Belle was purchased by novice horse owners from a horse breeder. They told the breeder about their inexperience, and they had an experienced horse-person test Belle out. When the experienced horse person tested Belle out, she was relaxed and calm. She was green (did not move off leg cues, did not neck rein, and her cues were not refined), but the experienced rider felt that the novice owners could continue working with an experienced horse person to teach Belle what she did not know. Everyone was impressed with how calm and quiet Belle was.

They gave Belle about a week to settle in when they brought her to her new barn but after the week was up, an experienced horse person began working with Belle. She took Belle out to longe - using a halter, longe line and longing whip. Instead of quietly walking, trotting and cantering on cue, Belle tore around in circles at top speed, barely controlled. Her handler could not understand her behavior since she had been so quiet and calm at the breeder's farm. The next day the handler left her whip in the barn, and Belle was quiet and calm on the longe line, listening to her handler and walking, trotting or cantering when asked. The handler guessed that perhaps Belle had been beaten in the past and had a fear of whips.

After a week or so of ground work, Belle's handler began riding her. She was easy to work with and before long her novice owners rode her a few times. After several months, they moved Belle to a bigger barn with more horses and more activity. Belle's behavior on the ground remained good, but she began acting out under saddle. She crow-hopped and tried to bolt. In fact the last time one of her novice owners rode her, she ran away with him.

The experienced handler continued working with her, but she always seemed tense and nervous when ridden - she was constantly on edge. She never got better and slowly got worse. She was examined by a veterinarian and her saddle and bridle were examined. No one could determine a physical cause for her behavior.

Her novice owners were now scared of her, so they decided to rehome her. However they did not want her to go to another home where she might be abused, so they carefully screened anyone interested in Belle and discussed her behavior. No one was interested in Belle and they finally donated her to a rescue.

She found a foster home in the rescue who worked with her, and her behavior under saddle was better in a more controlled environment - she did not do well in the hectic atmosphere of horse-shows or busy boarding and training barns, leading the Equine Behaviorist to believe that she had either been abused in a training barn or pushed too hard and damanged psychologically.

Belle did not get better in busy environments but was eventually adopted by a family with young children. They kept her on their farm with a steady, calm environment and she settled right in. She loved the children and was well-behaved when they rode her, although adults on her back could still make her nervous.

Belle's behavior was not "cured" or "fixed", but instead the Equine Behaviorist helped her, through the rescue, find a home where she would not have to face the things that caused her stress and resulted in her bad behavior. Sometimes you cannot fix behavioral problems and instead have to manage them, and Belle was one of those cases.

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