The first horse I refused to train by Stacy Westfall

For many years I accepted any horse for training. Maybe they were bred to be famous or maybe they were unregistered and abused. Either way, I would take them. 30 days, 60 days, three years. All were possible if you just paid your bill.stick n string

Until one day….

A man called and asked if I would train his horse for 30 days. I said ‘yes’ and we set the date for the horse to arrive. I asked him some general questions about the horse, which was a two year old, and about his goals, which was to ride it.

I gave my general disclaimer about ‘30 days of training doesn’t equal a broke horse’ (the real speech is five minutes or longer) but he made it clear that money WAS an issue and he only wanted 30 days.

I thought, ‘OK, I get it. Money is an issue and I will do my best…but I am not sure he ‘heard’ me when I explained the horse won’t be solid after 30 days…..’

So I made a mental note to give the ’30 days speech’ again when he dropped the horse off.

He arrived in the evening, after work, after dark, with his horse. I gave my speech again and this time it was received even more poorly. He was only paying for 30 days and I needed to get my job done.

Understanding financial pressure and trying to size up what he wanted to achieve in 30 days….aside from ‘rideable’….which is a matter of opinion in many cases….I began asking more goal oriented questions.4H

Frustrated at dealing with my many questions and clearly irritated that ‘riding’ could mean more than ‘riding’ he finally stated that he was planning on having his son ride the horse in 4-H that coming summer.

So I gave the ’30 days’ speech….again. He didn’t appreciate it.

Jesse was finishing things up in the barn for the night and I decided to work the horse for just a few minutes in the arena. I knew I needed to accomplish a lot in 30 days and the sooner I started the better. The horse led decently down the isle and into the indoor arena.

I attached a lunge line and picked up a stick and string. The horse seemed quiet enough and I began rubbing him all over with the stick and string. It went well and the horse didn’t mind at all. I began to relax.

I lead him to the middle and asked him to lunge around me. He walked out and began to  trot a circle around me…maybe someone had done some work with him.stick n string off side

One circle, two circles and then he turned toward me and charged, ears pinned. Stunned, I jumped to the right and swung the stick to make contact with his neck. He swerved to avoid me like a pro and headed back out to the circle.

“Jeesssse!” I yelled to my husband as the horse circled me. I felt like a mouse being circled by a hawk. ‘Yeah?’ he responded as the horse dove at me again.

‘HELP!’ That brought Jesse running.

With no time to explain and no ‘good’ spot to stop in sight I asked him to join me in the circle. He took the rope, I took the stick and in two more circles when the horse dove in again, ears pinned, I was able to stand my ground and hit his left side of his neck several times. Finally he stopped facing us at the end of the line seeming to contemplate his next move.

I filled Jesse in and after a few minutes rest decided to give the horse the benefit of doubt. Maybe this was his first time and he was just testing me out. It sure felt like he had done it before but….

We, Jesse and I, went several more ‘rounds’ with the horse; who did improve but never lost the hawk like study of us. We found a ‘good’ place to end (horse not charging us!) and put him away.

And I started thinking. Not so much about the horse…but about the owner.

The owner wasn’t listening already, was not open to my thoughts and ideas. He was just upset that 30 days and rideable wasn’t clear enough. Would he ‘hear’ me when I explained his horse was tough? Would he care? Who had taught this horse to charge? Didn’t he say he wanted his son to ride this horse? When I say this horse is not kid safe will he listen?

He hadn’t ‘listened’ up to this point so I had no reason to believe he would begin now. And now there was a child involved.

No. I wasn’t willing to be involved in this.

I called the owner…and he was mad. Mad isn’t strong enough. He was HOT!

The horse stayed at my house less than 24 hours.

Let me be clear here. I have dealt with worse horses. ‘Bad’ horses don’t bother me….I find them exciting and interesting.

Owners who won’t listen are a losing formula. Things are hard enough if the owner is in agreement with me…but when they are not, no one is going to be happy.

For me, this was a turning point. I moved the ‘goal setting’ conversation to the beginning of the process….well before the horses arrived. If the owners goals didn’t line up with what I was willing to do, or participate in, then the horse didn’t come.

If more trainers, and owners, would draw a line in the sand based on their values the world would be a better place for horses.

PSP.S.-Oh, in case you are wondering what became of the horse….

I ran into the owner at the county fair in the fall. He was still REALLY angry but made it a point to let me know his son HAD shown at the fair on the horse. Yes, he had shown and he had been dumped three times during the fair that week. But he had shown.

I walked away knowing that the owner felt glad that he had proven me wrong.

I felt good that I had NOT participated in the craziness. If your child being dumped three times at the fair is your idea of success…I don’t want to be on your team.

(also…the horse in the photos is NOT the horse I refused to train)

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Update, March13, 2017. With over 230+ comments this topic clearly resinated with readers. Occasionally the comments will turn toward the breed mentioned. I only mentioned it because I was attempting to have you visualize the experience. The breed could have been swapped for any other breed because the breed wasn’t the point…the owner was.

245 Comments

  1. Jacalyn Kerkau on December 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    A good trainer knows a animals limit & knows how to walk away with his head held high. Unfortunately some people do not realize what they have created until a child is hurt. Knowing you did the right thing is all about being humble & having pride. When his child ends up in the hospital due to his in-derangement of a child, you can let the law know of his neglect & child in-derangement. Unfortunately some people should never be parents or owner’s of animals. We can’t save the world.

  2. Maggie on December 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I agree with your decision to not train the horse Stacy. Clearly the owner didn’t want to hear your advice. Glad you got out of the situation especially since a youth was involved, an injury by that horse could have been damaging to both the child and your reputation for sure!

  3. Diana on December 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Stacy, I know you probably feel bad about turning the horse away and for the little boy who was forced to ride it, but you really shouldn’t. Not taking on unwilling/untrainable owners has been my policy with clients for over 3 decades. It’s pretty much the only rule I follow while considering taking on a new client. Yeah, I’ve lost a lot of business that way, but it was worth it. I saved myself the stress and headache of dealing with hard-headed people…men AND women. My specialty is re-teaching so-called “problem” horses and bringing them back to a mentally sound, happy horse status. I agree with you that EVERY horse is teachable, no matter how young or old or how abused or neglected they were. BUT, if the owner isn’t “teachable” and not willing to learn right alongside their horse and learn to change their own ways…which is usually what caused the horse to become a “problem” in the first place, then I won’t even go look at the animal unless they are willing to relinquish ownership of the horse and let me re-teach and re-home it to somebody who knows how to handle horses properly…or at least is willing to learn. Surprisingly, quite a few people have done that just to get the “crazy horse” off their property and away from their kids. sad. The owner HAS to play a major part in healing their own horse, otherwise, there’s no point in wasting your time and their money just for you to send the healed horse back to the same bad situation with bad attitudes and he gets back his same old bad habits which brought him to you in the first place. Of course, then they come back and blame us for their own ignorance and just plain stupidity for re-ruining their horse. So, kudos to you for standing your ground! 🙂 I’ll be following your blogs now. My techniques are a bit unconventional at times, but always gentle and with the least amount of “tools” as possible (just a halter and lead even when riding…no saddle, either, at first). The equines always trust me implicitly after it’s all said and done, so I must be doing something right, but I’m always up for learning different, better ways of teaching the big fuzzy critters. 🙂 Take care xo

  4. Maestoso on December 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    You had 30 days to work on the Owner’s mind. You didn’t want to take the risk in case of failing (which is totally respectable). That is always the most difficult thing in horse training – get the owner to think about what he/she does to his/her horse. Deal with the problem horse is probably not a problem for you any more, so next step for your improvement is, to deal with the difficult owner….:)

    • Anna-Leigh London on December 18, 2013 at 1:22 am

      People are much more difficult to train in 30 days! I don’t help people who need help it’s called co dependency. I only help people who WANT help and that joker clearly did not have a teachable
      soul. Secondly its Stacy’s neck and life.
      People horses kill more people than any other domestic animal. If her instincts tell her NOT to take a horse and owner THERE is a REASON
      STOP it already its not your call respect her choice. Stacy is so talented and I am all for people trusting their instincts. Not all horses are good riding horses. Not all horses are good show horses.
      Not all stallions are good studs. And not all horses are suitable for children. Some horses and some people are better matches for OTHER trainers 🙂

  5. Judy on December 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Good call, Stacy! My concern is with the irrational father who put his child on a horse that could seriously injure or kill him. Just learned of a young lady that was killed in a barrel racing accident, so what could happen with an unpredictable horse and a child.

  6. zeliha thomas on December 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I think you made the right decision stacy. The moment you had taken the horse on, on the conditions the owner gave you, and the boy would have been dumped at the fair, It would have reflected on you as a trainer and your skills, because it would have defenitly been your fault and he would have made sure that everyone around him would have known that. Even thought I know that a lot of trainers, certainly a lot of them over here in the Netherlands I have met, are the first ones to blame the horse as the one who is wrong. In my opinion most of the time a problem horse, is a horse with an owners problem, and reflects the human or humans it is connected too. And not every horse is open and aproachable for a trainer so it can connect with the energy of the trainer and trust the trainer instantly. And if so, 30 days is not nearly enough to get things right again.

  7. Lia on December 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I had a trainer who rode my horse on trail outside after DAY 5 ( I was watching it !) I and I had a trainer who could not put a saddle on my horse in TEN DAYS of training ! Different horses – different trainers but I did ground work on both horses and I knew what they were capable of – really it is all depends …

    • Anna-Leigh London on December 18, 2013 at 1:13 am

      I started a two year old quarter horse filly who was only halter broke, worked her in the round pen 20 minutes saddled her western, rode her in the round pen fifteen minutes in a side pull then went on a longhorn cattle drive with about fifty horses through creeks across streets and through the countryside. When we returned
      she knew how to walk, trot, lope, stop and turn flex and rein back a few steps. she was not too tired
      she loved it. she felt secure with all the other horses around.Normally I would not have done that but, I just got her in to training the night before and I thought she might enjoy the cattle drive with so many horses so I had to get her broke, plus I really wanted to go on the ride and I needed to get started with her and her owner was local cattleman I thought he’d be impressed if he saw his filly and boy was he ever he said ” that looks just like my filly” I said ” this is your filly” he said “Anna-Leigh didn’t I mention she isn’t broke?” I replied “she is now!!” Now there are some horses who do NOT have that attitude. some have not been handled well or at all or worse, people have rewarded them with cookies for pinning their ears and turning disrespectfully. Some have been bred to take off like a bullet out of a gate and run one way. Some are bred badly, some are inbred, line bred ill-bred, bred to run for days. Some want to spit out the bit because they have a big fat tongue and are meant to pull a cart or plow. I have found that more than 99% of horses start out generous willing animals social and wanting to please, if you make an effort to learn their ways, be understanding and considerate and kind ( but don’t take any guff) It’s very easy to train the heart right out of a horse and it wont easily come back.
      training takes time its different with each individual just because we can get a lot done in a few hours or months does it mean we should? The further I want to take a horse…. the longer i spend on the foundation ( even though I can ride 19 out of 20 colts in the RP in the first hour buck free)
      That’s what the public used to pay me for. I’m not working for the public so public listen up IF you can afford it… spend more get the best horse, and trainer you can afford let her or him take their time. but check up on them nothing worse then one who is taking your money and not doing their job. Happy Trails

  8. Sarah Thompson on December 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Well I agree some what with sending the horse home and not training it, cause it probably would go back to its old habits, but as a horse trainer it should be the trainers job to do what they can with the horse with the time aloted to them. I don’t mean to sound negative, maybe things are just difference here in Canada. I train our own horse and some outfitter horses ( that are very aggressive) and some that have never been handled, and in my experience if you can’t ride them in thin 30 days, I am doing something wrong.
    I have all your videos, and think your are doing a great job.

    • Stacy on December 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Sarah-I trained many 30 day horses with that same idea. This man made it clear he would be putting his son on at the end of 30 days. That was my problem in this case. Otherwise, I agree with your idea.

  9. Nancy Zadrozny on December 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    This was not a horse problem, it was a people problem. I feel sorry for all those equines with a people problem. If only they could send their “people” to a trainer!

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  11. Dan Embody on December 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    In my line of work, if the client is not going to cooperate, refuse to accept the engagement.

  12. Pat on December 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    You cant fix stupid. Smart move to not be involved with this man. You might have gotten “somewhere” with the horse but you would never have gotten where Mr. Cheapskate thought you should be.

  13. Tracy Willow Creek Horse Farm on December 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks for this great article. I am not a horse trainer, but have worked with and around horses for most of my life. Like Stacy, I experienced a similar situation when someone asked me to help with a horse they had recently purchased for their 8 year old grand-daughter.

    This 15 hand gelding seemed docile while working with him on the ground. He was a bit slow when I asked him to give to pressure and move his hind-quarters away from me, but he did do as asked. I then snapped on the 20 foot thick cotton rope I use especially with horses I don’t know. I thought I would see if he knew how to lunge, but after a couple of rounds he charged, reared up and struck at me. I had to beat him off with the rope. I got him moving after that, but he was certainly not a horse I would have an 8 year old working with at this point in his training.

    When I voiced my concern of having a horse who exhibited this kind of aggression for an 8 year old girl, I was then blamed for the horse’s bad behavior, because I was making him work! I discussed my concerns for the girl’s safety one more time, but her parents and grand[parents refused to listen. Sadly, within the month the young girl had a broken arm, and the horse was sold not long after.

    The trainer I work with now has a couple of sayings: “Green and green make black and blue” and “You can’t fix stupid…” From what I’ve seen with some horse owners, he has a point. The sad thing is that people don’t realize that allowing horses to have the upper-hand can be dangerous, and not only bad for the owners, but also the horses.

    From what I’ve experienced, horses want a good leader who can provide very clear communication concerning what behaviors are right or wrong, which can be taught with humane training methods.

    I truly believe that it is up to each of us who has the honor of working with horses to become better horse-people and to never stop learning.

  14. Brenda Randle on December 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Stacy,
    I applaude you on your decision. I have been teaching horsemanship for 30 years. I can’t tell you how many times I have been approached by parents to push their children beyond their ability for a ribbon or some sort of bragging rights. I know that saying “no” can lead to outright hostiliy in some cases. Experienced horsemen and women have to stick to their principles especially when dealing with students, parents and horse owners who don’t have the knowledge to make an informed decision.

  15. Maureen Johnson on December 17, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Sometime I have to sit back and wonder why. Just why. That man thinks that having his kid dumped off a horse with issues but still showed was success? What if his kid was seriously hurt in the process? Ya gotta wonder if he would have listened then. I applaud you Stacy, in the way you stood up to him and told him what will happen. But, it is his problem if he did not take your wise advise. You laid it out for him and he made a choice, one that could have cost his son his life.

  16. maurice lizotte on December 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

    keep up the good work the hell with the stupid one

  17. Dodie piche on December 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

    i agree with geneil dillehay and erin both said same thing I thought should have been make sure for 30 days no its not work, it supposed to have been one month or 2 month maybe 6 month til fixed it up when it is safe like broke down would be good enough not to sell but the owner shouldnt have so mad or something just have to be patient with horse come frist and see how go with a horse would be trust who person like lady person and more relax and listen ur heart frist thing that u have to relax and patient and postive with horse but the horse will lookin at u and the horse will come to u and more safe and just “patient with horse ” cant rush tellin u that horse danger cant be i ve my horse before had behave but the horse was danger but no it is not thing happen just give u time if the owner dont believe u or anything thats bullshit the owner should ve listen more careful what goin be better right one in time not to rush or anything give u 30 days it wont be work! u need think just trust and postive also relax lookin at the horse need help like communcation between u and the horse need to know why i m here maybe horse need to know why ur here stranger person maybe dont know but the horse need relax and calm first get to know u more and the horse will trust u in hand no time. til fix it up to give time like put blanket give time and what is mean what looks like and calm it will take time to learn quick but maybe then it will give u time and think not to rush, just be patient both need trust and look each other more time. you shouldnt have say about the horse danger thats not true! just give time. the owner really mad u should have not say about danger horse or u gave it up on horse thats mean something not right.

  18. Charly Makray-Rice on December 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Running a business and keeping a reputation for responsibility comes with parameters. This is a lesson in how and when to set them. Clearly, if the owner had had reasonable expectations and an open mind, thirty days of training would have been a short foundation course, nothing more. The owner would have known that and been happy. This owner would not have been happy with anything less than a polished horse after thirty days. He was a bonehead and not having him for a client was the wise decision. He can never claim any problems his horse creates was caused by a lack in Stacy’s training.

  19. Geneil Dillehay on December 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

    If he was that stupid about the horse, imagine what the poor kid is going through. Makes you wonder who’d been working with the horse before you got him.

  20. Mary Ann Black on December 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I think 30 days can be okay if and only if the owner understands what can and cannot be accomplished in 30 days and a child isn’t involved. I sent mine to a trainer last year after getting a handful of rides on him at home. I first said 30 days since I wanted to see what kind of progress he made. He did so good I left him 90 days.
    I have been to team pennings and think a horse was out of control and overhear the rider say I just started him this week. Crazy people

  21. Tabitha A. Packwood on December 17, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Well, the dude’s son ended up riding the horse anyways, didn’t he? The kid would’ve been a heckuva lot safer if the horse would’ve had another 30 days of training on it than if he hadn’t. Now there’s a horse out there that could have benefited greatly from 30 days who isn’t nearly as great as he could’ve been with an excellent trainer such as yourself.

    One trainer to another, that’s my viewpoint.

  22. Jana Workman on December 17, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Good on ya Stacey.. I have been around horses for about 30 years…. U are right.. Some owners can’t be fixed.. Lol

  23. .Susan on December 17, 2013 at 9:01 am

    HI Stacie
    First of all I loved your Bridle less Ride.
    Through the years in training horses I’ve seen a lot along the way.
    A $5.00 dollar rental ride at a show lost a 10 yr Olds life. People just don’t think SAFETY..
    You made the Best decision in this case..
    I have a sign..” I fix horses with People Problems” how true is that. A THIS horses behavior was definitely created by people.
    You are a Professional and keep up the good work that you do….Your Father’s Proud….

  24. Jacqui Weber on December 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Stacy, that guy would have been so quick to sue you if his child had gotten hurt. GREAT call. It takes more confidence in your skills to do what you did than to cave into pressure. Kudos to your intelligence and business prowess!

  25. Lori on December 17, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Actually, I have a different perspective. Worked in animal rescue for about a decade now, and my concern is who he takes the horse to next and what they do to that animal for the sake of his 3 day goal.

  26. maryline on December 17, 2013 at 8:14 am

    im so happy you shared that story ,it hapenned to me several time,but i never how to deal with those kind of client that wont see how there horse are or the situation is really and ask unreal thing to do with the horse in such a short time but now i wil stick to my position when they try to get me doing things i dont believe its realistic and safe!!

  27. Cindy M. Allen on December 17, 2013 at 7:01 am

    I read your post , and i agree with you the way you handled it. I to train horses,and rescue horses to from people who abuse them. I feel sorry for the child, and what might end up happening to him later up the road.

  28. Tracy on December 17, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Wow! Great article and it struck a chord with me. The problem with being a horse trainer is mostly about dealing with idiotic owners who don’t listen or worse-seem to agree with every thing you tell them & then ignore it!

  29. KLH on December 17, 2013 at 4:42 am

    It leads me to wonder what would be expected of the child in 30 lessons!

  30. Lynn Riley on December 17, 2013 at 2:04 am

    No doubt, good on yah! Don’t we want our children to be successful & safe!!!

  31. kathy on December 17, 2013 at 12:30 am

    So Sad that both horse and child had to go thru something like this .. Who knows what the horse had to endure to make him behave like that , Some people should d not have animals or kids ….You were 100% right in your decision …. But makes you wonder what this poor guys child will grow up to be like ………….

  32. Janette on December 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Stacy, I’m so glad you shared this story with us. Just like you, I will not waste any time on a horse that the owners can only afford 30 days. I will work so hard to try and make that horse as safe as possible, in Just 30 days. The question I have been asking myself, is it fair on anyone? (Me, the horse the owner or the owners that are happy to pay for longer). I feel there is a danger in the trainer becoming so efficient with their system, that the horse will miss out on TIME. Somthing is allways compromised in just 30 days. I shutter to think of the horses getting put through the mill, with the other trainers in my area. So I do my best, for the horses sake. (Your damned if you do and damned if you don’t).

    • Janette on December 17, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Ps, the fact that you (one of the worlds best) are so confident that any horse is not considered broke (for want of a better word), in just 30 days. Gives me (an amateur) a lot of comfort.
      Your honestly is helping. Thank you!!

    • Erin on December 17, 2013 at 6:42 am

      I don’t think that is fair, to refuse based on what they can afford (only 30 days) I am currently preggers, and my filly that I really wanted to break this spring, (that I am quite capable of doing, I have started many horses successfully) will either have to wait, or I will send her to a trainer for 30 days. Mostly for my safety, as I know after I give birth I won’t be legged up enough to feel confident to break a 3 year old TB. I don’t think my expectations are unrealistic by the end of 30 days. I would like her to be able to walk and trot under saddle if possible, anything more than that is a bonus, anything less than that, well, if she needed more time, I would rather have her not pushed and not scarred than to be forced into a situation. I understand that in 30 days, my horse might not be rideable. In that event I would take her home and she and I would wait until I could break her myself safely. That would be the gamble with my $$. Money is very tight for me at the moment and 30 days of training I would have to save up for at this point.
      That said, before she goes, she will know how to lunge, wear a saddle and a bridle, ground drive, and be pretty darn good with things like tarps and other scary stuff, give to pressure etc…. So that the trainer doesn’t have to work on these things, but briefly to establish a rapport with the horse.
      I would respect a trainer more that would accept my 3 year old, with the hopes of having her green broke in 30 days, that would call me if he or she realized that this wasn’t going to happen for safety’s/mental health sake of horse or trainer.

      • Stacy on December 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

        Erin-I agree in your situation that the 30 days could benefit all. The man in the story made it clear he would be putting his young son on. That is where the problem was.

      • Erin on December 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm

        Stacey that was a reply to janettes statement. I 100% agree with your reasons for sending that horse home. Itirked me that she said she wcouldn’t even take a horse for 30 days.

      • Kim on December 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm

        I think you’re missing the point.. the owner’s expectations after 30 days weren’t realistic given the horse’s current aggressive state and there obviously wasn’t going to be open communication. The owner was going to be disappointed either way so why spend the 30 days working with a potentially dangerous horse, when the owner will still leave pissed? He might even try to withhold payment if he didn’t think the job was done right. People can be difficult. Anyway, that horse obviously needed some time to overcome whatever issues he had. 30 days of training for your girl is completely reasonable! And I think most trainers are willing to work within a budget.

      • Janette on December 18, 2013 at 7:35 am

        Dear Erin, Stacy made comment that she got to work straight away on that horse because she only had 30 days. That is what I was referring to.Sorry I didn’t make myself clear. My life would be so much easier, if I was good with words. I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself, to make every horse safe, no matter how long I have them.

        • Erin on December 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

          Thanks for clarifying 🙂

  33. Carol n on December 17, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I ve heard that our horses are a reflection of ourselves. I feel sad for people who (seem to) thrive on negative emotions. THEY have a choice.

  34. Amanda Griffey on December 16, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    So glad to hear this. I had a horse I refused to work with once that sounded similar to that. Nice to handle leading but when you ask him to do some real “work” watch out. Although I have up on him after he had had the chance to (quite literally) nearly kick my guts out. I ended up being airlifted to a major hospital for a ruptured kidney and spleen. The owner had the gall after I recovered I ask me to work with the horse again. I told her I would try it once more, and the horse charged, ears flat and teeth bared. I told the owner I would not work with it anymore and if she expected to make it a horse for her kids she needed to find a different horse. While she said he was the “perfect” kids horse, he eventually came after on of her kids and she did sell him and find an appropriate kids horse. Some people just don’t get it.

  35. celia clarke on December 16, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    I blame the false stories about you going around in email and on the internet about how you trained the remarkable dolly in just a couple weeks to win the national championship of no tack riding…..oh yeah and being a deaf mute as well. So people expect miracles from you because the lies have been going on for so long even when people try to stop it.

  36. doreen on December 16, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    You are strong and an equine advocate. I admire how you stood your ground. Safety is key for both human and equine. Matter of factly….we can only judge and own our actions. Horses don’t lie. I met you at the mane event in red deer alberta. We had a great chat. You encouraged me. Thanks for the story. ..take care and Merry Christmas.

  37. chuck bennett on December 16, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Sounds whip broke. He decided he liked running over the Alpha person.
    ~chuck

  38. Julie Anne on December 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    That is an interesting story. You made the correct call. I have never been around horses much, tho it seems they are somewhat like cats. they are all different, and perhaps have attitudes? And somewhat a mind of their own? So I am just wondering , what was the issue with this horse? Was he abused? Or around the wrong people? Maybe you dont even know, but I was just wondering what makes a horse act like he did. Thanks.

  39. Juan Ledgard on December 16, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Good for you. Im a trainer too and hate when owners lie or don’t get it. They think we can do miracles in no time!

  40. Ally Sillers on December 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    It is MY understanding that western trainers developed the “30 days training” thing. Now you reap what you sow…,

  41. Bronwyn Duffy on December 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Right on Stacy…well written…well done..sometimes when we are younger and haven’t found our voice yet…we say yes to things that feel wrong…Im grateful for my self that I have found my voice…which is very polite and explanatory…but in the end I get to decide which TEAM…and I want to be on the team that is seeking the greater good…and every member is willing and eager to learn…Ive been doing this since was six and now Im 49 and the horses and their humans teach me something EVERYDAY…Bless them…Take care of you…Bronwyn Duffy bronwyn@mcfallranch.com

  42. Wendy Deans on December 16, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Been there, done that. So glad you sent him home. The horses will always be interesting and sometimes quite challenging, but if the owners expectations are that far out of line with the horses abilities for the timeline, it’s going to be a headache for you the whole time the horse is there. Good job, Stacy, good decision.

  43. Sharon Sprague on December 16, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I know I can’t do it anymore. I’m impressed and glad that you were able to set that boundary and stick to it. I used to think I had to take ‘bad’ horses and rude owners. I realized they weren’t bad horses, they were challenging and often had “bad” owners or ignorant owners. I don’t mean ignorant in a mean way, I mean it as its dictionary definition, “not knowing” ‘lacking knowledge’. The absolute worse for me was a nice, but very worried horse. The owners were supposed to come and work with the horse after the first 30 days, so they could learn. After 60 days they came and picked the horse up. They’d come by a grand total of once before that (they worked with him on the ground, had a little success and were now geniuses). When they were leading the gelding off, he just looked at me. Staring. He looked at me like I had totally betrayed him…and I think I did. It was horrible, I still choke up thinking about him. After they drove away I went and sat on the deck in my barn and just cried. That was the end for me. I’ll work with a few horses, people I know, or those that come recommended. I don’t have good enough boundaries, and my skin isn’t thick enough lacking the boundaries.

  44. Sharon on December 16, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Totally the right call. The risk in taking such a horse is after the 30 days when the horse dumps the boy at the fair, your name would be attached to the horse even more so because they had PAID to have it trained. I have groomed dogs for over 30 years and in the early days you take all kinds and admire your ability to handle the ‘bad’ ones. But a big male chow chow that wanted so badly to bite my face, arms and legs off, changed that when the owners asked ‘Will it be cheaper if we bring him in more often?”

    You really didn’t refuse the horse you refused the owner.

  45. Jen Bolen on December 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Well, duh. From an ethical standpoint, why take the horse in the first place? You knew where this would end up.

    • Rosie on December 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      normally i’m reserved about these things. but you are overtly rude and impolite. if you have nothing nice or respectful to say, don’t say it at all (“duh”). you may need to re-learn some manners.

  46. nina on December 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    It makes you wonder where he sent that horse for “training” and what it had to endure.
    It never ceases to amaze me how people are willing to risk the safety of their horse and children.

  47. Maureen Quillin on December 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I have had two horses thru the years i couldnt break and sent them home. They were nasty and it wasnt worth my life. One went on to dump a few ppl and break their bones..the other I hope went six feet under. It was the best place for him.

  48. Keli Graham on December 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I agree Stacey! I have sent several horses off my property for one being too dangerous and/or the owner just not getting it! My safety, my client’s safety, and the horse’s safety is not worth it…you made the right decision!! 🙂

    • Shari on December 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      This article describes my first summer as a trainer (don’t have an indoor arena yet) I had to do the very same thing with a couple this summer. They where the best trainers in the world but they wanted these two colts to be rode in 30 days. Needless to say if you stepped in the pen with them they jumped the fence! I sent them home and now I completely ruined their horses.. It was tough to deal with but refreshing and reassuring to read this article and know im not the only one that has had to do this. Thanks for sharing everyone!!

  49. J. on December 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    You did the right thing for sure, Stacy! With those kinds of people you will never win, nothing you did would have been good enough, so best just to walk away.

  50. donna burdon on December 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    way to stick to your guns Stacy– seems like some people are looking for a 30 day wonder, and are not willing to listen to the facts and learn. Too bad he had to put his child through the scary experience of dealing with an unruly green horse, and most likely an stubborn, overbearing father….

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