Let me start of by saying that I’m looking for an overall honest opinion here. I just adopted a Saddlebred that is CUTE as a button, but clearly has a lot of issues. I am guessing at one point he was a show horse - he sets up in the bridle very nicely, and knows walk, trot, canter well… and loves, LOVES peppermints. All indicators (to me) that he probably was a show horse. Of course, as it seems to happen too often, he wound up on the road for ??? years pulling a buggy. Now, I realize rescues come with issues most often, but this one took me by surprise…and makes me sad…
When this guy was picked up from New Holland, he was quite stressed out. Supposedly the vet couldn’t get blood work, he kicked one of the workers at the sale, and upon walking into the stall… he pinned his ears at the lady who picked him up. He even kicked out to let her know he was all business! But never actually did anything to her. They loaded him up anyway, and as soon as he made it to his new “home,” he seemed to be relieved and relaxed a lot.
I have adopted him from a rescue about 6-7 months after them having him. I made a large mistake two weeks into having him, and tried to have a vet come out and sedate him to do teeth and chiropractic work (if he allowed it). Ha! Well, to summarize, he immediately gave us flat ears, nipped at me, started swishing his tail, showing teeth, etc. Stomping his feet, you name it. He saw the needle coming at him when the vet was just going to pet him first, and he got defensive. He actually more or less got aggressive. I think very fear related. We went around for 20 minutes not being able to get it in the vein (for fear of getting seriously hurt). We finally managed to get it in the muscle, after feeling like we were both going to get seriously injured because he put up a good fight. At one point, his front left leg came up and was pawing in the air. Quite traumatizing for me - I’ve NEVER had a mean bone in a horse I’ve owned. I ended up telling the vet not to do anything. He was even pinning ears after sedation, HEAVY sedation, and somehow had enough energy to crank his head back at me with flat ears as I walked into the stall after we had given the sedation material time to set in. (solid 30 minutes or more).
Of course, I am strongly considering not keeping this guy, and basically have a couple days to decide. Another farm might try him out with their lesson program (he’s had kids ride him and show him while at the previous rescue, surprisingly). I fear even simple tasks with this guy, and there has been a lot of ear pinning since I’ve had him… although! This has gotten MUCH better. I hardly have any, anymore as I believe he is starting to trust me.
What would be your suggestions here? I know this can be dangerous if the right person doesn’t know how to handle a horse like this. Has anyone else had an ex Amish horse like this? I truly feel like this guy was probably not treated well somewhere along the line, and maybe this is why he ended up almost going to kill. I can tell he wants to be a sweet horse, but he does some things sometimes that make me nervous. I struggle to wonder what will happen when he REALLY needs veterinary care, or even having the farrier come. That needs to be done, I dread that will cause a freak out session. As a side note, the rescue was able to give shots on their own with no problem, and never mentioned a problem with the farrier.
Thoughts? Experiences? I am all ears!