What would you do? Long post


Most accident prone horse owner
Jan 6, 2006
Near Aberdeen - Laurencekirk
I'm really stuck between a rock and a hard place just now so needing some opinions.
As some of you may know I bought a horse in September which seemed perfect for me. He then broke his knee 2 weeks later which we did not know about at the time. He had 2 abscesses in his right fore hoof as well as being lame on that side. We nerve blocked his foot and he was still lame so we Xrayed and found nothing. He was rested for a few weeks until his abscesses burst out. He then seemed fine so I did local SJ and dressage.
My first horse got pts in January and he still wasn't right by February. We re Xrayed his knee and found a fracture through his knee. So he was on strict box rest for February then restricted turnout for a month after that with Sedalin everyday, otherwise he did the wall of death in the hospital field.
Everyday was a challenge to keep him sane and one day he jumped out the field (still with a broken knee) from a standstill. The fence was 1.20m.
Since then he gradually got more turnout and started to walk in hand but was still going mad and jumping out of field at night so he was then stabled at night.

We did lots of walk work and lots of long reining to get used to things again but he started getting naughty so I got on and rode to see if that would help his mind concentrate. He was fine for a couple weeks then got naughty again so I started some small trots. Hes getting naughty again but he still can only do small bits of trot. I took him into a dressage test - intro just to see what he would be like and he was awful. No 4 feet on the ground at all and disgraced himself.
I'm scared to ride him now as he was going to jump into his field with me on him from the school.

The vet came out yesterday to check him for lameness and he was short on that leg but not lame. We trotted him up and then tried to lunge him.
He turned into the circle so I pushed him back out and he turned around and double barrled me, catching my arm in the process and knocked me to the ground. He then galloped round the school and jumped out into his field which is an 8ft drop the other side of the school.

My vet says he's dangerous, to me and himself. He needs to be in serious work to keep his mind sane but can't due to his knee.

What would you do in this situation? Bearing in mind I don't have the money to send him away for re schooling. There has been a few more scary incidents since I got him but this post is already very long. Apologies.
Oh my goodness what a predicament, the 8ft drop out of the school had me swallowing hard! What is the prognosis for his knee? if with long rest the prognosis is good I would perhaps look for somewhere that specializes in retirement & rehab livery where all of the horses stay out 24/7 in a big stable herd, in the hopes that in that environment without lots of coming and going he might stay in the field and the break might help his mind settle down too. If the prognosis is guarded at best or alternative accommodation is not feasible then I see you have 3 options sadly, struggle on as you are, find a home that can offer him the rehab time in a different environment or make the decision that every owner dreads if he is really too dangerous to continue with (only you and people who know him can make that call) :( I really feel for you

ETA, when my nutty arab was on box rest and kept escaping, I found feeding him chamomile tea daily really helped settle him, it actually worked better than the gazillions of ACP the vet gave him, there are contraindications for long term use and they are a bit wishy washy about what 'long term' is in this case but most seem to imply it as upwards of 3 months, just a thought that it might be worth a try if your options are limited :)
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really really gutted for you L - if that’s what the vet has said you need to look after yourself first and foremost. You’ve had the worst luck :(
Can you turn him away completely? If he is charging around like a lunatic when you try to restrict him it seems pointless to keep trying to limit his movement, so just turning him away for 6 months or so may give him time to heal properly, then you could bring him back into work, possibly with some help.
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He was turned away for 2 months out with other horses but he hated it. Paced, galloped, ate the fencing and even attacked a gelding so much that the gelding needed vet treatment. He then jumped out at 11pm one night and after that it was decided he stayed in at nights.
He isn't dangerous as in "omg that horse is so dangerous".. His unpredictability makes him dangerous. When you work with him on the ground he is a star. It's just when you ask anything of him he goes mad.
I now have a broken wrist cuz of him :(
What's he like in the field during the day? If he hates being in and hates being out then you are a bit stuck! I would want to know why he was so stressed when turned out? Where there too many horses for the space? Was their competition for food? Restricting him is obviously not the only source of stress for him so the injury has nothing to do with that side of the problem which is likely to be on-going.

If currently he is out during the day and in at night then this is pretty much a normal regime for a non -injured horse. So I can't see that there is much room for improvement just through life-style management. So if the vet thinks his behaviour is purely down to lack of exercise, then it should be a very temporary problem. If you can get someone to lunge him for you for a few days then he may calm down and you can take over his lunging until he can be ridden again. But personally I never really believe the 'lunge the fizz out of them' strategy. A happy relaxed horse does not hoon about like a loon on the lunge and under saddle no matter how fit they are.

You asked what others would do in your situation. Until you are there, it's hard to know, but I personally think that if I had a horse who I could not ride, lead in hand, do ground work with, lunge or turn away and who scared me and placed me in serious danger, I would not keep him. Options once I had decided he has to go would depend but they are essentially: re-home, sell or PTS. Which one I went for would depend on the severity of the injury, prognosis and degree of challenge he presents.
Gosh how difficult. As kp says, I or anyone else can't really know what we would do until faced with the same. I "think" I would look towards finding turnout in a small herd for a few months where food is abundant so there's no potential for squabbling there etc. You have to put your own safety first - accidents do happen of course, OH had a few near misses with J when he was still alive. But I can appreciate how painful it is and how worrying that it may happen again - you really don't need injury.
I am lucky as ours live here at home and I can pretty much make any kind of turnout work. I know it can be almost impossible on a yard - and very difficult to find somebody to share a field. Maybe that might work - look for a field sharer? Someone you already know? Maybe a horse he is already familiar / friendly with?
It sounds as though he's quite a sensitive soul to want to come in at night - you said he jumped out at 11pm. So, full time 24/7 might not be the best option. You could try and find a half way house of fetching in at night? But does he like company when stabled? Sorry for all the questions - just thinking and typing!
If the prognosis is guarded at best or alternative accommodation is not feasible then I see you have 3 options sadly, struggle on as you are, find a home that can offer him the rehab time in a different environment or make the decision that every owner dreads if he is really too dangerous to continue with (only you and people who know him can make that call) :( I really feel for you

This is how I see it too. I always massively worry about people 'struggling on' with a horse that is dangerous though, and he clearly is, at the moment anyway. Your own safety has to come first. If you can't afford any kind of rehab/retirement livery for him, it might be worth calling one of the charities like Horse4Homes or the Blue Cross and asking for their advice.