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View Full Version : UPDATE!: I want my horse back! HELP!



TesignedInGold
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:04 PM
I'll try to keep this as simple as possible:
My horse is a 14 year old, been there, done that, got the t-shirt type. Steady Eddy, the resident go-to-guy for anything that might become a little hairy (ponying, beginner rides, babysitting..etc)
Over the last 3 weeks, he has taken to bucking - big bucks. He has not managed to get anyone off, but quite frankly, its scares me. He's my perfect pal, I expect it from my 4 year old, but not from him!
Yesterday he showed with a "beginner" - not exactly a novice, but certainly not someone who deserves to be dealing with bucks. He did not buck on the flat classes, pinning 1st in all 3, but bucked in EVERY SINGLE jumping class. Big Bucks, Bucks she was proud she was able to sit to.

He's always been a little tense over-fences, nothing awful though. I've always suspected poor saddle-fitting, but my trainer and vet say its fine.

Before the show, he was lunged without tack and he was super slow, steady, and not a buck in sight, not even over cavaletti work. But at the show, he bucked over crossrails.

I called the best soundness vet in the area to come out next week - he's also a chiropractor.

I guess in the meantime I'm looking for, "your boy will resurface eventually"

UPDATE 4-18-11:
Vet/Chiro came out. Gave him a once over, said his hooves look good and he doesn't seem to be sore there. He was very tight and out of alignment at his poll which was causing his whither area to spasm a tiny bit. Once he released his poll, The tiny spasms on his back stopped all together. He was sore no-where else. Not even his back or hind end. I was expecting his back to be sore, becaue he has a 2 small white marks where the saddle lies, but the vet said it is quite possible that the saddle pad rubs, since he has sensitive skin.

The vet was concerned that something might be wrong with his teeth that was causing him to tense at the poll. Of course, being that my horse can smell a vet, he didn't want to let him anywhere near his mouth. So my next step is to get the dentist out and see if we can rule out teeth as a cause for his poll being so out of whack.

We spoke about the possibility of ulcers/lyme, but did not want to go into those diagnostics until his teeth were checked over and done. He doesn't live a stressed life and aside from being more grumpy under saddle, doesn't really display any lyme symptoms.


Now my question is:
Can a problem poll have been the cause of the bucking? I'm going to ride on Wednesday and see for myself, but not holding my breath that the bucking stopped!

I've purchased a thinline saddle pad, but the vet/chiro said he did not see a need for my saddle to be reflocked just yet. It seemed to fit him ok, and he was not at all back sore from it.

UGH, this horse is lucky I love him so much!:D

Czar
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:12 PM
Never the type to jump on the "he's in pain" wagon but I've got to say...it sounds like he's in pain; that or there's something up with his diet or something similar.

Horses in their teens that have been steady-eddies their whole lives don't suddenly develop behavioral issues that culminate in bucking fits; the key word being "suddenly".

Let us know what the vets find; I'd be curious to know.

Reagan
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:13 PM
To me, that sounds like pain. He is trying to tell you something is wrong. I think you have taken the appropriate measures at this point. If the vet cannot find anything wrong I would think about having a professional saddle fitter come out and take a look.

Good luck, the good ones are hard to find. He will come back to his old self, you just have to figure out what is bugging him first! Maybe just giving him a few weeks off will help too?

amastrike
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:13 PM
I was going to say chiro, but you've got that covered. Good luck!

jherold
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:17 PM
Check your saddle fit too. I quit riding my horse for a few years due to unpredictable bucking. Just brought him back to work after 2 1/2 years of being the companion to my primary riding horse. New saddle, a cheap Thorogood Broadback, and no bucking! But my guess is that you will find something bothering his back or hocks. He'll be back once you fix things. It's his only way to communicate that something is bothering him. Good for you for listening!

shawneeAcres
Apr. 11, 2011, 12:20 PM
I would first have a thorough vet check. At this age he is likely going thru some arthritic changes and may need some sort of maintenance for that. Also, I have had many "Steady eddies" that went thru a period in the spring where they kind of "lost it". But first get him checked BY A VET not a chiro. ANother thought, it sounds liek a lot of different riders may be riding this horse, and novices. If so he may be showing displeasure at some of the things they are doing. Might need some "tuneup" rides by a pro to get him back on track.

TesignedInGold
Apr. 11, 2011, 01:52 PM
Thank you for all the advice.

The chiro I have called out, is a vet as well - so killing two birds with one stone. He will check him over thoroughly as a vet, then adjust him if need be.

He is on MSM, and gets the 7-series adequan done yearly.

He had the majority of the winter off, as he normally does. (We show from March-November, and I give him off December, January, February.) At first I thought it might just be spring fever, but given that he's had every winter off for 6 years, his "spring fever" has never been this bad!

Shawnee - He only really has myself, and 1 "novice" rider on him, for the last year or so. Over the years he has taught many riders to ride, has put up with the beginners bouncing and making mistakes. He has never reacted, particularly with a beginner. He will often voice his displeasure to myself or my trainer, but usually its just a few hops, nothing like he's doing now.

I guess I'm just upset that something is bothering him, and its taken bucking fits for me to realize it. He certainly has his quirks, but this is the horse that lets you hook him up to a sled and go sledding through snow, ride bareback on the trails, team-pen, and show in the 3 foot hunters, all in the same weekend!

benni
Apr. 11, 2011, 01:59 PM
Has his feed been changed? Might be as simple as that!

TesignedInGold
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:33 PM
No feed change, no decline in turnout, same pasture buddies for the last few years.

The only other thing I can come up with, is pain.

hollyhorse2000
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:35 PM
You've got a vet/chiro coming, so you'll probably know soon enough. A chiro will also be able to tell if saddle fit is an issue (I'd suspect it is just because he's gotten unfit over the winter and now back to work, so his body will be different than the last time he used the saddle.)

Since it's mostly over fences, I'd also consider hocks and feet.

And since he's put back to work and going to shows, just for giggles, give him one full tube of ulcergard once a day for 7-10 days and see if that makes a difference.

good luck!

JetSetjr
Apr. 11, 2011, 02:57 PM
I didn't check to see where you're from but sometimes for us in the New England area, when our horses start acting grouchy or different, we do the lyme titer first.

naturalequus
Apr. 11, 2011, 05:06 PM
Never the type to jump on the "he's in pain" wagon but I've got to say...it sounds like he's in pain; that or there's something up with his diet or something similar.

Horses in their teens that have been steady-eddies their whole lives don't suddenly develop behavioral issues that culminate in bucking fits; the key word being "suddenly".

Let us know what the vets find; I'd be curious to know.

I'm neither one to jump on the "he's in pain" bandwagon but have to agree with the above... though I doubt it's (automatically) an arthritic or hocks problem unless the vet really suspects as such.

When my 13yo-at-the-time (been-there-done-that-got-the-tee-shirt) started being resistant and bucking, it was a pain issue. I would especially suspect as such if he were doing it with a beginner or novice!

I think wait for that second opinion and see. Something's up. Good luck and please update us, I think I can speak for others here too in that we love learning!

kateh
Apr. 11, 2011, 06:23 PM
I didn't check to see where you're from but sometimes for us in the New England area, when our horses start acting grouchy or different, we do the lyme titer first.

Agreed for SE PA. My previous trainer spent lots of money on vet bills for two separate horses trying to figure out what was wrong, both turned out to be Lyme's. Now she's upped the tick prevention measures and gets Lyme tests as soon as she notices something's wrong.

TesignedInGold
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:16 PM
I am in NJ, so lymes is definitely a possibility and I will add it to my list to mention it to the vet/chiro. What are some of the other signs of lymes? I can't really notice any other differences - no change in appetite, no less or more grumpy then usual, coat looks great, he's shedding just fine.

His feet were done on Friday, all looked fine, no reason for concern. He's seen the same farrier for 6 years, and I trust him entirely. (I bought this horse with the assumption that he had "navicular." - Turns out, he just had a bad farrier job done, and my farrier has been shoeing him since the day I bought him, and he has not had a lame day.)

It is so worrisome when a horse, who hasn't bucked in the 6 years I've owned him, decides to take a liking to throwing his hind end around. Especially when I'm not expecting it from him, and therefore riding a little less defensively then I would on my almost-4-year old mare.

I expect pain somewhere, due mostly to the fact that when lunged without tack, He goes along just fine - slowly, relaxed, swaps leads without so much as an ear flick. The minute you add a rider, his demeanor changes and he gets much more tense - particularly during the jumping.

kenyarider
Apr. 11, 2011, 09:19 PM
Ulcers, try ulcergard (non prescription) or get the vet to write you a script for Gastrogard. Sounds like ulcers to me.

bluebuckets
Apr. 11, 2011, 11:19 PM
Just check the usual: saddle fit, have the vet do a once over, maybe a chiro adjustment, and have his teeth checked too. My mare is fairly hot (OK, just plain wild) but she usually has brakes. When she started bucking/running last spring, it was because she'd been forgotten when everyone had their teeth done. One float later, I had a significantly happier mare.

holaamigoalter
Apr. 12, 2011, 06:59 AM
We just treat for lymes. The titer test is not 100% accurate. We've had horses with no symptoms have a high titer and horses with all the symptoms have low/normal titer. A round or two of doxy always seemed to do the trick.

PGilb43
Apr. 12, 2011, 10:29 AM
I would check for Lymes. My mare has had it for a year and we are treating her for a third time as she has all of a sudden started with Hip/SI pain and bucking. It can make them grouchy too.

HealingHeart
Apr. 12, 2011, 09:21 PM
How's the rider? Bouncy, tight knees, hands ?? Can they handle the jump or are they left behind? Could soreness or sourness be caused by rider error? Check the teeth too....


I'll try to keep this as simple as possible:
My horse is a 14 year old, been there, done that, got the t-shirt type. Steady Eddy, the resident go-to-guy for anything that might become a little hairy (ponying, beginner rides, babysitting..etc)
Over the last 3 weeks, he has taken to bucking - big bucks. He has not managed to get anyone off, but quite frankly, its scares me. He's my perfect pal, I expect it from my 4 year old, but not from him!
Yesterday he showed with a "beginner" - not exactly a novice, but certainly not someone who deserves to be dealing with bucks. He did not buck on the flat classes, pinning 1st in all 3, but bucked in EVERY SINGLE jumping class. Big Bucks, Bucks she was proud she was able to sit to.

He's always been a little tense over-fences, nothing awful though. I've always suspected poor saddle-fitting, but my trainer and vet say its fine.

Before the show, he was lunged without tack and he was super slow, steady, and not a buck in sight, not even over cavaletti work. But at the show, he bucked over crossrails.

I called the best soundness vet in the area to come out next week - he's also a chiropractor.

I guess in the meantime I'm looking for, "your boy will resurface eventually"

sanctuary
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:26 AM
Have you lunged him over jumps or free jumped him? You say he's fine on the lunge at the w/t/c, but to help rule out jumping pain, try free jumping him just a bit.

Agree on the lymes. They can really get grumpy and resistent. Very treatable with doxy.

Good for you for listening to your man. Hope he feels better soon!

OverandOnward
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:50 AM
Back problem. Saddle fit. That would be my first line of inquiry.

If a horse is behaving out of character, I'm inclined to think the problem is very likely to be physical. Bad riding and bad handling tend to produce reactions that are predictable to those that know the horse. It's behavior that is inconsistent with the horse you know - the attitude, not just what he does - that leads me to look toward physical. If he's begun to be a little crabby and resentful around the barn that would further lead me to believe he doesn't feel like himself.

I have seen bucking turn out to be a painful symptom of a saddle fit problem, and that is known to happen when a horse is getting fitter, etc. changes in his body. Change of saddle and rest took care of it.

TesignedInGold
Apr. 13, 2011, 11:39 AM
How's the rider? Bouncy, tight knees, hands ?? Can they handle the jump or are they left behind? Could soreness or sourness be caused by rider error? Check the teeth too....

The rider is a good little rider, showed him last year as well, and was grand champion every time out. She rode him well, even through the bucking. She does not get left behind often. He is usually very tolerant of complete beginners - he puts up with bouncing, teetering, bad hands and being left behind. None of it ever bothered him before. She did none of these things, and yet he bucked quite a bit. Completely out of character for him!


Have you lunged him over jumps or free jumped him? You say he's fine on the lunge at the w/t/c, but to help rule out jumping pain, try free jumping him just a bit.


Agree on the lymes. They can really get grumpy and resistent. Very treatable with doxy.

Good for you for listening to your man. Hope he feels better soon!

Free jumping without tack or rider, he is fine. Never quick, does his lead changes on his own.
I am going to have full bloodwork done just to be sure everything else is OK and to hopefully rule out lymes.


Back problem. Saddle fit. That would be my first line of inquiry.

If a horse is behaving out of character, I'm inclined to think the problem is very likely to be physical. Bad riding and bad handling tend to produce reactions that are predictable to those that know the horse. It's behavior that is inconsistent with the horse you know - the attitude, not just what he does - that leads me to look toward physical. If he's begun to be a little crabby and resentful around the barn that would further lead me to believe he doesn't feel like himself.

I have seen bucking turn out to be a painful symptom of a saddle fit problem, and that is known to happen when a horse is getting fitter, etc. changes in his body. Change of saddle and rest took care of it.

I am suspicious of saddle fit, and SOMETHING is definately wrong, despite the fact that everyone else in my barn seems to think he's just being "fresh." After owning him for 6 years, he's been "fresh" before - This usually mean a crow hop, maybe a tad bit strong or fast, but never acting like a rodeo horse. It is completely out of character for him, despite what others think!

THANK YOU for all the support and suggestions!

TesignedInGold
Apr. 18, 2011, 06:37 PM
vet/chiro update added to the original post!

Gnrock25
Apr. 18, 2011, 06:52 PM
im not sure if you looked at this or someone mentioned it already, but maybe something with his bridle? maybe he bumped his head somehow and the pressure of the bridle pressing against it is bothering him? im not sure how that relates to jumping only though. good luck with this!

fordtraktor
Apr. 18, 2011, 07:09 PM
Even though the vet and pro think your saddle fits, I would try him in a different saddle and see what happens. I have a horse that used to do this with a saddle that seemed to fit, but in fact pinched him. He has ceased bucking altogether with a saddle change. Sometimes looks can be deceiving with saddle fit.

I might also get the 20 free packs of omeprazole from omeprazole direct and see what ulcer treatment does, if the saddle doesn't fix it. Of course, discuss with your vet, esp. Lyme is worth investigating.

Sing Mia Song
Apr. 18, 2011, 07:17 PM
Nothing to add, as it sounds like you are doing all the right things (and I agree this horse is lucky to have such a wonderful owner in you!).

That said [WARNING: PET PEEVE AHEAD]...

The name of the condition is Lyme Disease. Singular. Named for the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme, CT, where scientists researching a cluster of human cases identified it as a tick-borne disease.

It is never "Lyme's."

[CHILDISH RANT OVER. CARRY ON]

alto
Apr. 18, 2011, 07:44 PM
He's always been a little tense over-fences, nothing awful though. I've always suspected poor saddle-fitting, but my trainer and vet say its fine.


Free jump him at liberty & then in full tack WITH VIDEO so you can watch it frame by frame later; if you see nothing, add in the sacrificial rider & repeat ... set up the line so that it works equally well with & without rider; make sure you only put him though the line 3 times for each scenario so that you don't have to add in a tired or boredom factor.

Have a saddle rep come out - anyone that is likely to have enough saddles on hand to be able to fit him with more than just one saddle - ideally you want to be able to jump him (with video) with at least 2 different saddles & rider(s), & using saddles that fit the rider (reasonably) well.

I'd wait until after his teeth are done & he's recovered fully from the stress before running these "tests" - hopefully he can be turned out during his "down" time: just in case he does have soreness somewhere, I'd leave him out but not work him except for stretches etc.

TesignedInGold
Apr. 18, 2011, 07:54 PM
Sing Mia Song -
I understand the rant - I do the same thing about various pet peeves of my own!

FordTraktor -
I've changed saddles quite a bit on him, and he seems to buck in all of them - although at this point he might be bucking because of the anticipation of pain. Hopefuly my thinline pad helps to relieve some of the concussion, and help his back.

And already ordered the 20 free packs of omeprazole! Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this.

TesignedInGold
Apr. 18, 2011, 08:15 PM
Free jump him at liberty & then in full tack WITH VIDEO so you can watch it frame by frame later; if you see nothing, add in the sacrificial rider & repeat ... set up the line so that it works equally well with & without rider; make sure you only put him though the line 3 times for each scenario so that you don't have to add in a tired or boredom factor.

Have a saddle rep come out - anyone that is likely to have enough saddles on hand to be able to fit him with more than just one saddle - ideally you want to be able to jump him (with video) with at least 2 different saddles & rider(s), & using saddles that fit the rider (reasonably) well.

I'd wait until after his teeth are done & he's recovered fully from the stress before running these "tests" - hopefully he can be turned out during his "down" time: just in case he does have soreness somewhere, I'd leave him out but not work him except for stretches etc.


That is an excellent idea, and one I am willing to try after I've had his teeth done, treated for ulcers, and pulled blood for LYME :lol:. I'm also going to give him a 7-series of adequan to help his joints if he's feeling a bit arthritic.

He is turned out almost 24/7 - coming in to the barn only in bad weather and to eat his grain. When he is in "full work" - he only works about 5 days a week, 1 hour a day. He's been there, done that, and does not need the drilling - just the cardio to stay fit.

The vet/chiro did recommend stretching him every day, particularly down between his knees to really get that poll to stretch and flex.

Hoping my boy feels better soon!

Bogie
Apr. 18, 2011, 08:21 PM
Many vets don't really have a handle on saddle fit (seen that too often). Can't comment on yours but I would have a good saddle fitter check him out.

Thinline pads help with concussion but if the saddle is too narrow and is pinching him, then they won't help.

TesignedInGold
Apr. 18, 2011, 08:41 PM
Many vets don't really have a handle on saddle fit (seen that too often). Can't comment on yours but I would have a good saddle fitter check him out.

Thinline pads help with concussion but if the saddle is too narrow and is pinching him, then they won't help.

Saddle is a "wide" tree by Pessoa standards - it is not rubbing his wither, so it shouldn't be too wide. But I will definately look into saddle fitters

The vet did not rule out saddle pain - just stated that his back was not the least bit sore - once he adjusted his poll, his back did not "spasm" or twitch in the least bit, despite the amount of pressure put on it.

I assumed a back that is not sore, probably means a saddle that is not hurting, at least not that much?

Anyone know of any non-affiliated saddle fitters in central NJ? I don't want someone to sell me "their" saddle - just tell me if mine is a good fit and if it isn't try to correct it or give me sound advice about getting a new one.

alto
Apr. 18, 2011, 08:51 PM
That is an excellent idea, and one I am willing to try after I've had his teeth done, treated for ulcers, and pulled blood for LYME :lol:. I'm also going to give him a 7-series of adequan to help his joints if he's feeling a bit arthritic.

He is turned out almost 24/7 - coming in to the barn only in bad weather and to eat his grain. When he is in "full work" - he only works about 5 days a week, 1 hour a day. He's been there, done that, and does not need the drilling - just the cardio to stay fit.

The vet/chiro did recommend stretching him every day, particularly down between his knees to really get that poll to stretch and flex.

Hoping my boy feels better soon!


I'm evil - I'd assess his buck response after each intervention so that (hopefully) I'll know how each contributed to his well being :)

TesignedInGold
Apr. 18, 2011, 09:18 PM
I'm evil - I'd assess his buck response after each intervention so that (hopefully) I'll know how each contributed to his well being :)

Already a step ahead of you - ridng him Wednesday to see how he responds to having his poll adjusted. :D

He had a really bad abscessed tooth in the past, that got infected and caused an awful lot of problems. But that was about 5 years ago! Hopefully his teeth are only in need of a floating (they were done a year ago.)

But I will continue riding inbetween each "intervention" to see his reaction and response. As much as I'm hoping the chiropractic work on his poll stops the bucking - I'm not counting on it!