Buying a Horse--Find Out What They did Before
Animal Habits and Behaviour
How many of you have had training for a job, or even for things that were done at home, and later on when you were no longer in need of this training, found it hard to forget it or do things another way. For example, my training in a restaurant kitchen taught me to chop and clean food, a certain way, for in the food business, you had to be able to move and preform your duties in a quick fashion?
Well, animals have this one trait in common with us. There are breeds of horses that are used primarily for one thing, for example the thoroughbred has been used for racing.
This hub is about the different horses that I have bought over the years, that had this exact thing happen to them, and then, unfortunately, they happened to me. Here is what I mean....
Guitana, which is spanish for gypsy, was a rather large and well put together quarter horse mare. The first few years of her life, she was a race horse, and won more than several times during her career. In horse racing, they are well known to retire horses at a very young age, and then they usually carry on with their lives either for breeding, or they are sold to other people. Well, both happened to Guitana. She was bred, had a colt, and after that was sold, and then sold, and then sold, and so on.
Why was she being passes from home to home? New owners wondered and the older owners knew. Due to her racing, she had been given to a couple of habits that appearantly were tough to solve. One thing she did, and I could not do anything about this myself, was no matter what type of bit she learned that she could either grab it between her teeth and run with it, or she would stretch her neck out and stain until she worked the bit under her tongue. She was rather proficient at it and had it down to about 15 - 30 seconds. She would be OK with it like that, but if you did not know about it, she could not be stopped no matter what you did.
Nobody told me about this, and I found out one day on the trail and unfortunately for my mother, she was riding with me that day on Guitana. We decided to hurry the pace up a little, and that was all it took. Guitana was on the racetrack again, but only in her head. My mom was thrown and it took me a couple of hours to catch up with Guitana.
Another horse I had with invisible behavior was a grey horse named Princess. She was a half Arab mix and was real fun to ride, for she never seemed to get tired. One day, a friend and I were planning a day in the mountains, and we had packed food and clothing on the back of our saddles for the days needs. About an hour or so into our ride, we came across a dried riverbed. Princess stopped. I nudged her forward, gave her another more direct kick in the ribs, and nothing. She just stood there. The next thing I knew there was no horse under me and I was straddling my horse who had dropped out from under me and proceeded to roll, saddle, clothes, food and all. She stood up when she was done, shook off (right) and looked at me like --"OK, I'm done, lets go, what are you waiting for?" Needless to say the food was not edible, what was left of it.
Horse, a part quarter, part Morgan and I think somewhere in his background had been some kind of draft horse, for he was big. As big as he was, he was just as gentle too. He was a good horse for the kids, except for the size, but for a kid who was experienced and could climb, he was wonderful. By the way, Horse was his name, not just what he was.
He had been used on a working cattle ranch most of his life, but had gotten a little too old to keep up the hard work, and so he was sold to a family who would give him a little easier lifestyle. Then I bought him, and it was not secret about his background, for everything was explained to me. That is everything except that nobody ever told horse he had retired. Every time we came upon cattle, or even one cow, he went into action and would try to herd the animals back to who knows. Between Horse, and my border collie the poor guy across the street had no peace, for they both wanted to break out of home fences and herd the mans cattle up onto his patio. They made a very good team I have to admit, but I never did admit it to the neighbor, who thought these animals belonged to someone else.
There are all kinds of things like this that can and do effect the way a horse will behave. Lucero was half belgium and half quarter horse. He stood easily 171/2 hands and was a gentle giant who until we found out his problem, often was ridden by my landladies 5 yr old daughter. He was extremely well mannered and behaved better than any other horse I had ever ridden. One day I was riding with a friend, when a large pepsi delivery truck went by. Lucero broke and ran like his tail was on fire. Somewhere in his past he had been hit by a truck just like it, but the previous owners had failed to tell me for they thought he was over it when he had healed up. He had healed physically only.
So, in ending all these stories I must say, that no matter what you have to do, dont be in a hurry when you buy a horse, take your time, and even delay the purchase until you have had the opportunity to ride the animal at least a couple of times, and in as many situations as possible, from traffic, to cattle, to roads, and sand, for you never know when or what might set off a horse you do not know very well, and it could be a child that gets hurt as a result. Be thorough, and be careful.