The first horse I refused to train by Stacy Westfall

16 Dec

For many years I accepted any horse for training. Maybe they were bred to be famous or maybe they were unregistered and abused. Either way, I would take them. 30 days, 60 days, three years. All were possible if you just paid your bill.stick n string

Until one day….

A man called and asked if I would train his horse for 30 days. I said ‘yes’ and we set the date for the horse to arrive. I asked him some general questions about the horse, which was a two year old, and about his goals, which was to ride it.

I gave my general disclaimer about ‘30 days of training doesn’t equal a broke horse’ (the real speech is five minutes or longer) but he made it clear that money WAS an issue and he only wanted 30 days.

I thought, ‘OK, I get it. Money is an issue and I will do my best…but I am not sure he ‘heard’ me when I explained the horse won’t be solid after 30 days…..’

So I made a mental note to give the ’30 days speech’ again when he dropped the horse off.

He arrived in the evening, after work, after dark, with his horse. I gave my speech again and this time it was received even more poorly. He was only paying for 30 days and I needed to get my job done.

Understanding financial pressure and trying to size up what he wanted to achieve in 30 days….aside from ‘rideable’….which is a matter of opinion in many cases….I began asking more goal oriented questions.4H

Frustrated at dealing with my many questions and clearly irritated that ‘riding’ could mean more than ‘riding’ he finally stated that he was planning on having his son ride the horse in 4-H that coming summer.

So I gave the ’30 days’ speech….again. He didn’t appreciate it.

Jesse was finishing things up in the barn for the night and I decided to work the horse for just a few minutes in the arena. I knew I needed to accomplish a lot in 30 days and the sooner I started the better. The horse led decently down the isle and into the indoor arena.

I attached a lunge line and picked up a stick and string. The horse seemed quiet enough and I began rubbing him all over with the stick and string. It went well and the horse didn’t mind at all. I began to relax.

I lead him to the middle and asked him to lunge around me. He walked out and began to  trot a circle around me…maybe someone had done some work with him.stick n string off side

One circle, two circles and then he turned toward me and charged, ears pinned. Stunned, I jumped to the right and swung the stick to make contact with his neck. He swerved to avoid me like a pro and headed back out to the circle.

“Jeesssse!” I yelled to my husband as the horse circled me. I felt like a mouse being circled by a hawk. ‘Yeah?’ he responded as the horse dove at me again.

‘HELP!’ That brought Jesse running.

With no time to explain and no ‘good’ spot to stop in sight I asked him to join me in the circle. He took the rope, I took the stick and in two more circles when the horse dove in again, ears pinned, I was able to stand my ground and hit his left side of his neck several times. Finally he stopped facing us at the end of the line seeming to contemplate his next move.

I filled Jesse in and after a few minutes rest decided to give the horse the benefit of doubt. Maybe this was his first time and he was just testing me out. It sure felt like he had done it before but….

We, Jesse and I, went several more ‘rounds’ with the horse; who did improve but never lost the hawk like study of us. We found a ‘good’ place to end (horse not charging us!) and put him away.

And I started thinking. Not so much about the horse…but about the owner.

The owner wasn’t listening already, was not open to my thoughts and ideas. He was just upset that 30 days and rideable wasn’t clear enough. Would he ‘hear’ me when I explained his horse was tough? Would he care? Who had taught this horse to charge? Didn’t he say he wanted his son to ride this horse? When I say this horse is not kid safe will he listen?

He hadn’t ‘listened’ up to this point so I had no reason to believe he would begin now. And now there was a child involved.

No. I wasn’t willing to be involved in this.

I called the owner…and he was mad. Mad isn’t strong enough. He was HOT!

The horse stayed at my house less than 24 hours.

Let me be clear here. I have dealt with worse horses. ‘Bad’ horses don’t bother me….I find them exciting and interesting.

Owners who won’t listen are a losing formula. Things are hard enough if the owner is in agreement with me…but when they are not, no one is going to be happy.

For me, this was a turning point. I moved the ‘goal setting’ conversation to the beginning of the process….well before the horses arrived. If the owners goals didn’t line up with what I was willing to do, or participate in, then the horse didn’t come.

If more trainers, and owners, would draw a line in the sand based on their values the world would be a better place for horses.

PSP.S.-Oh, in case you are wondering what became of the horse….

I ran into the owner at the county fair in the fall. He was still REALLY angry but made it a point to let me know his son HAD shown at the fair on the horse. Yes, he had shown and he had been dumped three times during the fair that week. But he had shown.

I walked away knowing that the owner felt glad that he had proven me wrong.

I felt good that I had NOT participated in the craziness. If your child being dumped three times at the fair is your idea of success…I don’t want to be on your team.


Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Thought provoking, Training


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226 responses to “The first horse I refused to train by Stacy Westfall

  1. Missie

    December 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I agree. Not worth the 30 day $ for one horse.

    • debbie kevins

      December 16, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Bought a green broke 3 year old 8 years ago. A beginner rider…the horse was a bully and did some of the scariest stuff ever including charging, teeth chomping, and cow kicks. I learnt a lot over these years and he is a good boy now helping me learn dressage but so much has happened along the way including me having to control my fear and fear induced rage, I am better for the experience but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! Still, for me personally it was in many ways a challenge for my “inner” growth as well as a benefit for him that someone had the time to take it slow. Also had many pro’s helping and giving advice! Feel sorry for this horse as he will probably end up hurting someone and get a lot of that fear rage turned back at him.

    • Liz Wyatt

      December 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm

      Stacey, i have messed with my fair share, but no where near as many as you. Being a horse seller, i usually pick up everyone’s rejects at sales or horses with issues. Most have turned out to be person error but i have had a few real challenges. I worked for a man who would buy every horse in a sale that acted up in the ring BC they were obviously cheaper. Horses are the easiest to deal with, owners not so much. I know in my heart not all horses are what we as humans consider “college graduate material”, and also a lot are barely “high school graduate” material. Some have physical or mental limitations that are no fault of their own. Some have issues from early on, and i have had the opportunity to deal with a gaited mule that was seemingly born innately hateful. He hit the ground and after imprinting still was pissed he was in open air and had to mind humans. He left the farm as a very deceitful gelding and i have all ideas even after how e\well and stern we treated him hes like that still today. I applaud you for continuing with “public training” and know all too well the “speech” and how people want you to make sunflower horses from the crap they leave you in 30 days BC of finances. I try to get people to come the last week or during training to learn to work with their horses and learn the new cues, but often times even that is a hassle and they just expect them to go home “broke”. You my dear, keep on keeping on with the awesomeness you are, and with the gift you have. I know now and am comfortable knowing I can never please everyone 100% of the time, but i can sure try. And trying is the best you can do. Happy trails, Liz Wyatt

      • Lori B.

        July 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        Well said Liz Wyatt!!

    • Robin GREELY

      December 16, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      I would have saved that horse from that owner if it was me . Wouldn’t you have wanted better for that animal?

      • Liz

        December 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        Unless one happens to be incredibly independently wealthy with unlimited pastures and stalls, saving every horse with a crap owner is just not an option. Pretty soon you end up out of money, out of room, and no hay in the horses’ bellies. I wouldn’t judge her taking a pass on that one.

      • Lisa Layton

        December 20, 2013 at 7:23 pm

        I absolutely agree, because I did that to myself, and it is a dark spot I would never go back to. Stacy made the right choice. I feel for the mans child, and the horse, but there is only so much each person can do. You just can’t save them all.

      • Tracy Johnson

        December 6, 2014 at 11:24 am

        Robin i understand where you are coming from but with due respect, i have to disagree with you. Being a Trainer, is a gift given by god and if Stacy was to rescue this horse, how many horses would she have ended up with before she drew the line in the sand and said no, i have no more room to put another rescue. This horse was a real challenge and with a child involved too, she did the right thing in saying “no, I can not and will not be a part of this. There is a lot of danger in training horses as well as working with them on a daily basis. If the horse threw the boy three time then he is still a challenge. You have to know where to draw the line.

      • Claire James

        December 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm

        doesn’t sound like the owner would have been prepared to sell. So saving him wouldn’t have been possible anyway.

  2. Jimmy Driver

    December 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    The owners can be the most difficult part of working with horses as you and Jessie have learned too. Hope you have a Merry Christmas

  3. Danalynn Bishop

    December 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    amen he would just sell the horse after you fixed it…he stated the son to get more training out of you hopefully and if he didn’t he would blame saw all the signs and your are here to tell the story.. that parent should be turned in..for sure.. someone took time with it and probably gave up after you did… its what we all have to do in business…Ive had very few ..I simply turned down to show property to or write something on…my one thing is ..if they don’t understand the paperwork…I can be sued…those I let go..the other type is when I work with a seller and they want to low ball it…I will send them directly to another agent… They have been glad… You did the right thing and that man cant blame or sue you for what he wouldn’t accept…I applaud you for your guts

  4. Karla

    December 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for this. It really set my mind at easy. I recently turned down looking at a beautiful horse to some what of a situation. The person was trying to get rid of him was told first he was a 14 year old gelding well trained. What I was looking for. As things went on they said they didn’t want him to suffer any more, lights started going off in my head, but I was still willing to look at him. Then they started pressing me to make an offer on him sight unseen. I refused it kept on they wanted a offer. The next thing I knew this 14 year old well broke gelding went to a 14 year old stallion that was green broke and not been ridden since he was 3. That changed everything as I am not set to handle a stallion any more nor do I want to deal with a green broke older horse. I already have two green broke horses. I tried to make it clear I was no longer interested and up until last night they were wanting to know when I was coming to get this horse I never said I would take. Never wen made it to look at him after the stories started changing. Thanks.

  5. Candy Haasch

    December 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    No surprise it was a paint.

    • Jen Kosegi

      December 17, 2013 at 8:32 am

      What’s wrong with paints?

      We have a 27-year-old tobiano Dutch warmblood gelding who has been there, done that, and is the cornerstone of our lesson program and the most beloved horse in our barn. He’s the gentlest, most patient horse we’ve ever seen, and he teaches EVERY beginner rider in our program how to canter. Oh, and he’s also voice trained. And my boss gets offers on him from USEF AA-circuit judges every time she takes him to a show–but turns them all down because he’s priceless to us.

      FYI, it’s neither wise nor fair to make sweeping generalizations.

    • Jenna

      December 18, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      I’ve got a paint he is 17yrs old (had him since he was 4). He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s used routinely for pony rides because he’s bomb proof, and follows me like a dog so the kids think “they’re doing it”, but still a great barrel runner too. HE has even gone as far as protecting me from a loose stallion to “adopting” an orphaned foal. He’s pretty great and an awesome ride and I wouldn’t trade MY PAINT for the world!!! He’s not the only paint in our barn we have a herd, and their all great mannered horses, I think it all comes back to their humans and what they’re TAUGHT.

      So don’t paint a picture with one brush

      • KD

        December 19, 2013 at 2:27 am

        I agree, I have 2 paints, Mare and gelding and they are the best. Soft, gentle, trusting.

    • Lin Bro

      December 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Gotta say something about the paint comment. My little tobiano mare is the easiest horse in the world. She is kind, patient, and safe. I love her.

    • Nic

      December 29, 2013 at 4:11 am

      Just because there are photos doesn’t mean they are of the horse in question!

    • bitsandpiecesintx

      January 5, 2014 at 7:45 am

      What an ignorant thing to say. Horses are like people, good and bad comes in all colors….just sayin’.

    • Lisa W.

      March 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      What do you have against paints? My 18 yr old mare is a paint and she is the best darn trail horse you could ever ask for. She is brave, gentle, sensible, sure-footed, and always takes care of her rider…any age and ability. My paint mare is off the Navajo Indian Reservation and she has taken me into the desert, into breathtaking canyons, stunning badlands, across the 50 ft high sand dunes at White Sands National Monument, and above 10,000 feet into the rugged, steep mountains of New Mexico. My paint is my best friend and I can’t imagine trusting another horse like I do her.

      Paint horses are awesome horses! Ask yourself why Native Americans chose paints and pintos as their faithful, trust-worthy, tough, and sensible mounts!

      • Lisa

        March 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        Paints did not exist ”back in the day”, but pinto’s were selected for MANY reasons. Paints, as I learned the hard way, are colorful QH’s, which are also a relatively ”new breed” by mosern standards. The most difficult horses I ever worked with were a couple of Paints, and some of the nicest horses I ever worked with were a couple of pinto’s. A good horse doesn’t come in a bad color.

      • Patti Young

        August 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm

        Catching up reading some of these threads and saw your comment about Paints. I, too, have a Paint mare (15 yrs. old)… stunningly beautiful tri-color Tobiano and sweet and sensible as they come. She is careful, considerate and, like yours Lisa W, she also protects her riders. I used her at a charity event doing pony rides and one parent insisted on putting her under 2 year old child on her. Well, even tho the parent was holding on to her and the little girl was holding the horn with all her life’s worth, Missy would not walk a normal walk…. she was so careful and slow looking at me as if to say “do you not see that little thing on my back?”… I love my Paint girl and always will.

      • Lisa of Asil Arabians

        August 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm

        Patti, my Arab stallion is the same way. Although I have had some unfortunate experiences with Paints, I have known a couple of sane ones also, but for taking care of riders and sanity? My all time lifetime achievement award must go to Arabians. My stallions have been absolutely incredible! The mares JUST as good.

    • Marian

      September 9, 2014 at 3:28 am

      Obviously I am not the only paint owner who bristled a bit at that comment, but I also have to pitch in. I have an eight year old paint that I trained when he was three years old and ended up buying. He is the most incredible horse I have ever ridden. When he was three, you could control his gait and the speed of it with voice only. He trusts his rider absolutely and will tackle any obstacle on the trail if you ask him. He loves to run, but if he needs to be calm for the sake of other horses/riders, he settles and is very professional.

      I’ve ridden and worked with more horses than I can count and I’ve never met another horse to rival him. Wouldn’t trade my paint boy for anything.

    • CoolCo

      December 6, 2014 at 10:37 am

      How do you know the horse in the picture is the same horse in the story??? Nowhere in the story does she ever mention any details about the horse other than that it was a two year old! You can’t stereotype a breed, color, or sex of a horse that acts like this; it can happen with any type of horse! And not all stories written necessarily correspond with the pictures shown…

  6. CeCe Calli

    December 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    People(horse owners) just don’t get that “You can’t make Chicken Soup our of Chicken Poop”. This man proving a point at the expense of his sons well being is a very dangerous combination. Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away. Time “is” money, safety is priceless…….

  7. Deb Pierson

    December 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I would of had the guy pay up front and do the 30 days of course before getting the money have the guy sign a contract that says you do the 30 days and results aren’t guaranteed. Work the horse and who knows he may have came around after a couple days and turned out fine. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what a horse can really do until you try it. What you did is about the only option available and a good one. I agree but my curiosity would have made me try anyways.

    • bitsandpiecesintx

      January 5, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Curiosity killed the cat, or broke my leg, in my case!! Lol

  8. Marcie Grenard

    December 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I agree 100% why would someone act that way? Putting the horse through all that then putting his son in a position like that he should be brought up on charges for child endangerment. Thank you for using your head!

  9. Jean Ettinger

    December 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    The saddest part of this story for me is that you cared more for his child than he did. Worse yet, it is a miracle that the child only got dumped 3 times versus being attacked by such an unsafe horse. Shame that the horse, the child and this man learned lessons that they never should have i.e., you can get by using short cuts. Good for you for standing behind your training and beliefs!

  10. Doreen Paul

    December 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Wow. That’s incredible. It’s amazing how some people/parents are. Good on you for not taking the horse sounds like it would have been a loosing prospect with owner never happy. Would hate to be his kid.

  11. Wendy Russ

    December 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Good call..can’t fix stupid!
    Feel for the horse and kid though.

  12. Chris R.

    December 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    He was more interested in proving you wrong than his own son’s safety, Father of the year! I feel sorry for the horse but even more sorry for his son.

  13. Patti Nagy

    December 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Same sort of thing happened to me. A horse came to my farm, rideable but untrained, that the Owner wanted for his son to ride. I liked her very much and I thought she had alot of potential, so I agreed to do what I could for her. I explained to him that it was going to take some time to get her “solid”, but she would do fine. I work during the day, but enjoyed this little mare so much that I was excited to get home and get to her. So I did. Every day for 2 weeks. I made great strides with her. Nice and fun little mare, but a challenge… Then, on Saturday, 2 weeks into this, when all the kids were getting ready to leave for a show, the man and his son showed up with a trailer to go to the show with us. It was the first time I had seen him or his son since I started working with his little mare, and here he was, loading her up for a show! Geez! I talked to him and told him the mare wasn’t ready but he was determined to take her along. I told him if he took her along, it would be for exposure only and his son would have to stay on the ground and not get on her. Even made him leave his tack behind….Well, we get to the show and things were fine until the boy decided he wanted to ride too. Some little teenage girls lent him some tack, and next thing I know he’s in the pen warming her up! It took less than 5 minutes and that boy was on the ground. Then one of the little teenage girls decided she could do better, and 5 minutes later she was on the ground too….(no injuries to either of them) Of course, everyone at the show witnessed the festivities, and of course they all knew she came from my farm and I was working with her….I had some explaining to do! The bright side of this is since then, the man has abandon the mare, so she’s mine, and next season, when I take her out to a show, all of those people that witnessed what occurred will see what time and work will do for a horse….

  14. Cathy

    December 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I refuse to work with man killers. I have nothing to prove. I was assisting at a demo. A man killer was in the round pen with me. The ground school was going well. I was told to escalate. I said the horse was not ready. I was told again to escalate. Reluctantly I did. The horse went crazy. The sun caught my eye and the mare took advantage of that split second. She spun around and I was facing her rear. She was preparing to kick my head off. Thoughts were racing through my head. I knew I couldn’t get away quick enough. I also knew the closer i am to the horse the better. She let me have it with both feet. She kicked me clear across the round pen and I fell on my back onto hard rocky ground. My head bounced several times. What saved me was that for the first time ever something told me to wear my riding helmet while working this horse. I tore up the inside of the helmet. The mare kicked me in the breasts. Straight on. She damaged my left side. My right side happened to get protected from the horseman stick I was holding. The stick took the blow. My mistake was not saying no when asked to escalate as I knew that we had accomplished enough with the mare. It was a badly abused rescue horse.

    As for people, I had a student who refused to do as we asked. This was the first bad student. She told me it is her horse and she can train it any way she wants. My thoughts were…then why did you pay us to teach you the program. I asked her if we are done. Yes. So, we will not take students who refuse to ‘get with the program’. It is one thing to not get it. But when a student pays us and thinks we are to teach them their way, we’ll, that doesn’t work with us.

    I guess we all have to learn the hard way sometimes. It is too easy to not say no or to honor what you know is best.

  15. Eddie Davis

    December 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    You are so right, I don’t want to be on that team either. It is because of this we have kept our operation small and only sell what we have trained. We have the policy that we will sell it to you at any stage of training, for instance if you are competent enough to complete the training and we make sure the owner is, but in general we don’t sell a horse that hasn’t been trained and you haven’t had a check ride on it with a lesson to explain what has been done, that way we have a clear conscience and that is worth a million dollars to me.

    • Lisa Layton

      December 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      I agree with you Eddie! to take it one step further, baby horses are like a child, with special needs to grow and prosper. I never sold a weanling, until the year I broke my arm. I had a couple that came, talked the talk and sounded legit.Normally I grow them out to at LEAST four, and train them before I sell them, but I made an exception because we were trying to cut numbers, so I sold them a 2 yo and 2 very nice weanlings. They killed both weanlings with-in months. I also have to take them to court for failure to pay off the balance. Lesson learned. Never again will I entrust one of MY babies to anyone else.

      • Bobbie Jo Dawson

        February 17, 2015 at 1:59 pm

        Wow 😥 So very sorry for your loss.. Both of my girls are rescues and the thought of them ever being in that situation again scares the beegeezus outta me. Years ago, I was a partner in a large Arab breeding barn and understand that sometimes you sell when your heart says not to. I’ve also done my fair share of court dates for those that think my services are free and that the board I provide to their horses somehow doesnt’ cost me anything..
        As for the comment above above about “no surprise it was a paint”..are you kidding me?? For 1, Stacy said she brought the horse straight in to work for a minute and her husband was elsewhere.. I seriously doubt that she has a photographer on hand 24/7 or had the time to have someone come snap a couple pics for her..2. one of my mares is a paint–she has been through hell in her 7 years..she came from a herd of 20+ horses and every single one of those horses starved to death and were left where they fell in the field AND THEN the P.O.S. ‘owner’ tried to burn their bodies right there.. to say my mare arrived traumatized is putting in took 6 months to gain her trust enough to let me brush her without her trying to kill me or herself trying to get away..fastforward almost 2 years later and she is the best mare around. She ponies my 5 year old around like she’s been doing it for years.. She is the first to greet me when I walk into the barn and is now 99.9% bomb proof (bc we all know no horse is 100%)..
        I know that this is years late, but just had to let you know that I feel for you and your loss and get that off my chest about the whole statement about paints..
        I train as well, but wont even get started on the amount of less than intelligent clients I have had.. like someone earlier said..You cant fix stupid!!

  16. Tina Ghilotti

    December 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Agree Stacy. It always surprises me that folks don’t listen to experienced professionals such as yourself. Safety has to be first.

    • larin wallace

      December 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      People who grew up around horses automatically are experts sometimes in their own minds. I always told them that they could have high hopes if they wanted but the horse was going to have to decide to be great and I would just try and keep it fun and stay out of the horses way when he did.

  17. Dexter Burt

    December 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Some people just simply SHOULDN’T own horses. Good for you Ms. Westfall.

  18. Nikki Schleppe

    December 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I agree with you whole heartedly! I have trained and owned horses all my life that no one else wanted. I have a mare who, after 10 years of me riding her will never be a child’s horse. What if his son was seriously injured? Not only would you feel bad but would he try to hold you responsible? You have to be able to live with yourself when all is said and done.

  19. Flo Browne

    December 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    “Owners who won’t listen are a losing formula”. No truer words were ever spoken!

  20. carol natasha stanley

    December 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Good thinking — I sent some young horses to a trainer for 3 months while I moved to another state. One of the colts I took with me and the other was sent to the racetrack in southern Illinois/St.Louis. When the horse got there, they called me and told me he was barely broke, if at all and would have to be retrained before getting close to the track. But those trainers in Lexington, KY area took my money – and did not deliver anything! Since I was moving, I had little time to check up on the colt’s progress. He was not a bad horse at all – he was just green-green-green. I ended up not paying those people in KY for the last month – once I found they had done nothing with my colt – and had to pay for new training at a distant place. I definitely regret sending my horse babies out at all!! at that point in time – It all went wrong from the beginning –when Brookledge showed up with a high ramp box trailer – my babies were never going to load on that.!! I should have waited and just worked with them myself – I would have done a much better job of gentling them by myself —Another jolting lesson learned!! Lots of regret…….it all ended poorly…..the story gets worse….

  21. Amy Brandt

    December 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I would of done the same thing. That owner needs to set his pride aside and look at reality. When children’s safety is a concern and you cannot afford the training then sell the horse!

  22. Cliff Swanson

    December 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Stacy, II have been traininig horses and giving clinics all over the globe for 40 years now and have come to learn, you did the right thing. Bad horses and bad people are a no win deal and always will be. Tell me why they always seem to end up together?

  23. Jeri Kunkel

    December 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    That’s a great story for life in general. Unfortunately, animals are the innocent ones. People need the fixing. Taking a good look at ourselves and every opportunity to learn from life lessons will help us in the long run. Hopefully, that man will see that his anger will hurt his family and himself most of all.

  24. Stacy

    December 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    He didn’t prove you wrong, you proved how stupid of a horse owner he is, what parent let’s his child ride a horse that is obviously not broke and dangerous? He’s extremely lucky that his child isn’t in the hospital paralyzed.

  25. Cindy McDonald

    December 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    You know your horses and are clearly a person dedicated to the safety of horse and rider. Feel sorry for the boy and the horse. In fact that whole family.
    Was the horse in the photos this horse. I raise paints and just wondered.
    I have seen you preform at Congress in person and think you are a pleasure to watch.

    • Stacy

      December 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Cindy-It was a paint, but the photos are not of that specific paint. Also, I love paints and it has nothing to do with the breed (some others are talking)….the owner was the major issue.

      • Susan Riedy

        December 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

        I love how people think you can make 30 days into a broke horse..(NOT)..good for you to send it home…

  26. Ricky Cummings

    December 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Your knowledge sets realistic expectations and this experience is far too common for good trainers that are honest enough to set a limit. I like your ability to walk away from this man, though the horse needed you. Whoever initiated 30 day schedules for training was obviously one of those trainers lacking knowledge of horses. So many bad trainers are stuck in this kind of mindset, and the horses suffer for it. Many of the problems are brought on by high expectations of humans that are lacking knowledge and experience. The end result is high disappointment for them, and a tougher life for the horse not having a chance to learn on its own schedule.

  27. Elizabeth Cowling-Jones

    December 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    You are a great person and you help horses and people, it was a battle you would never have won. (with the owner that is). I am short of money and have a really difficult young horse that needs training, I have no experience with young horses (and he is a stallion). Although not for much longer I know when I am beat on that one. I have saved money and sold stuff and I know that it will take much longer than three months, i am realistic. I really admire your stamina and your techniques and you have enough to do without fighting people. I just feel so sorry for that horse, if only he would have listened and let you take the time with the horse, it is not only the kid that gets a difficult life a difficult horse with issues also will end up miserable. I live in germany so will never be able to ask you to help me, but I have found a really good humane trainer who also trains people… at the moment I am getting help with the basics so i can train in the round pen at home, until I have saved enough to ensure my horse gets the full training he deserves.
    I love your blogs they keep me sane and help no end with my little problems.

  28. Beth

    December 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I run a rescue,and agree totally. We have a sanctuary horse who is a gorgeous foundation bred QH gelding, now 9 years old, who ‘didn’t make progress’ (beyond a trot in the round pen) with one trainer (over 9 mo), then did ok, until he totally exploded in bucking like a rodeo horse on the second (after which he had 9 mo off, full vet check, dental, chiro, massage, etc) and the third, with a FULL disclosure of the events prior and my worries about this mental ‘on off switch’, gave her 30 day eval that he was ‘not right, and not predictable’… and that was when he came home to stay. I have considered euthanizing him as he did have one episode like you describe of charging my daughter, but have not done so yet. but he will never go from us, as someone will say ‘how pretty he is’ and put someone on him… and rides 1-9 will go well, then #10… someone gets hurt…? well, not on my watch.
    not worth it.
    Or they label him dangerous, and blame us, or our trainers… well… nope.
    good for you.
    you have to be willing to get them trained well enough to be a good steady trail horse, or they are forever at risk of going down the auction, slaughter pipeline…

  29. Regi

    December 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Sounds like you did the smart thing and went with your gut instinct 🙂

  30. Darian

    December 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    The age of the child would make a difference is my desicion. Also the experience. The whole point of 4H is for the kids to excel with their horses not kids having their horses trained by someone else. Maybe you could have made that horse sound enough in 30 days for a teenager to work with the rest of the time. Although the mans attitude in the first place prob would have been enough to turn me off.

  31. Sara

    December 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I would have done the same. Some aren’t worth it.

  32. luposine

    December 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    If only more trainers thought like you…..!!!
    Chapeau, Stacy, couldn’t agree more!

  33. Denise Watkins

    December 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm


  34. Donna Kraemer

    December 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Wow. I really feel sorry for that poor kid and that confused horse. Not sure what kind of man subjects others, let alone his own child to harm. It must be so hard to remain neutral in these situations with unruly owners. Sounds like you did a great job Stacy!

  35. J2B

    December 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    You’re the only clinician/trainer I follow because your willing to admit things like this. We would have sent him home too. I have declined potential clients this year because one asked me how far along we could get her 2 yr olds in 30 days and I told her they will go home riding quiet, knowing leads, soft in the body and backing up. She informed me her last colt starter had hers riding like a reiner in 30 days…. I said we don’t do that to 2 yr olds.

    • Dawn May

      December 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      Right on J2B 🙂

  36. Laura Glascock

    December 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I had a 2yr old filly that had been raised as if it were a pet dog for a 5year old girl. The owner stopped by our farm and asked if I would come out and look at her because she had loading issues to start with. She had never been off the farm or out of the field let alone halter broke. They had simply fed her in a loafing shed and loved her over the fence when she wanted treats. The 1000 pound pet had a soft eye about her when she was doing her own thing. I stepped into field with her and she was curious about me from the start. She remained arms distance until the treats came out. You could feed her one but she wasn’t going to let me touch her in return. I informed her owners that this was not going to be a child safe horse for quite some time. I explained that if they wanted a horse for their daughter that I would gladly help them find one but this horse needed at least 90 days training for starters. I agreed to take her because they said that they needed to get the horse started and they felt confident that I could get the job done. I also explained that someone would need to continue on with this horse that was experienced with young horses after I was through. I in turn told them that I thought their daughter who had never ridden in her young life needed riding and general horse lessons. The lessons learned by her parents were priceless….. She had no desire to do anything with a horse at all. She didn’t want to do basic care- brushing, picking a stall, feeding or watering. She just wanted to pet them and be done. I got the filly going which I know was a total waste of their money because no one would ever ride the horse when I was done. I expressed the need for the horse to continue with an experienced rider and her family said that was understood. This filly has never in all these years been more than a lawn ornament. They still own her at the age of 16. I guess I did save her parents from spending money on another more suitable horse but I find it sad to see good horses wasted. I would rather give a horse to someone that I know will use it than see it standing in a field going to waste. We did that with our granddaughters horse last year. Social life became her prime interest and a totally kid safe little mare was going to waste. We donated her to a program in our area that allows children to lease horses for the local 4-H groups with the thoughts that we could visit anytime. She has wonderful home and we check in on her regularly. The kids love her and she loves all the attention. It warms our hearts to know she still remembers us when we walk in and that she is loved by so many wonderful children. She deserves this!

  37. Shannon Jo Arritola

    December 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing Stacy. As an experienced trainer, it is very frustrating to see people all around who could really use some help with their horse(s), but they are too cheap to pay for it. They wold rather to to the cheapest trainer they can find, than pay a little more for a better job. I feel sorry for these horses; they deserve the best we can give them.
    Again, thanks for sharing… I hope it encourages people to think a little more clearly about their own situation.

  38. LKJ

    December 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I feel for the son involved. How sad.

  39. Dennise Brown

    December 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Good for you Stacy! Too many trainers do a quick fix and all that accomplishes is problems down the road.Wonder what the owner would have thought if his child had gotten SERIOUSLY hurt in those falls/dumps?

  40. Christina Savitsky

    December 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Stacy, you ROCK! I ❤ that you called Jesse in, and that you wrote about it, good husbands are AWESOME aren't they!??! & good for you for standing your ground, I'd pick your team anyday 🙂 Thanks for the blog & the inspiration

  41. Michele Simpson

    December 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    And the child will probably have a deep seated hate for horses for the rest of his life. People are much harder to handle than horses and I think you did the right thing.

  42. Dawn May

    December 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I totally would have done the same thing Stacy. Reminds me of a time when a guy in his 60 s brought me his 5 year old recently gelded TB. He had owned this horse since he was 3, and he was nothing but a big spoiled brat. This was back when I was much younger and appreciated a challenge haha, so after my speech (which I had to add to regarding the age of the horse, and the fact that he was a beginning rider!) He agreed to give me a couple days with his horse, and right before he left I hollered, “You should really consider getting an older broke horse to ride!” I called my cousin, a big, brawny, cowboy who roped and did the wild horse race at local rodeos.(Need I say more? Notice I said cowboy, not horseman LOL) I just had a feeling this horse was not only going to buck, but buck hard! I worked with the horse in the round pen that evening, and the next morning. He was pretty good actually, better than most. He was relaxed and joined up with me in the round pen fairly quickly. He had horrible manners at first, but he accepted whatever I did and learned quickly. I sacked him out and got the saddle on him and the side-pull. My cousin got there and messed with the horse for a little bit, then he slowly got on. Well before I end up writing a novel here haha yes, that horse blew and yeah, things got western pretty fast! I called the guy and said come get your horse. I tried talking to this gentleman one last time, but he drove away mad.

    Fast forward a few years, and at this time I don’t have a round pen, but I DO have a 2 year old gelding that I’m starting and STACY, I am enjoying your videos so much and I’ve already learned so much! God bless you and your beautiful family!

  43. Sharon

    December 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    We took in an “American Warmblood” mare here at our rescue. She was the most spoiled horse we have ever encountered and the first day she tried to run me down in the pasture with ears back and teeth showing. I stepped aside and cracked her with the rope in my hand as she flew by and then as she slid to a stop turned toward me and started to charge, I got away under the fence as she turned and started kicking the fence down to get to me or express her issues. I would never send a horse like this to a trainer so they can get hurt? Or put her up for adoption stating that she needs a little work – ever. Dangerous horses need to be euthanized. Glad you didn’t get hurt by that guy!!

  44. Barbare Nielsen

    December 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I feel so sorry for the horses in these instances for they are the ones that don’t understand and get abused for it. Certainly agree with Stacy in her choices and also admire Stacy’s horseman ship

  45. paige macfarland

    December 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    people are just plain crazy and in denial. i see it every day in my hair salon. not that i’m comparing hair to horse training but rather peoples state of mind when they get into the denial process and refuse to listen. i’ve dismissed many people from my chair and i would dismiss a crazy horse owner alot faster.

  46. Cathy Trope

    December 16, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with what you did. I have had chargers and the problem is, you can fix them for YOU. You can’t fix them for the owner who created the problem because you can’t fix the owner – because typically they won’t take guidance! I had someone say, but won’t punishing him when he charges me make him angrier? *headdesk* That poor horse needs a new home and I hope he finds it and not a kill truck. And I hope the boy is not hurt in the meantime.

  47. Nat

    December 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    It would be good if that guy has read this but even if he did would he understand? Highly doubtful. Thank you for being who you are Stacy, the world and especially the horse world is better for having you in it.

  48. Pam

    December 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I agree. Everyone has to be on the same page. Too bad the horse is the one suffering. Owner’s attitude may end up having the horse destroyed needlessly.

  49. Terry Peckham

    December 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Totally agree with your decision. John Lyons was in Florida and woman with a big warm blood gelding that had been an orphan, cornered John wanting John to work this horse. He finally agreed to round pen. The horse was fine for the first couple of minutes and when John pushed on the horse a little, the horse charged John in much the way your horse did. He boxed the horse away from him and round penned the horse a few minutes more and was done. His advice to the owner was not welcomed. His advice was that the horse would need an experience trainer and may not ever get to the point of being trusted. The woman later was laughing about having a kid safe horse, sad. We found out later in the month the horse was put down as it had become more dangerous. To many time people have un-realistic goals for these animals. So happy you were upfont and real with this owner.

    • Lara

      August 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      That horse probably didn’t have a thing against humans when he was born but taught by people to be that way. So many people feel sorry for orphan horses or rescues and treat them like frightened children when another horse would just treat it like a horse. The petting, treats and pushing all seem cute when their little and it only leads to big horses with the same behaviour. This horse then has issues when it’s sent to a trainer because no human has ever told it what to do or to have respect for our bubble. Once again it’s a horse with people problems and the horse suffers for it. Not saying that all orphans or rescues are bad but I can almost guarantee the bad ones are coddled.

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  51. Ricky Rogers-SonShine Ranch

    December 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Good Call! I deal with mean horses and most are wild mustangs who more than once have tried to kill me. However, as an experienced trainer I have always been able to remedy that type of behavior – But typically mean behavior from people is hard to fix and certainly not part of training a horse – I feel sorry for the horse as he obviously never was fully trained will most likely be the one who takes the blame or even ends up in the slaughter pipeline because of someones irrational behavior!!!! It takes time to train a horse to where he is safe – 30 Days typically they have only grasp the fundamentals of what is considered a trained or broke horse!

  52. Beth kane

    December 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Stacy you are talented beyond most of us, you can assess,and determine of safety is not his number one objective,do you really want anything to do with a child be hurt?
    I respect your talant and honesty, if people are not willing or able to pay,it is on them. Tuff lessons, and unfornatuate for this youngster… May his path cross people like you to learn from…

  53. Victorea Luminary

    December 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Stacey, thank you for sharing your experience. Obviously it was not the horse as much as the man who was the real problem. Seems to me that something happened to that horse for him to react as he did. Sounds like he was pushed and was angry about it. The man sounds like his ego was more important than his sons safety. I have a real problem with humans who act this way and who ruin good animals.

  54. Cathy

    December 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    This is why I quit training horses. I got really sick of people expecting the world without allowing time for it to happen properly. The other issue I had was people sending horses to me for a “tune up” and stating nothing is wrong, they just didn’t want to put the first rides of the year in only to have myself be struck at, bitten, or other serious issues only to hear that they knew I would find out so that’s why they didn’t tell me even when asked. I commend you for the job that you do and for sticking up for yourself in this case.

  55. Barley and I

    December 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Nice to hear that there are still icons out there (Yes, you are!) that do not throw good principles away for some money or to just proof someone wrong. R E S P E C T !!! 😀

  56. msthompson4556

    December 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    It is really sad when people who know nothing about horses buy them and expect to just learn as they go. I bought a 3 year old with no training at all but I had already owned two horses for five years before that and had been riding since I was 11. I knew he would need 60 days minimum to be “rideable” in the sense that he wouldn’t throw fits every five minutes and knew how to walk, trot, and lope. It’s obvious that the man did not know how much time it takes to make an effective line of communication with a horse in order to have it agree with what you want from it. I think that sometimes horse owners need the training more than the horse itself.

  57. Andrea Koenig Leyenhorst

    December 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Curious as to why people are riding 2 year olds.

  58. Claudia

    December 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Has happened to me plenty of times. I have learned to say no to people that just plainly refuse to understand or always know better. I like you have walked away many times and left owners mad or badmouthing me, but I could care less. People need to understand that every horse is an individual and some need more training than others. If you don’t have the money to invest in a horse don’t buy one!

  59. Amanda Decker

    December 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I completely agree that, that conversation should be had and heard and listened to by the trainer and the customer. I sure wish mine had been more clear with me 😦 You have so much talent and could have made wonders in this horse I’m sure, but it was the best decision to not get involved. Especially with a child in the equation.

  60. mariomartinez635016313

    December 16, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Sounds like the kid needed a seasoned draft horse. Drafties are awesome under saddle. In fact they have two speeds slow and slower. But I agree with you the owner needed to be whipped. Thank you for the nugget of wisdom Stacy.

  61. Alli Farkas

    December 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Next time someone asks for the impossible, give them a business card with a fictitious name and the title “miracle worker” under it.

  62. Tami

    December 16, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Green + Green = Black & Blue. Sure hope that kid only gets bruises. You were smart to stay out of that mess.

  63. Sarah moore

    December 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Ya I wouldn’t have bothered with trying to teach the horse either..

  64. Destinie Whitt

    December 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    If only owners were willing to invest as much time learning as money…..

  65. Dorothy

    December 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Its never the horse that is the problem…it is the people problem in the equation and time limits that people want to set….I hate the I want a young horse for my child to grow up with attitude….I tell people green on green makes for black and blue broken bones and hospital bills…how is your insurance coverage and what is your child worth to you.

  66. melody

    December 16, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Wow. I just can’t believe some people these days. So if the horse would of hurt his son I would imagine he would have it put down and the horse most likely has been beat. Sad just sad. You did what you needed to do Stacy………

  67. AlisonMcDermott

    December 16, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Well Done Stacy!

  68. karifur

    December 16, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Sounds to me like the only thing he actually proved with his little story about his son showing the horse at the fair, is that you were right in the first place.

  69. Stephanie RIchards

    December 16, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    To answer the question….I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING. I admire the work you do Stacy and the backbone it takes to have INTEGRITY in the horse world. People like this guy are hard to change and in a perfect world they’d only be allowed to own goldfish.

  70. doug

    December 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    As a RULE of nature, and I do emphasize RULE, which means a LAW of nature that cannot be BROKEN, stop looking at the ears and look at the legs. Any horse with their front legs wide apart and their hind legs close together, is a bad deal waiting to happen. The ears are secondary. Sad that the industry has promoted all that is wrong and against the LAWS of nature.

  71. Anita Nichols

    December 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Good for you! I feel bad for that poor horse because it will never know togetherness with it’s owner and probably will be handled with a heavy had the rest of it’s life. What a shame.

  72. Nadine Parkinson

    December 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Absolutely nothing more true. When I bought my mare, who was 3 at the time. I knew that she had been used as a trail horse. What I didn’t know was how she was trained. Later I found out that they threw a saddle on her back jumped on and went for a ride :/ Needless to say she went through a whole retraining for several months and I’m still working with her on her little mishaps from how she was trained. When I first got her if you got on and their wasn’t another horse and rider in front of her she would just begin to freak out. It was like riding a rodeo bull! It was absolutely crazy. Now she is 8 and doing so much better every day.

    • shadowhooves

      December 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      I have one of those as a current client. Horse was bought by owner at auction for dirt cheap and had been a “trail horse” sorta…had thrown her rider and needed a “tune up”, but was afraid of the saddle, afraid of having a leg thrown over her, definitely too much horse for her person, and first time I legged up on her she bucked me off pretty epically. It’s taken a long time to get her to where she’ll allow the saddle and girth, and even is desensitized enough to the leg on her right side where she’ll stand for mounting but even now she’s a work in progress and a big bundle of crazy for her first 5-10 minutes of riding, still too much horse for her owner, and especially since this is more of the variety of training session where it happens once a week weather permitting, not in 30-day blocks. Fortunately the owner in this case has been pretty willing to take it as slow as needed and has been taking riding lessons on a more dead-broke horse to get more accustomed to what she should be doing with this mare. There’s hope but it’s definitely one of the toughest cases I’ve ever worked!

  73. Kevin J. Williams

    December 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    i feel sorry for the horse given the proper time and training from the very get go, probably could of turned out just fine.

    • bitsandpiecesintx

      January 5, 2014 at 7:38 am

      Horses are like people, some will never be trustworthy or gentle. Just saying.

  74. Dorothy Nutt

    December 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Good call. Parents should listen to a trainer and be willing to spend a little extra

    to make sure the child is safe.

  75. Samantha

    December 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Good choice on your behalf. I love that you don’t rush horses. They aren’t machines and don’t deserve to be treated as such. He had no right to be angry, and with that attitude, he had no right to own a horse.

  76. Allie G

    December 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Good Call Stacy! I try to explain to people that I can’t promise how far along their horse will be in x amount of days, but I can promise that however far it is will be solid and safe. And I no longer work horses in which the owner/rider won’t participate in the training process at least to some extent. It is only fair to the horse to do so. You had not only the safety of the child at stake, but also the horse and anyone else around him AND your own reputation as a trainer. Imagine after getting bucked off 3 times at fair having that kid brag about you being the trainer!. You made a good call all the way around. Any exceptions I make in my work with horses has to lean to favors being done to make situations safer…. not cutting corners that make things more dangerous.

  77. julie bair

    December 16, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    My experience (forty some years) has taught me that when I train a horse and turn it over to an uneducated, insufficiently skilled rider who is not capable of communicating with his horse in a way the horse understands is absolutely a losing proposition. I ask the owner if he / she will come at least twice a week to work with me and the horse through out the training process. That way they learn to do the things I am doing to get the results they want because that is what the horse understands. If the answer is “I don’t have time” (or similar) I decline the offer to train that horse. If I train a horse, I have another horse that I can ride. It’s only when I get to train the horse AND the rider that I can call myself a successful trainer. Then the owner has a horse that he / she can ride too (which is what they are paying for). Anything less is destructive to my reputation because every mistake the owner makes with that horse later will inevitably be either my fault or the horses’ fault. I don’t know why it never seems to occur to some people that they need to learn too if they want to be successful with their horse. It is not, after all, a motorcycle.

  78. Dianne

    December 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Stacey I am from Sydney Australia, there are people like that here as well, but never doubt what you did was the right thing, you showed a lot of integrity, which is more then some people would they would just look at the dollars, well done!

  79. Lisa Weaver

    December 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment. Sometimes I notice an overwhelming tendency like noted above, “animals are the innocent ones, people need the fixing.” And yet sometimes we are very quick to give up on those very people that need the fixing. I think frankly that you never need to justify why you do or don’t take a horse in for training. It is your decision, just as it is their decision to insist on “only 30 days.” The difficulty here is an unwillingness on the human’s part to listen or accept any other opinion than their own. Most anger stems from a short list of things like, fear and/or guilt. While all horse trainers work daily with horses, you cannot divorce yourself from the fact that you must at some point deal with the person. We seem compassionate for their shortcomings, and damning to their human owner’s issues. I’m not making an excuse for it, simply making the statement that I think both the horse and the human need to be dealt with. It sounds like you completely did both, at that point, you have completely fulfilled your responsibility in good faith and should never feel anything but peace about your decision. Alrighty then…. let the flaming begin 🙂

  80. Sandy Tyree

    December 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    You rock as always 🙂

  81. Glenda Bales

    December 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I am a trainer of 40 years and I agree with Stacy. I met with an old man who had been training for many years and we were discussing people that wanted a lot done to their horse in 30 days. I asked him what he told a person when they asked what he could accomplish in 30 days. His answer to them was ” I learn the horses name.”

  82. Lonia Maxwell

    December 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I have been a 4H leader and there is nothing more dangerous than a horse and rider that are mismatched. Sometimes try as we may to encourage parents to find a horse that “works” for their child, they get what they can afford and we all know oh to well, get stuck with what doesn’t “work”.

  83. Kris Bowman

    December 16, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Stacy, I have been taking on the troubled horses since I was 16, and am now 61… I too, have sent horses right back to their owners because of something like this happening. It is insane to take on such a horse, expect him to become ‘kid safe’ in a mere 30 days ! So- good on you for making the choice you did…. There’s no way I would have kept said horse either- and then add in a son to ‘ride’ it ? Ha- no way in heck.

  84. Houyhnhnm5 (@Houyhnhnm5)

    December 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Horses are so much easier to fix than people. My favorite horses often came to me as damaged, even dangerous goods and went on to be useful, even delightful partners. On the other hand, even nice humans often don’t hear or listen. For example, a sweet, late middle-aged woman took lessons from me for a long time. She came to look great, but only on a push-button horse. When faced with even a tiny difficulty, she tightened up and leaned forward–the fatal crouch. As kindly as I could, I started warning her of what could happen, especially at her age. Finally, she went to another barn and began taking–what else?!–jumping lessons. On the flat, her lesson horse stepped sideways unexpectedly and she ended up in surgery.

  85. Dennis

    December 16, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    First, I want you to understand that I am not a horse person. However, I want you to also understand that you did nothing wrong by refusing this job/customer. You are the “Professional” in business providing a service to your customers. Refusing to do the WRONG thing for a customer is the right thing to do. Regardless of how mad it makes them.

  86. Donna Smith

    December 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I adopted a horse like this. She is ok on the left side but completely aggressive on the right side. Yes. I have two horses, a left horse and a right horse. We can work through the issues with the right side, but if any time passes when I can’t work her, she regresses to square one. I am certain she was abused on her right side and is protecting her right side. I will not give up on her and know I will be working for a long time. But that’s ok.. I am committed.

  87. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    December 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Poor horse!

    Totally the owner’s fault, even if he didn’t cause the problem.

    You can only work with what you’re given. You obviously made the right choice – I hope the horse didn’t go through more abuse or mishandling between your house and the summer showings. Sound like the horse was fighting back appropriately still – dumping the kid three times.

  88. Stephanie

    December 16, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I agree with this trainer. This is why I don’t train too often for people anymore as the last few people I trained had the same issues about their high expectations in such a small amount of time. I would only on special occasions or when referred with their full understanding.The expectations of the horse is way too high and the owner is unwilling to listen or believe what I say is true most of the time. Owners can be very impatient. My contract states the horse is the one that makes that decision. Some horses take longer than others. 30 days is a very short amount of time for a young horse, especially a 2 year old with no previous training or bad habits that were not disclosed in the contract. I always recommend 45 days of just ground manners and building up to the riding with an additional 90 days under saddle after words just to get started. If someone wants all around or the horse would be for a youth or green rider, the days would be extended further WITH owner participation. I refuse to train a horse and send the horse back to owners who have no clue as to what the horse went through and the training methods used. I don’t have the time to teach 90+days worth of training into one day (take home day). Owners would also have a better appreciation of they were involved in how much work and time goes into training. This horse the poster talked about needed a more patient owner who was willing to put the money, time and respect of the trainer. Safety over money any day.

  89. Bob

    December 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Sounds to me like that man was abusive– to his horse, his son, and possibly others. Good call in not participating. WOW!

  90. irisvillagegirl

    December 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Well there ya go…I had a great feeling about you when I watched my first Stacy DVD -rRide Safely On The Trail-great instruction with simple language that I could understand! I totally believe everything you say. Sounds to me like that guy was trying to bully you into promising something that he really knew was impossible! I admire you greatly and love your philosophy!

  91. chocolatehorsefarmgypsyhorses

    December 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Spot on….Stacy….you are absolutely spot on!!

  92. Fiona Anderson

    December 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    I think its sad that the child had to try to
    ride that horse. The man should have. It might have turned stupid into smarter.

  93. Molly Whillock

    December 16, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    I trained for years, I had a horse almost like this, he bucked with several people, jumped out of round pens , ran away with the saddle on and was lost for days, then he was brought to me, the trainer who could fix any problem horse. I rode the horse 30 days, trimmed his feet and told the owner to come pick him up and don’t bring him back! Get rid of him asap. Some just aren’t worth it, when there are good minded horses being given away every day because the ASPCA made it where you can’t kill these monsters. The good horses are the ones who suffer. People go to a sale and buy a horse for 25$ thinking it is a good deal just get it broke! Some don’t want to be broke! The need to go on down the road.

  94. Trish

    December 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I had a horse who was very similar to the one in your post. At times she was very sweet and loving, but the minute you turned your back on her she would charge you with her ears pinned. I did send her to a trainer for over 30 days and I have to admit she was better to work with, but in the end she still charged him. He advised me to sell her before she hurt me or one of my children. I did sell her as a brood mare only and her babies were very sweet according to the man who bought her for such. It was heartbreaking for me as this was my dream mare, a medicine hat with blue eyes. I appreciate any trainer who is honest about a horse instead of trying to make money by training a horse who is not trustworthy. Nice article!

  95. Rick Stalder

    December 16, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Mrs Westfall I agree; Safety is job#1 in all facets of life. Usually the moral decision is most always better than a legal decision. God bless! 🙂

  96. Annette

    December 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    I appreciate this article. I had a young lady drive 2 hours to ride a green broke 3yo. Actually, her boyfriend was going to buy the horse for her (first red flag). She showed up in tennis shoes because her boots were still packed. During our visit about her horse career I learned that she had been taking lessons every other week…….. for 90 days. That was her only experience. I told her that this was not the right horse for her and tried to help her (and her boyfriend) understand what they should be looking for. It isn’t fair to the buyer or the horse to make a bad match.

  97. Mike Kincella

    December 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Way to go Stacy.As a Trainer and Riding Instructer, I support you 110%. I don’t take horses in training for less than 90 days.Not safe for me or the owner rider. MK

  98. Phyllis Ormsby

    December 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Amen. Agree with you totally.

  99. justin hull

    December 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    A very understanding moment and I can see that given the possible parameters you had little option. What made me sad was that the the most important question asked could not be answered. How did the horse get that way in only two years? What happened to the horse? How did it get so insecure in just two years of its life that it felt they only thing it could do was attack a human to feel safe.

    The other thought I had was this, as a trainer, how much of a responsibility is there when you see potentially dangerous horse (or situation) and how far can you go to effect a change. The victim in this story was the horse. The owner didn’t really care about it, and you as a professional had no connection to it, but what happens down the line when this horse, poorly trained, very aggressive, winds up seriously hurting a rider or its self.

    At the end of the day we all need to insure we are not injured in our activity around horses, be it trainer or rider so I can see how this decision had an effect on you. It may be easy for me, as just an owner, to say “couldn’t more be done”, I can’t help but feel for that horse and pray it finds a good and loving home that may help it feel secure again. I am also glad you guys were not hurt as well.

  100. janelle

    December 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Interesting story.
    Heres another. I was at a local breakers. Someone came with 3, 4year olds totally unhanded. They used a shoot to unload them from the truck. They were skinny, scarred, wild things that she had breed herself.
    In the end he refused to break in one of the mares(she was worse than what you described) but worked away at the other 2.
    My horse came to be started and went home. They were still there.
    I asked him “why? She will most probably put them back out in the paddock and he will have risked his life for a few dollars. Worse she will try and sell them and he will get the blame.”
    Every one always blames the trainer, not the idiot breeders that fail to do basic care or education and then expect someone else to fix there mistakes.

  101. donna burdon

    December 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    way to stick to your guns Stacy– seems like some people are looking for a 30 day wonder, and are not willing to listen to the facts and learn. Too bad he had to put his child through the scary experience of dealing with an unruly green horse, and most likely an stubborn, overbearing father….

  102. J.

    December 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    You did the right thing for sure, Stacy! With those kinds of people you will never win, nothing you did would have been good enough, so best just to walk away.

  103. Keli Graham

    December 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I agree Stacey! I have sent several horses off my property for one being too dangerous and/or the owner just not getting it! My safety, my client’s safety, and the horse’s safety is not worth it…you made the right decision!! 🙂

    • Shari

      December 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      This article describes my first summer as a trainer (don’t have an indoor arena yet) I had to do the very same thing with a couple this summer. They where the best trainers in the world but they wanted these two colts to be rode in 30 days. Needless to say if you stepped in the pen with them they jumped the fence! I sent them home and now I completely ruined their horses.. It was tough to deal with but refreshing and reassuring to read this article and know im not the only one that has had to do this. Thanks for sharing everyone!!

  104. Maureen Quillin

    December 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I have had two horses thru the years i couldnt break and sent them home. They were nasty and it wasnt worth my life. One went on to dump a few ppl and break their bones..the other I hope went six feet under. It was the best place for him.

  105. nina

    December 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    It makes you wonder where he sent that horse for “training” and what it had to endure.
    It never ceases to amaze me how people are willing to risk the safety of their horse and children.

  106. Jen Bolen

    December 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Well, duh. From an ethical standpoint, why take the horse in the first place? You knew where this would end up.

    • Rosie

      December 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      normally i’m reserved about these things. but you are overtly rude and impolite. if you have nothing nice or respectful to say, don’t say it at all (“duh”). you may need to re-learn some manners.

  107. Sharon

    December 16, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Totally the right call. The risk in taking such a horse is after the 30 days when the horse dumps the boy at the fair, your name would be attached to the horse even more so because they had PAID to have it trained. I have groomed dogs for over 30 years and in the early days you take all kinds and admire your ability to handle the ‘bad’ ones. But a big male chow chow that wanted so badly to bite my face, arms and legs off, changed that when the owners asked ‘Will it be cheaper if we bring him in more often?”

    You really didn’t refuse the horse you refused the owner.

  108. Ms Kathleen

    December 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I love your work!, sometimes you can’t fix stupid though! 🐎

  109. Sharon Sprague

    December 16, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I know I can’t do it anymore. I’m impressed and glad that you were able to set that boundary and stick to it. I used to think I had to take ‘bad’ horses and rude owners. I realized they weren’t bad horses, they were challenging and often had “bad” owners or ignorant owners. I don’t mean ignorant in a mean way, I mean it as its dictionary definition, “not knowing” ‘lacking knowledge’. The absolute worse for me was a nice, but very worried horse. The owners were supposed to come and work with the horse after the first 30 days, so they could learn. After 60 days they came and picked the horse up. They’d come by a grand total of once before that (they worked with him on the ground, had a little success and were now geniuses). When they were leading the gelding off, he just looked at me. Staring. He looked at me like I had totally betrayed him…and I think I did. It was horrible, I still choke up thinking about him. After they drove away I went and sat on the deck in my barn and just cried. That was the end for me. I’ll work with a few horses, people I know, or those that come recommended. I don’t have good enough boundaries, and my skin isn’t thick enough lacking the boundaries.

  110. Wendy Deans

    December 16, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Been there, done that. So glad you sent him home. The horses will always be interesting and sometimes quite challenging, but if the owners expectations are that far out of line with the horses abilities for the timeline, it’s going to be a headache for you the whole time the horse is there. Good job, Stacy, good decision.

  111. Bronwyn Duffy

    December 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Right on Stacy…well written…well done..sometimes when we are younger and haven’t found our voice yet…we say yes to things that feel wrong…Im grateful for my self that I have found my voice…which is very polite and explanatory…but in the end I get to decide which TEAM…and I want to be on the team that is seeking the greater good…and every member is willing and eager to learn…Ive been doing this since was six and now Im 49 and the horses and their humans teach me something EVERYDAY…Bless them…Take care of you…Bronwyn Duffy

  112. Ally Sillers

    December 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    It is MY understanding that western trainers developed the “30 days training” thing. Now you reap what you sow…,

  113. Juan Ledgard

    December 16, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Good for you. Im a trainer too and hate when owners lie or don’t get it. They think we can do miracles in no time!

  114. Julie Anne

    December 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    That is an interesting story. You made the correct call. I have never been around horses much, tho it seems they are somewhat like cats. they are all different, and perhaps have attitudes? And somewhat a mind of their own? So I am just wondering , what was the issue with this horse? Was he abused? Or around the wrong people? Maybe you dont even know, but I was just wondering what makes a horse act like he did. Thanks.

  115. chuck bennett

    December 16, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Sounds whip broke. He decided he liked running over the Alpha person.

  116. doreen

    December 16, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    You are strong and an equine advocate. I admire how you stood your ground. Safety is key for both human and equine. Matter of factly….we can only judge and own our actions. Horses don’t lie. I met you at the mane event in red deer alberta. We had a great chat. You encouraged me. Thanks for the story. ..take care and Merry Christmas.

  117. celia clarke

    December 16, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    I blame the false stories about you going around in email and on the internet about how you trained the remarkable dolly in just a couple weeks to win the national championship of no tack riding…..oh yeah and being a deaf mute as well. So people expect miracles from you because the lies have been going on for so long even when people try to stop it.

  118. Amanda Griffey

    December 16, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    So glad to hear this. I had a horse I refused to work with once that sounded similar to that. Nice to handle leading but when you ask him to do some real “work” watch out. Although I have up on him after he had had the chance to (quite literally) nearly kick my guts out. I ended up being airlifted to a major hospital for a ruptured kidney and spleen. The owner had the gall after I recovered I ask me to work with the horse again. I told her I would try it once more, and the horse charged, ears flat and teeth bared. I told the owner I would not work with it anymore and if she expected to make it a horse for her kids she needed to find a different horse. While she said he was the “perfect” kids horse, he eventually came after on of her kids and she did sell him and find an appropriate kids horse. Some people just don’t get it.

  119. Carol n

    December 17, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I ve heard that our horses are a reflection of ourselves. I feel sad for people who (seem to) thrive on negative emotions. THEY have a choice.

  120. Janette

    December 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Stacy, I’m so glad you shared this story with us. Just like you, I will not waste any time on a horse that the owners can only afford 30 days. I will work so hard to try and make that horse as safe as possible, in Just 30 days. The question I have been asking myself, is it fair on anyone? (Me, the horse the owner or the owners that are happy to pay for longer). I feel there is a danger in the trainer becoming so efficient with their system, that the horse will miss out on TIME. Somthing is allways compromised in just 30 days. I shutter to think of the horses getting put through the mill, with the other trainers in my area. So I do my best, for the horses sake. (Your damned if you do and damned if you don’t).

    • Janette

      December 17, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Ps, the fact that you (one of the worlds best) are so confident that any horse is not considered broke (for want of a better word), in just 30 days. Gives me (an amateur) a lot of comfort.
      Your honestly is helping. Thank you!!

    • Erin

      December 17, 2013 at 6:42 am

      I don’t think that is fair, to refuse based on what they can afford (only 30 days) I am currently preggers, and my filly that I really wanted to break this spring, (that I am quite capable of doing, I have started many horses successfully) will either have to wait, or I will send her to a trainer for 30 days. Mostly for my safety, as I know after I give birth I won’t be legged up enough to feel confident to break a 3 year old TB. I don’t think my expectations are unrealistic by the end of 30 days. I would like her to be able to walk and trot under saddle if possible, anything more than that is a bonus, anything less than that, well, if she needed more time, I would rather have her not pushed and not scarred than to be forced into a situation. I understand that in 30 days, my horse might not be rideable. In that event I would take her home and she and I would wait until I could break her myself safely. That would be the gamble with my $$. Money is very tight for me at the moment and 30 days of training I would have to save up for at this point.
      That said, before she goes, she will know how to lunge, wear a saddle and a bridle, ground drive, and be pretty darn good with things like tarps and other scary stuff, give to pressure etc…. So that the trainer doesn’t have to work on these things, but briefly to establish a rapport with the horse.
      I would respect a trainer more that would accept my 3 year old, with the hopes of having her green broke in 30 days, that would call me if he or she realized that this wasn’t going to happen for safety’s/mental health sake of horse or trainer.

      • Stacy

        December 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

        Erin-I agree in your situation that the 30 days could benefit all. The man in the story made it clear he would be putting his young son on. That is where the problem was.

      • Erin

        December 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm

        Stacey that was a reply to janettes statement. I 100% agree with your reasons for sending that horse home. Itirked me that she said she wcouldn’t even take a horse for 30 days.

      • Kim

        December 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm

        I think you’re missing the point.. the owner’s expectations after 30 days weren’t realistic given the horse’s current aggressive state and there obviously wasn’t going to be open communication. The owner was going to be disappointed either way so why spend the 30 days working with a potentially dangerous horse, when the owner will still leave pissed? He might even try to withhold payment if he didn’t think the job was done right. People can be difficult. Anyway, that horse obviously needed some time to overcome whatever issues he had. 30 days of training for your girl is completely reasonable! And I think most trainers are willing to work within a budget.

      • Janette

        December 18, 2013 at 7:35 am

        Dear Erin, Stacy made comment that she got to work straight away on that horse because she only had 30 days. That is what I was referring to.Sorry I didn’t make myself clear. My life would be so much easier, if I was good with words. I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself, to make every horse safe, no matter how long I have them.

      • Erin

        December 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

        Thanks for clarifying 🙂

  121. kathy

    December 17, 2013 at 12:30 am

    So Sad that both horse and child had to go thru something like this .. Who knows what the horse had to endure to make him behave like that , Some people should d not have animals or kids ….You were 100% right in your decision …. But makes you wonder what this poor guys child will grow up to be like ………….

  122. Lynn Riley

    December 17, 2013 at 2:04 am

    No doubt, good on yah! Don’t we want our children to be successful & safe!!!

  123. KLH

    December 17, 2013 at 4:42 am

    It leads me to wonder what would be expected of the child in 30 lessons!

  124. Tracy

    December 17, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Wow! Great article and it struck a chord with me. The problem with being a horse trainer is mostly about dealing with idiotic owners who don’t listen or worse-seem to agree with every thing you tell them & then ignore it!

  125. Cindy M. Allen

    December 17, 2013 at 7:01 am

    I read your post , and i agree with you the way you handled it. I to train horses,and rescue horses to from people who abuse them. I feel sorry for the child, and what might end up happening to him later up the road.

  126. maryline

    December 17, 2013 at 8:14 am

    im so happy you shared that story ,it hapenned to me several time,but i never how to deal with those kind of client that wont see how there horse are or the situation is really and ask unreal thing to do with the horse in such a short time but now i wil stick to my position when they try to get me doing things i dont believe its realistic and safe!!

  127. Lori

    December 17, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Actually, I have a different perspective. Worked in animal rescue for about a decade now, and my concern is who he takes the horse to next and what they do to that animal for the sake of his 3 day goal.

  128. Jacqui Weber

    December 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Stacy, that guy would have been so quick to sue you if his child had gotten hurt. GREAT call. It takes more confidence in your skills to do what you did than to cave into pressure. Kudos to your intelligence and business prowess!

  129. .Susan

    December 17, 2013 at 9:01 am

    HI Stacie
    First of all I loved your Bridle less Ride.
    Through the years in training horses I’ve seen a lot along the way.
    A $5.00 dollar rental ride at a show lost a 10 yr Olds life. People just don’t think SAFETY..
    You made the Best decision in this case..
    I have a sign..” I fix horses with People Problems” how true is that. A THIS horses behavior was definitely created by people.
    You are a Professional and keep up the good work that you do….Your Father’s Proud….

  130. Jana Workman

    December 17, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Good on ya Stacey.. I have been around horses for about 30 years…. U are right.. Some owners can’t be fixed.. Lol

  131. Tabitha A. Packwood

    December 17, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Well, the dude’s son ended up riding the horse anyways, didn’t he? The kid would’ve been a heckuva lot safer if the horse would’ve had another 30 days of training on it than if he hadn’t. Now there’s a horse out there that could have benefited greatly from 30 days who isn’t nearly as great as he could’ve been with an excellent trainer such as yourself.

    One trainer to another, that’s my viewpoint.

  132. Mary Ann Black

    December 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I think 30 days can be okay if and only if the owner understands what can and cannot be accomplished in 30 days and a child isn’t involved. I sent mine to a trainer last year after getting a handful of rides on him at home. I first said 30 days since I wanted to see what kind of progress he made. He did so good I left him 90 days.
    I have been to team pennings and think a horse was out of control and overhear the rider say I just started him this week. Crazy people

  133. Geneil Dillehay

    December 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

    If he was that stupid about the horse, imagine what the poor kid is going through. Makes you wonder who’d been working with the horse before you got him.

  134. Charly Makray-Rice

    December 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Running a business and keeping a reputation for responsibility comes with parameters. This is a lesson in how and when to set them. Clearly, if the owner had had reasonable expectations and an open mind, thirty days of training would have been a short foundation course, nothing more. The owner would have known that and been happy. This owner would not have been happy with anything less than a polished horse after thirty days. He was a bonehead and not having him for a client was the wise decision. He can never claim any problems his horse creates was caused by a lack in Stacy’s training.

  135. Dodie piche

    December 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

    i agree with geneil dillehay and erin both said same thing I thought should have been make sure for 30 days no its not work, it supposed to have been one month or 2 month maybe 6 month til fixed it up when it is safe like broke down would be good enough not to sell but the owner shouldnt have so mad or something just have to be patient with horse come frist and see how go with a horse would be trust who person like lady person and more relax and listen ur heart frist thing that u have to relax and patient and postive with horse but the horse will lookin at u and the horse will come to u and more safe and just “patient with horse ” cant rush tellin u that horse danger cant be i ve my horse before had behave but the horse was danger but no it is not thing happen just give u time if the owner dont believe u or anything thats bullshit the owner should ve listen more careful what goin be better right one in time not to rush or anything give u 30 days it wont be work! u need think just trust and postive also relax lookin at the horse need help like communcation between u and the horse need to know why i m here maybe horse need to know why ur here stranger person maybe dont know but the horse need relax and calm first get to know u more and the horse will trust u in hand no time. til fix it up to give time like put blanket give time and what is mean what looks like and calm it will take time to learn quick but maybe then it will give u time and think not to rush, just be patient both need trust and look each other more time. you shouldnt have say about the horse danger thats not true! just give time. the owner really mad u should have not say about danger horse or u gave it up on horse thats mean something not right.

  136. maurice lizotte

    December 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

    keep up the good work the hell with the stupid one

  137. Maureen Johnson

    December 17, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Sometime I have to sit back and wonder why. Just why. That man thinks that having his kid dumped off a horse with issues but still showed was success? What if his kid was seriously hurt in the process? Ya gotta wonder if he would have listened then. I applaud you Stacy, in the way you stood up to him and told him what will happen. But, it is his problem if he did not take your wise advise. You laid it out for him and he made a choice, one that could have cost his son his life.

  138. Brenda Randle

    December 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I applaude you on your decision. I have been teaching horsemanship for 30 years. I can’t tell you how many times I have been approached by parents to push their children beyond their ability for a ribbon or some sort of bragging rights. I know that saying “no” can lead to outright hostiliy in some cases. Experienced horsemen and women have to stick to their principles especially when dealing with students, parents and horse owners who don’t have the knowledge to make an informed decision.

  139. Tracy Willow Creek Horse Farm

    December 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks for this great article. I am not a horse trainer, but have worked with and around horses for most of my life. Like Stacy, I experienced a similar situation when someone asked me to help with a horse they had recently purchased for their 8 year old grand-daughter.

    This 15 hand gelding seemed docile while working with him on the ground. He was a bit slow when I asked him to give to pressure and move his hind-quarters away from me, but he did do as asked. I then snapped on the 20 foot thick cotton rope I use especially with horses I don’t know. I thought I would see if he knew how to lunge, but after a couple of rounds he charged, reared up and struck at me. I had to beat him off with the rope. I got him moving after that, but he was certainly not a horse I would have an 8 year old working with at this point in his training.

    When I voiced my concern of having a horse who exhibited this kind of aggression for an 8 year old girl, I was then blamed for the horse’s bad behavior, because I was making him work! I discussed my concerns for the girl’s safety one more time, but her parents and grand[parents refused to listen. Sadly, within the month the young girl had a broken arm, and the horse was sold not long after.

    The trainer I work with now has a couple of sayings: “Green and green make black and blue” and “You can’t fix stupid…” From what I’ve seen with some horse owners, he has a point. The sad thing is that people don’t realize that allowing horses to have the upper-hand can be dangerous, and not only bad for the owners, but also the horses.

    From what I’ve experienced, horses want a good leader who can provide very clear communication concerning what behaviors are right or wrong, which can be taught with humane training methods.

    I truly believe that it is up to each of us who has the honor of working with horses to become better horse-people and to never stop learning.

  140. Pat

    December 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    You cant fix stupid. Smart move to not be involved with this man. You might have gotten “somewhere” with the horse but you would never have gotten where Mr. Cheapskate thought you should be.

  141. Dan Embody

    December 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    In my line of work, if the client is not going to cooperate, refuse to accept the engagement.

  142. Nancy Zadrozny

    December 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    This was not a horse problem, it was a people problem. I feel sorry for all those equines with a people problem. If only they could send their “people” to a trainer!

  143. Sarah Thompson

    December 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Well I agree some what with sending the horse home and not training it, cause it probably would go back to its old habits, but as a horse trainer it should be the trainers job to do what they can with the horse with the time aloted to them. I don’t mean to sound negative, maybe things are just difference here in Canada. I train our own horse and some outfitter horses ( that are very aggressive) and some that have never been handled, and in my experience if you can’t ride them in thin 30 days, I am doing something wrong.
    I have all your videos, and think your are doing a great job.

    • Stacy

      December 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Sarah-I trained many 30 day horses with that same idea. This man made it clear he would be putting his son on at the end of 30 days. That was my problem in this case. Otherwise, I agree with your idea.

  144. Lia

    December 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I had a trainer who rode my horse on trail outside after DAY 5 ( I was watching it !) I and I had a trainer who could not put a saddle on my horse in TEN DAYS of training ! Different horses – different trainers but I did ground work on both horses and I knew what they were capable of – really it is all depends …

    • Anna-Leigh London

      December 18, 2013 at 1:13 am

      I started a two year old quarter horse filly who was only halter broke, worked her in the round pen 20 minutes saddled her western, rode her in the round pen fifteen minutes in a side pull then went on a longhorn cattle drive with about fifty horses through creeks across streets and through the countryside. When we returned
      she knew how to walk, trot, lope, stop and turn flex and rein back a few steps. she was not too tired
      she loved it. she felt secure with all the other horses around.Normally I would not have done that but, I just got her in to training the night before and I thought she might enjoy the cattle drive with so many horses so I had to get her broke, plus I really wanted to go on the ride and I needed to get started with her and her owner was local cattleman I thought he’d be impressed if he saw his filly and boy was he ever he said ” that looks just like my filly” I said ” this is your filly” he said “Anna-Leigh didn’t I mention she isn’t broke?” I replied “she is now!!” Now there are some horses who do NOT have that attitude. some have not been handled well or at all or worse, people have rewarded them with cookies for pinning their ears and turning disrespectfully. Some have been bred to take off like a bullet out of a gate and run one way. Some are bred badly, some are inbred, line bred ill-bred, bred to run for days. Some want to spit out the bit because they have a big fat tongue and are meant to pull a cart or plow. I have found that more than 99% of horses start out generous willing animals social and wanting to please, if you make an effort to learn their ways, be understanding and considerate and kind ( but don’t take any guff) It’s very easy to train the heart right out of a horse and it wont easily come back.
      training takes time its different with each individual just because we can get a lot done in a few hours or months does it mean we should? The further I want to take a horse…. the longer i spend on the foundation ( even though I can ride 19 out of 20 colts in the RP in the first hour buck free)
      That’s what the public used to pay me for. I’m not working for the public so public listen up IF you can afford it… spend more get the best horse, and trainer you can afford let her or him take their time. but check up on them nothing worse then one who is taking your money and not doing their job. Happy Trails

  145. zeliha thomas

    December 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I think you made the right decision stacy. The moment you had taken the horse on, on the conditions the owner gave you, and the boy would have been dumped at the fair, It would have reflected on you as a trainer and your skills, because it would have defenitly been your fault and he would have made sure that everyone around him would have known that. Even thought I know that a lot of trainers, certainly a lot of them over here in the Netherlands I have met, are the first ones to blame the horse as the one who is wrong. In my opinion most of the time a problem horse, is a horse with an owners problem, and reflects the human or humans it is connected too. And not every horse is open and aproachable for a trainer so it can connect with the energy of the trainer and trust the trainer instantly. And if so, 30 days is not nearly enough to get things right again.

  146. Judy

    December 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Good call, Stacy! My concern is with the irrational father who put his child on a horse that could seriously injure or kill him. Just learned of a young lady that was killed in a barrel racing accident, so what could happen with an unpredictable horse and a child.

  147. Maestoso

    December 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    You had 30 days to work on the Owner’s mind. You didn’t want to take the risk in case of failing (which is totally respectable). That is always the most difficult thing in horse training – get the owner to think about what he/she does to his/her horse. Deal with the problem horse is probably not a problem for you any more, so next step for your improvement is, to deal with the difficult owner….:)

    • Anna-Leigh London

      December 18, 2013 at 1:22 am

      People are much more difficult to train in 30 days! I don’t help people who need help it’s called co dependency. I only help people who WANT help and that joker clearly did not have a teachable
      soul. Secondly its Stacy’s neck and life.
      People horses kill more people than any other domestic animal. If her instincts tell her NOT to take a horse and owner THERE is a REASON
      STOP it already its not your call respect her choice. Stacy is so talented and I am all for people trusting their instincts. Not all horses are good riding horses. Not all horses are good show horses.
      Not all stallions are good studs. And not all horses are suitable for children. Some horses and some people are better matches for OTHER trainers 🙂

  148. Diana

    December 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Stacy, I know you probably feel bad about turning the horse away and for the little boy who was forced to ride it, but you really shouldn’t. Not taking on unwilling/untrainable owners has been my policy with clients for over 3 decades. It’s pretty much the only rule I follow while considering taking on a new client. Yeah, I’ve lost a lot of business that way, but it was worth it. I saved myself the stress and headache of dealing with hard-headed people…men AND women. My specialty is re-teaching so-called “problem” horses and bringing them back to a mentally sound, happy horse status. I agree with you that EVERY horse is teachable, no matter how young or old or how abused or neglected they were. BUT, if the owner isn’t “teachable” and not willing to learn right alongside their horse and learn to change their own ways…which is usually what caused the horse to become a “problem” in the first place, then I won’t even go look at the animal unless they are willing to relinquish ownership of the horse and let me re-teach and re-home it to somebody who knows how to handle horses properly…or at least is willing to learn. Surprisingly, quite a few people have done that just to get the “crazy horse” off their property and away from their kids. sad. The owner HAS to play a major part in healing their own horse, otherwise, there’s no point in wasting your time and their money just for you to send the healed horse back to the same bad situation with bad attitudes and he gets back his same old bad habits which brought him to you in the first place. Of course, then they come back and blame us for their own ignorance and just plain stupidity for re-ruining their horse. So, kudos to you for standing your ground! 🙂 I’ll be following your blogs now. My techniques are a bit unconventional at times, but always gentle and with the least amount of “tools” as possible (just a halter and lead even when riding…no saddle, either, at first). The equines always trust me implicitly after it’s all said and done, so I must be doing something right, but I’m always up for learning different, better ways of teaching the big fuzzy critters. 🙂 Take care xo

  149. Maggie

    December 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I agree with your decision to not train the horse Stacy. Clearly the owner didn’t want to hear your advice. Glad you got out of the situation especially since a youth was involved, an injury by that horse could have been damaging to both the child and your reputation for sure!

  150. Jacalyn Kerkau

    December 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    A good trainer knows a animals limit & knows how to walk away with his head held high. Unfortunately some people do not realize what they have created until a child is hurt. Knowing you did the right thing is all about being humble & having pride. When his child ends up in the hospital due to his in-derangement of a child, you can let the law know of his neglect & child in-derangement. Unfortunately some people should never be parents or owner’s of animals. We can’t save the world.

  151. Lori

    December 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I enjoy problem solving so just a quick suggestion to mull over.

    A waiver form indicating all the warnings you give the owners about timeframes for training. At the bottom, you could indicate your recommendations: ready for any age ride, ready only for experienced riders, needs more work on a, b and c before riding. You could check off which level or write a more personalized recommendation. Both owner and trainer sign before horse is released at the end of the time that the owner is willing to allot.

    Would protect you from liability when you know the horse is not or may not be ready for the owners goal but ensures the animal has the foundations from someone reputable and skilled rather than a hack or abuser.

    Best wishes,


    • Donna Smith

      December 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      That is a great suggestion.

  152. Lynne Jones

    December 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I once told an owner with a similar horse that I wasn’t going to be responsible for putting his kid in a wheelchair for the rest of his life… Or worse. That SORT of got his attention.

  153. Sarah DR

    December 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Recently, I spoke with an acquaintance, M, who commented on the abilities of a particular rider/trainer. This rider/trainer, let’s call him “A”, is the only person I would trust to work my horses, except myself. He is incredibly sensitive, kind and soft in the hand, and puts the horse’s welfare first – ALWAYS. He has european certification and credentials, but does not make a big show of it. He is also 47 years old. He did some work for M, surprising me with how much he had been able to accomplish and tolerate, since I know full the conditions she can create. He rode her stallion, beautifully, and worked with a few young horses. M’s complaint to me was that A wouldn’t get on a particular horse – which, in her view, made him “afraid of horses”. He told her the horse was dangerous, as it was 8 years old and had never even worn a halter – because no-one had been able to halter it. He was not willing to risk his body and livelihood. So, M sent the horse down to a “cowboy-style” guy in Tennessee, who got the horse broke. BTW, the horse has been backed & bitted, but is still not being ridden. He is just not trustworthy.

    The sad part is that M is very well-known within particular Warmblood circles. I have no doubt that she might mention this “afraid” thing to other folks – when all A was doing was looking out for his own safety. Any trainer I know, including myself in my stupid younger days, would take one look at that horse and refuse to get themselves or an assistant hurt. It’s just not worth it.

    Why is it, then, when a trainer says that a particular horse is not something they feel comfortable training, or that horse may not meet the owner’s expectations in the given time period, or may simply be wrong, unsuitable or unsafe for the intended job, some people feel that the trainer is weak, unqualified or stupid??? Even the best horses can be dangerous, unpredictable beasts. A trainer takes a calculated risk and should not be expected to risk their life or future livelihood.

    • Anna-Leigh London

      December 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      Nicely said Sarah 🙂

  154. Sabrina

    December 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    People just don’t get it , 30 days is NOT a broke horse , 30 days is a STARTED horse, to me 30 days simply means that someone that knows what they are doing should be able to trail ride that horse , not fully broke just has a clue and most bucking / rearing should be stopped if it was an issue, and they should stand for tacking, and do basic steering , go and whoa . no matter how smart or gentle there is just so much that can be see and experanced in 30 days , there is just not enough hours . there is just no way that one can be “finished ” in 30 days , and it has to be a very special horse for me to even consider putting a child on it at that time , maybe after 90 days but never
    ~ also good for you , as soon as they said they wanted their child on an aggressive horse in 30days , no way would I want a part of getting a kid hurt

  155. Penny Mallow

    December 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I think you made the right choice.. He would have blammed you and spread rumors… I only wish in my dreams i could get horse training from you ! I would be honset to you and hope you would be honest with me. This story is about the child and the parent who seems to be looking for a quick fix, not the right fix, with no concerns of the safety of the child. Good insight to the situation.

  156. Anna-Leigh London

    December 18, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Dear Stacy,
    I am a retired horse trainer and I am happy to say that I have had an incredibly meaningful and very successful career spanning nearly 4 decades. I am so happy that you turned down that owner. In March of 1995 I took in a horse against my better judgement, and the owners were both inexperienced as well as foolish. I was pressured by them to ride their mare before I thought she was ready, because most of the horses I work with come along quickly. I was care-flighted to the trauma hospital. Sadly the horse killed the lady who owner her as she was offering her carrots, and her husband shot the mare as she continued stomping the poor woman’s body. It was the most tragic, and avoidable situation, because their vet ( who was also mine) had warned them before they brought her to me for training that the mare had a rare brain disorder and should be put down before she kills someone THEY DID NOT TELL ME THIS!!!, I was a single mother with three children. I had ten broken bones, ripped my left arm off and had several surgeries to save it. I punctured a lung and had a traumatic brain injury, kidney damage from being in shock.Sprained my neck broken ribs internal injuries and three years of physical therapy. Now eighteen years later I am going for two revision surgeries on my shoulders I will likely be laid up for another 6 to 12 months.Surgeries are in January After I pick up my Horse Solana’s Horse of the year Awards in Kentucky! A little communication would have been most respectful and appreciated.
    As for the nut case that you turned down….Personally I believe that parents who allow their children to get repeatedly bucked off a horse, well that is called “felony child endangerment” it’s one thing when accidents happen, but as responsible adults we try to minimize those risks. I hope his kid was wearing an ASTM SEI helmet.. Keep up the good work.
    Anna-Leigh London

  157. Sandy

    December 18, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Kudos to you! The owner sounds like he is abusive to his animals, family and probably everyone he comes in contact with. I can’t imagine having to work with this guy, much less be a family member. You inspire me.

  158. lifegamer

    December 18, 2013 at 7:33 am

    You are a wiser woman, Stace…Sometimes we peeps get so angry with our situations & the states of our society, and a few of us go nuts with this frustration…Horse is no different. Now is a fine time to move away from such crazy-ness & keep plugging for Change as best we can.

    I live by a motto, “I send you nothing but Angels.” Obviously those of your scenario reflect the human condition, and with great truth of the matter. So many of our-kind are rising up, stomping our feet, & screaming “Enough is Enough!” Nature has Her speakers, too.

    Blessings to Horse, Dog, Cat, Bird, who have put up with Us for so long…Sorry that some of you must ‘snap’ to make us See other-‘wise’.

    Blessings to Us humans who hold the relations of All Nature near & dear…to those who See that other-‘wise’-ness.

  159. James Rathburn

    December 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Stacie, I have a few similar stories…
    A lady in Houston, TX. bought a horse from a local adoption place…the horse would stand to be brushed, blanketed, saddled, lounged, washed, trimmed..etc. She said it started bucking with her and her sons…so she called me, I came to see her and the horse, I worked and rode the horse for 2 days…at the end of which I told her that she needed to give the horse back and get another one…she did as I requested and now has a good horse for her and her family to ride…as for the rescue horse, we made a video of him and it aired on Clinton Anderson’s Down Under Horseman T.V. show…the one time in my career that I couldn’t fix a horse, that Mr. Anderson was kind enough to helped me. To this day I am not sure that you can trust that horse…I understand having to take what you get to start your career…but after 20 + years, I too am getting choosy about what horses are worth taking in for training.
    Stacie Westfall, you are an inspiration to a lot of people, me included…it’s an honor to know you as a friend, a competitor, and a Professional Horsewomen…

  160. Joanne Andrews

    December 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Thankyou for posting this!!!

    I have been training and teaching Classical riding, not in a big way, since 1968.

    My friend fb posted this so that people in our area could see it. Perfect timing for me, too! I helped my ‘friend’ of 20 years get a special-needs horse, whose owner had died, and had five horses needing to be re-homed. She knew, for months, that this otherwise kind, decent, gentleman of a horse would not be one whose education could be rushed, before she got him. She has been consistently good and patient, with six previous horses, since I have known her. We were finally making great progress, overcoming his issues with fear, hunger, and poor handling. Suddenly, she hired trainer new to this area, because she wanted some ’30 day’ results! The horse was lame, when it got to it’s new location, but that didn’t stop this trainer. A believer in Monty Robert’s throwing things at horses, she put back the fear. He doesn’t come when called, anymore. Five weeks of education on a sore foot, with lower rations, and having been kept in a small, grassless paddock, and the joy in his lessons that he had learned, are gone, too.

    But, his owner is pleased, because this trainer got on him, riding at a walk and trot, stiff legged and above the bit, in a round pen. She will continue with this trainer, because ‘she got the job done’!

    I’ve put a long, fat, line in the sand!

  161. Susan

    December 19, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Unfortunately as horse trainers we run into these situations all too often, Fortunately not often to the extreme like the man you describe. More than likely he created the problem with the horse as he seems to have anger management issues. With many people it is already hard enough to get them to understand that that ‘Green + Green = Black & Blue’ and you can’t produce a finished horse in 30 days.
    In this age of self entitlement where people are looking for instant gratification and money should be able to buy them anything, I find it increasingly difficult to get them to understand the horses’ needs and understand a whole program. And there are always trainers out there that will take their money and tell them what they want to hear. As true horsemen/women we are about trying to understand what is going on in a horses’ head and why, but these people want a magic button.
    I am working with a stallion right now that seems very similar to the horse you described. He reminds me of the stallion in the movie Buck. I have made progress, but especially as a stallion it has become obvious that all of his behavior will never completely go away and will always require a very experienced hand.. With this horse it is obvious that he was the spoiled baby that never learned boundaries, like a spoiled child, and learned to challenge rather than a case of abusive handling.
    But the other situation I am encountering more and more is the horses have training issues due to pain and many veterinarians are not proficient enough at diagnosis as many of these pain issues are not related to simple leg lameness. Often i know by an owners description, when they bother to tell me all the issues, that it is a pain issue. I always start with ground work with a new horse and can identify the pain symptoms in this ground work. These symptoms can be as simple as ear pinning, girthiness, not going forward, uneveness in the gaits, a little buck in the canter or transition and as extreme as rearing, bucking, and bolting. Some with proper work and strengthening will overcome many of these symptoms. The most frequent cause is spinal arthritis and many veterinarians are not familiar with this issue or can properly diagnose and treat. Careful with EPM diagnosis as well, most cases it is actually arthritis. I was very fortunate to meet an excellent vet who is an amazing diagnostic wizard and at the forefront of his field. And he continues to educate himself which most of your vets in the filed don’t have the time or take the time to do. Try to explain to a client that their horse has an arthritic condition when their vet says there is nothing physically wrong with the horse. Many times they can recognize the symptoms but not the source.

  162. Madeline C.

    December 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Kudos for you for saying no. 99.9% of the time it’s not the horse, it’s the owner. If the owner is willing to do what is necessary, any horse can find a purpose… Obviously he was just not willing to do what he needed to do. I feel bad for the horse, and the guy’s kid. Good for you.

  163. bitsandpiecesintx

    January 5, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I read this with a big smile/cringe. Way back in 1998 I was a 20something “trainer” in upstate New York. I was a pretty good hand and had put some time in with some well known trainers. The job market was awful so Ifell back on training, one client had a three year old “green” horse.. He would NOT do a circle to the right and when pushed, he’d get mad and sneaky and charge me. Not willing to say, “thanks but no thanks” I figured I’d get him to come around. Needless to say I now sport 8 pins and a plate in my knee from said colt. When the owners came to visit me after 8 hours of surgery, they asked what the next move was……in my drug induced stupor I simply stated, “Alpo”…… I basically said the horse was a bigger fix, I felt he was dangerous and not fit for a family horse. They didn’t listen, and tried to find him a job, (pleasure, reining, trail, team penning) nothing seemed to make him happy and you could never trust him. Aftef he ended up breaking the wife’s pelvis, they finally sold him….to a woman who was considering herself a trainer. She did ok with him, til he threw her into a fence and shattered her collarbone. At a show. After she’d won two classes. I found out later, the colt had been sold to my clients because he was dangerous and unpredictable. But he was represented as a show prospect for amateurs and youth. Although it was a crappy way to learn, I learned it’s ok to say no to protect myself and others. I now train and sell horses, and I will NEVER make a sale that I think won’t work. We as horse people have a moral obligation to protect the people who may not ‘ve as knowledgeable!! Cheers! ! 🙂

    • Lisa Layton

      January 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      My feelings exactly. and now adays I am not afraid to voice my opinion. There are to many good horses that like people to try to ”re-hab” a dangerous unpredictable 1000 loaded missile. I tell people right up front if I don’t think the horse is suitable, and I have done the same even if I bred the horse.No sale is worth it. I breed Arabians, and more often, the people aren’t suitable to the horse, then the other way around, the horses are so smart and gentle, the wrong person can ruin them,

  164. cowgirlchiq

    February 1, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Wonderful call Stacy! I wouldn’t want to be involved in that either. Our children get so mad at me because, well, none of our horses are ‘bomb proof’, and the kids don’t want to do the work and pay attention when given lessons. One of the girls ‘knows how to ride’. “I’ve ridden horses before.” (with that sassy teenage girl tone)
    My response? ‘Just because you’ve ridden before, doesn’t mean we have 1 single horse on this farm, that you can get on and ride on the roads and trails.”
    We have a group of what I like to call ‘spirited horses’. They all take intermediate to advanced riders, with a strong personality to keep them in line.
    They can stay mad at me forever. But until they prove they can control our horses, they’re not riding outside of the round pen!

  165. Selina Iddon

    March 5, 2014 at 4:18 am

    so great you shared this Stacy, it’s a tough choice and a great example of wisdom.

  166. gill

    July 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Someone said earlier, “the saddest part is his child” etc, I think the saddest part is that this little horse will never get the opportunity to have a fulfilling relationship with people and will be subdued by pain and domination until he truly is ” broken “, it isn’t hard to imagine the scenario that someone had already had a go and didn’t have the skill, talent, compassion ( whatever trainers rely on to get through the sticky bits ) and left this dangerous situation while they still could, it could be seen that the owner set you up, either to get hurt or to get his pound of flesh by leaving out some rather critical information regarding his youngster. You are self employed you can chose to work with people who want a better relationship or be used by people who have stuffed up and need you to fix their messes, without the courtesy of being upfront with what they are actually wanting from you, or the humility to ask for help when the problem started. Unfortunately even if you had taken the horse and dealt with his issues you would still have had to send him home to an owner who lacks the level of integrity that he deserves.

  167. Lora Hawthorne

    December 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I have a big, beautiful, powerful, Palamino gelding who is so sweet and smart and I have been ground working, him ponying, ground driving; anything and everything I can think of. He is great on the ground and with everything I introduce he gets over really quick and relaxes. Except when you ride him. He will be fine and then just start bucking out of no where with no warning. I’ve had him vet checked, teeth floated, chiropractor checked and so far no explanation. After he throws me… he walks over to see if I’m alright, which I usually am and get back on and he’s fine. It’s like he tests me and is playing with me. I don’t want to sell him I would hate for him to end up at auction but I also don’t want to get hurt! I do have patience and time, so what I’m asking is what’s your insight or do ya have any ideas, should I start him over, maybe I missed something.

  168. Val

    December 6, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I can completely understand refusing a horse. I wish more trainers were more clear about what the owners can expect of them. I have a difficult horse (was neglected and feral until I rescued as a 2 year old) that I’ve been trying to train. I’ve had a lot of experience training young horses under the direction of a pro. But until now have never been faced with the challenge of a horse that was previously wild, all of my horses have been handled since birth and the training process has been much easier. This one is now 6 years old and can’t be ridden. I’ve had her in training off and on for about a year. I left her in training for 3 months with a natural horsemanship trainer and she never accomplished anything more with her than what I had already done at home (loads and loads of groundwork). Her groundwork was excellent when I put her into training. I understood that the trainer would spend more time on groundwork to be sure she was ready to ride. But she never made progress and just kept saying, “I think she’s close to being ready” when in reality she wasn’t. She convinced me to bring her back into training several more times, and I just brought her home last week and will not bring her back there again. I feel the trainer was not honest with me. If she feels the mare can never be ridden, or is beyond her personal comfort level for riding I wish she would have told me. But to this day she states she was really close to being able to mount the mare. Honesty is appreciated from both sides! I hope one day I can get the mare under saddle so I can find her a job and permanent home, but I’m afraid she may live out her days as a pasture ornament! Good thing she is cute!

  169. Lil Hunkele

    December 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    I feel sorry for that horse but I feel even more sorry for his children. What kind of father is this? I’m sure he doesn’t listen to his family either. What a jerk and someone is going to get seriously hurt because of his “I have to be right” attitude.

  170. Linda Oz

    December 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Stacy, You did the right thing. Had you kept the horse, this man would have blamed you for all the problems he had the day he was dropped off at your place.

  171. laura

    December 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Stacey, good for you! If I ask someone to do something with my horse i expect a Spanish inquisition and I try to answer everything truthfully. There is no point beating about the bush with trainers. I try to get owners to be as truthful with me as they can about their horses. I have no problem dealing with difficult horses but if they are difficult i would like to be prepared. Often the most open owners who give you a huge list of problems or things they don’t like, are the ones with the best behaved horses that don’t do half the things they say they do. Quiet owners can mean the worst horses.
    I also try to be as truthful as i can with owners, i don’t overstate my abilities and never promise results, I can only promise to do my best and will pass on the work if i think someone else can help them better. I had one lady who asked me to work her horse for exercise. The saddle DID NOT FIT I’m not an expert saddler but I can tell a very bad fit when I see one, she didn’t ask me to exercise it anymore, adamant that the saddle fitted as it was bought for the horse new only 2 years ago and the lady at the shop said it should fit… Had she of asked me to ride the horse again I would of refused anyway. I’ve also advised a client to sell an unsuitable horse, i explained I’d be happy to continue riding it several times a week as I’m young and enjoy quirky horses (and is easy money for me) but an unpredictable tb was not a good choice for a 65yr old novice happy hacker!

  172. Diego Solís

    December 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    The Owner is more crazy than The Horse . Hard to tell who, but probably himself by wrong technique turn The Horse That way.

  173. Monica Lory

    December 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    People should not even have young, green horses if they are that clueless. If you can’t have your young horse leading, lunging, changing gaits, yielding etc you shouldn’t ownone. It’s utter bullshit to take a horse you don’t know about to a ‘trainer’ to ‘fix it’. The most a trainer should be doing for you is backing the horse and putting some finesse o it. If you can’t get it to a stage where it’s ready for that, you will ultimately fail. The horse industry is so frustrating in this respect. My general feeling is if you can’t get the results yourself, you are in over your head

  174. katzarr

    December 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    AMEN Sista; NO amount of money is worth working with a horse that the “owner” has a bad attitude. OH, and by the way, I don’t care how a good “horse” trainer/teacher/rider, YOU ARE, do not believe ANYONE who says/states, they can train a horse in 30 (thirty) days, that is a bunch of Cra_ , that is not going to happen. No such thing as “stupid” horses, just stupid PEOPLE ❤ God Bless our horses.

  175. rachelle

    December 6, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I got my horse Abbey out of someones yard. She was 13 and never trained, the previous trainer had spent 30 days on her and quit when he couldn’t make any more progress. I got her only as a favor to my mom who fell in love with her. Gave her some time to figure things out by the end of the year we were jumping and now almost 2yrs later she is the best little cross country jumper I have every ridden and a blast for trail rides. She just needed more time and they would have had a great little horse..but I got her instead =)

  176. Charlie

    December 6, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Smh..I did take a 4 yr old running quarter mare straight from the range and rode her without incident in the pioneer days parade after 4 days of trading..ain’t telling how and don’t train anymore.
    Either your a trainer or your either know horses or ya don’t..should have helped that horse to hell with the owner..obviously his needs were minor..the horse that is.

    • Stacy

      December 6, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      I guess if you are saying I am not a trainer by your standards…I can live with that.

  177. Anita

    December 6, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Great read…..some horse owners just don’t get it until someone gets killed & then they will blame someone else or the horse. No good wasting your time with someone that doesn’t listen. I guess the one that loses out here is the horse. 🙂

  178. Nicole

    December 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Thank you, Stacy!! This is great advise for me as I start my own horse rehab business. I will stand my ground! If the owners goals do not line up with my own as far as what’s best for the horse, then I can’t help the horse… Thank you for your words of wisdom and experience!!

  179. Darren

    January 27, 2015 at 3:36 am

    I’ve been around horses all my life (50 years) and brought / tested hundreds of horses for my riding school and had to make quick dicisions whether the horse was good / sound for the riding school , private sale or dogger pen..I train horses to do many things …I always know what / who the owners are because of the horse becoming a blueprint of their personalities.. In this case you are right in not handling this horse because not all owners are suited to a certain personality ,given the horse had no medical problems it sound like the horse has lost all REPECT just like the owner. I’ve had horses that owners couldn’t handle and turned out to be highly educated. If solid leadership is lacking the intelligent horse can tell , some horses just can’t be helped it’s rare but true. If an owner refuses to listen or change to the necessary queues for the horse to understand then it’s a waste of time and a liability.


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