Hi there. I gave away a 5 yr old gelding to a friend who brought him to a trainer for his initial training. the horse trainer was riding within a few days?? but has created problems in my opinion. the horse has threatened to kick when approached and pins his ears. he is fine to handle otherwise as far as haltering leading saddling bridling and even mounting but he hates the bit.They have tried 5 or 6 different ones. The new trainer says he gets pinny eared just seeing the bridle.
Yesterday he was checked thoroughly by a chiropractor/vet and also had his mouth examined because we were concerned he was acting out in pain because his neck was swollen on the underside on both sides ( but the right side more prominent) and he seemed tender at about1-1/2 inches right above the corners of his lip on the right side. his hair is completely rubbed away under his forelegs (armpit area) and we were told a tie down was used but for only 15 minutes… he carries his head high at a trot or canter even when in halter or in pasture. he has bit wear in the corners of his mouth and the vet did find a wolf tooth that has not popped through yet but only on the right side. HE WAS FOUND TO BE SOUND although he suggested surgectly removing the tooth and having the vet check for a broken tooth that he might not have been able to see…he did use a speculum.
He is at a different farm now after 3 wks with the other trainer. also to note: the swelling in his neck had gone down the next day when the chiropractor came, but on march 18th when my friend and the trainer came to pick him up, the trainer insisted on tying him short in the trailer and he did pull back hard and had a few second struggle. He does have a thicker neck anyway and you should know he was gelded at age 4.
I never did much groundwork with him other than desesitizing, leading, tying, farrirer, trailering, grooming, but he always seemed a willing partner with a good mind.
I am wondering if he could have developed a fear of being asked to much too soon and is carrying his head high because he is nervous??
The head and bit issue are causing my friend great concern as she thinks he is just a really pissed off sort, and will come unglued down the road as well if he doesn’t feel like doing something. My friend is adamant that the trrainer took no unjust measures with this horse, but that he just isn’t a normal horse. she agrees that he may have been pushed too hard, and also that the trainer was leaving town and started to work him twice a day. My understanding is that he didn’t work him everday either…but when he did it usually consisted of “working through” his “issues”, instead of stopping on a good note. my understanding is that my friend was usually present for the training sessions so she would be able to learn how to correct him in the same manner as the trainer, so down the road on the trail she would know what to do.
I am trying to be as openminded as possible, but he was one of my foals, and he was even fearful of my husband and I when we went to his rescue so to speak. he just didn’t want to come up right away to us. we spent quite awhile with the new trainer lady in the pasture with him just hanging out petting and discussing his behavior. We are baffled if it is a fear or a disrespect issue, but following our visit, the next day she said he was way different towards her..and he has been there a week today.
The new trainer thinks the last trainer had no business getting on his back if he didn’t have control of the head on the ground?? my husband and I feel the groundwork was never accomplished, and another party that knows the trainer guy, says he’s all about the end result but doesn’t take the time in the beginning and knew she’d be having problems. I think the end result isn’t going to be a willing horse if he doesn’t have a good beginning foundation…but Irregardless, my friend thinks the horse should have dealt with it better anyway. probably…
Please give me your thoughts on this very concerning problem. I certainly want my friend to be happy… and if I get the horse back I want to do the right thing by him. Thanks so much. We sure are hoping for a quick reply as my friend doesn’t know what to do..any it’s not getting any cheaper for her and her FREE HORSE.
Renata C., Moose Lake, MN
Thanks for the email and I hope you enjoyed the website. I will try to help you out the best that I can.
It sounds as though he was pushed WAY beyond what he could handle WAY to fast. Horses that have never been ridden need lots of ground training not only to learn how to trust people and understand what we want from them and there mental health, but also for their short and long term physical health. Horses that have never been worked much do not have the back muscles to hold a rider. So if a rider gets on there back before there is muscling there they are only asking to injury the horse. What will happen is the horse will hollow out their backs, put their head up high and pull themselves forward with their front feet. That is not how a horse is supposed to move. That is why he had swollen muscles in his neck. From over use because he was rush to fast to hold a riders weight. Then the trainer resorted to mechanical means to try to get his head down which only forces the horse to do something that he is physically not ready to do.
This trainer never gave the horse time to understand what he wanted and only forced him into everything. The corners of the mouth being rubbed, the rubbed cinch area and the swollen neck muscles is in my opinion TOTALLY UNFORGIVABLE!!! This horse did not have to go through all of this mental and physical problems if it would have been done right the first time.
This is the problem in the horse world! Anybody that wants to can call themselves a trainer can and can really mess up horses. There is no licence that you have to have to be a trainer and there should be something out there that keeps horses out of the hands of people that have no right to train.
As for the bit, you were right in getting him checked out and I am glad that the vet could not see anything in the mouth. But again the reason that he has this bit problem is because he was never offered the bit to accept it. It was just forced on him with out him accepting it. I would hate it too if I was forced to have it and was never given the chance to learn that it was not going to hurt me. Not only was he never asked if it was ok but he probably was hurt by it and I say that because of the rub makes in the corners. That means that the trainer did lots of pulling on the bit and also probable the bit did not fit correctly.
As for your friends concern for the horse being a “pissed off sort”. I WOULD BE TOO IF I WAS TREATED LIKE THIS! Ask your friend to look at it from the horses point of view. You know we ask horses to do so much for us and then we tell them they have to respect us BUT WE NEVER RESPECT THEM BACK!! It is not a one way street. I am not trying to be hard on your friend. I am just saying that your friend needs to not listen to the opinion of someone that sores her horse and uses force rather then understanding.
It will now take the horse longer to trust people again WITH PROPER TRAINING but he will get there and I am sure he will turn out to be a wonderful horse. Any horse given the proper training, care, love and mutual respect will turn out to be a loving and willing partner. It sounds as though he was at one time you just had a set back with someone who should not be allowed to train horses.
I hope your friend and new trainer will think about what I have said and understand where I am coming from. Also from not being able to see the horse.
Let me know if you, your friend or the new trainer have any questions for me and I would be MORE then willing to help out over email or phone for free. I am in this business to try to make the world a better place for the horses!
Response from Renata:
Oh chelsie, thanks so much! that makes total sense about the back and neck!! I had a very difficult conversation with my friend today but she still wants to keep moving forward..(I would take him back in a heartbeat)…here’s the new developement…the new trainer ran into the old trainer and they were discussing the horse, she told him she would never have believed anyone was ever on his back and about him being on his back with the bit when he never got to understand it on the ground.. and stuff (he’s young)..and he said well he likes to get on in the first couple days, but no, everything was coming along sooo nicely, going along great and when he came home from the weekend the horse wouldn’t let him touch him and tried kicking out at him and was pinning his ears and he couldn’t believe it. he said I don’t know what she(my friend) did to him when she came to work with him over the weekend but he couldn’t believe it..so we will probably never know… both their fault but I’m more concerned with the friend. she’s always trying to get this new trainer to test him and push him…it’s pissing off the trainer and I can’t think about anything else! I try and try to get her to understand that initial training is not the same as a fixing a problem with a seasoned horse. I think sthat’s the only thing she got from clinton… find his oh no areas and go to town! I thought she understood “THE METHOD” I tried to explain that if you push him until he can’t take it that’s like bullying! and all that accomplishes is CREATING problems and you’ll never build on anything except distrust and resentment… she agrees a little, but just thinks he’s not sensitive and that he’s testing and who knows??? I worry that she’ll never love him. she says she doesn’t feel that way about any of her animaLs I told her she’s weird! lol I’ve only known her since november. hopefully she’ll come down off her high horse so to speak…and not by flying over the top! he seems fine now… like the horse I knew, but God I would like to know what caused his meltdown…poor guy. I know what he is like to work from all the desensitizing I did. I did some foward motion but I’d get sooo dizzy…he was scared of everything at first. my coat, the brush, the rope, the stick, but he has a great mind and settles very quickly he catches on really fast (which could be why they pushed him too) but you’ve got to let it soak in.. he would get a little frustrated when I got forgot how to ask something or skipped a step.. but it was just like we’d both take a breath… I’d laugh and apologize and he never got bent out of shape. so far from it. it was actually fun I was nervous at first, but his good grace put me at ease and we built each other’s confidence! he was sooo willing. he looked forward to our sessions and would feel neglected if I didn’t work him. That’s the only time he seemed crabby was when I got sick! my dad would stop what he was doing and watch too…new methods to him but it’s exciting to see! he’s 83 and he grew up with work horses on the farm. ANYHOO I’ll stop bending your ear and let you get back to doing what you do best! I’m going to relax and have faith that everything will all work out and that this wonderful email from you helps the right idea hit home. I am sooo grateful for you out there doing what you do, and RESPONDING so quickly and with so much concern about everything thank you thank you thank you big sigh… so on behalf of horses everywhere and those of us that love them so much our hearts ache, Thank you and we love you, and your gift. your friend, Renata GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS. He will NO DOUBT!!
Answer from Chelsie:
Thank you for your reply. I hope all is going well now. Please keep me in the loop as to how this all turns out.
It sounds as though your friend has some secret fear of the horse and does not want to admit it. That might be why she wants the trainer to push the horse. I bet that this all comes from a fear place because she is afraid of getting bucked off if the trainer does not push him. Some clinicians talk about “getting the buck out”, Anderson included. And I think she is just taking it to far and not really understanding what is meant by that.
Let me know how you are doing,