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Auction Horse’s Past Experience

16 August 2011 No Comment

Auction Horse’s Past Experience
Laura Phelps-Bell has over 25 years experience in the equine industry as a trainer and instructor. Her background includes successfully competing in dressage, on the “A” Open circuit in hunter/jumpers, showing in many western events, management of several large training/boarding facilities and teaching equine management courses at the college level. More about Laura

I purchased a registered Quarter Horse, Palomino gelding from an owner who had acquired him at auction. How do I go about contacting previous owners listed on his papers to find out the history on this horse. I bought him because he looked so pathetic and was told that he was very mild mannered. Well, since he has regained his health, he has turned nasty. He will not cooperate even when lounging. I am afraid that he might hurt one of my children. He has three different brands on his flank. I believe that knowing his past might help me to figure him out.

Hi Karen, In order to get in touch with any of the previous owners whose names appear on your Quarter Horse gelding’s registration papers, you can contact the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) in Amarillo, Texas and give them his registration number and name as it appears on his papers. The AQHA then will usually give you the mailing addresses of previous owners so that you may write to them and inquire about his previous history when under their ownership.

I believe that this will be a good starting point to try and discover what type of training this gelding has received, what he was used for previously and also perhaps any negative incidents that may have occurred. If you can successfully track down previous owners based on information and addresses that the AQHA provides, you can possibly track your geldings history. If you can put the pieces of the puzzle together, maybe then you can help this horse overcome any negatives that may have occurred.

The fact that this gelding carries two or three brands on his hip leads me to believe that he has been a working ranch horse. Sometimes these geldings that have spent many years of their lives being “using” horses, demonstrate certain behaviors. When a horse demonstrates these behaviors, which I describe below, many times they are called “ranchey”. What this means is that although these horses are as solid mentally as the day is long for ranch work such as roping, branding, doctoring cattle, tying for long periods, loading and unloading easily into and out of the trailer while saddled, etc, the “little things” that many horses take in stride such as kids running around them or climbing all over them, electric clippers, etc, will cause them to sometimes get snorty, unravel and maybe explode. Most ranch horses also don’t know how to formally lunge on a lunge line, it’s just not a part of the training that they receive, so it’s not surprising when I hear that your gelding gives you trouble when you try to lunge him. He probably was never taught to lunge in the first place. He may have lunged at liberty in a roundpen, but not in an open arena on a lungeline. Ranch horses are usually started rather quickly and at the young age of two or three-years-old and they are ridden out and experience training through a lot of “wet saddle blankets” and “miles” while ridden by competent working cowboys.. They are not babied along because they need to get out there and learn their “job” and earn their keep. Being a ranch horse is a lifestyle unto itself, just like being a show horse, or a pleasure/trail riding horse is also a specific lifestyle.

Depending on what you find out from previous owners, you will then at least be in a better position to decide if this is a horse that you may be able to re-start with having him interact with children around and in an environment that has previously been foreign to him.. Armed with good information, you might also decide that he might be better off going back to the type of work that he had been used for previously, or whether he needs to be in an environment that is better suited to his personality and with someone who will like this horse just the way he is and not want to re-start him in another direction.


Laura Phelps-Bell

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