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How to sell a difficult horse

Hello Franklin,

I bought a then 11 year old palomino gelding 2 and 1/2 years ago for myself and my 14 year old daughter. First horse. Well I did not do my homework well before buying him........ he was sweet on the ground and we didnt have to kick the tar out of him to get him moving (like many of the lesson horses we were used to) and he was conveniently located at the stables were we wanted to board. The seller was a smooth talking smiley faced used car salesmen...and my daughter and I , inexperienced first time horse buyers. Bad combination. Well in the past two and 1/2 years...we have learned much and we have issues. He is very excitable under saddle. Has tantrums when he wants to go back to his stall. His tantrums are pivoting around.....backing up.....side stepping. He shies at some things ..... I would describe him as "hot" and/or chargey. He almost never just walks on out...he prances...jigs....hates his right lead.....cuts way in and accelerates through it. If we ride him in the small arena that is right in front of his stall where he is most daughter and I have little problems....but ride him down to the far end of the stables....well thats were we get into trouble. I have tried the getting him busy techniques by giving him a task walking in small circles. Sometimes that works...others it doesnt. He is beyond sweet on the ground. Our ground work could use some time. The left lead is fine ..but getting him to go to the right .... he often will stop and face me and I have to reel in the lunge line... try to move to the left to get his hind quarters moving so he is traveling a clock wise position...and he will back up and keep facing me. Oh yeah and he used to back up when we tried to get on him...until I started check strapping him (pulling the cheek strap to his bridal around to me while getting on) so he doesn't try that anymore. He works best with light leg aids and keeping off of his mouth. All of that said... I am trying to sell him and I am lousy at it. My ad says experienced rider and you would not believe all of the people that bring their kids (gee just like me)

A trainer finally came out with a student of hers that wanted him. He was awful for them. No one was more surprised than me when they announced..."we like him!" I let them take him for a week trial and he came back 3 days later. The horse was too much for the girl they said. What do I do now? How do I sell a horse with these issues with out be a used car salesmen like the people that sold him to me.......I do not have time or the experience to invest in training. Any advise would be appreciated.

Thanks, Karen

Hi Karen,

I have heard your story from quite a few distressed folks over the years. So, what you are going through is not uncommon at all. It is such a shame when this happens. There are a lot of unethical folks out there just like the person who sold you the horse in the first place. Don't be hard on yourself. Some lessons come easier and some more difficult. What is most important is that this does not turn you or your daughter off to horses. There are many great horses needing good homes. There are other horses out there that are perfect for you and your family.

Selling this horse is a dilemma for sure. Actually it is illegal to mis-represent the attributes of a horse. You could have prosecuted this individual or stable that sold you the horse if you could have done it within a reasonable length of time after buying the horse. Too much time has gone by for that to be an option now. The trainer that came out probably considered the horse for a student because it was to be a challenge for the student. Unfortunately, a horse that old is so habituated to its behavior pattern, that only a lot of of experienced training can rehabilitate it. The trainer was right to bring it back once it was determined to be too much for the student. You don't really have a lot of options. If you give the horse away, chances are it will go to someone who will abuse it to try to make it behave. Again, a very unfortunate choice. Best you can do for the horse is to be patient and attempt to place it with someone who is knowledgeable, a gentle trainer and will not simply try to beat the horse into being submissive. There is no easy answer here. Perhaps asking around to try and find folks who own their own ranch and have room for the horse (as opposed to someone who has to pay to board the horse) and those folks would be willing to ake him on as a project. Horses like this frequently end up slaughtered. Where are you located? Perhaps there is a horse santurary not far from you who will take him in as well. There are now many such places around the country. Check out . They specialize in wild horses, but occasionally may take in a horse such as yours. If they cannot, they may be able to turn you on to someplace that does. The sancturary is headed up by a wonderful woman named Neda DeMayo. Good Luck and please let me know the outcome.

Sincerely, Franklin

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