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Horse ets spookier with work

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    #41
    Originally posted by Angela Freda View Post

    Am I correct that you had the chiro and bodyworker out once each?
    And how long did you treat for ulcers, and did you also treat for hindgut also? Taper off?
    As a nutty 3.5 -4 year old, I had him scoped. We did 30 days of omeprazole and I think 15-30 days of tapering doses. Thank the powers that be that he was insured!!!! The chiro was out once then. My vet is a certified chiro and he went through a bucking incident when being saddled or mounted about a year ago. Admittedly, I was only riding 2 times a week at that time and he went "feral"!!! He we fine when saddled but the first steps off got him upset and he bucked. Or, he'd walk to the mounting block and tense up/raise his head, shake then buck when I mounted. Sometimes. It got to me stepping off to the mounting block and yelling at him, or not throwing my leg over and yelling at him, and he'd relax and happily walk off. I didn't want to teach him that this behavior got him out of work, but I found if I could re-direct his brain, he was OK. Seriously, he would *wait for my cue* and then loosely walk off. He had lost some weight (he does in winter) and I thing the saddle shifts more on his withers when I put weight in the stirrup and he didn't like that. I also did carrot stretches after putting the saddle on (which I always do when finished before putting him up) and he would NOT bend his body with the saddle on. He freaked when he did bend and his shoulders touchen the girth leathers that stuck out because they weren't done up yet. Radiographs of his withers and spine to rule out kissing spines - his spine was pristine. My current vet is a certified Chiro and did 3-4 sessions with him through the late spring and summer, found tension in his neck and where it tied into the shoulders, some in his lower back, but no obvious problems. Also did laser therapy. She decided the schedule and when to stop, not me. I followed all of her directives for stretched and muscle-building exercises to rule out other potential issues. He went through periods of goodness, hypervigilance (but manageable) and "Something's gonna kill me" - rinse and repeat. I can't find a pattern. No one else can, either. I follow my vet's advice (she also competes warmbloods) but I don't have $$$$$$$$$ to take him to NC State to radiograph/ultrasound/MRI his whole body to find a problem and then follow up to see if that's really the problem or just an incidental finding.

    So, we've had a 7 day clinic going on. One trainer put his horse in the ring-adjacent playground all week. I had my horse be loose in the arena, and he stood at the Gate of Doom trying to get this mare's attention for 2 hours yesterday. All was fine until feeding time when he walked to within our view to say "helloooooo, it's dinner time!!" Today, as everyone was riding in the arena, I turned him out in the playground where he pitched a fit, trotting, galloping, jumping over an obstacle multiple times, bucking... he sure didn't look in pain and he could have just stood there. I have hand-grazed him repeatedly in this same space within the last 2 weeks because there is so much clover and he LOVES clover. His behavior even in his own pasture makes me disinclined to think he's in pain. I could be wrong, but none of my "horse team" thinks there's pain, either.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

    Comment


      #42
      Wanderosa You bring up some interesting points. This horse was FREAKED OUT when he first saw a mini, and then say a mule. I used to take him to "Open shows" with a friend who wanted to go, and there was a mini AND A CART in some of my classes. OOOhhhh, talk about wasted class fees and someone dialing 9-1 already on their phone to get a jump on any emergency call until the owner of the mini kept bringing him up to my horse and he could really smell him. Then he was OK. I asked a mule owner if I could let my horse smell the mule (which my horse was freaking out at even from a distance), and she said "sure, so many horses get upset with his sight and smell" and that made a real difference. He's very sight and smell oriented, which is why I asked the breeder if he was proud cut.
      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

      Comment


        #43
        Originally posted by rothmpp View Post
        So, a couple things come to mind.

        One, he's developed some new physical or neuro ailment that is exacerbating the spook. That will require some vet work to identify.

        Two, something in his feed is messing with him metabolically. Again some vet work / feed analysis / pasture analysis necessary.

        Three, he's one of those horses who spooks when he thinks the work has gotten too hard. That can be either just an attitude issue, or sometimes we don't realize that we have pushed them too hard for their current physical conditioning. This would be more on you to identify. He may need more conditioning, or a different routine when going to work.

        i had a horse that was a bit of a spooker. In the indoor, one aisle was a absolute horse killer. That I just ignored. It cast weird shadows and people would just randomly pop out (what the hell is wrong with saying "door!!!!" before popping around the corner????? Outside, he'd just get... distracted. I was best off with him to give him more to do so he *had* to focus on me.
        Thank you! He just saw the vet a few days ago and I told her about the situation. Short of a trip to NC state for a body scan/fishing expedition, and given his history, she didn't have much to add. She's worked on this horse for 6.5 years.

        I analyze his feed all the time and analyzed his pasture through EquiAnalytical last year. I'm a scientist in physiology, I "geek out" at this stuff. We tested the farm's soil (every pasture) through Ag extension. The BO is a professional geologist and is acutely aware of the soil/grass types and manages it pretty well, etc. We had changes to the pasture (lyme and fertilizer) so I didn't do it this year, but he's not missing anything. I sent my analysis to my vet. She concurred with my conclusions.

        I think you are on to something with your third point. I did a three-day clinic with a German trainer a few weeks ago. He rode my horse and, while doing the same stuff he was teaching me, did it a whole lot better than me! He told me he felt my horse trying to understand him, but he thought my horse NEVER said no. He thought that my horse was actively comfortable in his own comfort zone, and sort of "trained me" to think that this was the comfort zone. He explained that horses like mine can exhibit fear when immediately out of their comfort zone, but gain confidence when they learn that they're OK out of the comfort zone. He slowly worked my horse, but ended up getting the most AMAZING work out of him. I have never seen a trot or canter like that from my horse. He MADE me get on afterwards to feel it, and it was like I was riding a different horse. Yes, he said, that the horse didn't know what to do with him except listen because he was "an unknown quantity" to my horse whereas I'm a "known quantity" to my horse that he will try to manipulate. And yes, he's a professional with exceptional timing. He rides stallions and thinks my horse can act like a stallion with his hypervigilant mind. He doesn't think my horse is spooky, just extremely hypervigilant about his surroundings. He told me this in some previous clinic when he lobbed a glove at my horse's face and my horse just blinked a few times. "See, you'd be on the ground if your horse was truly spooky. He's hypervigilant". But I did get alot of focused exercises in this clinic. In fact, I was doing one when two new horses in training ran up to their gate the other day about 100 feet away from the arena, and my horse dropped and spun. I had to bail from the saddle. There are almost ALWAYS horses in that pasture, but these had a ton of chrome and one was a paint, and "white markings" can upset him. Yea, white markings can upset him because they are outside of his little dictionary that explains horse coloring. Has he seen tons of horses? Yes. But horses with lots of white are out of place and can't be trusted. I'll mention that he was raised with a palomino with tons of chrome...but...sigh....

        Since I'm not a pro at the level that he is, and he's only seen my horse in clinics while other trainers see him all the time, and hypervigilance can still land me in the dirt, and I'm I pretty good rider with tons of experience in dressage, I'm sooooooo happy about the different points of view regarding my orchid. I'm considering all of your posts, even if I don't respond directly. THANK YOU ALL!!
        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

        Comment


          #44
          Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
          Wanderosa You bring up some interesting points. This horse was FREAKED OUT when he first saw a mini, and then say a mule. I used to take him to "Open shows" with a friend who wanted to go, and there was a mini AND A CART in some of my classes. OOOhhhh, talk about wasted class fees and someone dialing 9-1 already on their phone to get a jump on any emergency call until the owner of the mini kept bringing him up to my horse and he could really smell him. Then he was OK. I asked a mule owner if I could let my horse smell the mule (which my horse was freaking out at even from a distance), and she said "sure, so many horses get upset with his sight and smell" and that made a real difference. He's very sight and smell oriented, which is why I asked the breeder if he was proud cut.
          Oh, goodness! Carts terrify a lot of horses. We leased a medium pony whose owner had been competing her in combined driving after she got too big to ride her. They caused so much panic the one time they went to use the indoor at the farm next door that they were asked to please not come back.

          It sounds like there's frequently a hubbub on the opposite side of the Gate of Doom? If you've ruled out our resident ghost, Zul, wintering at your farm and haunting the gate; and the horse is unusually sight and smell oriented it's certainly possible the amount of traffic outside the gate is the issue. Neither time the trainer's horse got loose and ran up to the indoor was I able to see him coming due to the angle of the door. Don't think my horses could, either. But they clearly could hear or smell him while he was still a couple 100 yards out from our sightline. He could be reacting to things going on beyond the Gate of Doom that you're unaware of because your senses aren't as keen.

          Also, I know you said you were certain he wasn't a cryptorchid but are you totally sure? We have a body worker who comes to the barn who does what I'd describe as a combination of energy work and sports massage. She has worked on a few 'geldings' only to have the owners surprised when a testis dropped in the days after the session as the horse's body responded to the work.

          Finally, how do you feel about doing a session with an animal communicator? Some make me roll my eyes - years ago my leased horse supposedly told one that he saw ghosts a lot and sometimes had trouble determining what was real and what was not. But we have one nearby who works in conjunction with a vet with the purpose of narrowing things down before doing super-expensive test procedures. She's been spot on identifying any medical issues every time It's done over the phone with the owner in the stall with her on speaker. I've huddled in the tack room and listened to 2 sessions. Just watching the energetic shift that she elicits from the horse is wild. At one point the trainer's horse, who had been standing motionless next to the phone, clearly got agitated and paced to the opposite end of the stall then turned on his heel and returned to his position near the phone and his expression softened again. It's a relatively inexpensive first step prior to running expensive diagnostics. Might be worth a shot.

          Comment


            #45
            Hearing that I'm not alone with my horse really helps. Question: how to you balance the time you do "real" training dressage stuff and signing up for a program like TRT or other method? There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day (or days of the week) to do it all.

            Comment


              #46
              My horse was gelded late in life (7 years old) and he is also hyper vigilant. But something you mentioned struck a cord with me about not bending when he is saddled. One thing that helped my guy a TON was getting a saddle he liked. This took massive amounts of time, but luckily I live near Smith-Worthington Saddlery and they let me try an inordinate amount of saddles. The one he liked has half-moon panels and is a monoflap. It's different than any saddle I've ever tried (or even seen) and it is also much wider than I thought he might need. But he told me loud and clear that this was the saddle he wanted. Spooking went WAY down and even got to stretch (for a dutch harness horse that's been driven all his life, it's a big deal!) and when I tried the next saddle, he escalated quickly.

              Might be worth a try? Oh, and it's the Smith-Worthington Stellar Helix if you're interested in that.
              When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

              Comment


                #47
                I don't know if it is different over there but allowing to eat clover. No.
                It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                Comment


                  #48
                  Kyrabee - what bit ended up working for her? My horse has a similar issue from the sounds of it

                  Comment


                    #49
                    Feliz, what ended up working for her is a PeeWee bit. It is an odd little bit but it is arched for tongue clearance, thinner and Mullen mouth so she can’t bend it like a jointed bit and pull it back in her teeth. I can use any Mullen mouth but she likes the thinness of the PeeWee. Usually, a Mullen mouth with some arch to it works best although I have a Neue Schulz turtle tactio that works pretty well too. It is thinner over the tongue and it “locks” at the joint so it doesn’t move as much as a regular jointed bit. She seems to get some marking on her inner lips but her behavior doesn’t deteriorate. If I ever get back to showing ( I have been health challenged not the horse), I will use the NS bit for showing. The PeeWee is for sure not legal.

                    It for sure sure has been quite the journey. I have never had another horse that was so particular about bits but have discovered that bit selection can be as important as saddle selection. You can PM is you have other questions so as not to hijack the thread.

                    Susan

                    Comment


                      #50
                      Wanderosa There's actually not a lot happening beyond the Gate of Doom. You see the bottom of a large pasture where horses are turned out, and their shelter and feeding paddock is at the top of the pasture that can't be seen from the arena. Beyond that, you see two people's property (large property) that *maybe* is being mowed, or maybe someone is walking their dog in. Maybe. I should take pictures. I know my horse will notice the mower, but really, nothing much happens here. I will take pictures.

                      I'd likely know if he had a dropped testicle because I check his sheath regularly for ticks and bug bites, and because he digs the groomer on it. Maybe TMI, but he has a very mild fly allergy, and the flies bite his naval and sheath. He'll lift his leg and point with his nose at his navel to "ask" my to scratch those places in the spring/summer/fall. I oblige. Despite fly spray, I can feel the scabs he's very demonstrative about his appreciation.

                      You know, the trainer joked about this today. He joked because one of his clients, who is a friend of mine, uses one regularly and swears by them. She always recommends hers to me. I'm a scientist and a skeptic, but I can't rule out things I don't understand. It costs about as much as a bodywork session and hey, it's only money! Hmmmmmm...

                      xQHDQ , I'm not sure, but this horse is way behind on his dressage training because of his brain. WAY behind. Today, we tried a different tact and "sat in" on the resident Western trainer's last clinic day. We sat in on the part where he used a special system that trains cutting horses - it is basically a flag that goes right and left along a long line on the sade of the arena according to a remote control (on the trainer's wrist). The horse first has to identify with the flag (exercises for this) and then follow the flag, halt, and turn on the haunches when it changes direction. Of course, cow-bred horses really excel at this and warmbloods don't, but we had great "turns on the haunches" where the weight shifted back for a real reason. And something very new for his brain! He did try to look beyond the Gate of Doom when we were at that end of the arena, but eventually focused on the flag because his movement totally depended on it. He figured it out. Totally adaptable to dressage and I plan to do more.

                      fizzyfuzzybuzzy , The carrot stretches helped him the most. They helped him get over what I believe was a large mental block of doing the streches with a saddle on. Why couldn't he do them with the saddle on? Because he didn't before. Now, he drops his penis when I saddle because he knows what's coming. Did anything change except for the carrot stretches? No. Except he knows the stretches are coming. I will say his former owner did carrot stretches with him from when he was a yearling and he has a visceral memory association with them and loves them. He totally drops his penis, has a super soft eye and licks my hands extensively afterwards. That's another thing my vet and I talked about, he seems to carry memories and that might inform his behavior. Who knows, but his behavior points to that.

                      Last summer, I had the saddle fitter out to check his saddle fit and how he goes in it, and she gave me a discount because she didn't have to do much. I used her maybe- 5 years ago when I was in the market for a saddle and the saddle shop she works out of lets you try consignment saddles. My horse was actively an idiot, which sparked the question about saddle fit. We went through a bunch of saddles. A bunch. I paid her to come out and evaluate. Of all of them, the Frank Baines fit us both the best, but he bucked in it. I'm currently in a saddle that a friend gave to me and fits him and me well (I don't like the huge knee rolls but hey....). So yes, saddle fit was originally addressed and recently addressed. I can't spend the money on that odyssey again right now when the current saddle "technically fits so well".

                      I tried a Fairfax monoflap that I really, really, really wanted. My horse said no. I'm really in the club of "saddle shopping is hell"!

                      SuzieQNutter , My horse LOVES clover. On this farm, the clover doesn't have the bacteria (fungus?) that causes drool because the pastures are so well maintained. It's also a nitrogen fixer so very good for soil health. Why do you say no?
                      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                      Comment


                        #51
                        Originally posted by Kyrabee View Post
                        Feliz, what ended up working for her is a PeeWee bit. It is an odd little bit but it is arched for tongue clearance, thinner and Mullen mouth so she can’t bend it like a jointed bit and pull it back in her teeth. I can use any Mullen mouth but she likes the thinness of the PeeWee. Usually, a Mullen mouth with some arch to it works best although I have a Neue Schulz turtle tactio that works pretty well too. It is thinner over the tongue and it “locks” at the joint so it doesn’t move as much as a regular jointed bit. She seems to get some marking on her inner lips but her behavior doesn’t deteriorate. If I ever get back to showing ( I have been health challenged not the horse), I will use the NS bit for showing. The PeeWee is for sure not legal.

                        It for sure sure has been quite the journey. I have never had another horse that was so particular about bits but have discovered that bit selection can be as important as saddle selection. You can PM is you have other questions so as not to hijack the thread.

                        Susan
                        With all due respect, I'd love it if you guys have have such conversations on this thread. Maybe we can all learn about what worked to make your horse more comfy. This thread is about a horse who is spooky with increased work, I'd love to know about what worked for this particular mare and why and what might work for Feliz s horse and why. It helps me think about my own bit choices and expands my knowledge. If you don't mind.
                        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                        Comment


                          #52
                          Sure...just didn’t want the thread to go in a different direction but if you are OK with it.

                          Susan

                          Comment


                            #53
                            OP
                            Just my opinion but I believe your horse does not have a pain issue.
                            My reason being that he didnt spook when the clinician rode him.
                            Now of course, a trainer can shut a horse in pain down, so that they dont resist but from your post it didn't sound like that is the case. And you also had a good ride afterward.

                            Is it possible to post a video so we can see what's going on?

                            There are some really knowledgeable posters here who can give you useful, valuable feed back.

                            It is true that you may also get some snarky commentary but mostly people just want to help.

                            This is probably a silly suggestion, but is it possible to change your routine so that you can avoid the gate of doom?

                            Anecdote

                            The BO owner where I board ordered a dressage set up. Rails, letters, etc. It came in a huge box and was wrapped in the Sparkly, Crinkly , Horse Eating Plastic of Death.
                            The delivery crew set the box right in front of the arena by the gate.

                            None of the horses wanted anything to do with it. And it was a breezy sunny day so the plastic was sparkly, horses really hate sparkly and it was crinkly and they hate that too.

                            I managed to get my greedy gelding to touch it with his nose because i bribed him with peppermints and his love of peppermints was greater than his fear of the Horse Eating Plastic of Death.

                            Well, I cheated. I moved the mounting block to the far end of the arena where he couldnt hear it and it was far enough way that it didnt distract him. And then I worked at the far end of the arena and then made sure I dismounted at the far end too.

                            Now, my instructor was there that day riding the BOs horse and the horse would shy and try to buck every time they passed the box. She was a far better rider and braver than I. so she just yelled at him to knock it off and kept right on going like nothing happened.

                            I wasnt prepared to do that so I stacked the deck in my favor.

                            So, the point of this long story is : try to stack the deck in your favor. Avoid the Gate of Doom and work on techniques that help you get his focus on you and keep it there.

                            The clinician that rode him so well, had the skill and the muscle memory to keep the horses focus on the rider.
                            .
                            When you go by the Gate of Doom, do you get distracted by what's going on on the other side?

                            Anecdote

                            One day I was riding in the arena. There is a fairly dense strip of trees between the barn and the road.
                            I heard this loud cracking sound, and a horse out in one of the paddocks took off running.
                            A pretty large tree had fallen close enough where we could hear it.

                            Well, my horse stood like a rock. I know he heard it and he could see and hear the the other horse running because he turned his head to look, but he didnt move.

                            I was really really proud because my horse is not particularly brave. He s not particularly scared but he usually responds if startled by telling me "You can stay if you want, but I'm outta here."

                            Anecdote
                            This same horse can also shy, and bolt.
                            The barn cat occasionally likes to amuse himself by following us out to the arena and then proceeds to do things like chase lizards up the trees by one of the corners or even better duck down by the letter P and wait for you come by so he can jump out at you as you ride past.

                            Fortunately, my horse learned to ignore it. But the first time the cat ran up the trees , I was trotting down the long side toward that corner and my horse shied and took off at slow gallop. He didnt go very far and he stopped easily and he didnt buck. I just picked up where we left off and cursed the cat under my breath. I can laugh now, but it was not amusing back then.

                            That is why I was so proud of him, that he stood his ground when the tree fell and the other horse started running. Because he trusted me enough to stay when his instincts would have caused him to run.

                            I'm thinking your horse gets spooky and reactive when he goes by the gate because you are expecting him to get spooky and reactive so you reinforce each others anxiety.

                            I suggested a video that you can go back and look.at because sometimes what you think you are doing is not what you doing at all.

                            Anecdote Last one. I promise.
                            I have an old photograph of me taken in a lesson where I thought i was executing a shoulder in. This is really embarrassing. What the photograph shows is me twisting in the saddle one knee up in the air with one hand up around my shoulder, and the other hand hanging out in space. The horse has his nose in the air and turned in the wrong direction.
                            it's bad. I mean really bad, really really bad. And the worst thing is that I never knew I was doing all that until I saw the proof of it in the photo.
                            I think my instructor felt so bad for me she just couldnt bring herself to say anything.

                            If you've kept reading this long thank you very much.
                            Hope this helps.
                            Certified Guacophobe

                            Comment


                              #54
                              Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post
                              OP
                              Just my opinion but I believe your horse does not have a pain issue.
                              My reason being that he didnt spook when the clinician rode him.
                              Now of course, a trainer can shut a horse in pain down, so that they dont resist but from your post it didn't sound like that is the case. And you also had a good ride afterward.

                              Is it possible to post a video so we can see what's going on?

                              There are some really knowledgeable posters here who can give you useful, valuable feed back.

                              It is true that you may also get some snarky commentary but mostly people just want to help.

                              This is probably a silly suggestion, but is it possible to change your routine so that you can avoid the gate of doom?

                              Anecdote

                              The BO owner where I board ordered a dressage set up. Rails, letters, etc. It came in a huge box and was wrapped in the Sparkly, Crinkly , Horse Eating Plastic of Death.
                              The delivery crew set the box right in front of the arena by the gate.

                              None of the horses wanted anything to do with it. And it was a breezy sunny day so the plastic was sparkly, horses really hate sparkly and it was crinkly and they hate that too.

                              I managed to get my greedy gelding to touch it with his nose because i bribed him with peppermints and his love of peppermints was greater than his fear of the Horse Eating Plastic of Death.

                              Well, I cheated. I moved the mounting block to the far end of the arena where he couldnt hear it and it was far enough way that it didnt distract him. And then I worked at the far end of the arena and then made sure I dismounted at the far end too.

                              Now, my instructor was there that day riding the BOs horse and the horse would shy and try to buck every time they passed the box. She was a far better rider and braver than I. so she just yelled at him to knock it off and kept right on going like nothing happened.

                              I wasnt prepared to do that so I stacked the deck in my favor.

                              So, the point of this long story is : try to stack the deck in your favor. Avoid the Gate of Doom and work on techniques that help you get his focus on you and keep it there.

                              The clinician that rode him so well, had the skill and the muscle memory to keep the horses focus on the rider.
                              .
                              When you go by the Gate of Doom, do you get distracted by what's going on on the other side?

                              Anecdote

                              One day I was riding in the arena. There is a fairly dense strip of trees between the barn and the road.
                              I heard this loud cracking sound, and a horse out in one of the paddocks took off running.
                              A pretty large tree had fallen close enough where we could hear it.

                              Well, my horse stood like a rock. I know he heard it and he could see and hear the the other horse running because he turned his head to look, but he didnt move.

                              I was really really proud because my horse is not particularly brave. He s not particularly scared but he usually responds if startled by telling me "You can stay if you want, but I'm outta here."

                              Anecdote
                              This same horse can also shy, and bolt.
                              The barn cat occasionally likes to amuse himself by following us out to the arena and then proceeds to do things like chase lizards up the trees by one of the corners or even better duck down by the letter P and wait for you come by so he can jump out at you as you ride past.

                              Fortunately, my horse learned to ignore it. But the first time the cat ran up the trees , I was trotting down the long side toward that corner and my horse shied and took off at slow gallop. He didnt go very far and he stopped easily and he didnt buck. I just picked up where we left off and cursed the cat under my breath. I can laugh now, but it was not amusing back then.

                              That is why I was so proud of him, that he stood his ground when the tree fell and the other horse started running. Because he trusted me enough to stay when his instincts would have caused him to run.

                              I'm thinking your horse gets spooky and reactive when he goes by the gate because you are expecting him to get spooky and reactive so you reinforce each others anxiety.

                              I suggested a video that you can go back and look.at because sometimes what you think you are doing is not what you doing at all.

                              Anecdote Last one. I promise.
                              I have an old photograph of me taken in a lesson where I thought i was executing a shoulder in. This is really embarrassing. What the photograph shows is me twisting in the saddle one knee up in the air with one hand up around my shoulder, and the other hand hanging out in space. The horse has his nose in the air and turned in the wrong direction.
                              it's bad. I mean really bad, really really bad. And the worst thing is that I never knew I was doing all that until I saw the proof of it in the photo.
                              I think my instructor felt so bad for me she just couldnt bring herself to say anything.

                              If you've kept reading this long thank you very much.
                              Hope this helps.
                              Awesome advice! I'll post pictures of the gate of Doom, but tomorrow he gets sedated for shoeing so no riding. He tends to pull his feet from the farrier and you can't really see it when holding (his eyes can be very mellow). My farrier suggested it and I don't want him to fire me, so here we are.

                              PS, I have my Bronze medal, a Regional Championship at Third and a Reserve Championship at fourth. I'm pretty comfortable at executing the movements at these levels..
                              Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                              Comment


                                #55
                                Originally posted by J-Lu View Post

                                Awesome advice! I'll post pictures of the gate of Doom, but tomorrow he gets sedated for shoeing so no riding. He tends to pull his feet from the farrier and you can't really see it when holding (his eyes can be very mellow). My farrier suggested it and I don't want him to fire me, so here we are.

                                PS, I have my Bronze medal, a Regional Championship at Third and a Reserve Championship at fourth. I'm pretty comfortable at executing the movements at these levels..
                                You're sure he's not in pain? Especially if he's not so great about holding his feet for the farrier.



                                Honestly, to me, it doesn't matter if you have your Bronze or Gold, it's great they you're comfortable executing certain movements, but that's not the issue here. But I guess gives us a decent idea of your riding experience. I don't think anyone thinks you're a rank novice or anything.

                                Can you also clarify the wording, "I had to bail from the saddle" are you actually falling of or thinking you're going to and just dismounting?

                                Are you sure this is not more in your brain than his now? Especially with these sensitive types, if there is any reservation or hesitation in our bodies, they feel it. We may be completely unaware of it. It may not be obvious at all.

                                For example, friend has a horse that has a "corner of doom" I want to say the horse spooked a few times as people walk by/pop out of a door over there. My horse did this a few times when first in that arena, he doesn't anymore. Her horse still does because she anticipates the reaction and even begins riding defensively to the corner. Whereas if she rode the corner like the rest of the arena, the horse may think, oh, no big deal, same ol' business over here.

                                Sometimes I catch myself thinking, Hm, my horse may spook at that, but I need to not think that way and just ride. If I think it, he'll do it. We can't both have a complex! I do feel that some horses are difficult or hyper vigilant, but their handlers and/or riders unknowingly feed that sometimes.

                                Since I don't see you ride and I'm not there, it's fine if I am totally off base. Please don't be offended.

                                Also, I don't know if this makes sense but long lining gave my guy more confidence. Especially ground driving him around because he is in front. I still drive him from behind, but he sees what is in front of us on his own first. No one is next to or on top of him. This worked for him.



                                Comment


                                  #56
                                  I have heard of clover slobbers and I worry about founder but that could be with sudden change to feed as we dont have it in his paddock at home.
                                  It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                                  Comment


                                    #57
                                    Originally posted by CanteringCarrot View Post

                                    I've wondered about floaters before. Or maybe he is really sensitive to a change in lighting. But sometimes he can be near "bombproof" other times, not so much I blame it on a creative and intelligent brain. Yes, that sounds good.

                                    About ditching the rider, I don't think they plan it, but I do think some "catch on" if the rider falls off and their work ends. This isn't super common, but I think there are some out there. But yes, usually the rider falls off by chance in the horses pursuit to safety.
                                    I think when they get used to something going one way and then spook at it going the other way it's often a lighting thing.

                                    I'm looking at this whole issue from a different perspective though, because I have one very spooky horse (Trakehner) who has been both clicker trained his whole life, and has incredible endurance (several Arab ancestors). I'm older and do not have incredible endurance, and as a result my horse has never worked hard, which means he's *not* looking to get out of work because "work" for him is rewarding rather than punishing. It's his opportunity to earn treats, so he's eager to have his turn to "play".

                                    That, and he ends up working harder than usual if he's spooky, because if I do get off I free lunge him to try to figure out what it is that's gotten him so worked up.

                                    I couldn't figure out why he was nervous at The Other End the last time I rode him, but then when I looked at the video I could hear the crows cawing in the trees outside the ring, which is what alerted him to danger. I couldn't hear them because it was cold and I was wearing a helmet liner that covers my ears, but he obviously heard them!

                                    Comment


                                      #58




                                      Warwick Schiller has some great advice about handling horses.

                                      "You don't control the horse. You teach the horse to control himself "
                                      "Dont tell a horse no. Give him something he can do successfully. "

                                      When the you get the opportunity, try this experiment. Go the Gate of Doom and just watch with him. If he sees something make a point of looking with him. This shows him that you see it.

                                      Then breathe deep and slow and deliberately turn your back. Just stand and relax.
                                      If he gets anxious, give him a task to complete, get him to focus on you. Ex Get him back up one step or move his hindquarters away from you.
                                      (Clicker training might be very useful here.)
                                      If he keeps wanting to look or becomes restless then repeat the process. Stop , look, breathe and turn.

                                      Find a treat he really likes and use it only for this exercise.
                                      If he still wants to look around or doesn't want to settle, throw the treat on the ground. Lowering the head is relaxing and if he is willing to eat it , then he feels safe. Horses wont graze if they dont feel safe.

                                      When he gives a deep sigh and stands quietly then you know he's relaxed.

                                      You may have to do this a few times but I really think that it will get easier each time.

                                      He may be like this from natural temperament, but from his background that you posted, he may not been turned out in the herd as a young horse, so he never got the socialization he needed. His instincts tell him what to do, but he doesn't get the signals he can recognize so he just runs.

                                      You can call it arrested development

                                      In the wild, if the herd sees or hears something they might all raise their heads to look, but they all watch the leader. If the leader runs, they run. If he gives the all clear i.e. , shakes his head and goes back to grazing , they know it's a false alarm. And they go back to grazing too , or snoozing

                                      So when your horse alerts to something, by watching it with him, and then turning your back on it , you are showing him "Relax, I got your back. Your fine. "
                                      But you can't just say it.

                                      All horses are from Missouri. You cant tell 'em, you have to show 'em.

                                      You dont have to do this, of course. I might be full of it, but if you do , please let us know how it goes. I'd really be interested in how he reacts and if it changes anything .

                                      Re leg snatching.
                                      if its pain related, then consult with you vet about administering bute before the farrier comes.

                                      If hes snatching his leg because the farrier grabbed his leg and yanked it first, then respectfully request to your farrier not to do that.

                                      If it's because he doesn't want to hold it up because he doesn't respect his handlers then he needs to learn that he can stand on three legs for a few minutes and not fall over.

                                      Certified Guacophobe

                                      Comment


                                        #59
                                        Something I took from Tristan Tucker. He used a garbage bag or a flag or something on a stick. The horse was scared of it. As soon as the horse relaxed, Tristan took the object away. I did something similar with my spooky horse at the door of doom in our indoor. I stood him there (under saddle - if I'm standing next to him he's fine) until he relaxed even a little and then immediately walked away. We repeated this for a good half-hour. Each time, he relaxed more until he wasn't tense at all near the door of doom. He didn't spook in that corner our next ride. Of course, the spookiness in that corner returned after a few rides, but I thought I was on to something.

                                        Then the world blew up and I haven't been able to get back on him to try again.

                                        And this:

                                        Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post
                                        When the you get the opportunity, try this experiment. Go the Gate of Doom and just watch with him. If he sees something make a point of looking with him. This shows him that you see it.
                                        Then breathe deep and slow and deliberately turn your back. Just stand and relax.
                                        I had also heard that from Andrea Wady who did a Pure LIberty video series for CRK Training. I do that when I'm leading him - not sure if it works as he sometimes looks at me funny when I do it. I also get value out of posts by Karen Rohlf - she reminds me to be mindful and thankful.

                                        Comment


                                          #60
                                          Originally posted by CanteringCarrot View Post

                                          You're sure he's not in pain? Especially if he's not so great about holding his feet for the farrier.



                                          Honestly, to me, it doesn't matter if you have your Bronze or Gold, it's great they you're comfortable executing certain movements, but that's not the issue here. But I guess gives us a decent idea of your riding experience. I don't think anyone thinks you're a rank novice or anything.

                                          Can you also clarify the wording, "I had to bail from the saddle" are you actually falling of or thinking you're going to and just dismounting?

                                          Are you sure this is not more in your brain than his now? Especially with these sensitive types, if there is any reservation or hesitation in our bodies, they feel it. We may be completely unaware of it. It may not be obvious at all.

                                          For example, friend has a horse that has a "corner of doom" I want to say the horse spooked a few times as people walk by/pop out of a door over there. My horse did this a few times when first in that arena, he doesn't anymore. Her horse still does because she anticipates the reaction and even begins riding defensively to the corner. Whereas if she rode the corner like the rest of the arena, the horse may think, oh, no big deal, same ol' business over here.

                                          Sometimes I catch myself thinking, Hm, my horse may spook at that, but I need to not think that way and just ride. If I think it, he'll do it. We can't both have a complex! I do feel that some horses are difficult or hyper vigilant, but their handlers and/or riders unknowingly feed that sometimes.

                                          Since I don't see you ride and I'm not there, it's fine if I am totally off base. Please don't be offended.

                                          Also, I don't know if this makes sense but long lining gave my guy more confidence. Especially ground driving him around because he is in front. I still drive him from behind, but he sees what is in front of us on his own first. No one is next to or on top of him. This worked for him. But really, my mindset is pretty logical - "you know this, why are you spooking in front of the gate"???? Some days are good, some days are terrible. Frustrating, I try to reward him when he's doing well in that corner by legnthening the reins for a good stretch. He will sometimes balk out of that stretch at nothing identifiable.... other times he stretches like a champ. Usually, he stretches like a champ.


                                          Sure!

                                          I bailed from the saddle when he sunk so much (your seat drops out from under you) and he bolted to the left (you're in mid-air and the saddle pulls strongly to the left). This combinations causes you to hand on the right side of the saddle with an athletic horse. He started bucking and I wasn't in a position to address that effectively and wasn't going to get in an effective position while he was bucking, and while I know Pros can't sit his buck and it was escalating, i bailed into the soft part of the arena so I could control where and how I landed. People who ride such horses try to control where and how they land when it comes up.

                                          He's gone in this arena for six years and little has changed. Theoretically, he shouldn't spook at anything after 6 years. But he does. That's what I;m trying to get at.

                                          Yeah, these days I ride like "meet me freakin' spur if you can't bend". And he respects that. I may have to graduate to harsher spurs (under 1") to remind him that I mean business,.
                                          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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