Not Good


This is good:

Morgan, practicing lunging on a lead rope.

This is good:

Gorgeous Rocky Mountain mare.

This is good:

I watched some young deer frolicking last night and realized they get up on their hind legs just like goats when they play!

This is not good:

Yesterday, Patriot bucked the trainer, threw him right to the ground, which is not easy for a horse to do to an expert rider.

Patriot’s month of training is nearly over. The assessment is that Patriot is unpredictable, greenbroke at most, questionable as to whether he will ever be safe, and possibly not sound due to an old injury to one of his back legs. It would take more investigation to know more, but in any case, whatever the answers are to questions still in the air, he requires experienced handling, and even in the hands of experience, he may put a rider on the ground.

Not good at all…..


  1. lattelady says:

    Injury in back leg. Possibly contributing to back pain when someone is riding him?

  2. Diane says:

    That is too bad for Patroit. I can see you might have a hard decision to make regarding him. I know you will do what is best for the guy in the end.

  3. DancesInGarden says:

    I wonder if he would pull a wagon? Something that would not put weight on his back or hind area? Would you consider keeping him just as a ‘pet’ and a companion for Zip, since they seem to like each other so much? He clearly does not like being worked. I have to admit, when he gets that ornery look in the pictures, it makes me giggle. What a sasspot!

  4. Janine E says:

    Oh I’m so sorry, that doesn’t sound good at all. Thank goodness he was in training camp and it wasn’t you or Morgan riding him. Perhaps he could just be best suited to life as a companion horse?

  5. Cheryl LeMay says:

    That’s too bad. I was really hoping things would work out well at the trainer. If he’s not sound he shouldn’t be ridden anyway. What about training him to drive? That way you could use him as a cart horse instead of just being a lawn mower. I know you don’t have a problem with him being a pastured horse but you’d have more interaction with him then.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Actually, I do have a problem with him being a pure pasture pet at this point. I thought he might be able to be ridden in time, and now that prospect looks dim. Whether or not he could be a cart horse, I don’t know. An unpredictable cart horse that might run away with the cart isn’t safe either.

  6. fowlers says:

    Awe, poor guy, and well maybe he’s just old and tired? ( how old is he ?) & if my legs were sore and hurting, by golly I’d probably buck ya off my back too:: lol. No kiddy rides for him!!!Glad the trainer did not get hurt. Can you use him w/ the sheep? I’m not very familiar w/ Donkeys and guarding??? Can horses??

  7. CATRAY44 says:

    I am sorry. You have given him the best care and help, but you can’t let 1 jeopardize all. I am glad he has been able to experience good, care and kindness, because of you- that all by itself is a blessing- even if you have to make the hardest of all decisions. Praying for wisdom and understanding, for you, as to what is best for Patriot.

  8. gaea303 says:

    Patriot does seem to be a rather large and unpredictable animal to keep as a pet only! Are you obligated to keep him, since you filled out the adoption paperwork? I know a few people who have adopted dogs that turned out to be intractable and the adoption services said “Too bad, he’s yours now!” I’m just curious about the legal ramifications. What can the rescue service DO with horses like Patriot?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      gaea, the rescue will take him back. If I don’t keep him, I’m contractually obligated to return him. (In other words, I am not allowed to sell him, give him away, anything.) I can’t speak for them and say what they would do with him, but they would certainly provide all the information about him that is available if they put him up for re-adoption.

  9. Rah says:

    So sorry to hear about this. I assume the absence of additional information means the trainer was not seriously hurt. While of course you wouldn’t have wanted to the trainer to fall either, it IS good that you know this now, before something more serious happened. I shudder to think about Morgan getting thrown again with more serious consequences. Even so, it must be difficult to let the serious businesswoman side of yourself deal with this when your heart is talking to you at the same time. We’re in your corner.

  10. Rah says:

    In respect to the trainer, I should have said “to have been thrown.” That is NOT the same thing as falling!

  11. MousE says:

    Oh no… now I am a city girl and don’t know anything about horses, but…. if you can’t ride him…. does that mean he goes back? How does Morgan feel? How do YOU feel?

    This is a sad event. But not hopeless!

  12. summerwindfarm says:

    As hard as I know it is, sounds like he needs to go back to the rescue. A horse that can buck off a trainer is a very experienced bucker. Horses are very expensive to maintain. Don’t give up the joy of riding together w Morgan. I’m sure the rescue will take him back. Any good rescue would. And hopefully help you find a horse better suited to you. So glad no one was hurt!

  13. summerwindfarm says:

    And btw your right. An unpredictable cart horse is even more dangerous than an unpredictable riding horse. Since he can’t be ridden the rescue will look for him a home as a companion horse. There are ppl out there who will rescue him eventually.

  14. Angela P says:

    Sorry to hear Pat is not working out as planned. A good, sound horse is a must, especially when the rider is one of our kids! I am grateful we have had great luck with our rescue horses. I agree, sounds like this leg injury it just too painful. I do hope he finds just as wonderful home as you have provided.

  15. MMHoney says:

    I think there is one decision to be made!!!!!
    Am I going to have a fun farm where all children and animals are safe??? Or am I going to run a rescue station….
    We had a similar horse to deal with..It turned into a biter and reached across his manger and bit a man on the elbo.. It wasn’t a pretty site. My advise is recycle him and remove the stress.

  16. KarenAnne says:


    Legitimate animal rescue organizations will ALWAYS take back an animal if the adopter no longer wants the animal. if fact, many require anyone adopting one of their animals to sign a contract that requires the animal be returned to the organization in those circumstances.

  17. Leck Kill Farm says:

    Sorry to hear things aren’t working out as hoped. I agree with MMHoney.

  18. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about the difficulties. And you don’t want anybody getting hurt. You’ve got difficult decisions to make and I wish you well with them. I figure you could use a hug right about now, so consider yourself hugged!!

  19. bbkrehmeyer says:

    when one has a working farm or ranch.animals are very seldom kept as “pets”. If an animal doesn’t or can’t perform in the way they are supposed to,they are usually replaced. Horses are the most expensive farm animal to maintain. Perhaps Patriot could be used by someone as a pack horse in a hunting camp.
    I know a horse doesn’t like to be alone. Zip needs a girl friend’

  20. GA_in_GA says:

    Sorry to hear this about Patriot.

    Since the trainer has a good idea as to what to expect, I would ask him to guide you in what to do with Patriot. More training versus a return to the rescue organization.

  21. janet gordon says:

    So far no one has been hurt and this is good. You are operating a business on your farm and having an unsafe animal there is a serious liability issue. It’s clear there is only one decision to be made in this case; you are lucky to have the option of return to the rescue farm. Zip needs a companion and I’m sure you’ll find a good one for her. Having had to make a similar decision on a horse some years ago, I feel your sadness.

  22. Barbee says:

    Well! what a revolting development this is! So sorry, Suzanne.

  23. Window On The Prairie says:

    Sometimes a decision is made for us. Sounds like he’s not a good fit for your place. Somewhere out there is a home that will be a good fit for him. And it’s no bad reflection on you if you send him back. No one can say you didn’t try your best after all, and that’s all we can ask of ourselves. :wave:

  24. cabynfevr says:

    At our Draft Horse Rescue we evaluate each horse with the potential adopter to be sure it’s a good fit. The possibility of problems arrising after they go to their new home is slight but can happen. We have a trainer that will work with you but if the problem doesn’t get solved, you can return the horse no questions asked. You followed a very responsible path to determine if Patriot is right for your farm and more importantly, you and Morgan. It doesn’t sound like he is.
    I will say though, they need to look into hot spots on his back. The saddle could very well be painful for him. He still may be able to be adopted out as a pasture pet. Ocassionally, one horse dies and the suviving horse doesn’t do well and needs a companion to thrive. He may still fill that description!

  25. mds9 says:

    You also have the liability problem of a visitor or guest getting hurt. How is his temperament? Is the other horse you were going to foster still available? There are to many good quality horses that need homes.

  26. fowlers says:

    Poor Morgan, I hope she is not to disappointed, like I said I’m not very knowledgeable in regards to horses, just love to watch them and look at them, my grandparents had huge work type horses:: with big long haired feet?? They were enormous but very gentle: that’s about as far as my horsy education go’s…so I’m sure what ever decision you make will be the right one for all of you (horse included) good luck!! Hugs to all of ya! Sometimes being a grown up:: well it just sucks.

  27. kdubbs says:

    I completely understand. This is the unknown that comes with rescuing a horse–past history, level of training, and even soundness are all questions that have to be answered by trial and error and observation. If this were me, I would not be willing or able to keep Patriot as a pasture pet either. He’d require too much financially (hay or pasture, grain, farrier and vet visits, deworming, etc.); and, even if he were turned out with a shed or a stand of trees for shelter, would still require time and effort. Some people have the space, financial resources, and inclination to keep horses that are nothing more than pasture pets. I don’t, so I can sympathize with anyone who doesn’t. Don’t think I’m heartless: When my kids’ beloved pony is outgrown and too elderly to work anymore, we’ll happily keep her as a paddock ornament until the end of her days because she’s put in her time as a useful member of the family and deserves the best retirement we can give her. However, in Patriot’s case, I would return him to the rescue. He was placed with you as a riding horse, and you’ve determined that he won’t fit that bill. Now he needs to start his search for a home again–this time, looking for a “pasture pet” or “companion” home. He has somewhere to go where he’ll be cared for properly until he finds a home where he fits someone’s need–as a buddy for a lone horse, for example. Don’t feel bad–making these decisions is part of having livestock.

  28. enjay says:

    I’m sorry to hear that about Patriot. I know that you wanted him and Zip to be together with you and Morgan having calm and happy trail rides, but it doesn’t look as though that’s meant to be. I think the rescue is the best place for him right now, where they can help him through his physical/mental issues or find him a place where they’re better prepared for his unique needs.

  29. boulderneigh says:

    I agree with “enjay;” time to send Patriot back before someone gets hurt. You have invested a lot into his future; the rescue benefits from knowing more about him and will hopefully be able to place him as a pasture pet.

  30. lifeisgood/ Melinda says:

    Given the situation, I can only speak of what I would do under the same circumstances. I would return Patriot to the shelter and let them find him a forever home where he could be a companion pet or where someone doesn’t have intentions of riding him. I know he and Zip are close but things happen and Zip is settling in but patriot is not. Perhaps Shortcake will be a better fit for your farm and therefore a companion for Zip. At least you and Morgan would both be able to ride without fear of constantly being put on the ground. Whatever you decide I am sure it will be the best decision for Sassafras Farm and your family. Best of luck!

  31. yvonnem says:

    I agree with the others, it’s time to send him back, sadly. It’s probably for the best, and then you can adopt the horse you plan to foster! When is Shortcake coming anyway?

  32. whaledancer says:

    I’m sorry. I know how you care for all your animals and want to do what’s best for them, and at the same time you have to do what’s best for your family and your farm business. It certainly makes for some hard decisions. I’m glad you have a good horse trainer to help guide you. You were wise to send Patriot to someone experienced, for training and assessment. I’m sure you and Morgan will work out what’s best to do, but it looks like it won’t be the result you both hoped for.

  33. Remudamom says:

    He’ll be fine back at the rescue. Life is too short to keep a bucker. Might be a lot shorter if you do.

  34. princessvanessa says:

    Never feel that it your shortcoming if you decide that Patriot should return to the rescue. I once adopted a cat (NEUTERED male) who sprayed EVERYWHERE in the house. I had another cat, female, in my household and that may have contributed to the spraying. I had, specifically, asked the lady who had fostered the cat if he sprayed. She said she never known him to spray. I caught him spraying over and over again. I returned him to the humane society so that he could be adopted into a household where he was the only cat.
    I know that a horse is much larger and more expensive than a cat will ever be…but never, ever, feel that it is now your responsibility to provide a forever home for an animal you adopted. Patriot was adopted with the understanding that he was a riding horse for Morgan and/or you. Obviously the rescue did not work with Patriot like Mike Trader did and so did not know that Patriot was barely greenbroke and totally unpredicable. You have put money into an experienced horse trainer and this is HIS evaluation after a month of one-on-one training.
    Whatever your decision, you have added to his training and evaluation. Once again, do not feel bad if Patriot needs to return to the rescue. Remember that you have raised funds for their rescue and and about to foster another horse for them. They now know a lot more about Patriot and his needs.

  35. bonita says:

    I agree with what lifeisgood/melinda says. Zip and Shortcake sound like they meet your horse needs. From what you write, Patriot does not. Can’t help but add that this situation is a great metaphor for life: sometimes the things/people we love are just not good for our own well-being.

  36. lgoforth says:

    There is a prevalent and, IMO, incorrect belief that re-homing an animal is irresponsible and makes one unfit to have had the animal in the first place. Unfortunately, there are people who do “re-home” irresponsibly (and don’t get me started on that because I could go on and on and on) but returning an animal that is not a good fit for one’s lifestyle or personality to the rescue it was adopted from, as mutually agreed upon by both the rescue and the adopting family, is never irresponsible. This is even more true in the case where both rescue and adopter have worked hard to establish that there is not a way to overcome the difficulties. It is the humane thing to do. Why should one be forced to keep an animal when everyone involved would be unhappy? Reputable rescues and reputable breeders of any animal will ALWAYS require, via written contract, that the buyer or adopter returns the animal to them if it needs to be re-homed for any reason (or at the least, they must approve the re-homing). Never purchase or adopt an animal that doesn’t have such a requirement in the contract- it is one of the ways to know if the organization/breeder is a reputable one or not. Suzanne, I’m sorry. I’m sure this is hard but I’m also sure you’ll make the best choice for you, Morgan, and Patriot.

    (Note: Just to clarify, I’m not referring to “market animals” here, i.e- cows, pigs, sheep, etc. I have no idea if there are people requiring these animals to be returned or rescues for them doing the same. In general, their anticipated shorter life expectancy, due to their “usual” purpose, would render such a requirement unnecessary.)

  37. Mandys says:

    Aw the poor guy 🙁 And poor you. It will be sad to send him back and separate him from Zip again but I can understand you doing that. I think he will make friends with another horse and be able to live somewhere as a companion horse. I wouldn’t want your or Morgan or anyone else getting hurt 🙁 It’s sad though.

    I agree, with what lgoforth said. A lot of people try to make you feel horrible for rehoming and animal. A few years ago I had to give up 5 of my seven cats or face eviction, we couldn’t find anywhere else affordable that would let us even have one animal and didn’t even have a lot of time to look. We gave them up because we know we wouldn’t be able to look after them if we didn’t have enough money to feed ourselves or even somewhere to live. I’m in the process of rehoming my rabbits and it breaks my heart. I can’t spend the time with them that they need or provide the hay because of developing allergies to them and the hay. It breaks my heart to rehome animals, And I always feel guilty but I know that someone else will be able to provide for their needs better than what I could. Sometimes rehoming hurts the owner so much, but it works out better for the animal involved. There will always be people around who bash you for it though and make the situation even harder 🙁

    After reading this and all the comments I think that’s the case with Patriot. Although he will miss Zip he will be better off in a home where he doesn’t need to undergo the stress riding obviously causes him and can just be a companion and live out his life happily.

    (Sorry this comment turned into a wall of text)

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