Monday, June 25, 2012

Why I had to fire a customer

I have talked about the boarded horse a few times, let me share the Readers Digest version of the story.  I met RB4 through a Craigslist ad back in Feb or March when I was looking for a riding buddy to get the boys in shape since I can't seem to find the time to ride both of them, you probably know that by now lol. She is a good bit older but we get along well, she really likes my horses and loves Sinatra.  We rode until May when she decided to bring one of her horses over so she could ride him more.  She has 2 hackney ponies she drives (maybe twice a year though), a yearling and a 10yr old, severely obese gelding.  The gelding she said she rode maybe 4 times the year before and wanted to get him back in shape.  He was on 24x7 turnout but said he was ok in a stall when she would put him in one when the farrier came.

She brought the gelding, I will call him C, over and I had problems with him from the first day.  The first night he was here he charged me when I went to clean out a pee spot he had left in front of his gate and he would have succeeded in running over me and perhaps through the gate if I hadn't broke a stall fork on his neck.  The next morning he completely flipped out when I tried to turn the donkey out and tried to jump the stall gate.  I tried shutting his door and he slammed himself into the walls and door so I just turned him out first.  He ran around screaming his head off until I brought everyone else out. 

He has zero respect for space or my bubble and has no problem running into you.  I have done some groundwork with him and while he is okay most of the time, he has still ran into me about a dozen times, knocked me to the ground  a few times and just plain won't move unless you hit him really hard.  Every single day when I would bring in or out he would "spook" at something either on the way in or out.  Eventually I started smacking him in his nose every time he would spook to try to keep him from spooking into me (which happened three times). 

He would totally flip out in his stall if there wasn't a horse directly next to him, he tried really, really hard to put his front legs over top of my 10 foot stall wall and almost succeeded once because I saw his hooves when I smacked his nose with a whip.  I was never able to ride both of my horses at the same time without him, we tried three times.  The second and third time I made his owner be here so she could see his behavior because she insisted he didn't act like that.  He dug through my limestone base in the stall twice, has knocked a support beam so that it is currently crooked and broke 2 door latches as he threw himself against the door because we were trying to leave with my horses.  He is just as bad in the pasture if he isn't brought in first, with someone else of course.  He tried running through my electric fence until he hit it and realized I have it running about 12,000 volts (big charger, little fence), he didn't ever try a second time.

This past Friday I was turning out and I had the App and C (since I can't turn him out alone or leave him in alone).  C "spooked" at the poo box that lives in the barn, that he walks in front of at least twice a day.  I got after him and kept going and he "spooked" again, this time he didn't bump me and bounce off me, he literally ran me over and then drug me 10 feet when I refused to let go of the lead rope.  I suspect I have torn the cartilage in my knee again, pretty badly too.  I have a MRI on July 2nd and will see if it will require surgery, I am pretty certain it will.  I called his owner that day and told her it wasn't working out, he keeps hurting me and he had to go home. 

When she came over on Sunday, he loaded into my trailer fine but was making a huge ruckus and was shaking the entire trailer.  Finally it stopped so we brought him home.  Turns out he had put his foot in my hay net that was hanging about 4 feet off of the ground.  His forearm was well above horizontal, to give an idea how high he would have been pawing to do this.  RB4 made the comment this is why she doesn't haul with hay nets, went in in and tried to take his leg out and couldn't.  I, stupidly, hobbled in (on my crutch) to see the situation as RB4 decided to get a pair of scissors.  As she hopped out, C made a renewed effort to free himself, rearing up, slamming the trailer walls and finally ripping the tie ring out of my trailer.  He pinned me against the wall and stepped on my foot before I was able to duck out.  Her comment to me?  "You just couldn't wait a moment could you".   I hadn't done a thing except stand there.  She unloaded him and just kept commenting about now he is with his friends and hopefully his bad behavior will go away since she never had a problem with him there.  We hung around for about 15 mins and left.  Even at the end she didn't see how his behavior was an issue and didn't even recognize that he did nice damage to my trailer.  Ugh.

I really don't know if she will remain friends with me.  She was very offended that I kicked C out as she doesn't see his behavior to be a problem.  She did say to keep in touch and let her know when I start riding again so I certainly will, hopefully we can salvage the relationship and she doesn't stay offended that I can't stand her horse.


  1. As usual I'm behind on reading your blog. I don't think I'll ever stay caught up unfortunately. I will be back though.

    Thank you for your comment on my recent post about Chrome. I know Chrome's not ready for cavaletti (they are only really helpful at the trot and canter I think), but I think the ground poles will help him stretch his back and lengthen his stride (he still walks with a short stride while carrying me). I probably should wait a while before doing them though because I don't want him to pull a muscle. Hmm, we'll see. I know I'm overly cautious, but I'd prefer to prevent a problem than have to figure out how to solve a problem LOL!

    Chrome will walk around with his nose almost on the ground, but I don't really like that because then there's no way to steer or anything. I agree with you that I like where he has it right now. That's probably all the stretch he needs to do at the moment anyway. :)

    Yeah, being so tall makes it very difficult to use my leg efficiently on him because he's still so narrow. I'm not too concerned about that right now. I know at three that their leg growth plates are usually closed, but those aren't the ones I'm worried about (although that is why I waited until he was three to ride him). I'm worried about the growth plates in his spine because they don't harden until six or seven years old!! That means horses under seven years old are at risk of having their spines damaged. I know I'm not doing anything crazy on him like jumping him or vaulting onto his back, but I still worry about long term damage or weakening. They say a young horse should only carry 15% of their own body weight. I'm closer to 20% of his body weight. I'm sure that's not that big of a deal, but I'm a total perfectionist so those things cross my mind. I'm having fun with him and not worrying about it constantly though (although that's how it sounds in the post), just doing some thinking and trying to decide how I want to proceed (as I am, or take a break). Dunno. I'll follow my gut and see where that takes us. :) Thank you for you comment!! It's fun discussing these things with my readers.

  2. Wow seriously?? Could she be anymore blind toward him?? I think you did the right thing. Getting hurt by that horse isn't worth the friendship. :( I really hope that horse doesn't hurt anyone else.... he sounds dangerous.