New York 8 year old  Kentucky Mtn. Saddle Horse ridden in Western bridle, Tom Thumb bit and Tucker  trail saddle in pasture by beginner who has been riding 8 years.

I have had Dawson 3+ weeks.  He was sold as "very quiet, very trail safe and easy going"  I rode him on the trail for about 45min.befor I bought him.  He was 5hr from here so I didn't have the chance to ride him more than once.  He was excellent on the trail...did just what I told him and wasn't afraid of school busses or huge trucks, went through water over down trees and rode away from the other horse we were out with.  He seemed well broke but the owner,(A dealer who had had him about 6mo.) said that he didn't neck rein or back up.  I have ridden him every day except 4days since I've had him.  He really does neck rein and we were working on the backing up and making progress.  In most ways he was excellent...he was afraid of large rocks but would go after another horse then go first the next time by it.  He's very afraid of slickers, too.  He has excellent ground manners, never tries to eat under saddle, good for the vet, loads, great with other horses.  

The problem???  He's bucked me off twice.  He's hurt me now and I just don't want him any more.  If I had some idea why I could explain it to any buyers.  I won't lie, and I'm afraid I won't get even close to the $3000 I paid.   Both times we were going along a hedge row, my husband trotting, me gaiting when my husband stopped suddenly, once because a woodchuck spooked his horse and once because his hat fell off.  Dawson
suddenly just bucked me off and ran away home, (about 1/2 mile).  The first time I gave him the benefit of the doubt...but now I feel that this is a very bad habit.  I cannot deal with this. I don't know of any gaited horse trainers in this area...and I wouldn't know if I could trust them anyway.  I can't spend any more money on a horse that scares me.  Spending money on trainers is certainly no guarantee that the horse will improve.  I know that I will never trust him again.  I ride him in the same saddle I tried him in with the same bit.  Is there any hope for him? What should I tell people?  I have written to the dealer telling him I think he should take him back.  I haven't heard anything yet.  Should he give me my money back?  I really don't want another horse from him.  I'm way too sore to ride now anyway.  Any suggestions?????

From Panelist Laura

It sounds like you have given up on this horse & are mostly interested in selling him.  Be honest with the people you sell him to.  It never pays to misrepresent a horse.  It will probably help when selling him to emphasize to the buyer that you are a beginning rider & it is possible that you hitting the ground had more to do with your lack of balance than that the horse was seriously trying to get rid of you.  You might want to advertise him as an 
intermediate rider level horse and have the potential buyer take him past the spot where you were dumped to be sure he/she can deal with him.  

Good luck.

From Panelist Steve

Well first of all, if you aren't having fun then you need to get another horse. Life is short and horses are a great pleasure. So find one that suits your needs. Don't feel guilty about it. Don't feel inadequate. We all have had horses like the one you describe. Many of us try to help the horse and get hurt instead. It isn't worth it. I would try and return the horse to the
dealer, even if you have to take a small loss. Most reputable dealers (some people insist there is no such thing..they may be right) will simply take the horse back to avoid hassles. If not, I do agree with your desire to tell the buyers about the horse's problem. That is the only ethical thing to do, even if it means the horse's value will decrease. We win some and we lose some...we've all been there so don't feel bad!

This horse is a panic-aholic. Stress builds up and then he explodes. It works...he gets the rest of the day off. Experienced horsemen, or horse people with something to prove could work through the problem by immersion therapy, the same way one deals with any phobia in horse or human. Constant exposure. Make the horse deal with the problem on a daily basis and slowly he will become desensitized. Of course, this takes a lot of time and
trouble. One has to WANT to do this. One has to be able to do this without being a nervous wreck all the time. One has to risk injury, and be a good enough horseman to avoid it. Most of us can't/won't do this. I used to do it for special horses, horses that had unusual talent that I didn't want to throw away. Now, I don't do it for any horse...nothing like a fractured pelvis to put riding in perspective :>)


From Panelist Lee

If you are not comfortable with this horse, not willing to put any more money into his training or retraining, then by all means sell him. Be honest, explain exactly what you have said here, and be willing to take a loss on the sale.  Your continued safety and mental calm are of paramount importance here.  I imagine with a more confident and experienced rider his bucking would probably cease, but you are not that rider as long as you are afraid of him.

It would probably be a good idea for you to take riding lessons, English or Dressage, and improve your skills in the saddle before you buy another horse.    This will give you the confidence to deal with small misbehaviors, and the ability to keep your seat and help a timid horse over frightening experiences.  When you do buy a horse again, try to spend more time riding and assessing the horse before you take him home.  It sounds as if this
horse is a bit green, despite his age, and was not really as "bomb proof" as you thought when you tried him at his previous home.

Lee Ziegler

From Panelist Liz


I would first check to see if you have a saddle fitting problem. Also I have found the tom thumb bit to not work well on many horses as it can pinch the sides of the mouth , lack balance, and have a nut cracker effect around the bottom jaw.

Get these things checked find someone that has the knowledge to help, it does not necessarily got to be a gaited person to work though these problems. I also think this horse sure did not have much time to get used to a new home and bond up with you to develop that trust relationship so if there is any apprehension on your part he will
sense this. Get help and get lessons to get through this if you want to still give this horse a try, other wise if you must market him , tell all, not doing so could sure come back on you.
Taking a loss is never a fun thing but can be a reality as well when buying and selling horses.

Good luck


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