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My Daughter and her Bored Gaming Horse


I read through a few of you postings and question from others and thought you would be able to provide some advice for our situation.

My 16 year old daughter has a 6 year old quarter paint gelding. She has been gaming with him for approximately 4 years. She has had a horse whisperer tell her that her horse loves to run and do games.

She has stated that she hasn't been able to do any gaming practicing/training (Pole Weaving, Barrels, etc) with him since he refuses to do it, he will throw his head, get agitated, etc. so she will has just been doing trail rides with him which she says he enjoys. She has also had him doing some jumping and dressage since she said he enjoys that.

Recently, she has stated that she needs to get a new gaming horse since "He does not want to do games anymore and is bored".

The last couple of shows she has been in, she has only done a few events (Egg and Spoon, Pole Weaving, Jumping Figure Eight, etc) and then based on his behavior (hard to get him into the arena for the game, throwing his head, bucking, etc.) she doesn't do all of the events she wants to do. The last show she was at she was able to do Egg and Spoon and Pole Weaving only. For the show she was at last weekend, even without training for Pole Weaving she said he got one of his best times ever, this all without any training for that event between shows. As a side note, it has been very hot, 90-100, at the last couple of shows. I'm not sure if that plays a part in all of this as well.

She has asked several of her gaming friends and people she sees for lessons for their advice on what to do. This advice has ranged from he needs a year off, he is done with games and you should just let him do trail rides, she needs to get a step up horse, etc.

Both my husband and I have tried to encourage her to ask others who are professionals for advice. We can't tell if these people are giving her the advice they are because they want to sell or lease her a different horse or they truly think this is what the problem is.

Any advice you can give for us would be greatly appreciated.

Sue Bromen

Hi Sue,

Horses do get tired of the same old thing that goes on for too long. 4 years of gaming sounds long enough. Horses need variation in their activities to stay interested. Also, they need to be handled and played with on the ground. This is where a great bond with a horse is formed (not on the back of the horse). I suggest playing and handling on the ground if your daughter wants a really good relationship with the horse. There is more to the world of a horse than humans riding it. If this horse has been gaming since it was 2, it started doing this at way too young an age and it may be starting to break down (like any athletic horses started too young, especially hunters, jumpers, reiners and dressage horses). The games are very active and demanding, Your daughter may be a demanding rider, but I do not know. I do not know if she rides for the horse's well-being or only to win. There is a difference. I tend to always want to give the horse the benefit of a doubt...which means give it a break.

This horse has served her well for a number of years even though the horse was too young to begin with. Consider the animal is not a slave to your daughters desire to run the games with it. Consider it has given good service for quite a while and deserves something like a good break. The person who said the horse loves to run and do these games, in my humble opinion, was totally wrong. Very few horses love that sort of activity. The ideal life any horse wants is to simply amble around and graze. They are lazy by nature as this is part of how they survive (not wanting to run unless they are being chased by a predator). Yes youngsters are definitely more prone to action.

Perhaps when this horse was a 2-year old it displayed the energy of a youngster which is always more active, and that actually fooled your ‘horse whisperer.’. But it is now mature at 6 and may be ready for a less strenuous life. Consider having the animal checked for any pain issues as well. Pain is often the cause for unwanted behavior. Thanks for asking for another opinion. I hope I have offered some food for thought...

Sincerest regards, Franklin

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