Okay, I first posted here about a week ago, asking about opinions of
HYPP. I valued them all, and decided not to buy the mare who tested
positive for it.
HOWEVER, since then, my husband fell in love with a green broke(?) 5 yr.
old +/-17hh English Shire gelding. He is such a sweetheart! While
negotiating the deal with the seller, the reason he said he was selling
was twofold. He bought the horse for his wife as a suprise birthday
present. Her response: "I wanted a white one!" (*gasp* What is it they
say about a gift horse?) The other reason is he said they just don't
have time for him. The seller now lives in GA and commutes between
there and his other businesses here in MI, so he says they just haven't
been able to give him the attention. His wife has a white Lip/Arab cross
gelding and she doesn't spend any time with the shire (I believe he said
something like: "He loves her to death, follows her around like a puppy,
but she hates him" Nice, huh?) There is also a Standardbred mare.
Both of these horses terrorize the Shire. He is always "on the lookout"
when they come near him, although he is much larger than they.
Anyway, we showed up with the trailer and the owner was anxiously
waiting. (more like nervously) The gelding was already in a sweat. He
had all 3 horses running loose in the barn, and wanted us to back our
trailer up to the door so he could just open the door and coax him in
the trailer with a bucket of grain. He also had a halter that ("Ought
to be good enough to get him home, I put an extra hole in it, but it
won't last long") was made for a light horse, single ply, and a
buckled in a hole that was within 1/2 inch from the end. Thankfully, I
brought my Percheron mare's halter along. Much better fit!
Well, anyway, to make a short story long (I'm trying to give some
background on the events of the last 2 days), I switched his halter, he
seemed to be pretty nervous, and was pacing a little, but the other two
horses were getting grain, and he wasn't. I took him out of the barn
(we had to rush out so they could shut the door before the other two
bolted). The seller was really antsy, and wanted to run up to the front
of the trailer with a bucket of grain. He seemed so afraid that he
wouldn't load. He said he CAN'T get that lovely white lip/arab cross on
a trailer if his life depended on it. I asked him if he would just let
me try to get him in the trailer. He backed off for a second, but when
the big guy stopped at the entry to sniff the floor, the seller started
again about the grain and him following any one with food. He was very
jumpy around this horse. I finally asked my husband to "go finish the
financial part" so he would GO AWAY! Within a few seconds, he sniffed
all he needed and stepped into the trailer.
He didn't crowd me. He didn't give me any indication that he was
anything other that a little concerned about what was happening. I
stayed with him for a bit, then exited the trailer. We stood and talked
for a moment, got the papers, etc. and he stood quietly in the trailer.
No problems. (The owner couldn't wait to get out of there) We had to
stop at the farriers on the way home because his BADLY neglected feet
were so spread and cracked that we werent even sure that he wasn't going
to go lame. The owner said that he hasn't had his feet done since
November. He forgot to mention which year. He also made the comment,
AFTER we bought him specifically for my husband: "He isn't really fond
of men." Almost made ole' Jim run the other way.
He stayed on the trailer for about 25 minutes while they finished up a
Perch. stallion. Very quietly, and calmly. No stomping, occasional
shifting. otherwise fine. We got him out, put him in the stocks. Got
his feet done, no major problems, just a few cracks that will need to
grow out. Loaded him back on the trailer and away we went. From the
time we picked him up until we pulled into the driveway, was about 3
I'm sorry this is taking so long, but I want to be thorough.
My husband wanted to spend a few minutes with him, to bond a little. I
went to go pick up our daughter. While I was gone, he was brushing him
out, he said he seemed to like that, although a little ticklish under
the belly. Then it came feeding time. Here's where the problems
Our barn is both a riding and boarding stable, which was quite busy with
boarders, horses, music, children, etc. All the horses that are only
daily turnout were brought in. The big guy was in the cross ties, back
to the aisle, and BOOM! He reared straight up in the air and then lunged
forward. My husband said it looked as if he was going to rip out the
posts. He came back down, and stepped around for a little while, and
went up in the air again. My husband panicked and rushed to put him out
in the pasture. He was afraid because there were loose horses (they let
them run in two or three at a time, and they go into their stalls) and
other people and children who could get hurt. Well, we watched him for
a while, and they all went through the pecking order thing, but things
seemed okay. Our Perch. mare was in there as well as 6 other light
horses. He and she hooked up rather quickly. (almost as if they knew
they were the same type) So we went home for the night.
Today, after work, my daughter and I went out to work with him. He
came right up to us in the field. We led him out, put him in the cross
ties, and started grooming. There was one horse in the stall for some
down time, carrying on, screaming and yelling because he wanted out.
Got the big guy a little nervous, but nothing too bad. Things again went
well, until feeding time. The horses started again, and he went
straight up in the air again. The first time caught me off guard,
luckily I was a little to the side, but his hoof came down and brushed
my forearm. No harm done, a little scratch, but it could have been WAY
worse (head, face, etc.) I had an extra lead hooked to him that was
dropped to the ground, I grabbed it and jerked him back down. (WOW,
what a scary sight, a HUGE horse like that standing straight up in the
air, dinner plates 8" wide. Not easy to get over.) Any way. He went up
again when they led a stallion through and I was ready. I jerked him as
soon as he was on his way up. he came back down and was trying to turn
to see the horse going behind him. I then got hold of a stud chain. (I
prefer not to, but will if necessary) For the remainder of the
grooming, I held that chain, and any time he even looked like he was
going again, I gave him a few good yanks. I also purposefully turned
him so that he could see the horses as they went behind him and around
the other side.
I took him out for about 10 minutes, lunged him both ways, and he seemd
fine. I put him away, pulled out our perch mare. He didn't like that
much, paced the fence for a minute or two, then went about eating. I
went to him in the field several times just to see if he would let me
come up to him. No problems. Calm, let me pet him. etc.
The only reason I have posted such a long one, with all the details is
for clarity. Frankly, I'm a little worried that we may have made a
mistake. I was fully aware that his feet were neglected, I chose to buy
him anyway. I was fully aware that he was only ridden a few times. I
chose to buy him anyway. I knew he may give me problems loading. I
chose to buy him anyway. This rearing up in the cross ties thing is
very scary. He has a tendency to paw when he is up, too, so I don't
know which way his feet are going.
This is a very dangerous situation, I already know that. I guess I just
need some advice. Has anyone experienced this type of behaviour before
in an otherwise gentle animal. I think that the previous owners were
scared to death of him, and that's why he was so anxious to get him in a
trailer. I think he was a great big dog, but because of his
intimidating size, was allowed to do whatever he wanted, without
correction. I also think he was really scared (possibly because his
former stable mates beat the snot out of him so much) when the horses
were running around behind him and he couldn't really see where. He
also was trapped with no way away from them. I also realize, this is
only day 2. Needless to say, my husband is now intimidated by him, and
my daughter is afraid of him. I am afraid, but refuse to show it, and
let him get away with it. I don't want this behaviour to go on. I don't
want anyone to get hurt.
He's absolutely gorgeous with a great disposition, except for this.