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Horse Savaging (LONG)
Jennifer Heim firstname.lastname@example.org
This is *totally* off subject, but I'm just so flummoxed by this event I need some help from you guys!
I have been working a 4yo Arab gelding for a client for approx. 2 mos. He's excellent under saddle, sensitive, honest and tries very hard. Groundwork is responsive and brilliant. The real problem (and the reason the owner sent him to me) is that he bites. Badly. After two or three sessions of ...er... *convincing* him that he's a goner if he tries that again, he stopped trying to bite me. Still went after the owner cuz, well, she allows it ("but it was sooo cute when he started nibbling" ... god save me). Lessons for her start next week. I've seen this horse grab the owner by the arm and put her on the ground; pick her up by the hair and shake her like a rat.
Last week I went out to the pasture to catch him. Me, the sucker, thinks "what a nice horse, he's finally coming up to me in the pasture". I stroke his face (he's standing directly in front of me) and move off to the side to put his halter on. The very second I moved, I noticed his front legs folding up and heading my way. Thinking he just got attacked from another horse and in panic mode (he's low man on the totem pole in the pasture) I tucked - started heading for Mother Earth. I feel him grab my shoulder, very narrowly missing my neck and since it was so cold out and was wearing lots of layers, he got only clothing. But the clothing he ripped clean from my back (t-shirt, sweatshirt and polarfleece). All I can really remember is legs and hooves impacting all over my body (some lovely hoofprint bruises on my back, shoulders and legs - I look like a banner from Hee Haw) and my ear damn near got ripped from my head.
Still thinking (somewhat foggily) that he was attacked, I staggered up to see.... no other horse around except him running away. My head fogged up further, the world greyed and I planted my butt on the ground to see if I was really going to lose consciousness. I didn't, but with me covered in mud, clothes literally hanging from my body and some lovely tuffs of grass sticking out all over my head, I'm sure I looked quite the picture. All I could think was "You're Alpo."
So now it comes to this. I don't trust this animal (gee, ya think?). After this episode, the owner (an attorney) feels she cannot sell the animal without this ...detail... coming out. Full disclosure in this state. Yeah, right; who's going to buy a horse that has been known to attack? Does anyone have a suggestion on what I can do? He's a real nice riding horse, put together like a brick privvy and just about the smartest thing I've come across (too smart). But I'm truly afraid that someone is going to go out to the pasture (it's a boarding barn) to feed the ponies (lots of strangers do just that) and get hurt or even killed.
Part of me wants to buy this horse for the express purpose of sending him to the killers and saving another person from getting hurt, but in California, I'll have a hard time doing it. Don't flame me too badly, one of my mantras is that there are too many nice horses around to put up with the bad ones. And the really bad ones? What gets done with them?
I'm at my wits end. After recovering I did go out to catch him with a halter, but also brought a large wooden lip twitch (hark to days of handling rank breeding stallions) and with downright predatory gleam in my eye, the horse must have known he was glue, cuz he was perfect. I don't let my guard down with him for even a second, and I keep my eye on him 100%. I've worked him 3x since the incident with no problems. Nothing to indicate what lurks in his goofy lil' heart.
Thanks for any help, gang. You're the best! Oh, and I'm on digest, so it may take me a bit to get your responses.
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