Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Irresponsible Owners

I haven't been posting much lately, mostly because nothing is going on with me and Pony haha.

I've been riding and she's been being good.

Today, I went to the barn, rode her, grained Kadin, and then as I was going to leave, got sucked into holding a horse for the farrier.

The horse is Pebbles.  Its the big bay that lives with Pony, and I have talked about her before.  She's a big OTTB and I have never known much about her, other than the fact that she can't be tied (I was left holding her while everyone moved arabs a while back).  When I held her though, she was fine.

So today, she was getting her feet done.  Her owner, this little woman who is middle aged, was being walked ALL OVER by her.  She got her foot stepped on multiple times, she kept walking around with her, she would take a step forward and absolutely just run her over when she asked her to back up.

The farrier was also not a huge fan of this horse.  He has been shoeing her for a while now, but it is always the same terrible experience.  She pulls away from the farrier, lifts up another foot and puts all her weight on the farrier, will just use brute force to walk over the farrier and whoever is standing there holding her.

Is she a bad horse? No.  She has not been taught ground manners, and has figured out that she is a big horse and she can use this to her advantage to get what she wants.

The owner went to get her some grain to hope that it would keep her standing quietly, and asked me to hold her for a second.  I told her I didn't mind and kept holding her once she got back.  She tried to run me over and walk straight over me a few times.  The space we were in was similar to a barn alley, not a whole lot of space.   There was other horses, farrier equipment etc, so once she started to walk away from me, I would smack her and yank on her lead, but if she had already gotten too far, it wasn't safe to bring her back where she needed to be, so I would take her outside, lunge her in a few circles, and walk her back where she needed to be.  This way, I wasn't putting myself or any of the horses in danger, but I was letting her know that ignoring me and walking away from me would get her ass worked, then put right back where she didn't want to be.

The owner really needed to leave to go somewhere, and I told her I would hold her, since honestly it was probably safer for everyone involved.

I later found out that this brute of a horse was the woman's daughter, who left to go away to college and only saw her a few times a year.  Other than that, the mother came out and grained the horse and that was the extent of handling that this horse got.

This woman was the sweetest person ever, she gave me a few dollars before she left to say thank you for holding her.  When I was lunging her in a few circles around me, she was talking to the farrier saying 'see, I just can't do this.'

She is clearly not a horse person.  However, she is putting herself in danger and paying for this horse, who her daughter sees a few times a year.  This is SO not fair.  It makes me really angry with the daughter, because its not fair to her mother, or to pebbles.  I am sure at some point that Pebbles had ground manners, but since they were not enforced and people started treating her like she is a big horse, she quickly lost any semblance of training that she at one point had.

Once she was finally done, I went to take her home, and she trotted and yanked the entire way back.  At one point, a car was coming (slowly of course) and she went to drive by me and Pebbles ran at the car, turned around and almost reared up when she felt the halter because I tried to yank her back to me. I was afraid she was going to kick the car!

While leading her back home, she would jig and slowly push me off the road. I am telling you, this horse is big and has a lot of power.  When this happened, I really had to stop and snap that lead rope down and HARD on the halter.  She was absolutely not caring about me being near her.

It is just so sad when horses and their humans reach this point.

It has just reached the point where she is straight dangerous to be around.


  1. Its a shame. But thats what happens a lot of the time, owners dont think far enough ahead. A horse can be for life, or at least it should be, barring anything serious. But people buy them, keep them, and then go off and do other things, forgetting the horse.

    1. It is honestly so true. And this is the precise reason why I don't own a horse. My family aren't 'horse people' and if I went away etc, this is probably what would happen to whatever horse I bought. Even though in the short term I would love to own my own horse, and can provide for it now, I can't guarantee a forever home.

  2. I agree with Cheyenne, it is a shame. The mom is trying to do the best she can, while the daughter is gone away. The daughter is hanging on to a horse for her own personal reasons without thinking about what is best for Pebbles.
    Its too bad that the mom couldn't find someone to lease Pebbles so that at least she is getting some attention, exercise and keeping her ground manners in line.
    Perhaps you could mention it to her, and help her get started with that.

    1. Thats a great idea! I will definitely keep it in mind in case I hear of anyone...the only problem is that it would require an advanced rider due to how unruly she is...I was thinking of talking to her and possibly working with her a little (round penning, ground manners) just to check her up to the point where she isn't running people over etc.

  3. I used to work at a barn where the horses had to be brought in from their paddocks to their stalls every evening. It never ceased to amaze me the things these horses would do. Every day it was like running the gauntlet. They would strike and rear and try to plow you over. In the year I worked there I learned a lot about what kind of force is necessary to shut that kind of behavior down.

    But the sad thing was they were even worse for their owners than they were for me, and most of the owners at this barn just thought this was normal. There is a certain type of rider that somehow doesn't think the way a horse behaves on the ground is relevant or fixable.

    It's does sound like this horse's caretaker is in way over her head. Good for you for stepping up and helping out when a hand was needed, and for emerging from the experience unscathed. The unfortunate truth is when they get that bad it takes a lot to get them right again, and in the meantime they are pretty dangerous.

    1. That is so sad. I know a woman that I used to do gymnastics with, and her daughter got into horses. Her daughter is like ten, and they just bought her her own horse. The horse is great, super sweet to her, but the mother is insistent that all kids at the barn should wear helmets from the second they step into the barn, til the second they leave. This means while cleaning stalls, grooming etc. when I heard this, my thought was that was a completely unhealthy way of thinking. If you are so scared of these horses, that you can't be around them without a helmet on, then there's a problem with the horses you associate with. Obviously freak accidents can happen, and you should always be aware of your horses body while your around them, pay attention to their body language etc, but if I don't trust my horse enough to muck a stall without a helmet on, I sure as hell don't want to get on that horse!


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