even if you don't I think you should get a match for both of you and both be happy.


                              • #16
                                Would it be feasible for you to pick up an OTTB or something to start working in the meantime?

                                Reason I ask is that you *might* think right now that you want more oomph....due in large part to waiting so long for "the horse"...and once you get it, you may find that you actually DO enjoy this horse more. I dunno.

                                Regardless of what you choose to do...even though you don't LOVE riding her...keep her going and in work so that you can get the most out of her when you sell.

                                I am not a fan of kick kick kick horses either. I prefer a light handy critter. But to each their own.

                                I'm sorry that it's been so disappointing for you! That totally sucks.
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                                • #17
                                  Just as a note: I'm one of those COTHers reading this going, "gosh, she sounds like exactly what I'm looking for!" so there's definitely a market out there for horses like her if you decide to sell.

                                  And I know someone who has this nice little gelding. She bred him (looked for the "right" stallion to breed her mare to for two years before she chose one), was there when he foaled, was the first human to ever touch him, has been involved with his training, has had him his whole life. He's fairly laid-back (still green and prone to greenie antics, but nothing really explosive), definitely a lover (scritches on the top of his head and just behind his ears are fun ), well put together, and capable of doing just about whatever she wants to do with him.

                                  She doesn't have that connection. At all. He was supposed to be her dream horse and he's not. She feels guilty about this.

                                  Her dream horse? Is a very opinionated "alpha" mare that came out of the PMU industry and could hardly be touched when she got her. She was named "Twister" for a very good reason.

                                  So anyway: if it's not there, it's not there, and forcing it is likely to make both of you unhappy. (This is kind of part of why in my horse search, I'm looking for a horse that's rideable "now". I don't want to get something that needs training and time before I ever sit on it only to find out I don't really like them.)
                                  The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                                  Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                                  • #18
                                    Generally, my Percherons are very UNforward when first started (and your horse was just started right)? Then, as they start to condition, build confidence under saddle, they become forward. Not being forward and grand in style, can be very typical of young, green horses (especially more "baroque" breeds), it doesn't mean they will stay that way.

                                    May I suggest that you give her six months of you riding her 3x a week? Get that trainer off her back, as that is going to cost you more money... but you work her. Working green horses is a valuable exercise in of itself. She may very well come out of her shell, become more forward and be more of what you dreamed of with just a bit of time and patience. Honest...I can't say how many times (ok...three times), my husband has started a horse, only to inform me that it will never be forward enough and then a year later...the horse is totally transformed and forward and has "found" their inner confidence.

                                    I can definitely see the cross. Andulasians were one of the main foundation horses used to lighten up the Friesian...WAY back when.
                                    Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF


                                    • #19
                                      I'm really surprised at all the "sell her" comments. A 4 year old is a BABY fercryingoutloud. A baby who has been in full time training with a pro. As someone else said, the trainer may have been squelching the brilliance and rewarding the safe/sane. That's great, but if you want more brilliance, then the horse may need more opportunities to show you her brilliance.

                                      I have seen dull/boring horses transformed through a change in scenery, and feed. Add some trail riding and/or jumping to that to make the horse truly interested in riding and her job.

                                      For how long, this mare has been going around and around and around and around and around and around...................a dressage ring with a trainer on her back. She's probbly bored out of her ever lovin' little brain!

                                      Take her out on the trail. Have someone else ride her. Do some jumping. Take her to some fun shows. Take her to a fun day with cattle. Do SOMETHING to wake her back up! She's probably been dulled down and bored to tears and that's all she knows. She has gotten so accustomed to, and comfortable with her job, that she can't fathom anything else besides walk, trot, canter, halt, back up, give to the bit, halt, canter, walk.

                                      Do more, fun things with her so that when you tack her up she wonders - Oooh! Are we chasing cows today? Are we going to the river to swim? Are we jumping poles?

                                      Selling would be the last thing on my mind until you've exhausted everything else. Of course there is no crime in selling either. Just understand that finding your dream horse can be a HUGE, daunting task. You might get hot/brilliant/emotional along with dangerous/stupid/un-trustworthy.

                                      I'd rather take a dead head and try to to liven them up than the other way around. And I ride Arabs so I know exactly where your'e coming from. My horses are a whole lot hotter and emotional than many run of the mill "trail horses." I love that personality. The fire and brilliance is essential to me.

                                      But, my Arab mare can drop her head and trudge along down the trail with a newbie on her back, if she knows that is all that's expected. Your mare may be similar. She knows what is expected of her Every.Single.Ride. There's no reason for her to get hyped up because nothing ever changes. So change it up! See what she responds with.

                                      Also you can have a vet out to do bloodwork and see if anything is lacking or deficient.

                                      I don't see this as "forcing" anything, but just giving the mare an opportunity to shine. If you give the opportunity and she fails to shine, then consider that dull and boring is just her personality. But at this point, I wouldn't label her that way until you change a bunch of stuff and see how she responds.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by imapepper View Post
                                        I started one (Appendix) as a late 3 year old and thought she was the laziest thing in the world. She is now a very responsive 5 year old. I would consider letting her grow up a bit more. She does sound like she might be a pretty easy sale since she is quiet and sane but as she gets her job a little more, you might find that she turns into a much lighter horse off the leg than she is now.

                                        Just a thought since she seems to otherwise be just what you ordered.
                                        Those were my thoughts, that she is just four and you really don't know what temperament you truly have until five coming six.
                                        She may still be the pokey kind then, or change into more horse than she is now, no one can tell right now.

                                        I have seen enough young ones change around those years to know it does happen regulary, that is why you need to put in as much training as you can before that, so if they do change to a handful, you at least would have a good steady work ethic established by then and can channel that new energy properly.

                                        A good solution, as mentioned, price her high enough to permit you to buy another that hopefully may suit better.
                                        I also like the suggestion to ride a hot horse for a while, as you are waiting to see what happens with her and see if that really is what you want.

                                        I really like them all, each one for what they are, the pokey ones, although they tend to go sleep on me and the hot ones, that are fun too.
                                        Maybe you can also learn to like them all.