Pricing the non-showable, tricky horse?

I have given up on ever being healthy enough to keep my tricky mare going consistently, and she is NOT doing well sitting until my schedule changes (getting hard to catch). My focus is to only having horses that I can use in lessons/anyone here can ride.

On the plus - Mare has buttons, and is pretty tolerant about letting people fumble about finding them. She is also great about contact. Easy to sit gaits. Not a fancy mover, but can do all the lateral work (her canter pirouettes aren’t even, but she gives you the feel/idea.) She is an oddly cool horse to train once you are on her back.

On the down side - On the other hand she is very tricky on the ground. Well trained, but very anxious/fearful about humans. This makes showing her, vetting her, letting just anybody work with her, super tricky. She is also oddly reactive to very specific things - white buildings for example (she loads into our white trailer fine…but really fearful to walk beside it!). Some of this has improved, but either I am not good enough to resolve, or it isn’t resolvable. I have done enough vet work. I do not have more ideas.

She is not fancy enough to be a pro-horse. Just an easy on the body horse that suited me well for a bit, and I learned a TONNE from her.

How would you price/advertise a horse like this? honestly would take pretty much anything for the right home, but how do you advertise that safely? I am hoping someone localish buys her so they can do a trial. Ideas?

I think this horse needs to be sold through word of mouth. Trainer is probably your best bet, or trainers you know. Other horse professionals that might know of a capable junior or amateur. Why specifically couldn’t this horse be shown other than she is reactive and not fancy? At least one of those things can improve.


I tried showing her, but it is complicate. She had a bad accident at a show when her previous owner had her leased out. I found out much later after doing some digging.

  1. She really, really gets worried about people, so for example, if the steward touches her on her shoulder (vs just head and neck) which they can’t seem to resist doing despite my warning, she looses her mind, and becomes very difficult to ride. Or if a trainer wants to stand in the warm up ring coaching. Or near the in gate. She doesn’t do anything “bad” she just gets absolutely tense - tight back/neck, gnashing teeth, ready to defend herself.
  2. She is very worried about dressage rails and shiny white buildings. She has gotten better and tries to be obedient, but if say, a loud sound happens when we are near either of those things, she gets scared/kicks out.

Someone might enjoy showing her, but I did not. It felt inhumane, and I felt I had to always been on alert to keep wandering people safe. If someone got her and could show her, great, but I wouldn’t sell her to someone who really wanted to show.

Honestly this is the kind of horse I would do a free lease on, and only to the exact right person. She sounds like she could very easily end up in a bad situation if sold.


I thought of that, and would consider it, but people (around here) seem odd about leasing. I can add that option though.

I have a very particular gelding. If I was to sell him, I’d invest in sending him to a local dressage trainer (GP level) who could sell him on commission. She is super kind and very trustworthy. She’d want the horse to go to the right home. She helped my NH friend sell a few of his horses and he said he’d always sell such types of horses through her. Not only is she an effective and kind rider, she has a large base to advertise to.

Do you have someone like that who you could partner with?

1 Like

Some people in this forum are odd about leasing too :rofl:


See, I would take a horse that was safe in the saddle but wierd on the ground. Because I have the time patience and space to do ground work and wouldnt care if I didn’t get to show her. I likely wouldn’t pay much if anything and I would want the option to give her back if I couldn’t make it work. So what you want to find is someone like me that has some luck doing groundwork with horses and is curious about taking on projects. Probably not going to find that in the straight up competitive dressage crowd but you could find someone with some groundwork skills who would see this as a hidden treasure.


I would easily free/care lease and possibly purchase a horse like this. I keep my horses at home and have the time to micromanage their care/environment.

As long as good under saddle I can deal with uniqueness on the ground.


Personally, I feel like the only option that will let you sleep at night is a free lease. I wouldn’t forfeit legal control of her, if she unravels you’ll need to be able to bring her home and just let her decompress. Poor girl, she sounds like she might have some cognitive or sight-related stuff going on possibly? Good luck, these ones are so tricky. I have a super quirky chronically unsound gelding who is now basically just a very expensive dog.


So where would someone like you look? How do I get the attention of someone looking for something similar? She has a lot to teach someone - but just tricky on the ground - obedient, just miserable. Yes, definitely offering a trial and will let her bridle, saddle and blankets go on trial.

It’s tricky as she isn’t doing well just being off. Became hard/dangerous to catch. Doing better now I am working her again. Ideal would be to find a lease rider here, but no luck so far.

Do you have local trainer who maybe travels, or who has contact with a wide range of riders? You’d find someone for her either word of mouth or auditing clinics, or even through a farrier or vet, I’d think.

1 Like

I’d ask the trainer that knows her quirks or use your vet and farrier. Not sure I’d post publicly as you will have people come out the wood work saying they can fix her and fry her brain worse than it currently is.


I am assuming you have had her vision checked.

1 Like

We don’t have an equine opthamologist locally, but I am not sure what of her behaviour would indicate a vision issue. vet work is quite hard to do on a horse that is not comfortable around strangers.

Spookiness and reactiveness can absolutely be related to not seeing well.


I have one who is wonderful under saddle and tricky on the ground. I’ve posted about the pain issues she used to have from her heat cycle (equine version of fetal position, even the most stubborn who insist horses don’t need any kind of treatment for cycles just training would have recognized she had pain), and not understanding what was hurting her taught her to be anxious. Even though that has eased up over time, she’s simply not so confident on the ground. I adore her and she’s worth it, but like you I get that she isn’t for everyone and would be hesitant to let her be anywhere out of my control.

I hope you can somehow have a perfect lease situation there come up so you can feel sure she’s OK! These days uncertainty can make it hard to let a horse go down the road.


She is only spooky about very specific things. Given the accident she had, it all makes sense (it involved either her, or a horse near her getting caught in the dressage fence at a show…details are hazy as it didn’t happen with the former owner, but rather a lease rider who wasn’t forthcoming about the accident). She isn’t what I would consider spooky in general.

I have found a couple unique and wonderful horses in COTH free section - VERY nice, worthwhile for me horses. Lifetime homes with me. Might be a resource to explore… Social media in general can generate leads for unique situations.


If you want money - send her to a consignmemt program.
If you want control over choosing a home - free to the right trainer/program…
But i think its hard to free lease a horse to a trainer - their skills are to train so why would they take on a horse they cant cash out and sell?