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I'm stuck. And my horse is stuck

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  • I'm stuck. And my horse is stuck

    I'm very frustrated right now, and have been for the past 3 weeks.
    It seems in these 3 weeks, my normally, responsive, forward , sweetheart of a horse has basically said "I have had enough of your sh!t! I'm through with you!"

    It started about the first week in June. would NOT move forward at all. had to whip and whip just to pick up a trot-so obviously something was off. No lameness though on the lunge, just didn't really want to move forward. Had the chiropractor out, he got adjusted. We also had the saddle refitted for him, and for good measure, I gave him a week off.

    Got on him Tuesday, definitely more forward. Not at all relaxed whatsoever. Suddenly, I can't keep him round...when up until June, if anything, its been an issue to get himself to lift himself. Now he's hollow. The canter feels AWFUL. No impulsion whatsoever. I kick him, use the whip, he kicks out at my leg. Get off in frustration, put him on the lunge and get him going forward. Lets out a couple of bucks and then hhe's forward again.

    I had trainer get on him on Thursday.he went beautifully for her. She said he felt a little bit stiff and hesitant for the first couple of minutes, but that was the whole story. Apparently I'm just not steady enough with my contact and I allow him to get out of using his back. (which is entirely possible) Got on afterwards, he was phenomenal-light, responsive, but better yet, no weird feeling at the canter. Maybe because his back was engaged?

    Got on him today, and again, I got that feeling that he was stuck in the back. I'm trying very hard to get him to go long and low (which before wasn't a problem, but now suddenly is!). Finally, I had enough, took him out on the racetrack for a long gallop, and then after, our trot and canter work was a lot better, although the canter still felt a bit hesitant.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Trainer thought maybe bungees for a couple of weeks, assuming that I can keep him off the forehand while still riding him forward. Trainer is back on Wednesday-Thursday and I think its going to be lessons, lessons and more lessons, because I'm frustrated with myself. I must be riding like utter crap to be getting this reaction I know he's not lame. He COULD be sore in the back, but has never demonstrated any problems whatsoever with trainer on him. I can't imagine what has changed so much in my riding to see this drastic reaction from him, but I really want to change. At least before, while we had issues, I felt like we were improving. Now, I'm psyched if I feel like I can trot/canter and get a good rhythm.

    We were going to debut at first level this year. I cn't even see us getting around a training level class the way we look
    In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

  • #2
    sounds like you have first level itis. don't put so much pressure on yourself or the horse. there are supposed to be days that don't go so well.


    take some riding lessons.


    • #3
      I agree with slc. I've seen many people at our barn get just freaked out over inconsistencies when they are starting to work on first level and developing that first degree of real "push" in their horses.

      If you just concentrate on forward and alignment on the outside rein and don't fuss, your horse (and you) will gradually calm and get consistent again.

      My good friend also has a serious case of first level-itis at the moment (which, medically speaking, would be "inflammation of the first level," lol).

      Don't get frustrated and don't get emotional. And don't drive your horse crazy trying to fuss them into submission. Just do the work and relax and *breathe* and think happy thoughts about first level. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes.



      • Original Poster

        Right now, I'd just be thrilled to death if I could have the canter that I had a month ago. At least it felt like it was going some place.
        Now it just feels like a) either he's really stiff in the back or b) he's rushed and tense.

        There's seems to be no happy medium for us. When I do get him going, its rushed and my half halts just seem to irritate him. If I don't get him going, I feel like he's so tight that he feels like he wants to buck all the time.

        *is frustrated*

        and maybe it is because I'm thinking about it too much. I don't know. I just know that he's none too happy with me right now, and I'm not too thrilled with him either at the moment!
        In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.


        • #5
          Sign up for free on TheHorse.com (if you aren't a member already) and do a search for the

          AAEP Convention 2004: sacroiliac pain

          Does what the article descibes sound like your horse?


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Luv T Ryd View Post
            Sign up for free on TheHorse.com (if you aren't a member already) and do a search for the

            AAEP Convention 2004: sacroiliac pain

            Does what the article descibes sound like your horse?

            and its definitely possible. he's quite long backed.we had the chiro out, who adjusted him (his sacrum was a bit swollen actually, she thought it might have been from a fall) but then he was fine after, and is fine when trainer gets on too. he also has no difficulty with lateral movement, and he doesn't change legs in the canter...but other then that, it sounds fairly accurate. so I don't know.
            In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.


            • #7
              Frustration is one of the greatest enemies of good riding ever invented!

              I think you gotten great advice - relax. Go out and gallop. It's good to have goals, but sometimes goals can get in the way of real progress.

              Deep breath ... breathe ....
              "If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom."


              • #8
                Maybe some variety of trail rides, jumping instead of drilling the same old stuff for the both of you.
                You'd be amazed at how much legyielding can be done on a trail raide as well as lengthenings going up a hill on trailrides.

                Maybe you need to make riding for the both you. And might be helpful for you to get on other horses to feel different things.


                • #9
                  he's quite long backed.we had the chiro out, who adjusted him (his sacrum was a bit swollen actually, she thought it might have been from a fall) but then he was fine after, and is fine when trainer gets on too.
                  Just keep an eye out for the possibilty of his back, but in the meantime ...

                  I agree with the trail riding idea. And galloping or cantering, or just plain going out an having some fun with him.

                  Do you have any hills around?

                  Hill work can be very beneficial for dressage. Going down the hill you can work on keeping your horse straight and you can really feel the hind legs enagaing as you go down. Going up the hill they have to reach and lengthen their back and neck - also beneficial for dressage.

                  Make sure you keep the rythym the same going up the hill as well as down the hill. It will help you greatly in your dressage work and tests. It is a perfect way to get the horse to listen to your aids. You can count the rythym. At the walk, ... one, two, three, four, one two, three four, ... now the horse usually wants to speed up going down and slow down going up, so you can have a great opportunity to begin to ask him to listen to your aids as you work on maintaining a steady rythym both up and down the hills.


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't panic, but I would take care that something isn't wrong. I have a hard time imagining that your riding is suddenly causing the issues, unless you are seriously panicking about FL and don't know it. FL takes just enough impulsion that odd ailments can show up, some times suddenly. Had it happen with two horses, so of course I'm paranoid. In both cases, as the horse sat that little extra, things popped up. One had a ligament tear in his croup which showed in his canter intermittently at first then more often. His canter felt flat behind and then he stopped taking his easy canter cues. My trainer could get on him and get him moving better too but in my case things degenerated and I just said, ok he's hurting as he was very cooperative for years and I had reason to think he might have had an injurry.

                    Anyway, best to take a deep breath. Be your horse's advocate and not his enemy. Could be you, could be he hurt himself in the field. Take time and figure it out. Good luck.


                    • #11
                      I went thru this at one point and it literally almost killed me. When my mare decided she had enough, she dumped me on my head, and two years later I still have a lot of issues. My neurologist says my helmet saved my life.

                      Avoid my mistake, which was to just push thru it. What I should have done was spend a month just trail riding, hacking around the property, a little bit of jumping, that kind of thing. You will not lose enough fitness in a month for it to hinder your progress, but the mental break will do both of you a world of good. When you notice that riding is really fun, then start to add some dressage work into your trail rides. School for 5 minutes in a field, do some shoulder-in down a flat section of trail, etc.

                      And then make sure you don't fall into the frustration trap again by settling for a really nice halt or rein back or TOF when you get frustrated, and then leave the arena. Take the occasional hack or trail ride to refresh you both mentally. You will be much happier for it.

                      I haven't had a fight with my mare since I fell off that time. It really was hard to learn to keep my head screwed on and not get frustrated and upset, and settling and walking away seemed like giving up, but it makes life so much better.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TropicalStorm View Post

                        Trainer thought maybe bungees for a couple of weeks, assuming that I can keep him off the forehand while still riding him forward.
                        What do you mean by bungees ?


                        • #13
                          Slow down.

                          A lot of SI issues take some time to show up.. they begin to become really preblematic when the scar tissue begins.

                          I cannot imagine your horse just woke up one day and gave you the middle finger.

                          So I'd slow down.. start hacking more, walking more... give it some time to heal without restricting movement. If it is the SI hopefully you will have dodged the bullet. But pushing a horse who acts like that after an injury is not a good idea, IMO.
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                          • #14
                            Your horse sounds like my little guy when he's overdue to see his Chiro....


                            • #15
                              If it were my horse I would take a step back to really determine if there is something physical going on. Sure, there are tons of horses that just have training issues that need some help from trainer. But, for your horse to just suddenly decide he doesn't want you to ride him? That seems odd to me. Especially since I just went through this with my gelding. He has always been a perfect gentleman. All of a sudden things started going crazy. We couldn't canter anymore, there were small bucking fits, and he was spooking at everything. Sure, my trainer could get on and ride him better than I could, but that's because she's a better rider! She could help him a little more than I could. After two months of total frustration I had the vet come out for a "I am GOING to figure out what is wrong with my horse!" appointment. After ten clean X-rays, several negative flexions, and some neuro exams we finally decided to pull his Lyme titer as he had had Lyme once before. Sure enough he was a fairly high positive. He is now getting 21 days of IV antibiotics and I can't wait to have my sweet horse back!!! Best of luck.


                              • Original Poster

                                I'm definitely not panicking about FL, so I know that's not the problem. Hell, I'd be happy right now if we could just go back to w/t/c on the bit with some gait regularity and rhythm. I just don't know. Because at the walk and trot, he feels fine. A little tenser, maybe, but that's about it. But at the canter? It feels awful. Feels like he's in that moment of being so stiff that he feels like he should be bucking.

                                I think I'm leaning towards just taking it easy right now.
                                We're lucky enough to have a racetrack out back, so maybe i'll just work on forward walk and trot intervals and see how it goes

                                freedom, i might be misnaming thme. that's just what I always call them they are about 5-6ft long, completely elasticized all over and go from the bit to the girth. They can also be used to go from the girth to over the poll if needed (sort of like a degogue, but longer and more ability to be stretched and moved by the horse) Here's a picture of the shorter ones being used on the lunge. they sort of act as sidereins i believe. http://www.hidden-identity.net/arion...rionLunge2.JPG
                                In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.


                                • #17
                                  After thinking about the whole thing, I tend to agree with dwblover and a couple of the other posters, that your horse doesn't just wake up one day and say he's going to give you a hard time if he has been fine up until this issue.

                                  Maybe he did hurt himself a bit out in pasture or something.

                                  So, taking it slow until you feel things are getting more relaxed is definately a good way to go.


                                  • #18
                                    Lately it seems way overdiagnosed, but my first thought was Lyme. Might not hurt to have a titer pulled? Good luck!
                                    Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
                                    View my blog: http://standardbredexcellence.blogspot.com/


                                    • #19
                                      back lifts, pelvic tilts, cavaltti and, laser

                                      Do back lifts, from the mid line, before tacking up, then with saddle on, girthed up ,and finally, with you mounted;The same with pelvic tilts; walking, then trotting over cavalletti on the ground may also help; possibly a laser on the back where the soreness is.
                                      breeder of Mercury!

                                      remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                                      • #20
                                        You take my post as you will. Knowing the horse I don't see him as being one of a nasty temper.He's never been that way. Not having seen him tho, I wouldn't know for sure but it sounds more like an injury issue than anything.