Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Horses are Dangerous

They are big and strong, and the spooky, flighty characteristics that have kept them alive on the plains for centuries can make them unpredictable. And Sham has a little too much unpredictableness. Last week he kicked at a barn worker who was taking food into the pasture. She tried to quietly shoo him away from the gate. He just looked at her and then let fly a big kick towards her head. Thankfully she was able to duck away, and he did not hit her.

That was certainly the most dangerous Sham has been since I've had him. But there have been a few other questionable moments (some I've blogged about, others I haven't). The sad news is that we cannot keep him at our barn. With the help of Robin, I have made a lot of progress with Sham. And I never felt he was dangerous when I was around him. But our barn is mostly a pleasure riding place, and we just can't keep a horse there that might be dangerous to others.

So on Sunday we loaded him into a trailer and sent him back to the guys we bought him from. It was sad. Sham loaded with ease, which was just another sign that we were making nice progress with him, but it just wasn't meant to be. He was, in truth, a difficult horse. Very smart. And not all that inclined to work with people. He always had a calculating look about him. It was as if he was tolerating us. Perhaps he was too much for my first horse. We shall see.

There are so many unknowns when working with horses. A few weeks ago Cal (the little red dun I rode in the fall) was sold to a young girl. The day after Sham kicked out at the barn worker we found that Cal has started rearing, bucking, and striking out at the people working with her. This was rather shocking news. I didn't think Cal was physically capable of such actions (she is rather tight in the hind end, and also a rather gentle spirit, or so I thought).

The good news is that I will be getting a new horse. The guys at the Meyer Horse Co. graciously took Sham back and offered us a trade. They guarantee their horses, but we only later found out that was a soundness guarantee, not a behavioral guarantee. So I feel very lucky that they are willing to work with us.

But I miss Sham. So I'll be taking a few quiet weeks to be away from horses, and then later looking at new horses. Perhaps I will blog about those. Either way, I imagine this blog will be continued (under a new URL of course) once I get settled. I'll keep you informed.

I have no doubt that in a different setting he would make a fine companion.

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