So disappointing. Every time I think we're somewhere with smooth, relaxed PREDICTABLE...he comes out all jazzed up. He tacked up fine, munching on hay like not a care in the world.
Led and mounted just fine. Then the fun starts. Joggy when he should be walky. Fast, joint jarring walk. And then no lope transition.
Our last ride was better and even had one rocking chair lope.
I don't know if he's hurting, or the footing was too soft, or the weather too warm, or I'm just a craptacularly awful rider. I wish he could talk!
He had a chiro adjustment on Thursday and an Adequan injection on Friday.
He has changed over the almost 5 years that I've had him from sweet, smooth and well-behaved and suitably gaited to this annoying riding. Seems like all I do is correct correct correct. He can't go 10 feet holding a tempo or self-carriage.
I'll lunge him next time. Didn't this time because I didn't want to tear up the arena....outdoors, very soft, thawed turf. Maybe he just needs to get his juice used up.
Some horses do NOT like the very soft, deep dirt in an arena...it can be like trying to dance in snow if it's deep enough or the horse has some kind of owies...have you always had this same arena footing for the time you have had him? Not trying to say your arena is wrong! Just have noticed this kind of thing in a friend's horse over time and when she lessened the amount of "loamy soft dirt" it improved things. Just an idea?
Also, if he just got an injection yesterday, could that have any unwanted side effect so that he is "jazzy"?
I feel your pain! Had a horse similar a couple of years ago and it is frustrating, I know!
He must be in pain, still. He's so sweet, not goofy at all. At the last show, I was riding back into the barn from the bright sun and heard a BIG noise coming at us. All of a sudden there's a forklift headed right for us, not 50 feet away. I turned him around, left the doorway so the forklift could get out and then we went in. He never got nervous or spooky...just a real settled guy.
I sure don't know how to ride thru this recovery period.
Well, yep, pain might just do it! My little Arab pony mare has back issues and she can be a right handful if her back's acting up...all I can say is that with an "ouchy" pony I just have to be very patient, do some lunging, handwalking and let time do its thing. Really sorry your guy is having problems and it's affecting your riding time and his behaviors.
One other thing that works for me (at least most of the time, lol!) is that I try to do different kinds of activities with that particular mare to alleviate boredom and keep her thinking something new AND FUN is coming her way when I go out. I don't know if that is applicable to this horse you have, but differing activities, lots of turnout and some lunging (carefully!) may help???
Our arena is outside and sand with mulch on top. Most of the mulch has decomposed. The footing changes with the weather. 2 weeks ago, it was frozen solid and THAT made for a jarring ride. I could feel the frozenness thru my seat.
Then we got snow...he actually did the best in the snow. Now everything melted, drained and left us with soft but not slimey or deep footing.
This wouldn't bother me so much except that he *normally* isn't like this. For me? Yes! For daughter? No. Then the arthritis and injections blah blah blah started and this last year has been just one up and down after another! I get bits and pieces of smooth, talented, obedient but not a whole ride. Ever. :-(
I REALLY don't want to think it's attitude and that he needs a riding crop applied. I would SO NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF if I hit a hurting horse!
Just read your second response. He gets turned out about 10-12 hours a day and would rather live in his stall. He's one of 3 horses who get along beautifully so no stress there. No fights over food, etc.
Could he have a touch of any of all that used to be called tying up?
There are several different conditions today considered behind that.
I expect your vet has already ruled those?
I have known some horses do what you describe that had such problems.
When I first read the title, I tough you were going to present with a case of a horse that is a wiggly, can't stay still nervous temperament.
I had two such to train years ago and they were just not all there, the only wrong with them was their brain.
Your horse is very different, he does sound like he is having bad days.
Why don't you ask about this on the health forum?
Good idea! I'm wondering if I should have the vet do a complete blood panel on him. We haven't don't that since his ppe.
This feels like an evasion thru rushing, hurrying. Also, he's lost weight (on purpose...well by my design anyway) so that he has definite ribs now. That may be bothering him too. Hungry?
Also, I've noticed in the last couple of months that I can't feel my spurs touching him anymore. I wonder if that is because his belly has gone down so much that I'm actually NOT cuing him but instead, missing him entirely. I don't have strong legs because of polio. I have long, blunt equitation spurs and that really made a difference when I started with them a year ago.
A blood panel will be a good base line, although if he is somewhat tying up that will be more apt to show after a harder workout, when that may change blood parameters.
If that is a possibility and I have known several horses acting like yours where putting them on supplements for that, E-Selenium one, has helped them feel better.
Those were horses that tended to not be lean horses, but easily lose weight and become harder keepers, tended to draw up some.
I would check that out and also Lime and such other, that can become chronic issues.
I'd treat him for ulcers, no matter what else comes out of a vet exam. Even if you just try an antacid for a while to see if it changes his behavior. I don't know your history, but pain can cause ulcers as can medication and stress from being ill. Weight loss and change in behavior are also two big signs of ulcers. Obviously it can be many things, but ulcers could be part of every possible reason.
What antacids should I get and how much should I give him?
I have a nagging voice in my head that says "don't change too many things at once because you won't know what did the trick"...assuming something does the trick.
As it stands, we are looking at no show season. If I can't get him to work well at home...calm, in gait, appropriate tempo...then there's no sense taking him to a show. We got 3 months to figure this out.
I'm so disappointed because at my age, I don't have a lot of show seasons left. AND I'm not going to buy another horse. Two that I can't ride is plenty for me.
I agree with Bluey that reducing grain and feeding alfalfa will also help an "ulcery" horse; this was recommended by my vet as a cheap way to see whether stomach pain was a contributing factor in my mare's behavior. It is unlikely to "heal" an ulcer issue on its own, but it might help you narrow down whether stomach pain is contributing to your horse's discomfort. If you see an improvement in symptoms, then I would definitely move on to something like omeprazole (pop rocks) or Gastro Guard type products.
I used to feed Neigh-lox to an old arthritic pony who was on daily bute to stay sound; the theory was that the Neighlox might help prevent ulcers that were likely to form because of the daily NSAIDs and pain from arthritis.
I'm not sure I understand your whole situation because it is not clearly explained (post #5). But your horse goes relaxed and quiet for your daughter, but not you? If so, I think your horse may have a lack of respect for you personally, and no, you do not need to "beat" respect into a horse. IF he also has a physical problem such as ulcers that is impacting him, he may be going through moments of discomfort which result in poor performance (or behavior) due to his lack of respect for you. I would try to get to the root of any physical problem, and also do some groundwork exercises to better strengthen your relationship with the horse. Most horses need little refresher or remedial work every once in a while to make sure they respect you.