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View Full Version : What to do with my horse...hunters or jumpers



reay6790
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:25 PM
I have had my latest horse since 2006. He is an OTTB, but looks like a warmblood.

He was top 6 in the zone (zone 4, very competitive) my last Junior year in the Children's Hunters, and he has won many, many championships and classics in the adult amateurs and amateur owners.

lately, and increasingly in the past year, with my inconsistent riding (i am at college so he only gets ridden 2-4 times a week) we haven't been doing so well. he has only been champion once this year in the A/Os. He will have a great round, then spazz out the next. its not about the jumps, the distances, the changes, or the strides. its about something as simple as a shadow or a sign or a videographer.

i have shown a few times in the jumpers when i was prepping for eq classes as a junior several years ago. at the show this weekend i am going to be doing the low adult jumpers. maybe i'm tired and maybe i'm impatient, but the question remains:

is it really fair for me to ask my horse to do something he freaks out about? i love the hunters. i love winning and i love putting in a perfect round. it's just very frustrating to me when i do my part and get him everywhere he needs to be, and he has a mental breakdown. he is ulcer prone, and cannot show on medications anymore, which is probably one of the reasons he loses focus now. he gets ridden before i show and gets magnesium powder.

so i am going to try the jumpers again. i just feel like i am wasting talent :( he used to be the horse that everyone knew was going to win. he is just as athletic, moves just as nicely, and if anything, jumps better. i hope i am making the right decision to try out the jumper ring again. i just feel guilty. he is going to be 13 in 2012.

note: when we did the jumpers, he was great. he is almost equally talented in both rings. however, i can use his spooky/nervous energy for good in the jumpers instead of trying to hide it in hunters.

jetsmom
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:33 PM
inconsistent riding (i am at college so he only gets ridden 2-4 times a week)

. he is ulcer prone, and cannot show on medications anymore, which is probably one of the reasons he loses focus now. he gets ridden before i show and gets magnesium powder.

.


He's being ridden inconsistently. I don't know of any horses that can put down consistently good rounds when they are only being ridden 2-4 times per week. I don't know of RIDERS who are consistently successful at shows that ride only 2 -4 times a week.

And did you really just say that he can't show on meds ANYMORE, so that is why he loses focus? I guess a horse that is drugged probably is an easier ride.

reay6790
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:39 PM
He's being ridden inconsistently. I don't know of any horses that can put down consistently good rounds when they are only being ridden 2-4 times per week. I don't know of RIDERS who are consistently successful at shows that ride only 2 -4 times a week.

And did you really just say that he can't show on meds ANYMORE, so that is why he loses focus? I guess a horse that is drugged probably is an easier ride.

I agree, which is why I'm having trouble. I am only showing about 8-10 times a year now, so I can't expect him to be perfect only being ridden 2-4 times a week. I ride 5-6 days a week because my other horse is at school with me to keep my eye in check and my leg strong. I am a pretty consistent rider.

He was more focused when he was able to be medicated. He hasn't been medicated in over 2 years now, so that is not entirely the problem. I was simply stating that so that no one suggested that. I care about his health much more than his performance.

I don't see any reason to be rude, I am simply looking for guidance.

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:53 PM
what were the medications he was showing on?
If the ulcers are bothering him then maybe a round of ulcer guard would help. I know that that is legal to show on .

Also part of the problem could be the inconstancy of his current work load. OTTB's especially like to work and usually need at least 5 days to keep their brains together. Can you find someone else to ride him on the days you can't.

And thirdly maybe look for some pain issues. Those can easily come out as behavior issues.

reay6790
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:58 PM
he basically lives on gastrogard :) hes actually had about 6 rounds of it over the past 5 years. he has a very special diet and has been very healthy for a while now, but i cant risk putting him on meds, nor do i particularly want to.

my trainer rides him once a week for me during the school week, and i try to ride him friday, saturday, and sunday. he also doesn't exactly exude OTTB the majority of the time. very, very lazy at home. crop and big spurs. at school usually just little spurs.

no pain issues (that i am aware of). simply him focusing on something outside of the ring and having a nervous breakdown over it.

jetsmom
Nov. 9, 2011, 12:13 AM
Do the jumpers then, where a spook/scoot/high headed look, won't hurt you if you are fast and clear.

Even though he may seem quiet flatting, he probably does need more work. Maybe add a small jump into your flatwork to perk him up (I'm assuming he gets a little more energy when jumping).

At shows, hack him the day before. Spend more time hacking to warm up before classes. Let him stand around, in between classes, untacked, so he can just be "in the hectic atmosphere", so he can learn to just chill.

Annandale
Nov. 9, 2011, 02:09 AM
Can I ask what kind of medication he was on before? Just wondering if that might be relevant to the problems you're having now. If we know exactly what the medication was meant to correct, perhaps we could suggest alternative strategies?

Best of luck either way. And don't stress yourself out about the whole "he used to be the horse to beat" thing. If jumpers are what will make you both happy now, that's all that matters. Just roll with the punches. It's better the recognize a difference in your horse and yourself and make a change than keep forcing the old way because you feel obligated. :)

ETA: Is it possible to have your trainer ride him an extra time per week for awhile and see if that helps?

RockinHorse
Nov. 9, 2011, 06:40 AM
I have had my latest horse since 2006. He is an OTTB, but looks like a warmblood.

He was top 6 in the zone (zone 4, very competitive) my last Junior year in the Children's Hunters, and he has won many, many championships and classics in the adult amateurs and amateur owners.

lately, and increasingly in the past year, with my inconsistent riding (i am at college so he only gets ridden 2-4 times a week) we haven't been doing so well. he has only been champion once this year in the A/Os. He will have a great round, then spazz out the next. its not about the jumps, the distances, the changes, or the strides. its about something as simple as a shadow or a sign or a videographer.

i have shown a few times in the jumpers when i was prepping for eq classes as a junior several years ago. at the show this weekend i am going to be doing the low adult jumpers. maybe i'm tired and maybe i'm impatient, but the question remains:

is it really fair for me to ask my horse to do something he freaks out about? i love the hunters. i love winning and i love putting in a perfect round. it's just very frustrating to me when i do my part and get him everywhere he needs to be, and he has a mental breakdown. he is ulcer prone, and cannot show on medications anymore, which is probably one of the reasons he loses focus now. he gets ridden before i show and gets magnesium powder.

so i am going to try the jumpers again. i just feel like i am wasting talent :( he used to be the horse that everyone knew was going to win. he is just as athletic, moves just as nicely, and if anything, jumps better. i hope i am making the right decision to try out the jumper ring again. i just feel guilty. he is going to be 13 in 2012.

note: when we did the jumpers, he was great. he is almost equally talented in both rings. however, i can use his spooky/nervous energy for good in the jumpers instead of trying to hide it in hunters.

You need to decide what you really want. If you are concerned your horse freaks out and you want to be "fair" to your horse get him ridden consistently and prepped for shows so he does not freak out. Since he has done it before, he is probably capable of doing hunters with more consistency.

If you want some ribbons, and don't care if it is freaking him out, go for the jumpers.

supershorty628
Nov. 9, 2011, 08:26 AM
OP, can someone else ride him on days you are unable to? I assume you brought him to school with you (or that you go to school close enough to home that you can get back and ride) - surely there must be someone who wouldn't mind hacking him and doing flatwork. He sounds too fresh, from your description of him at shows.

6 courses of Gastroguard over 5 years? How many doses are you giving per "course" of it?

reay6790
Nov. 9, 2011, 08:45 AM
he used to show on dex.

6 full rounds of gastrogard = 28 tubes plus weaning him off each time. no more ulcers and hasn't had any for over a year *knock on wood* but i do not ever want to risk him developing them again.

he lives in my home town with my trainer. she rides him once during the week for me, and i ride him friday-sunday. i can't afford to have him ridden every day. i usually do throw in a jump to perk him up, but it doesn't help very much.

i brought my other horse to school, not him. he lives with my trainer 3 hours away. i commute 3 hours to and from my home town every weekend.

jetsmom- he has been showing for many years. he is very calm and lazy schooling at shows. i make sure he has time to chill between rounds if possible, and i took him to 2309483 schooling shows before i started him on the A circuit so that he would learn what show life is about. he's always had a little look in him. just now more so than before. he gets ridden every day at the shows during the week before my division and i ride him before he shows to try to burn off any energy...that isn't usually existent.

i would say he has been ridden only 3-5 times a week for his entire career with me. he has never been the horse in heavy training. he is the horse you can whip out of the stall after not being ridden in 3 weeks and do a 3' course perfectly. now at a show would probably be different. but especially at home.

he's also always been odd about what he spooks at. hes had a military helicopter swoop down on his ring during an A/O round, and still score an 81. hes had water trucks actually spray him while he was in the ring, and not care. he spooks at groups of people, signs, video men, etc. well this year.

it's not fair for me to ask him to be perfect because he's NOT being consistent enough. but this is my third year in college, and the first two he was still doing quite well, and i would say he is possibly getting ridden more now than he was before.

i just started having my trainer ride him once during the week since august, he used to not get ridden besides the days i was home.

i'd also like to point out that i am home from may-july, where he IS ridden by me 3-5 days a week. sometimes still has the same problem.

I'm just frustrated, and this is probably more a vent than anything. i just want him to be happy. i don't think the hunters are upsetting him per say, i just think that once he spooks, he doesn't come back to his normal calm self very quickly and gets counted off a lot.

supershorty628
Nov. 9, 2011, 08:50 AM
Do you have a friend at home who could at least hack him?

reay6790
Nov. 9, 2011, 09:05 AM
My friends are all in college around the country. There is a girl I could ask but she has left spur marks on him before. Most of the people at my barn are older and just ride their one horse and leave. Others just come out on the weekend, and we only have 1 kid right now with a horse boarding. The other people live 4 and 10 hours away. My trainer rides 6-8 horses a day, and I've always felt bad adding onto that, but she agreed to ride him on Wednesdays, that way he only got monday, tuesday, and thursday off. she does ride him every day at shows though (or gets another pro to) if they are out of town and i can't get there until thursday or friday.

Lucassb
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:26 AM
You are seeing now what the dex used to hide.

Luckily for you, this is really not a difficult fix. You just need to change your show morning routine a bit... basically you need to take the edge off.

I know you say that the horse is quiet and even lazy, but if he's entertaining himself by spooking at the photographer, etc... then he's a too fresh to put in the rounds you want.

A lot of people would lunge this horse. Personally I am not a fan of that approach, but I *would* ride him in the morning, and I'd do more than you usually do. I would get him a little tired (NOT dead) and see what you have. Bet you will find you can jump around like you used to with minimal or no spook.

The tradeoff for that is that you ARE going to take away a bit of his brilliance by getting him a bit tired (the dex took some of that away too, which is why you think he's jumping better now.) It's a very fine balance to achieve. Obviously you want the horse to remain interested and engaged in his job, but not feeling so good that they land off the last oxer and think about sending you into the crowd.

You could also consider showing during that May-July period when you are home and can keep him in more consistent work rather than trying to manage this on the schedule you have to keep during the school year.

Good luck.

D1nOnlyRocketPony
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:38 AM
Completely agree with Lucas. you're seeing the results of no Dex. It is used to knock the edge off, much like Ace. Dex just happens to be legal.

One thing I have also found to help (and keep in mind I'm from the USEF Saddleseat world - so same rules may not apply to you - check first!) is a product called Total Calm and Focus. There is a daily feed through powder OR a concentrated syringe to use before you show (you can use up to two syringes - directions are on the label). I have found it takes a mildly unfocused horse or a horse that looks alot and settles them in. It's perfectly legal (with us!) and does help take the edge off.

here's the info straight from the manufacturer's website:

http://www.ramardinc.com/cart/item.aspx?ID=39&d=


There are no herbs, sedatives or any banned substances in Total Calm and Focus and it will not sedate your horse as many products do. You will merely loose the anxious, nervous behavior and the ears will stay forward and you will have all of the energy. As the name imply's...Calm and Focused



For use in all ages of Horses and Ponies
Active Ingredients per 1 oz - 30 CC


Thiamine B 1 2000 MG
Magnesium 1600 MG
Pyridoxine B 6 500 MG
Riboflavin
B 2 500 MG
Ramisol (tm) 500 MG
Panthotenic Acid 250 MG
Niacin 150 MG
Folic Acid 1000 MCG
Vitamin B 12 1000 MCG