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Dangerous Horses - Dangerous Humans


I just bought a 14.3 hand Quarterhorse and I believe she was beaten by someone very badly. When I try to lung her she tries to buck at me and kick me. I have tried bringing her out short but that won't work either. (when I do bring her out short she tries to bite)

When I try to ride her she just bucks and rears. She is only about 7 (I think) I don't know because she is VERY head shy and wont let any one touch her teeth.

I can't even get a bit in her and I have to use a hackamore.....

Can you please help me ~ Sarah

Hi Sarah,

Sounds like you have a very fearful horse on your hands. It's the humans who abused the animal who are the villians here and the dangerous ones. Your horse is afraid (terrified). That is what is making her act out this way, her FEAR. I agree that she must have been abused severly. Rehabilitating a horse like this has definate risks. None the least of which is physical injury. It is not a task to be taken lightly. Gaining the trust of a horse is like rehabilitating an abused human. Imagine a human so severly abused, he seeks to abuse others to curtail abuse coming his way. This is what you are looking at.

My way of dealing with this horse would be very slow and as gentle as possible. It would take a while. How long depends on the horse. It would require a very consistent program of basic interaction that was geared to help the animal come to trust. A round pen would be very helpful. Bear in mind it is not as much about this horse as it is your skills as a trainer. Also, your ability and desire to put the time in. If a horse is interacted with in an appropriate way over some time, it comes to a degree of trust that is higher than before the interaction. Every 'good' experience, where the human is able to appropriately and successfully lead an action, is how the animal comes to trust a human's interaction and communication again.

I would not push anything with this horse. That is the real test. Most people do not have the patience to rehabilitate such a horse. They start blaiming the horse very quickly if their first attempts at gentling the horse don't come to much. Remember your horse is innocent, no matter how the rehabilitation goes. Some abuse is too severe to be overcome very fast. However, I have yet to encounter a horse that did not respond favoribly to appropriate, respectful, thoughtful and 'right on' communication. Your intention is extremely important along with your skills to 'read' the horse adn to keep yourself safe.

I would forget riding for a little while and concentrate on getting your relationship together on the ground. As on the ground is where your bond is really formed. Appropriate simple activity (leading, backing, stopping, turning, sidepassing) that you lead the horse through consciously is like a dance that helps the two partners get connected. You are always the leader of this dance. Your horse knows how to be a great dancer. It is too afraid for now. Trust is first and foremost and is way beyond riding. Riding a fearful horse is no fun as you have discovered.

So, do you have the skills? I can coach you through this if you like. I offer telephone coaching for such an involved process. It is simple, convenient, cost what a piano lesson costs and you can get immediate answers to questions. There is too much information to give you in a simple email. Let em know you thoughts on all this. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Any program for this horse to help it will take some time. If you are very skilled, the horse will dictate the time frame. If you are not so skilled, well.....things could get worse. You or someone else could get hurt...........Try to have a vet check this horse to make certain there is no pain that is contributing to her probelms.

Blessings, Franklin

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