Sep 7 2018

Where’s my carrot b*tch?

A dear friend of mine has asked me to sell his horse for him. This horse is not in the Safe Horse Training Program but has attended several of my clinics over the past five years. Due to the owner’s health issues, his horse has been out in the pasture for the past year, without much more contact than scheduled farrier and deworming.

I made an appointment with a potential buyer and met the family as scheduled. They explained to me they had over 20 years’ experience with horses and were looking for a pasture ornament type horse. One to mostly love on and take for the occasional trail ride. Well, that certainly would be a lifestyle his horse would enjoy.

The mother and young adult daughter groomed the horse, as I spoke with the father. I noticed that the horse was exceptionally “friendly” with the ladies, sniffing and nuzzling them as they brushed him.  I saddled the horse up for a test ride. The horse was unusually interested in me, nibbling at my hat and stepping into my space. This made no sense to me because this was not his typical behavior, but something was definitely up!

And then the mystery was solved…out came the carrots! As soon as the bag crinkled, the horse alerted and practically accosted the daughter, gobbling down the carrots as fast as she could get them out of the bag. I took this opportunity to talk to the potential buyers about my experience with abundantly treating a horse, for no other reason than to satisfy the human’s need to be liked. The horse continued to get pushier as the daughter ignored my words and continued to feed him.  But wait, how did he know they had treats?  The mother, understanding my words, says, “We did notice that when we fed him carrots earlier this afternoon that he started to get really pushy.  We’ve already been out here to see him before our appointment with you.”

WHAT? Who does that? Quickly realizing that I am dealing with buyer’s who have no respect for boundaries, I advised them that if they felt feeding treats was important to their enjoyment of this horse, I would document in the bill of sale that feeding the horse treats was at their own risk and would likely result in physical injury of the person.

The daughter reminded me of their 20+ years of horse experience and asked if she could ride Chief. I gave her a quick safety lesson, showing her how to flex the horse and how to do a one rein stop. She was eager to get on and maybe a little annoyed with me insisting on a mini-lesson.

The daughter did not last very long on him. As they went around the arena, the horse stopped to look at a pile of disarrayed obstacles stored in the corner. The young lady was annoyed with his worry and started to slap him on the butt to make him move forward. He tolerated the whacking for about 20 seconds, then he crow hopped in place three times and dislodged his rider. He stood over her, looking down at her as if to say, “You’re very rude.”

Clearly, this was not a match and the horse just wanted to know, “Where’s my carrot, b*tch?”