You never seize to be amazed...

A few years ago I received a phone call from the owner of an Arab. She had to sell the horse for personal reasons and asked if I wanted to buy it. I knew this horse because he had had some problems being started under saddle. For the first 20 minutes, you just had to survive, after which you could ride it very well. We were asked for advice at that time. It was not an option for the owner to put him in training with us, and we lost track of each other. In principle, we do not buy horses, because we prefer to take on horses that would otherwise be sent to slaughter because of behavioural issues. The asking price for the Arab was also much too high, so I advised her to sell the horse through the ‘regular’ circuit. 

 

More than three months later she called again. She had honestly told every buyer that he was very difficult for the first 20 minutes. The logical consequence was that every rider who wanted to try him,  braced himself and held on tight, which unfortunately did not have a positive effect at all. The story went that he had neatly deposited 17 people off his back within 20 minutes; he had become a professional rodeo horse. She now had only one way out and that was to take this horse to slaughter. That really went too far for me, so we took on the horse for meat money. We never actually encountered any problem in handling this horse. You occasionally wondered if it was a real Arab, he was so calm. We had a bit more work dissolving his tension under the saddle. Sometimes he would suddenly bolt, but after a few weeks that behaviour was almost gone. 

 

Then an intern came. A nice girl with very good feeling for the horses. Soon we were able to let her work with the more difficult horses. But the only horse she refused to take in or out was this Arab. On the last day of her internship, the truth came out; she was from the yard where this horse had previously been. And in the past, if he had to be turned out or brought back in, the rest of the stable workers would go into their own horse’s boxes for safety, or sit in their car with the doors closed… The Arab had been that explosive! We had really never seen this behaviour from him. We had a challenge in the riding, sure, but on the ground he was always as calm as you like. Amazing how different associations can affect a horse… 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *