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  1. #1

    Default Gelding's New Bad Behavior - Advice Appreciated

    Hi - I registered on this site just to find out what you have to say about my issue. I'm a first time horse owner, not an advanced rider. I bought my 9 year old gelding this past December, and life has been wonderful. We ride pasture, trails, he was easy to handle and gentle. Last weekend something changed. He offered to bite repeatedly when I was tacking him up, but it was a slow move - warning and not a completed act. Same weekend different day he acted barn sour when we went out. Just a real jerk, and very unusual for him. Today I tacked him for a ride and he did the same, but he'd turn his head and I'd tell him to quit and he'd turn around. Repeatedly. When I got on he didn't want to leave the barn and bucked when I insisted. Sadly, I'm not a cowboy and am not skilled or physically talented enough to battle a bucking horse, so he got away with it. I got off and did some flexing from the ground and we walked around the pasture with him tacked up.

    We got an older mare as a pasture buddy a few weeks ago. They get along great, both are non-dominant but is has become the alpha. He has ridden with her around. I spend time with him daily - not riding, but grooming, feeding, etc... This behavior only appears when tacking up, riding, or getting around his sides like you're going to ride him.

    I don't understand his sudden change in behavior, and am not sure how to handle it.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2012
    Posts
    446

    Default

    If he was not this way when you purchased him, i'm inclined to believe its a saddle fit issue.


    7 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2002
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    East of Dog River
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    5,693

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    He sounds either barn sour, buddy sour or both. And now, you have taught him he can get out of work by bucking, although I doubt he seriously bucked, maybe crowhopped a bit. By your own admission, you are not a strong rider, nor are you experienced, and he has your number and will press the issue harder every time. If it were me, I would tie the buddy in the barn, and take him and ride the pants off him until he regains some respect. I also expect he is, as are most lightly used horses, over fed and under worked.

    I can tell you how to handle it but, again, you haven't the experience to be able to do what is necessary. Only thing I can suggest is get someone in who can handle him and teach you how to do it.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

    Member: Incredible Invisbles



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2008
    Location
    now in KCMO, and plan to stay there
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    3,022

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    Have the Veterinarian come out and scope him for ulcers. The biting at girthing is one of the usual signs of that disorder. Disregard those who tell you it is behavioral, until you have ruled out physical problems such as saddle fit and possible ulcers. The biting = ulcers IMO, the bucking = saddle fit, most likely.
    Jeanie
    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


    9 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2008
    Location
    Greeley, Colorado
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    3,800

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdlbredfan View Post
    Have the Veterinarian come out and scope him for ulcers. The biting at girthing is one of the usual signs of that disorder. Disregard those who tell you it is behavioral, until you have ruled out physical problems such as saddle fit and possible ulcers. The biting = ulcers IMO, the bucking = saddle fit, most likely.
    I agree with ulcers. Usually a mild mannered horse will not become a "jerk" unless they're in pain. Rule out back or ulcer pain and then go from there.
    **Friend of bar.ka**

    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
    My equine soulmate


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 2, 2013
    Posts
    4

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll have a vet check him out. Since I've been using the same saddle since December could something have changed to effect his saddle fit?

    @ sk_pacer He isn't overweight (as per vet in April), and he is I'm sure under worked by someone's standards. I ride at least once a week if not more often, but it's not always a trail ride. You're probably right in that it wasn't a full on buck but it was that go big or go home moment where I had to evaluate myself and just wasn't sure I could handle it escalating further.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    25

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    Quote Originally Posted by ratherberiding78 View Post
    We got an older mare as a pasture buddy a few weeks ago.
    Does he not want to leave his new friend? Perhaps she's in season?


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 2, 2013
    Posts
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    @ skippity - that has crossed my mind. He is very happy with her. I haven't seen any indications of her being in season (I've been watching), and I've had her in different places when his bad behavior happens - sometimes haltered and tied near him, other times stalled, or tied across the pasture. I'll keep my eye on this. She is definitely barn sour when we got her but has made some good strides with work over the past few weeks.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,187

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdlbredfan View Post
    Have the Veterinarian come out and scope him for ulcers. The biting at girthing is one of the usual signs of that disorder. Disregard those who tell you it is behavioral, until you have ruled out physical problems such as saddle fit and possible ulcers. The biting = ulcers IMO, the bucking = saddle fit, most likely.
    OP, it might be a little cheaper to start by looking for back pain caused by saddle fit.

    You can get a "ball park" idea about whether or not his back hurts by running your fingers down his back. Start at the withers and, with you thumb and index finger+middle finger, run them down his back on either side of his spine. You hand should be pretty spread out so your thumb or finger is more than 2" down from the spine.

    Look for his reaction. He might flinch, he might raise his head, try to get out from underneath your hand, put his ears back, or even turn around and bite you.

    He might not flinch so much the second time-- (that's a nice horse being stoic). So mix it up a bit. You can palpate other parts of his back looking for tight muscles or a pain reaction, too.

    This won't answer all of your questions, but it's a fine place to start, given the presenting problems you describe.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2007
    Location
    Warrenton, VA
    Posts
    629

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    Definitely check saddle fit first. You are welcome to send me photos, I can give you some idea if that's the cause.... And it's free send pictures at all angles to gallopinggrape@gmail.com
    Kim
    The Galloping Grape
    Warrenton, VA
    http://www.GallopingGrape.com


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2009
    Posts
    3,259

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    So he went from a solo horse to a duo?

    Very normal behavior. Two is a hard number of horses to keep, as invariably someone has an issue.

    Check him for pain, absolutely. But I'm going to hazard a guess that it's the number two that is the issue. He needs to respect your leadership and not worry about leaving his mare. The only way that will happen is with firm, consistent handling. Once a week isn't going to do it.

    Start small, and on the ground. Have someone show you how to get his respect at all gaits, and then slowly move away from the barn and buddy. This is hard when you are nervous, but the thing is that if you aren't the one doing it, the problem won't stay fixed. This doesn't mean abuse or beat him, but you need to be the one making his feet move.

    Best of luck to you, and remember, this is an important stage of horse ownership and we all go through it in one way or another.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2006
    Location
    Morriston, FL
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    584

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    I have a horse that did the same thing. When I first got her, she was fine. Now that she has buddies in the barn, she does not want to leave. We are working on it.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2012
    Posts
    2,146

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    For me, it was saddle fit. It took a while for it to come on; for him to associate the saddle with pain.

    New saddle that doesn't pinch and no more biting.
    Ride like you mean it.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2013
    Posts
    417

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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGrayPony View Post
    So he went from a solo horse to a duo?

    Very normal behavior. Two is a hard number of horses to keep, as invariably someone has an issue.

    Check him for pain, absolutely. But I'm going to hazard a guess that it's the number two that is the issue. He needs to respect your leadership and not worry about leaving his mare. The only way that will happen is with firm, consistent handling. Once a week isn't going to do it.

    Start small, and on the ground. Have someone show you how to get his respect at all gaits, and then slowly move away from the barn and buddy. This is hard when you are nervous, but the thing is that if you aren't the one doing it, the problem won't stay fixed. This doesn't mean abuse or beat him, but you need to be the one making his feet move.

    Best of luck to you, and remember, this is an important stage of horse ownership and we all go through it in one way or another.
    My thoughts too and have definitely gone through this... AND just when I think they're "cured", they find another issue regarding eachother and separation anxiety. Just continual, frequent get them away from each other in what ever way you can (safely) do so they never know what to expect. IE take the mare away, bring her back, take the gelding away, bring him back take them both somewhere, ride one away and deal with the chaos that one will surely bring ya!!! Get someone confident to help!!! Try turning one out and keeping one in. Then reverse. Good luck, happens to us all. Don't let him boss you around. If you're scared get help now. But her in the barn and go graze him... baby steps, but firm steps. Ask for something you know you can get and be sure he gives it to you!!!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2006
    Location
    Morriston, FL
    Posts
    584

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    I was reading this article. http://www.joshnichol.com/articles/T...ssue_may10.pdf, in this forum, but a different thread. I think it is worth pursuing and I am going to try it with my balky mare.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
    Location
    down south
    Posts
    5,060

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    The longer you ride in an I'll fitting saddle the worse the pain will become for the the horse. If he is a stoic sort then it's very possible that he took it since December and now it just hurts to bad and his back is to sore to handle it anymore. You can yourself take your hand and push pretty hard down the back on each side where the muscles run and see if he is sensitive somewhere.

    I would have a vet our to check though if he is sore somewhere and as well look at ulcers. This can be a classic sign for both. I don't think he would so much be barn sour If you've been doing this since December on a regular basis. But it could be. Don't let people talk you into doing anything behavioral wise until you have a vet look at him because that could just make you nice horse even worse if they are forcing I'm to do something while he is in pain.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


    4 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 2, 2013
    Posts
    4

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    Many thanks to you wise equestrians. I have a path to follow. Check saddle, ulcers, vet, ... Then show him who's his mamma


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
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    down south
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    Sounds like a good plan
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2007
    Location
    Warrenton, VA
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    629

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    Post the saddle fitting pics here, we can help! Or send them to me directly. It wont cost you a thing..........
    Kim
    The Galloping Grape
    Warrenton, VA
    http://www.GallopingGrape.com



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 24, 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    269

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    Could be the simple fact of tightening the girth to much now he's sour from it. I used to work at a camp where a lot of horses would do the same thing all because people were saddling the horse up too tight. I found if you left the girth looser and tightened it up slowly (walk horse around for a little bit first etc...) he would get over this new habit. But make sure you're not over tightening! Or else the problem will just continue.
    Proud owner of Belle- 17.2h PerchxTB-wannabe dressage horse & Fayah 14.1H arab-trail horse extroidinaire!



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