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Horse ets spookier with work

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  • RhythmNCruise
    replied
    J-Lu if it makes you feel any better, my guy seems to go from total calm to total out of his mind at the blink of an eye lately. Today he was absolutely fine until something happened (no idea what) that made him suddenly decide he had to get the hell out of the barn (he was in the cross-ties in the aisleway where we always groom and tack up). I couldn't see anything, but he completely flipped his lid. I untied him and took him out and he acted like monsters were chasing him out of the barn.

    There was nothing. Nothing had changed that I could see. Thankfully I managed to get him back in there and tacked up and we had a good ride. He was anxious the minute we got back in the barn again, but kept his sh*t together...just looked worried. I expected him to be chill today because it was warmer and no wind. Quiet day at the barn. But nope. He was seeing ghosties!

    My BO said he did something similar out in the pasture at feeding time last night. Went from perfectly fine to "Oh hell what is that!" Froze, "grew to 18 hands" (my BO's words), eyes wide, snorting and then took off running in the direction that he was staring. BO says she saw nothing.

    I've actually started getting on his case a little bit about it when I'm handling him, and it does seem to work. He'll lick and chew and try to behave and eventually give a big sigh. I've realized that he's top man in the herd now, and doesn't have anyone keeping him in line. He grew up with two older gelding: one was the "look-out" and one was the "boss hoss" and my guy was the goober they tolerated but also dominated and took care of. Now he's had to grow up and doesn't have anyone in his herd telling him what to do, and it's a big change for him. He actually acted relieved when I got after him a little bit today when he was just being ridiculous. Like, "Oh, thank god someone else is taking charge."

    They're such puzzles. And who knows if what we think is "wrong" is ever really the problem. All we can do is keep trying.

    Hope your guy is doing good.

    Leave a comment:


  • AnastasiaBeaverhousen
    replied
    OP
    if your method of getting your horse to lower his head and use his back is to pull his nose in and apply spurs I can see why this would evoke a lack of merriment in your horse.

    Especially if he has a neck problem.
    Just because a trainer has gone up to GP means nothing. There are plenty of riders and trainers who ride front to back. Who use short cuts and are completely oblivious when the horse gives signs of being uncomfortable or in pain.

    I understand your reluctance to post videos as some people take it as an opportunity to eviscerate the rider.

    In this case, i think it would be helpful but I respect why you wouldnt want to.

    I'm not sure what kind of response you are looking for. You've had experts ride and watch you ride so what are they missing?

    If you keep getting unseated when he spooks and he bolts to the point where he refuses to slow down or stop , then I respectfully suggest that your horse is behind the leg to begin with.

    You may want to work on the relaxation and submission process.

    This is a suggestion from me because I rode without any kind of connection for years and was completely oblivious to whether my horse was in front of the leg or not.

    Sometimes trainers dont talk about this because as you move up the levels they take it for granted that you already know , or because they cant tell themselves.

    It is something that you have to learn how to feel and pay attention to what the horse is actually telling you as opposed to what you assume the horse is doing.

    One last question for you: Based on info you've posted ,
    What would have happened to this horse if you hadn't taken him?

    Leave a comment:


  • endlessclimb
    replied
    Glass house much?

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by splitrockfarmnc View Post
    J-Lu Could you give us an update on how your guy is doing? If you have more video of him working under saddle that would give us a lot more information that might be hard for you to put into words! So much of riding is feel.
    Sure! He's still spooky by the Gate of Doom but produces excellent work in the proximal end of the arena. I'm hoping to have the cowboy trainer video me for a "virtual clinic" with the GP/young horse trainer I mentioned. I have previously sent her a powerpoint with the various views from the Gate of Doom, and mentioned her response in this thread. Given certain responses, videos of me and/or my trainers riding will be certainly counter-productive here. This thread has turned so much more negative than I ever thought. I'll stick with people I know and trust with records that say I can trust them. COTH used to be more amenable to real feedback, but that has changed. I have been slow to pick it up.

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by RhythmNCruise View Post

    It is, but I'm about 99.99% positive now that it's his feed. Long story short, for most of his life he's been completely grain-free, and in the last 7 months he's been switched onto a grain-filled feed with a high NSC. Then, because he was dropping weight at the beginning of the spring when the grass was coming up and the barn stopped feeding hay a bit prematurely, he had that grain increased, which has taken a toll on his digestive health and mental health. I'm mad at myself for not realizing it sooner (trying to trust the BO and not be a PITA), but I'm glad that we're fixing it now. He's coming off the grain so he can find his brain, LOL.

    J-Lu does your guy get MSM? I've been reading a lot of posts about people's horses who go nuts on it. It's an ingredient in the feed I'm taking mine off of, and I wonder if it's contributing. Either way, mine doesn't need to eat an oat-filled ration with 22% NSC. Whether it's responsible for the spookiness or not, he's well rid of that stuff.
    Thank you!!

    I'm glad you figured out your horse's feed!

    My guy has eaten a TON since he was a yearling, only now tapering off as he's matured. He gets only balancer now as my vet who advised me how to put weight on him now says "don't let him get fatter!". His NSC is pretty managed.

    I don't feed MSM, because I don't see a mechanistic need for it. In humans, people take it for arthritis, soft tissue inflammation, and a variety of other issues. The evidence to support taking it is lacking, in humans and horses.

    Leave a comment:


  • splitrockfarmnc
    replied
    J-Lu Could you give us an update on how your guy is doing? If you have more video of him working under saddle that would give us a lot more information that might be hard for you to put into words! So much of riding is feel.

    Leave a comment:


  • RhythmNCruise
    replied
    Originally posted by J-Lu View Post

    Lordie, it is seriously annoying, isn't it? So difficult to put your finger on.
    It is, but I'm about 99.99% positive now that it's his feed. Long story short, for most of his life he's been completely grain-free, and in the last 7 months he's been switched onto a grain-filled feed with a high NSC. Then, because he was dropping weight at the beginning of the spring when the grass was coming up and the barn stopped feeding hay a bit prematurely, he had that grain increased, which has taken a toll on his digestive health and mental health. I'm mad at myself for not realizing it sooner (trying to trust the BO and not be a PITA), but I'm glad that we're fixing it now. He's coming off the grain so he can find his brain, LOL.

    J-Lu does your guy get MSM? I've been reading a lot of posts about people's horses who go nuts on it. It's an ingredient in the feed I'm taking mine off of, and I wonder if it's contributing. Either way, mine doesn't need to eat an oat-filled ration with 22% NSC. Whether it's responsible for the spookiness or not, he's well rid of that stuff.

    Leave a comment:


  • ake987
    replied
    Originally posted by J-Lu View Post

    Because you're relying on my description of teeth grinding from years ago. What year are you talking about?. We obviously have different ideas. That's why you're confused.
    What are you talking about? I think you have me confused with someone who went searching through your history - that wasn't me. I was commenting only on your post from this thread where you said:

    "We've figures out his teeth grinding, he does it when he's relaxed. Being groomed before and after a ride."
    I've just never heard of teeth grinding as a sign of relaxation. That's all I said/all I'm saying.

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by ake987 View Post

    I'm trying to find any source citing bruxism as a sign of relaxation and coming up empty.
    Because you're relying on my description of teeth grinding from years ago. What year are you talking about?. We obviously have different ideas. That's why you're confused.

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by RhythmNCruise View Post

    I'm investigating my own gelding's recent uptick in spooky behavior, because it is a bit annoying. He's actually worse in the barn than anywhere...we've been at this place 7 months and he still doesn't trust the barn. He's improving though, because I'm spending a butt-load of time working with him on the issue. And that's kind of the lesson I learned today with my guy. It takes a lot of work and patience. One would assume my gelding should be settled into this barn/farm by now...it's been 7 months. And honestly, until recently he has been ultra chill (once the initial settling in phase was over). This is a new phenomenon.

    And the one thing that has changed? His workload has increased. How 'bout that?
    Lordie, it is seriously annoying, isn't it? So difficult to put your finger on.

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by SuzieQNutter View Post

    Thank you for the invitation, I accept, after covid 19 is over and you pay for flights, accomodation and food for 2 months and travel to and from the horse and I am allowed to feed, lunge and ride him, lunging as I and your instructor, have said.

    You may find that is more expensive than the vet examination you said was too expensive.

    It might be cheaper to send the horse here but Quarantine is pretty brutal in Australia and also costly and AFAIK no international flights are allowed into Australia at the moment.

    Lunging him yourself in side reins and more than once will cost you zero dollars.



    Hahahah! So much easier to complain online, isn't it?

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by BigMama1 View Post

    I’m genuinely curious why you posted looking for advice in the first place?
    Because I thought people would read my posts and narrow their thoughts. Not these days.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jackie Cochran
    replied
    Originally posted by thecolorcoal View Post

    I stumbled by and wanted to raise my hand to this as well. We never found out if it was a comfort/discomfort response. what was it for your horse?
    This horse was one that my riding teacher had bought rather recently.

    The only bit this horse had accepted at all was a 20mm thick stainless steel single jointed eggbutt snaffle, but when off contact it was grind, grind, grind, until I got the impression that he was trying to reduce the bit to its constituent molecules.

    When I used the titanium coated "rainbow" snaffles he chewed less (double jointed, mullen mouth) but he did NOT really "like" these bits.

    After I stopped riding him for a few months I checked in (still grinding) and I bought the horse the same bit that he liked but as a titanium coated "rainbow" 20mm single jointed eggbutt snaffle. The only difference between the two bits was the metal they were made from. I think (I have not gotten to quiz his riders) that he no longer grinds this new bit, or at least he does not do it constantly. I did overhear one of his riders when she was riding him in the ring say "he really likes this colored bit." (The "rainbow" bits are colorful, warning, not all rainbow bits are titanium coated, some are just stainless steel.)

    I now think that some horses have an allergic reaction to one of the alloying metals in the stainless steel (chromium, nickel.) If they do, and it is a minor allergy, my hypothesis is that this mild allergic reaction makes the tissues of the horse's mouth more sensitive to the bit, increasing problems with the bit and with bit acceptance.

    Leave a comment:


  • thecolorcoal
    replied
    Originally posted by Jackie Cochran View Post

    I rode an OTTB that only ground his teeth when off contact, on contact he stopped grinding his teeth.
    I stumbled by and wanted to raise my hand to this as well. We never found out if it was a comfort/discomfort response. what was it for your horse?

    Leave a comment:


  • Jackie Cochran
    replied
    Originally posted by ake987 View Post

    I'm trying to find any source citing bruxism as a sign of relaxation and coming up empty.
    I rode an OTTB that only ground his teeth when off contact, on contact he stopped grinding his teeth.

    Leave a comment:


  • ake987
    replied
    Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
    We've figures out his teeth grinding, he does it when he's relaxed. Being groomed before and after a ride.He LOVES being groomed and LOVES human contact.
    I'm trying to find any source citing bruxism as a sign of relaxation and coming up empty.

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by IPEsq View Post

    I did explain if you read my posts. Things related to freaking out at the gate of doom, but only sometimes, and usually only after he's been working for a bit..

    1) Known neuro issues - The spooky headshaker I mentioned (not my horse) will randomly have hard spooks at mostly nothing but often at the gate and it looks like a brief electric shock when he does it--he is not super naughty. Also tends to get wound up in work and anxious. All of that has improved with better control of the headshaking after years of trying to find something that helped him, even having a CT scan. Horse has upper level potential as far as his athletic ability and is with a capable trainer but hasn't made it there after years due to unpredictability of his behavior caused by the headshaking syndrome, year round, indoors and out.

    2) Unknown neuro issues - neck involvement is a possibility, not yet ruled out. There have been enough posts here on this. You can find more in horse care.

    3) Pain somewhere that doesn't result in lameness - The bad behaviors that come from this can run the gamut. Seems likely given horse's state of anxiety when ridden and that the spooking gets worse the more he works. You have ruled some of the possible causes out, but there could be something else; see neck, above.

    4) Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. This horse expresses anxiety with teeth grinding, with his posture, with physical tension, with a hyper-vigilant awareness, with anticipation, with his mind running like hamsters on the wheel, and with extreme level spooking. Can be caused by training, neuro issues, hormones/brain chemistry (posted about that before), or pain (skeletal, internal, neuro, or muscular -- think with muscular might be something like MFM but he's on the young side to tell with that), or all of the above with some factors likely affecting him more than others but it's hard to figure that out if you haven't identified any of them.
    1) His headshaking predated spookiness. He has always been spooky and looky to a large magnitude. Even before I got him. He's currently on cyproheptadine, which takes care of the allergies as well.

    3) He's not always spooky and can be very relaxed. Often, when one picks up the reins he looks for things to spook at. He's not lame. He works through this very well. I figured out why he bucks when saddled. He can still occasionally exhibit behavior but backs way down when I tell him "oph no, oh no you don't". he complies.

    He's not always anxious when ridden, he "drops" his penis when saddled, not the behaviour of a stressed horse. He can be very relaxed under saddle. He is often very relaxed until "something" external makes him not relaxed.

    We've figures out his teeth grinding, he does it when he's relaxed. Being groomed before and after a ride.He LOVES being groomed and LOVES human contact.

    Leave a comment:


  • RhythmNCruise
    replied
    Originally posted by Jackie Cochran View Post
    Hi J-Lu.

    I have another thing that I use with spooky horses, BUT this worked on horses that did not have your horse's particular type of bolt, in fact the lack of a bolt was a distinguishing characteristic of these horses. I'm mostly putting this in for the sake of the other people reading this thread to learn new and different possible solutions for horse/human problems.

    For a few years I rode this old Arab mare, who was "freezing" into place from arthritis. After months of gently asking her to lengthen her stride slightly and finding an effective supplement that she would eat and she started to loosen up, I finally felt like I could address her other main problem. This mare, ANYTIME anything was new in her environment, anytime anything was moved in the ring, and anytime that the weather changed (different barometric pressures change everything--who knew) this mare would "startle", freeze, and get her whole body set up to run away from danger especially if I tried to prevent that with the reins.

    In my search for help I came across the modern Beery site, Horse Training Resources, and read a synopsis of a training video by a Western trainer. He said that it often paid off to just sit still on the horse and count to ten when the horse got frightened about something in his environment. In another video synopsis another trainer said that she always figured that, particularly when something is introduced, that the horse's nervous system was set up so that it took up to 4 seconds for the horse to notice the aid, process the aid in their brain, and then respond to the aid.

    So I talked with my riding teacher. At that time Mia (the old Arab mare) would slam on the brakes whenever she noticed anything different in the ring. Her head would come up, she would ignore the rein aids, and she was obviously tensing up and getting ready to GET OUT OF THERE!!! She never bolted, but I could FEEL her getting ready to bolt.

    So after talking with my riding teacher who was curious to see how this would affect the mare, every time Mia noticed something new, swung her head up and tense up, I relaxed my aids and slackened the reins and I counted slowly to 10, then I would use my legs to tell her to move on by. Sometimes I had to count to 15 slowly before she would glance away from the horrible new thing, then she would obey my leg aid and move on.

    The first time doing this I probably counted to 10 ten to fifteen times. Through the ensuing months I counted to 10 A LOT. But after a month or so she started accepting some of the new stuff, and I had to spend less time counting to 10. Several years later when I stopped riding her she had changed from a fearful horse to an accepting horse, by doing all those counts to 10 I had allowed her to learn HOW to process new stuff and come to the correct conclusion, that this new thing would not eat her up and was not dangerous at all. At the end I just had to count to 10 maybe once every three months even when the ring was changed around frequently. She had learned to deal with it effectively in her brain.

    This is interesting and timely, as just today it was once again an episode of "Adventures in Spookiness" for me and my appy gelding. Like yours, mine doesn't have the bolt (or buck or rear, thank goodness). I can ride him through his spooks, and today we reached an impasse (literally) when did a series of "freeze-backup-spin a rounds" on a ten-foot wide (if that) path between a fence and a big ditch. I finally got him to the place where he'd just stand and stare (and not back and spin), and about ten minutes later, we finally were able to get past it. "It" was two landscaping trucks and trailers that have never been there before. Along with the blustery and unseasonably chilly wind that was nonstop, and the mowers buzzing around the field where we were attempting to ride, it was just too much for him today.

    But, as I said, we got past it, and we honest to goodness had one of the best rides we've ever had following the incident. Then, on the way back to the barn (different way than we came) the wind was howling, tree branches were whipping around in our faces, someone's big garbage can across the street had blown over (Horrors!), and just as he was trying his best to deal with all of that, a really loud truck came by followed by not one but THREE "crotch rockets"...ZOOM!...ZOOM!...ZOOM!...and with each ZOOM! he got more and more in a twist. Thankfully all he did was kind of canter in place sideways for a few strides until all of the nonsense had past, and then we were back on the buckle, moseying home.

    I'm investigating my own gelding's recent uptick in spooky behavior, because it is a bit annoying. He's actually worse in the barn than anywhere...we've been at this place 7 months and he still doesn't trust the barn. He's improving though, because I'm spending a butt-load of time working with him on the issue. And that's kind of the lesson I learned today with my guy. It takes a lot of work and patience. One would assume my gelding should be settled into this barn/farm by now...it's been 7 months. And honestly, until recently he has been ultra chill (once the initial settling in phase was over). This is a new phenomenon.

    And the one thing that has changed? His workload has increased. How 'bout that?

    Leave a comment:


  • BigMama1
    replied
    Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
    I think I've gotten the extent I'll get out of COTH members, thanks. Please, tell me again how my trainers are terrible.

    I'll sure check back to debunk pet theories, also known as "poo-pooing" peoples's advice.
    I’m genuinely curious why you posted looking for advice in the first place?

    Leave a comment:


  • IPEsq
    replied
    Originally posted by J-Lu View Post

    How do I know? It's an isolated neuro problem, it's physiology knowing the nerves involved is easy to predict.

    Yea, my horse isn't your horse with your horse's issues.

    Please explain how my previous posts related to the gate issue and exactly how you relate these issues together. I guess it it "poo poo" to tell you the things not posted on COTH. Again, you assume there is pain. Or is overfaced. That's the extent of your reply. Thanks for your reply.
    I did explain if you read my posts. Things related to freaking out at the gate of doom, but only sometimes, and usually only after he's been working for a bit..

    1) Known neuro issues - The spooky headshaker I mentioned (not my horse) will randomly have hard spooks at mostly nothing but often at the gate and it looks like a brief electric shock when he does it--he is not super naughty. Also tends to get wound up in work and anxious. All of that has improved with better control of the headshaking after years of trying to find something that helped him, even having a CT scan. Horse has upper level potential as far as his athletic ability and is with a capable trainer but hasn't made it there after years due to unpredictability of his behavior caused by the headshaking syndrome, year round, indoors and out.

    2) Unknown neuro issues - neck involvement is a possibility, not yet ruled out. There have been enough posts here on this. You can find more in horse care.

    3) Pain somewhere that doesn't result in lameness - The bad behaviors that come from this can run the gamut. Seems likely given horse's state of anxiety when ridden and that the spooking gets worse the more he works. You have ruled some of the possible causes out, but there could be something else; see neck, above.

    4) Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. This horse expresses anxiety with teeth grinding, with his posture, with physical tension, with a hyper-vigilant awareness, with anticipation, with his mind running like hamsters on the wheel, and with extreme level spooking. Can be caused by training, neuro issues, hormones/brain chemistry (posted about that before), or pain (skeletal, internal, neuro, or muscular -- think with muscular might be something like MFM but he's on the young side to tell with that), or all of the above with some factors likely affecting him more than others but it's hard to figure that out if you haven't identified any of them.

    Leave a comment:

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