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Giving up on a horse?

Angie McGee recently posted that she gave up on a horse that was unsound
& "lucked" into another who needed work but did well in the sport.

I've had a horse who was simply unsuited to endurance, too.   This App
gelding was sound, ate & drank well, well-conditioned, but STOPPED at
around 30 miles with no intention of going anywhere but back towards the
trailer (couldn't explain to him it was shorter to go forwards!)  He was
otherwise an angel under saddle, but had rank ground manners.  He was an
orphaned foal, so he had no "herd manners.  (Grew up in a field by
himself w/ cows next door.)  His previous owner had taught him to put
his front feet on his shoulders & give him "kisses" as a foal.   As a
1050 lb horse, it wasn't so cute.  We worked on making him marketable
(basic ground manners, some dressage & jumping) and sold him to a hunt
member who wanted something big, that could jump, and was flashy.  We
waved good by w/ BIG smiles on our faces & ran to put a deposit on the
Arab mare I had selected.

I went from a 16.2 H App to a 14.3 petite Arab mare who carried us
through more rides than I can remember.  I went from fighting to keep
moving on every ride to a horse who you couldn't hold back.  What a
joy!  I started to have fun riding again.  Her attitude was "What's
around the next corner?"  It was the best move I could have ever made.
(BTW - App made a good, solid hunter & LOVED it!  Different strokes for
different folks.)

After she passed away, I took on an 8 year old gelding who had physical
problems after running through a fence as a foal.  We've worked &
conditioned and now he is completing 50's.  It was SO hard not to want
to ask the new guy to do what the previous horse was doing.  I had to
make myself start over with his training.

We have to be careful not to stress his front right foot (somewhat
contracted/clubby but no rotation), do lots of stretching, etc. to keep
him sound.  We watch our pacing on hard ground (a little arthritis
creeping in with age).  He & I have gotten closer than any of my other
horses as we have had to work together to overcome his limitations.  He
is far from the perfect horse, but his faults get along with my quirks.
I think that is one of the important things.

If your horse is a pain, if it is too hard to get enthusiastic about
what you are doing (or the horse lacks the enthusiasm), I don't see
anything wrong in switching to one who is more in tune for the sport.
Maybe they are a Western Pleasure horse in hiding instead of a "lean,
mean racing machine".

Linda Flemmer

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