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I think I'm putting down my difficult horse

(452 Posts)
whattodowheretogo Tue 12-Jun-18 12:53:12

I've posted about my horse on here before but I'd just like some last minute opinions.

I bought him a year ago from a TB breeder and trainer as she felt that she was too old for a horse like him and she couldn't sit his spooks.

No ground manners, didn't know where to put his feet, didn't respond to pressure.

I wanted a project and he was one in every sense of the word. I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him.

When I tried him out he was good, but at the end, he took off with me across the field and didn't stop until he physically couldn't go any further. I wasn't concerned about that, I just figured he was green and overwhelmed and these things would come with time.

When we got him home he needed a chifney to be taken anywhere or he would just set his neck and try to canter off (my ex was looking after him for a lot of the time - he's a racehorse trainer and rehab yard owner so he knows what he's doing!) and even he would struggle with him.

Through the months his ground manners improved but to this day he can suddenly try to drag you somewhere and canter off.

His biggest issues are ridden. I've had many rides on him when he's simply decided to take off and nothing can stop him until he's done himself in. One lesson I had we were cantering for so long with him screeching round the corners and bucking that I was getting lightheaded. My trainer couldn't do anything but stand and watch.

He will do things like take off, then screech to a halt in front of the fence, then shoot off again.

I've taken everything right back to basics, over the winter I worked solely on the ground with him, teaching him the saddle and bridle is a positive thing, we learnt to stand stock still at the mountain block, yield to pressure etc.

But he is so unpredictable - he'll do a nasty spook at "nothing", just completely drop his shoulder.

I've spent months just walking and trotting in the school to make it a nice calm experience for him. I've honestly tried everything.

He's just messed up his only saving grace - to hack he is brilliant and super calm. But this weekend he took one look at something on the floor, bolted for home and ran into the main road. I came off, got concussion and fractured my foot.

I've been riding for 17 years, I'll ride literally anything. I ride friend's difficult horses for them if they've come off and had accidents and have a great time. But there's just something about this horse that I just think.. what is it going to take?

I'm so thankful that this wasn't a worse injury for either me or him.

I'm pretty certain that I'm going to put him down. It's something I've discussed with my vet before after he remarked what a difficult git he was.

I feel like it would be unfair on him to pass him on, I'd worry about how he'd be treated given all his quirks, whether he'd be passed on again etc but also I'd worry that he may seriously injure himself or someone else.


whattodowheretogo Tue 12-Jun-18 12:57:13

Just something I've forgotten to add:

In the last three months, he's had his teeth done, saddle checked twice, the chiro, spinal x-rays which were clear and a full lameness work up, and he got the all clear on everything.

He's turned out every day with ad-lib forage and is exercised at least four times a week doing a variety of things.

Bodear Tue 12-Jun-18 12:58:34

Can he not see out his days without being ridden? I understand why you don’t want to persevere with that but to pts seems so harsh.

villainousbroodmare Tue 12-Jun-18 13:01:04

It's what I would do.

RatherBeRiding Tue 12-Jun-18 13:02:36

Well you definitely can't pass him to anyone else but I agree - can he not just live out in a field? It's not really his fault - possibly it's his breeding (some race-bred TBs are just bloody nuts - or it might even be something like a tumour somewhere, although if he's always been "difficult" then I'm wondering if it's just the way he is.)

Pasithea Tue 12-Jun-18 13:05:16

You cannot pass him on god knows what will happen to him. I’ve been there , The only fair thing to do for him is to pts. He’s obviously for some reason not a happy horse. At least then he is causing no harm to himself or others and your not constantly wondering where he is and if he’s happy.

However. I have a friend who sent hers to the equine blood bank. He lives in a herd and is brought in twice a year to give blood apart from that he has no contact with humans due to infection control. She couldn’t face having him put down and is happier with that decision.

It’s the hardest decision to make. Good luck with your choice.

Whatsforu Tue 12-Jun-18 13:09:58

I was ready to come on here and say there is plenty to try however in all honesty you have done an incredible amount. Some horses have a dangerous streak that no amount of work will shift. When this is the case it is safer to pts harsh as that sounds. You, another member of the public or horse are going to get seriously hurt.

smerlin Tue 12-Jun-18 13:25:16

I wouldn't feel guilty about PTS. He has no concept of the future or how long a horse is 'meant' to live so no need to anthropomorphise the issue. Horses, to an extent, are working animals and despite our closeness and bond with horses over the centuries, few would have any qualms about euthanising other animals bred for a purpose who proved unsuitable such as livestock so not sure why horses are different?

GOODCAT Tue 12-Jun-18 13:32:48

I have one a bit like this. Tried everything I could think of and spent a lot of money. I classed myself as experienced until I came across her. She could be ridden by someone better than me, but I couldn't find anyone who wanted to do so and who was capable enough without paying them. I wasn't willing to spend more money and wasn't willing to pass her on as she was so bad.

I retired her and she lives out in a small herd. She remains unpredictable even in that setting. Something tiny will trigger a massive reaction while the others continue grazing.

I kept her because there was nothing physically wrong and my other horses liked her. I don't allow people to go near her without a warning and only allow experienced people to do so. She is good in only 2 situations having her hooves picked and having fly spray on. The rest of the time she is unpredictable. The last time the vet came her heart rate was really high but to look at her you would think she was calm. After 20 minutes her heart rate dropped and the vet was happy to deal with her. She is overly fearful but you cannot tell to look at her. Ridden she would go from appearing to have no worries to wanting you off her immediately with no thought to anything else. Professional racehorse riders had no issues although they considered her far from straightforward.

She is the same age as one of my others and when that horse passes away she will be put to sleep as I will then stop owning horses. I couldn't bring myself to put her down when I decided to stop trying but would not judge anyone who did.

She will have a lifetime living out in a small group so she isn't stuck in a stable but she genuinely enjoyed hacking out and isn't getting the sort out life she should have had. Weirdly she is the favourite in the herd amongst the horses. They can clearly see something I don't.

Ostagazuzulum Tue 12-Jun-18 13:40:46

I understand what you're saying about how difficult he is but essentially you want to put a healthy horse down because he can't be ridden safely???? I think that's dreadful.

Aprilshouldhavebeenmyname Tue 12-Jun-18 13:45:10

Lots of alternatives up thread op - hope you can consider one...

ReadytoTalk Tue 12-Jun-18 13:50:08

I think that you've done everything that you could reasonably be expected to do for this horse. You only owned him for a year and you've tried everything and he still isn't coming right. If he was a dream on the ground then maybe you could retire him as a companion but you haven't said how old he is. If he's only 10 for eg then you could be paying to keep a dangerous horse that you can't ride for 20 years. That's absolute madness. The horse won't know that he's been put down and if he struggles with daily life to that extent then is it fair on him anyway to stick him in a field and leave him to his neurosis? You obviously know already that you certainly can't sell him on. God knows where he would end up. I think you have a responsibility to him to do the right thing.

whattodowheretogo Tue 12-Jun-18 14:10:31

He's 9. If I choose to keep him I could have him for another 20+ years. If I had my own land, or even lived in a place where there was ample room, then of course I would let him love out his days as a non ridden horse. But that's an ideal world scenario.

I live in the city and trying to find places to keep your horse round here is like hen's teeth. The majority of the yards around here are full livery only. It took me three months to find this place for him when me and my ex split. It's £400 a month for assisted DIY, plus everything else that goes with being a horse.

I invest all available time and money I have into keeping him - he wants for nothing! I bought a horse to ride and enjoy and I need to think about what is best for us both.

Is me paying hundreds a month for a horse I can't enjoy, and who could end up seriously injuring himself or someone else for the next 25 years practical? Not really, no.

MyKingdomForBrie Tue 12-Jun-18 14:14:34

Bloodbank? Companion?

BrokeAndBad Tue 12-Jun-18 14:16:58


Too many other horses needing homes. Yea it's great if you have (enough) land to keep, but sadly 99% of us don't have that luxury

Well done for doing the right thing by him

Peacefulbanana Tue 12-Jun-18 14:18:16

my frind has just sent their ex racer to 'New beginnings' charity based in Yorkshire . maybe check that?

OrlandoTheMarmaladeCat Tue 12-Jun-18 14:19:20

Honestly, I would PTS. You've tried a lot, given him a lot of time and you don't have your own land to retire him to. This means you also have to consider the safety of anyone else handling him. PTS is not the worst thing that can happen to him. Best wishes.

zenasfuck Tue 12-Jun-18 14:20:29

Has he been scoped for ulcers ?

MakeTheManSomeFuckingEggs Tue 12-Jun-18 14:23:02

I think you have tried a lot harder than most op. I wouldnt want the responsibility of knowing that he could one day walk out of a lorry into someone's yard.

Agent13 Tue 12-Jun-18 14:24:50

I’m sorry I don’t know anything about horses so I’m sure you’ll all think me terribly soft and naive but is this really what happens? They’re put to sleep because they don’t want to be ridden? How sad and horrible. sad

UrsulaPandress Tue 12-Jun-18 14:24:53

You poor thing. What a terrible situation to be in. I'd probably try every avenue before making the decision to pts.

ReadytoTalk Tue 12-Jun-18 14:30:27

Honestly id pts and get a horse who can do the job you want him for.

Pinkgeorge Tue 12-Jun-18 14:46:01
Could you let him go somewhere like this?

DiplomaticDecorum Tue 12-Jun-18 14:48:21

I'd PTS or perhaps pass him onto one of those up thread that want to keep him forever hmm.

ReadytoTalk Tue 12-Jun-18 14:59:02

Why should a welfare charity take him on? He isn't a welfare case.

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