At what point do you call it a day with a horse?

Charla

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Think I am just feeling a little disheartened. However I am also worried I am in the same boat as I was with my previous horse.

Basically, bought a 2 rising 3 year old many years ago as for the quality I wanted, that was what I could afford. Bought him to be an all rounder, and after 6 years, he could do a bit of everything, but his heart and talent truly lay with dressage. He was not a natural jumper. And in the end, I sold him to my dressage instructor and he continued to grow and grow and do fabulous in the dressage world and still is now. Dressage way above my ability and interest.

After a break due to an accident and bad injury...I stupidly fell in love with another 2 rising 3 year old. Said mare is now rising 5. She has been tricky, but I’ve had all the professional help around me and she’s really going nicely now and has turned a corner, seemingly....
My problem is she has said no a few times in the past, and when she says no, she means no. If you argue with her or try to send her forwards with your leg or crop, she has learnt that she can unseat and dump the rider within seconds. Not just me, this is professionals also. Humps the rider on to her neck, then bucks over her shoulder, all very quickly!

I really do enjoy schooling her and hacking and we have started going out to training elsewhere and she’s coped really well and I’ve been really impressed with her. Jumping is improving. We had an issue with fillers where she said no, but we are through that now with loads of repetition.

Yesterday, I decided to try tiny bounces with her for the first time, which would also help improve her canter. She isn’t the most forward of horses, but she was going nicely, finding it easy it seemed.
A cat then Sat by the school fence at the end of the bounces line, and she had a melt down. After that, she refused to go down the line of the bounces. Yes I worked her away from them and where she was spooking on a circle for a good 10 mins. But then she started planting, napping and threatening to rear as soon as I asked her to move up the school to start the bounces again. I was so disappointed as she hasn’t behaved like this for months. I really thought she had stopped it completely. Now is this spooking at the cat an excuse to get out of the exercise? She sees the cats daily when being turned in and out of her field. Was she finding the exercise hard and decided to say no and the cat was just a coincidence? I think my biggest fear is that my problems with her seem to come with jumping related things and is she another one suited more to pure dressage :( I know she’s young, but at what point do you accept it? Do I do another 6 years with her persevering to find out her hearts not in it, like the last? I’m not getting any younger myself! Just so gutted we have taken 10 steps forward and then last night reverted back to old behaviours.

Please note, horses has recently had a full set of X-rays, and clean bill of health from vet.

I guess the only answer is, save a big budget and buy a ready made horse that I know enjoys it’s job!
 

9tails

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How many times did you do the bounces? You say she was going nicely, finding it easy. Sometimes, we can keep going for too long, because it's easy. The horse gets tired and bored, isn't learning anything and can just say no. She's not 5 yet, she's still a baby really and you don't want to sour her by drilling.
 

Charla

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How many times did you do the bounces? You say she was going nicely, finding it easy. Sometimes, we can keep going for too long, because it's easy. The horse gets tired and bored, isn't learning anything and can just say no. She's not 5 yet, she's still a baby really and you don't want to sour her by drilling.
Sorry yes I should have made that a little clearer. I started off as canter poles on the ground, which she did nicely. Then added in one bounce, then two, then built up to five. She did the five once and then said no. Maybe the exercise was too much for her. They were merely teeny raised canter poles, but perhaps it looked more daunting than I thought?
 

TheMule

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To be fair, that's quite an ask for a rising 5yr old that hasn't done bounces before and could well have made her tired which then is going to cause her to look for issues nad use excuses. I have had several similar mares and you need to keep them on side and pick your battles IMO.
Having said that, if this is your hobby then having a fun horse you don't need to worry about counts for a lot
 

Moon River

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Her bucket was full.

Have a look at the stress bucket concept. It's the idea that all of our experiences and emotions go in to a bucket, that generally maintains a low level as the bucket leaks. If it gets full and overflows as things go in the bucket faster than they can leak back out, you get a meltdown because the last, often tiny, usually insignificant thing (your cat) was the experience that tipped the balance. I don't think its an issue with the cat or with the exercise but she was in a more intense emotional state because she was doing something novel that she found hard but was managing, up until the cat came along. I'd back off for a few days (let the bucket leak out) and then quietly build back up.
 

Hallo2012

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Her bucket was full.

Have a look at the stress bucket concept. It's the idea that all of our experiences and emotions go in to a bucket, that generally maintains a low level as the bucket leaks. If it gets full and overflows as things go in the bucket faster than they can leak back out, you get a meltdown because the last, often tiny, usually insignificant thing (your cat) was the experience that tipped the balance. I don't think its an issue with the cat or with the exercise but she was in a more intense emotional state because she was doing something novel that she found hard but was managing, up until the cat came along. I'd back off for a few days (let the bucket leak out) and then quietly build back up.
this.

leave her a few days and do stuff you know she loves, then quiet;y build up to 2/3 poles then leave it and next time work up tot he 5 poles again.
 

be positive

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To be fair, that's quite an ask for a rising 5yr old that hasn't done bounces before and could well have made her tired which then is going to cause her to look for issues nad use excuses. I have had several similar mares and you need to keep them on side and pick your battles IMO.
Having said that, if this is your hobby then having a fun horse you don't need to worry about counts for a lot
I also think it a lot for a young horse to do in one go, mentally more than physically, I think exercises such as bounces are very beneficial if they go well but would tend to build up over a few days and finish before going too far, it is why I would want someone on the ground to be able to move poles if something went wrong, once she had decided she was not going near them they should have been reduced to a single pole on the ground if that was all she would do so you could have at least finished on a more positive note.

i certainly wouldn't write her off after one badly judged session, if she is not the horse for you get to work on her strengths and sell her on but to me she just sounds like a sharp, green youngster that is going to improve over the next 12 months if taken at a sensible pace and kept on side.
 

Charla

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Excellent replies from all, thank you, I really appreciate them. Think I needed that reality check. She’s been so good of late, it’s ok for a youngster to have an off day and I agree it was a fairly big ask.
The bucket example is very good. I shall always remember that. I shall take a few days out back to hacking and schooling and do something very simple with poles to build back up. She’s a smart talented mare.
 

cundlegreen

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Excellent replies from all, thank you, I really appreciate them. Think I needed that reality check. She’s been so good of late, it’s ok for a youngster to have an off day and I agree it was a fairly big ask.
The bucket example is very good. I shall always remember that. I shall take a few days out back to hacking and schooling and do something very simple with poles to build back up. She’s a smart talented mare.
Always give lots of and loud amount of praise. Mares thrive on it. Also being vocal means you are breathing properly and not getting tensed up.
 
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