The effects of bad horse dealers on young horses

28 10 2007

Little Alfie has been busy for the past 6 weeks. He was ‘started’ (‘broken in’ in old-fashioned horse speak, but we don’t want to use that!) before, about 18 months ago, we did some work with him then, but decided to leave it for a later date, to give him some time to have been introduced to it, but he didn’t seem ready. And the key with Alfie is to do things very slowly, with no pressure!

So, six weeks ago, I recruited the help of an excellent instructor, and we set about teaching Alfie how to be riding pony. Do I have to? is the question you get the feeling Alfie would ask if he could talk!

The first 3 weeks went well, with Alfie really taking to the process, BUT, there has always been a problem when first getting on him. We know there is nothing wrong with his back, or any other medical problem, so we wondered if he may just be cold-backed (some horses just are, and they don’t like it when a rider first gets on them, but ok once you are on) but it just seemed as though there was more to it than that.

We carried on, but tried different approaches to see if the problem would sort itself out. Nothing we did seemed to make a difference and the problem continued. Eventually though, (and I expect Alfie was completely fed up with us for not figuring it out before) we finally realised that Alfie’s problem was with working in the arena.

As soon as we took him out on the lanes and on bridlepaths, he suddenly totally relaxed and became a completely different pony, happy, relaxed and thoroughly enjoying himself.

My instructor, who is very experienced thinks that the person who I got Alfie from, the evil horse dealer I mentioned before (you know, the one who’s in prison for indecency to minors?!) had tried to start him before. But had done it in a way that was cruel, therefore leaving Alfie with a very negative association about being ridden. We both agree that it is SO easy to ruin a wonderful pony in this way, and make it impossible for a pony to have a secure future, UNLESS they are lucky enough to be found by someone who is prepared to work through the problems they have. Hence why so many go to slaughter every year.

It is a very sad fact, but one that is all too familiar. Alfie is just one more pony that has more than likely been put through totally unecessary and cruel methods of being started, and they are employed as a way of making the process quick, so that a dealer can sell the pony as quickly as possible and then just keep buying more and more and do the same thing again and again.

Don’t buy a horse from a dealer! And if you have a young horse or pony that is having problems being started, please please give the animal some time, and understanding. your horse or pony may be trying to tell you something….

Little Alfie with his tack on:

Last Angel Equine Defence

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