Gentle Giants: Chase

A great horse…  for the RIGHT RIDER.

Chase is an eight year old Percheron Cross Gelding, who stands at 16 hands.  Chase came to us from New Holland, where he was purchased as a lead through.  He was pretty, sound, and a nice mover; but without a rider up he didn’t attract much attention from the crowd.  A cheap bid and he was coming home.

Chase is advertised as requiring an Advanced Rider.  Chase has, at some point in his life, developed a significant fear of being mounted.  He arrived to us this way.  Chase has been through nearly six months of professional training, and the problem is much better, but it’s still an everyday issue.  And it’s a significant issue.   The rider must mount with Chase’s eye turned in to see the rider, as well as to force him to circle when mounted rather than bolt away, which would be Chase’s preference.  The rider must mount in one smooth motion with no bounce, and they can not touch or hit him in the flank or rump, which will also result in sudden bolting.  You can mount from either side from the ground or a block, but you must always use this method.  You don’t have to be a perfect rider, but you must be calm and consistent, and be able to sit and relax and wait for him to come down on his own when he gets nervous.  (And yes, before anyone asks, of course he has been thoroughly vet checked top to bottom and this is not physical in origin.)  His ground manners are otherwise exceptional.

Once the rider is up, Chase rides well.  In fact, Chase really enjoys working and likes to ride.  He even likes to come in and work lunging.  This horse is not lazy.  He is currently learning bending and some lateral work, and he shows a real natural talent for Dressage.  He always tries to please and he is a very quick learner.  He trails ride nervously but OK.  All of this is openly disclosed in his description.  He’s a cute deep black with a fancy blaze….

….and he attracts all the wrong riders.  Gentle Giants actually has a solid definition of the skill sets we believe determine the classification a rider should place themselves in.  We have this on our application so interested parties can do a fair “self assessment” knowing what defines our parameters, and hopefully get a good idea of what we mean when we use the terms beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Our definition of an advanced rider is :”Comfortable and confident in all gaits over uneven ground and jumping 2 ft+ over uneven ground.  Understands and can train subtleties of riding such as leg yield, side pass, head set, changing stride lengths, and canter leads.   Able to handle severe behavior problems calmly, experience training problem horses or starting unbroken horses independently.” 

We do this to protect ourselves.  As an additional safety measure, we also require anyone who wants to test ride a green horse or a horse we classify as anything but “beginner” to take a test ride on one of our trusty dusty’s.  Sound like overkill?  Not from our end.  We have had people who come out to ride “advanced” horses who actually claim to be trainers, yet they can’t tack a horse unassisted, can’t adjust stirrups, and flop all over a horse.  One lady showed up decked out in custom made Italian tall boots and britches that combined likely cost more than my monthly mortgage, and I thought she actually might be the real deal.  And then she proceeded to put the crown of the bridle over the horses ears and attempted to try to stretch the bit over the horses muzzle and into it’s mouth.  Really.

So, when we say “advanced rider”… it’s because sometimes with an advanced horse, things like this happen:

Yeah.  We aren’t being “meanies” and we’re not being “snobs” that say everyone should be a perfect rider.  We want you to stay in one piece and have a horse you can safely enjoy.  So, here is a truly great horse who possesses an incredible amount of natural talent and an awesome work ethic, and he’d be a gem FOR THE RIGHT RIDER.  He could easily go mid-level dressage with the right person.

Note:  You might not be the “right rider” if you just watched a video that involved a $75 plastic stick and now you think you can fix this better than we can.   Just sayin’. 


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Posted on February 22, 2012, in Featured Rescues, horse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Hrm. I hope that his mounting issue can be fixed with some serious one on one attention (not to knock the Gentle Giants people, whom I know are great, but curing a phobia takes a LONG time and a lot of work).

  2. …what’s with the mixed fonts?

  3. poor guy…must have been through some rough times. hope he finds someone who wants to tackle this very complicated problem. i took on a mistreated horse once, and its a hard road and does take a very long time.

  4. I LOL’d really hard at the plastic stick comment.

  5. Chase does have one particular volunteer working with him consistently to get over his ah…”quirk.” But agreed–it will take a very long time to get over it, if he ever gets over it at all. In my opinion as another GG volunteer, I think he’s going to be a one-person horse because he needs that consistency.


  6. Hey, my horse has many of the same traits, including a mounting issue. It’s been 5 years of hard work, and the issue is all-but gone, but I’m positive it will never be completely gone. The source of my horse’s problem was he was broke improperly. An old style horsemen got a hold of him after that, and did some serious work with him. When I came to look at him, he was honest about his issues, but apparently I was the only one who looked at the horse who didn’t freak out mounting him. We had some rough days for the first year or two, but now he’s generally annoyed with the whole routine we used to go through to get on (I look at that as a GREAT thing). I hope he settles down like my guy did in due time.

  7. I wonder if he’s a jousting horse reject. Some of those guys have no business being up on a horse.

  8. Oh how I love Gentle Giants and their witty, and snarky, writing! Wish I lived closer as I would for sure help out there!

  9. Are you sure the $75 stick won’t fix everything. I have been told that it will. ROTFLMAO!!!!

  10. I have no idea about the fonts. it does that with every one and I try to fix it. It’s odd.

  11. “Our definition of an advanced rider is :”Comfortable and confident in all gaits over uneven ground and jumping 2 ft+ over uneven ground. Understands and can train subtleties of riding such as leg yield, side pass, head set, changing stride lengths, and canter leads. Able to handle severe behavior problems calmly, experience training problem horses or starting unbroken horses independently.”

    So they only adopt horses to hunter/jumper riders? They said that he shows a “natural talent for Dressage,” so why does his potential adopter need to know how to jump, especially on uneven ground (why would you do that in the first place?)? What if a western rider wanted to adopt him?

    I agree that rescues need to have standards for their adopters, but why isolate so many potential good homes by requiring that they know how to jump?

  12. Jumping on uneven ground is required for eventers and sometimes hunters…I used to ride at schooling shows that deliberately put the hunter ring in this back corner of the field that had this horrible dip in it, and they’d plan the course so you had to jump through the dip.

    That said…I would not meet their criteria for an advanced rider because if anyone asks me to jump in an arena, I freeze up in utter panic. (I really should talk about getting some ‘therapy’ for that, but I can’t afford private lessons right now and I wouldn’t want to try and fix it in a group class).

    That said, if somebody was a dressage or western rider and met all the other criteria…I know the GG people are monitoring this.

    (And I admit I wouldn’t want this particular horse. I have a real dislike of horses that won’t stand to be mounted…whilst there are other issues which I wouldn’t mind working with and fixing).

    • This was supposed to go down here: If you really care about the horse you don’t get to pick and chose your issues.

      • I have plenty of other issues I’m quite willing to deal with. And I’d probably overlook that one if I fell in love and the horse was otherwise suited to my needs.

        (She who just got back from riding a horse that won’t turn left…seriously…I’d say what’s with that, but I have a theory).

      • It could be said that argument is used by a lot of people who own horses who nearly kill them on a regular basis.

        …and people who live with spouses that abuse them.

        • Hey I thought I”d jump in just so I could hear my own voice too. Amazing what people will conclude before they even see a horse… also your quote:
          “who own horses who nearly kill them on a regular basis.…and people who live with spouses that abuse them.” T

          there is no “fine line” between abuse and discipline.. if you don’t understand that, you’re one of the abusers, animal or human.

          • Um… I wasn’t passing judgement on this horse. In fact my post had hardly anything to do with him at all.

            I’ve encountered many people who don’t find compatible matches in their horses yet try to make it work anyway… even if it becomes dangerous. I think that the ad was well written to denote what this horse does and I don’t judge him for it. But I don’t think that if he some how ended up with someone who was timid that they should just keep him because they really care about or love him. Just like you can really love a spouse who is manipulating you (often they don’t even realize they are… emotional abuse is usually this way and sometimes stems from incompatibility). The line has to be drawn somewhere.

            Jennifer points out that its not something she’s willing to take on. Good for her for knowing her personal comfort level. I don’t think that because you care about or love someone you should put up with someone you find that crippling to your relationship with them. If anything caring about them, as Marbles says below, is more of a reason -not- to take on that situation and find one you know you can work well with.

      • I’d say if you really care about horses you honestly assess what you’re prepared to deal with physically/mentally/emotionally/financially and skills-wise before taking on responsibility for one, and don’t set yourself up to be unnecessarily frustrated or overwhelmed. Trying to personally rehabilitate every horse one possibly can will never do as much good as carefully choosing good matches, and it’s not petty to acknowledge that you are better able to help horses you like with issues you’re comfortable handling. Quite the contrary.

        • Exactly. It’s something I could get over for an otherwise perfect horse, but any horse I ride WILL learn to stand when mounted. Also, I never mount from the ground unless I have absolutely no choice, like falling off or having to get off to pee on the trail and not being able to find something to stand on.

          I can deal with horses that don’t know the meaning of the word straight, ones that throw their head up sky high when they see the bridle, ones that don’t know how to stand quietly and wait their turn, won’t go first on the trails. I honestly think a mounting issue is the one thing I really have a problem with.

          He’s nice. I hope somebody fixes him.

  13. WIth the right rider and a lot of patience this horse can easily get over his mounting fears.

    I worked with a horse not too long ago that had not only a rider up fear but pain to boot and with rehabilitation for the injury and 2 years of working with him he now accepts a rider full astride him. Before you were able to do everything BUT get that leg over. You could stand on one stirrup, lay over his back do anything you could think of unless you wanted to sit astride. Even though I am no longer part of his life now, his owner sent me pictures recently of her sitting on him bareback(!!) and him happily going forward. It was a long road and there is always the possibility that he will have a freak out at some point in the future, but because she worked with him ever so slowly, with lots of praise and backing off when he said to and going forward when he was sure, or at least trusting that she wouldn’t hurt him, she can now ride him.

    The same goes for this horse. Oh how I wish I could take him. He just needs time and patience! I hope he finds the right partner. He’s a beauty!!

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