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Can't sedate and hackamore

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  • Can't sedate and hackamore

    The main question I have is:

    Are hackamores allowed in dressage tests? I know they wouldn't be in high levels, but I wondered if it was allowed in lower levels.

    This gelding I bought 6 weeks ago can not be sedated in a traditional manner. He needs his teeth done pretty bad, but when the vet came out to work on him, this quiet, honest gelding turned into a monster, rearing up at the suggestion of a needle stick. He about killed my vet, and my vet tried twitching and an ear twist and he reared through that. My vet then decided he'd buy an air gun and just dart him, and so that's the route for now we're going to go, but it'll be a few weeks before he's done. In the mean time, the gelding is going well in a hackamore, and I wondered what the rules were.

  • #2
    If your gelding can't be stuck with a needle for sedating, how does he get his vaccinations and Coggins drawn?

    I have a horse that would freak out at needles until we learned that we could distract him sufficently with a bowl full of sliced up carrots. Just kept shoving them in his mouth until the injections were done and he was fine. He's now 33 and doesn't blink an eye at needles.

    Sorry, don't know the answer to the hackamore question.
    The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.


    • #3
      The answer is no. Hackamores are not allowed.

      If you spoke to the judge in advance they might allow you to ride the test as a practice (with comments) but no official score. Maybe.
      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


      • Original Poster

        I don't know how it was done before...I've only had him 6 weeks or so. He's getting his vaccinations and all that done when we do his teeth, and we're planning on darting him. This is obviously a problem as what if he gets injured and needs to be sedated? Dart gun might not be an option.

        Anyway, thanks for the answer. I was mostly just curious. I've never shown and not sure I ever will.


        • #5
          I know of people who have retrained horses with this problem - though I don't recall how they did it. I'd suggest in such an extreme case it's worth an effort, for safety's sake. Maybe someone here has done it?


          • #6
            If his teeth hurt, I would not ride him, even with a hackamore. It can still hurt his teeth.


            • #7
              A horse at my barn is a PITA about needles. How our vet gets him sedated, vax etc. is by putting the needles in his shirt pocket, then picking up his hoof, kind of high and awkward (like a shoer would do) and the sticking him in the chest while he's down there. The horse never sees the needle and seems to not even realize he has been stuck. Maybe something to try, if you haven't already.


              • #8
                I was thinking about that - changing the way it's done - because my older mare will be a freak-out pig about a needle if she gets the "OMG here it comes" act (vet creeps up suspiciously, starts prodding her neck to find the spot, I'm holding her halter real tight...YAH!) vs. if vet just strolls in and sticks her while we are randomly chatting about something/pretending to examine the floor/etc., without the "prep" ritual.

                Horses can tell a mile away if you have a nefarious plan.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by redears View Post
                  If his teeth hurt, I would not ride him, even with a hackamore. It can still hurt his teeth.
                  I've thought of that, and paid really close attention to any bad behavior (because it hurts) and he seems to still go quietly, happily in the hackamore. He actually went just fine in a snaffle when I test rode him and one time after. He clearly needs his teeth done because he's really quite thin. However, I really don't think the hackamore is painful. He's too quiet.


                  • #10
                    Here's one way to try and retrain -- Stand at horses shoulder. Hold out hand with carrot/treat so that horse turns his head toward you (thus making the muscles on the side of his neck nearest you less braced). Slightly pinch or poke neck and give carrot. Progress to pressing a hoofpick or even toothpick in neck before giving carrot. If vet wipes with alcohol before injecting, do this also. Practice every day. Ask vet to give a few carrots this way before doing the deed.
                    ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....


                    • #11
                      The horse can be sedated by giving an oral dose of sedative.
                      Even if you don't achieve sedation deep enough for whatever procedure is needed, you can usually take enough edge off that you can then get an IV injection done safely.

                      Sure easier and less risky than a dart gun...
                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                      • #12
                        If my vet suggested a dart gun I would get a better vet.

                        Dart gun??? No way. Try an oral sedative first.


                        • #13
                          Hackamores are not allowed in dressage shows.

                          Is your horse free standing while sedation shot is given or in stocks?
                          I agree with other posters if a dart gun was an option than get another vet.

                          Also has this horse been dewormed lately as well? Could be thin due to parasites as well as teeth issues.

                          I use an equine dentist, that is also a vet, specializing in dentistry, that has mobile stocks. Horse is confined but secure. less chance of injury for all involved.


                          • #14
                            Hackamores are NOT permitted for dressage, at any level.

                            For the past several years, there have been rule change proposals to permit "bitless bridles", and they are rejected every time.

                            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                            • #15
                              You might be able to get prior permission from the ground jury at a small schooling show to ride H.C (hors concors, or without being judged) in a hackamore.

                              We have threatened dart guns with our wild premarin foals but have found that enough time and training will often get them through.


                              • #16
                                I think that if your vet is ear twisting (!! ...have fun clipping...) and suggesting a dart gun rather than, oh I don't know, having you give a couple tabs of ace with a handful of sweet feed when he is 20 minutes out then it is time to get a new vet.

                                Ear twisting is seriously no bueno.
                                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
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                                • #17
                                  Having known, and watched vets safely draw blood for pre race testing on highly resistant about to race that day TB's, I suggest you may need a new vet.

                                  And Ghazzu's answer- giving the sedative orally will also work.

                                  And possibly a schooling show would allow you to ride in a hackamore but why rush out to show unless you've got his whole act together?
                                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                  • #18
                                    at any rated / recognized show in the US, even if you ride HC, you must comply with the rules. a schooling show might permit but the judge will likely take into consideration when giving scores ( if that is important to you)

                                    and I agree about the questionable vet work. An oral dose of ace tablets or liquid can help take the edge off. Sounds like the horse has learned to fear the vet and ear twisting certainly is a practice that reinforces this.
                                    -- * > hoopoe
                                    Procrastinate NOW
                                    Introverted Since 1957


                                    • #19
                                      Your vet needs a new line of work. Maybe Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom

                                      Get a new vet and worry about bridling him later. that vet's a doofus.


                                      • #20
                                        As a schooling show manager, I have had people request to ride in a hackamore. I checked with the judge, and, in most cases, the judge was OK with it.

                                        But you can't count on it.

                                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).