I’m having a hard time deciding what the best thing is to do with my OTTB mare. I’ll tell you the long story and hope you might have some advice for me.
I bought her April 2012 with 4 months of retraining. She was going very well and calmly, I tried her 3 times, had her vetted, and bought her. Shortly after I brought her home, she started to become more spooky and unpredictable. It took me a while, but eventually determined she had ulcers. I treated her for a month had her scoped; she still had ulcers. More treatment. She started to come around and I started planning to take her to small CTs and other local shows. She then had an incident with breaking out of my trailer, slipping on the pavement and tearing open her elbow something horrible. After rehabbing that, our training had taken a huge step back. She was more nervous and unpredictable than ever. I decided to start slowly, but wasn’t getting anywhere. I scoped her again; more ulcers. The vet also recommended that I treat her as “gluten intolerant”. (She also required staples in her RH from another trailer incident arriving at the vets…) That meant alfalfa pellets and flaxseed oil to replace any possible carbs she got from grain. I also decided to treat her like I was re-breaking her at this time to calm her little brain some. I was having decent success; finally getting weight on her and after a couple months we actually started seeing really good progress. Then her performance started declining and she came off her food. I eventually suspected ulcers again and treated her. She started eating again, but then came up horribly back sore. After a month of not responding to muscle relaxers, the vet tested her for Lyme and she came back positive. Went to the vet for a week for IV treatment. At the vet, they tried to give her small area turnout. She promptly stuck her leg through their fence and required 10 stitches. Now she’s home on stall rest until the stitches are out and we feel the wound is adequately healed.
Through all of this, I have been struggling to connect with this mare. She is not personable at all. It took me a year to get her to stop running from me in the field. It still requires treats and a very careful approach. But for the most part, she’ll let me walk up to her now. She doesn’t like being groomed, doesn’t like anything to go above her eyes, so touching her ears or pulling her mane is just asking for it. She doesn’t straight tie, but will cross-tie in the right conditions. I’ve had some luck with her being more accepting of me, but she’s not a particularly lovable or pleasant horse to be around.
I’m conflicted because I really want to ride and progress so badly, but everything seems to be going against me. My first horse (which I still have because he’s a doll) needed surgery and became perpetually lame after I owned him for only 3 weeks. 7 years later, when the finances made it possible, I got this mare to be my competition horse. I 100% believe she has the ability to take me where I want to go. Everyone who sees her go agrees that she is athletic enough to go at least intermediate. But at what point is the cost of keeping her alive/sound out-weigh the potential she has? I am willing to work with her training issues and become a better rider for her, but I have only been able to ride her consistently for a total of 4 months the entire time I have had her. How am I supposed to get better? I think someone with more skill and experience than I would have better luck with her and then I could lease or buy another horse that may not have as much potential, but could at least let me enjoy riding and gain more competition experience. I’m just so conflicted and don’t know what to do.