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Feeling awful...horse flipped over in side reins

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Daydream Believer, can you tell me how your friend knew her horse's skull was cracked? Did it happen instantly or did this take a while? I checked tonight and he is fine and in no apparent discomfort - eating, rolling, etc., but you got me really worried.

    Originally posted by Renae View Post

    I would not stop working this horse in side reins. I would want to find the cause of this issue and fix it in ground work before I ever got on this horse's back. It is one thing to flip over on a lunge line and quite another to flip over with you on his back. It is very possible that this incident could be indicative of a variety of physical problems, mental problems or training problems- in fact I would weigh more on this incident being the tip of the iceberg of a problem than being a random freak thing.
    Renae, thank you for the input. Just to clarify, my instructor was using a lunge whip.

    As for physical problems, you can never rule those out, but this horse has never been unsound or detectably uncomfortable under saddle. Mental problems I would argue with. I don't think I've ever ridden an easier and sweeter horse and he has never offered resistance to anything I've asked - especially going forward.

    Comment


    • #22
      Definitely have the vet check him tomorrow. When my horse flipped, the vet palpated his entire spine looking for pain response and/or swelling. Fractures don't necessarily show up immediately after the trauma. You may find him swollen and sore tomorrow.

      One unexpected outcome with my horse was, due to either abrasion or the concussion from landing, he had extensive swelling in his hindquarters and couldn't pass manure the next day. Bute resolved that issue by afternoon and he was fine in a couple days, thank goodness.

      I'd also discuss the double freak-out with side reins with the vet. Pain or issues with his teeth, gums, tongue, neck or shoulder could have triggered that response.

      I'd also leave off the side reins, if not for good then for a good long time. Maybe someday you can try vienna reins, which allow a lot more freedom of movement. Less likely to incite panic and also easier for them to recover should they take a bad step. With youngsters, I recommend leaving side reins long enough that contact is totally their choice -- they can stretch to the bit and experiment with contact if they choose and eventually, usually to sneeze, they do.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by Alter-size Me View Post
        Daydream Believer, can you tell me how your friend knew her horse's skull was cracked? Did it happen instantly or did this take a while? I checked tonight and he is fine and in no apparent discomfort - eating, rolling, etc., but you got me really worried.
        He was instantly not right. He had blood coming out of his ears and was very unsteady on his feet and tilting his head. He was treated by the vet but had a major stroke or seizure in his stall later that evening and nearly tore his stall apart. He was euthanized that night.

        If your horse seems OK at this point, he is probably OK. Again...you are fortunate. Flipping over backwards like that is extremely dangerous to a horse and injuries are very possible. I'd have a chiropractic vet check him out for certain as he's possibly out after crashing over like that too.

        Comment


        • #24
          Have you ever considered sliding side rein? Much like vienna rein - but more freedom.

          My appendix got really nervous in side reins, so my trainer switched to sliding side reins, and has been brilliant.

          Best of luck,

          l.

          Comment


          • #25
            I would also check your saddle fit to see if it is sliding forward. If the sidereins are shortened prematurely, the horse will certainly do some pulling on them. The saddle could get moved forward so that the points are pressing on the shoulder. This could certainly cause pain, a reluctance to move forward and in extreme cases the horse could rear and go over.

            I use sidereins routinely when I'm starting my horse back in work after a long layoff, and when she is out of shape, I find myself stopping and resetting the saddle two or three times for 20 minutes worth of lunging in sidereins. When she is out of shape, the saddle just doesn't have as well defined a place to sit, so it can get pulled forward as she stretches down and out. And my siderein length is not super short - they allow for a trot with her face nicely in front of the vertical.
            Only one cat - must not be totally crazy yet!

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by Alter-size Me View Post
              I just a steady contact with a bit of bend to the inside.



              I'm taking this to mean that you had the inside side rein SHORTER than the outside? That is VERY bad, and is probably what caused your horse to panic. One of the purposes of side reins for lunging is to keep your horse straight. By having the side reins uneven you force the horse to be crooked and unbalanced. Even if the inside side rein is only one hole shorter, the horse is significantly unbalanced. And turning the nose to the inside is NOT bend.

              I would first get this horse checked out to make sure he is ok, and then I would go back to the side reins, make them EVEN and very long. Leave them that way for quite a while (weeks or months) and then shorten them up gradually as he gets stronger in his topline. Make sure his response to your forward aid on the lunge is instantaneous. That way if you see him contacting the side reins, you can send him right foreward. I would also use elastic or rubber donut side reins with this horse, since he will be less defensive when he feels some give in the rein.
              http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                I'm taking this to mean that you had the inside side rein SHORTER than the outside? That is VERY bad, and is probably what caused your horse to panic. One of the purposes of side reins for lunging is to keep your horse straight. By having the side reins uneven you force the horse to be crooked and unbalanced. Even if the inside side rein is only one hole shorter, the horse is significantly unbalanced. And turning the nose to the inside is NOT bend.

                I would first get this horse checked out to make sure he is ok, and then I would go back to the side reins, make them EVEN and very long. Leave them that way for quite a while (weeks or months) and then shorten them up gradually as he gets stronger in his topline. Make sure his response to your forward aid on the lunge is instantaneous. That way if you see him contacting the side reins, you can send him right foreward. I would also use elastic or rubber donut side reins with this horse, since he will be less defensive when he feels some give in the rein.
                I agree, my side reins are also always used evenly on each side. If they are cranked so tight that the horse doesn't have the freedom to find a bit of bend naturally they are too tight. Side reins should always be adjusted so that when the horse is doing the correct thing they will not be taunt (meaning sure tey will be asking the horse to develop contact wth the bit, but they will not be forcing that contact).

                Comment


                • #28
                  I don't think the OP ever said the trainer had the side reins adjusted to be shorter on one side. I think it was Eq Trainer who suggested that IF one was in fact shorter, that could explain why the horse reacted as he did.
                  Roseknoll Sporthorses
                  www.roseknoll.net

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I'd have the horse checked by a cranial sacral therapist.

                    If you need a referral, Pm me.
                    Last edited by Oakstable; Dec. 17, 2006, 09:12 PM.
                    www.oakhollowstable.blogspot.com

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Oh, please do watch him closely! My gelding flipped over in a similar situation. He seemed fine afterward so he didn't get bute. The next day he was swollen in the neck. I gave bute, the swelling went down but he was very stiff. I took him in to be checked just in case.

                      After physically examining him, they said they thought it was a pull or strain or something muscular but would xray just in case. Well, the xray showed he fractured his vertebrae!

                      He's been in his stall now for three months. The prognosis is "guarded" as to whether or not I can ride him again.

                      Bottom line..... get him checked!!! Good luck!
                      Beware the hobby that eats.
                      Benjamin Franklin

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
                        I don't think the OP ever said the trainer had the side reins adjusted to be shorter on one side. I think it was Eq Trainer who suggested that IF one was in fact shorter, that could explain why the horse reacted as he did.

                        Even if the trainer did have one rein shorter than the other, that would not explain why the horse flipped.

                        Who knows? Not any of us to be sure. It could be anything, I think you might need to be there and witness what happened. Every horse is different. I could crank both of my horses to death with side reins and neither would flip.

                        I have had horses in the past though, and one would have certianly flipped. He flipped anyway.

                        Wouldn't it be cool if you could go back in time and steal your horses from back then and have them in your life now? The one that could flip. I would take him back in a minute.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
                          I don't think the OP ever said the trainer had the side reins adjusted to be shorter on one side. I think it was Eq Trainer who suggested that IF one was in fact shorter, that could explain why the horse reacted as he did.

                          Well, I hope the OP will come on here and say that that was not the case, but whenever someone says that they adjust the side reins to "create a bend to the inside" this is usually what they mean. And a horse will definately have more of a tendency to fight (and panic) the side reins if they are not even, as they tend to focus on the shorter one. Not to mention that it's not beneficial in any way to do so.
                          http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I think it's important for him to be able to accept sidereins. You mention you're working with a trainer so I think it's most important to consult her as she was there and knows the horse. I also agree with those who recommended a chiro.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                              He was instantly not right. He had blood coming out of his ears and was very unsteady on his feet and tilting his head. He was treated by the vet but had a major stroke or seizure in his stall later that evening and nearly tore his stall apart. He was euthanized that night.

                              If your horse seems OK at this point, he is probably OK. Again...you are fortunate. Flipping over backwards like that is extremely dangerous to a horse and injuries are very possible. I'd have a chiropractic vet check him out for certain as he's possibly out after crashing over like that too.
                              One of my horses also flipped over in side-reins and cracked her skull in several places. Like Daydream Believer said we knew instantly she was not ok. she had a seizure. After that we found out she went blind in both eyes which is why she kept running into things and could barely walk. It sounds like your horse seems to be fine and not seriously hurt thank goodness! However, since he flipped over twice I would certainly try to avoid side-reins as somebody that as lost a horse from them I can tell you it is not worth it. Glad he is ok and good luck with the rest of his training!

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by lark_b View Post
                                Second that. Call the vet.

                                When you say "he went over again when she was adjusting the side reins" do you mean "when she was taking them off" or do you mean "when she was loosening them"?

                                In this situation I would have removed them completely, because now you have an issue where he is associating them with bad things. It doesn't matter how loose they are, you now have lost them as an option. I would not take that risk again, no matter how much remedial training you do. It is simply not worth it.

                                YOMV.
                                Lark- you seem to be on my line...again- I agree 100%. If a horse goes over backwards it is a bad thing. For more reasons than just one. The horse learns that it has a new way out- it undoubtedly pays a physical price- because it wasn't designed to do it in the first place and the mental realization that there is a way out- is not a good thing. Somehow the connection with the horse and the amount asked of him did not match up. After the first time- I would have taken everything off and just gone back to voice/whip training and made sure he stays forward and listens. Going over backward twice in one session is bad. The advice for this week to just lunge for 5 minutes with sidereins not tight- might not be good either. I would try to loose the siderein memory as soon as possible and therefore not go back to using them for a while. Since the horse is 6 and is good in wtc- I would ride him and make it pleasant and forward and not hold his face to much. If he comes into a nice contact- that's great but if he needs some time to chill and just go forward - that is also fine.

                                Possible problems from turning over backwards: gum and tongue pain,
                                sacral pain from the rearing, chiropractic problems from falling with a lot of weight onto a bodypart that was not designed to be fallen on, mental fear of being tied or tied down, neckissues with the vertebrae...

                                I would get a dentist out and an excellent chiropractor, I would ride the horse lightly 20-30 minutes and observe all body parts carefully. Once the chiro and the dentist check it all out- I would get a PT to see about bruising/soft tissue stuff...

                                Good Luck to you- I am sorry this happened- I can see how bad you feel about it. My advice is trust yourself and build that close relationship with your horse, read up on ground work and do it yourself. A lot of what you can do with a horse on the ground has to do with the trust the horse has in his handler. And they usually give small signs before bad stuff happens...
                                "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                                  I'm taking this to mean that you had the inside side rein SHORTER than the outside? That is VERY bad, and is probably what caused your horse to panic. One of the purposes of side reins for lunging is to keep your horse straight. By having the side reins uneven you force the horse to be crooked and unbalanced. Even if the inside side rein is only one hole shorter, the horse is significantly unbalanced. And turning the nose to the inside is NOT bend.

                                  Yeah, well, believe it or not, at the USDF instructors certification workshop, we were ALL told to shorten the inside side rein. YEP - that is what they are Teaching!!!! Anyone care to tell USDF that their instructors for the instructors are teaching the wrong stuff? I didn't have the guts to argue with them.

                                  As far as this horse's episode - I think the mistake made was not acknowledging his message when he refused to go forward. SOMETHING is amiss, and he apparently didn't think he had any way to express it except to fight. rearing is a desperate measure. I would want to find out what aspect of the training session was so outside his tolerance that he felt it called for desperate measures. DO NOT put the side reins back on for at Least 8 weeks. If you got away lucky with maybe just a hairline facture somewhere, if you have a repeat episode before the bones can mend, you could indeed kill him. I had a close call with a colt this year, just leading him, and he fought and fell and struck the back of his head. Vet said he sees 50=100 cases like this a year, and the majority die, and most of the survivors are severely impaired. We seem to have been one of the very lucky few - no apparent permanent damage - level head, full coordination, etc. but he has not had a halter on him since - I want 100% recovery before we try haltering. It was a freak episode, like this lunging situation. Colt had been led many times, but he didn't like fly spray, and I was leading him over to apply some. He said NO! in a very loud voice.

                                  Anyway, this horse was Also saying NO! in a very loud voice - you need to sort out what he was saying No to.

                                  Hope he is OK! Go easy for a week or so, at least. I am amazed that your trainer wanted you to put him right back into work, and In Sidereins. What is she thinking???

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by bweventer View Post
                                    One of my horses also flipped over in side-reins and cracked her skull in several places. Like Daydream Believer said we knew instantly she was not ok. she had a seizure. After that we found out she went blind in both eyes which is why she kept running into things and could barely walk. It sounds like your horse seems to be fine and not seriously hurt thank goodness! However, since he flipped over twice I would certainly try to avoid side-reins as somebody that as lost a horse from them I can tell you it is not worth it. Glad he is ok and good luck with the rest of his training!
                                    Not to freak out the OP but I know of several horses that fractured vertebrae from flipping, and the fractures went undiagnosed for months because the owners failed to get the horses checked and radiographed.
                                    Roseknoll Sporthorses
                                    www.roseknoll.net

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by eqipoize View Post
                                      Yeah, well, believe it or not, at the USDF instructors certification workshop, we were ALL told to shorten the inside side rein. YEP - that is what they are Teaching!!!! Anyone care to tell USDF that their instructors for the instructors are teaching the wrong stuff? I didn't have the guts to argue with them.


                                      OMG, that is just wrong! I wonder who we need to alert?
                                      http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
                                        Not to freak out the OP but I know of several horses that fractured vertebrae from flipping, and the fractures went undiagnosed for months because the owners failed to get the horses checked and radiographed.
                                        or he even could have compressed a few vertebrae together if he hit them just right, which will take months of physical therapy to seperate.
                                        There's coffee in that nebula.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I have seen this happen on the lunge. It eventually became a problem when ridden also. It was eventually discovered that the horse had beginnings of ringbone/sidebone in one front leg and was unable to cope with work on the circle.

                                          Comment

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