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An update on my Houston (KWPN) 4 year old mare

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  • An update on my Houston (KWPN) 4 year old mare

    I haven't been on here for quite some time, and have just been reading through some old messages from when I was initially looking at my Houston x Gregor mare

    So I thought I would do a little update...

    She had a few complications because like I hear most Houstons have the ability to be a bit sensitive, she certainly followed suit. She was quite tricky to fit a saddle to and voted with her feet when she was not happy. I tried a WOW on her, and Albion SLK and an Albion Platinum, all of which she desperately hated and left me with a bit of a conundrum.

    She went to Michael Peace for a few weeks as I was having difficulty with the 'forwards' with her and she got quite grumpy and tight with me. Michael immediately rode her in his own saddle, a Semiflex GP which she seemed to adore... typical! So the Albion Platinum was sold, and she now has her very own brand new Semiflex dressage saddle which she adores! She still pulls faces when I put it on, but it is literally ears back as it is put on and then she goes back to munching her hay while we fasten the girth and mess about with her so she is quite happy about it all now.

    Her ridden work has come on leaps and bounds and I am absolutely thrilled to bits with her... We are aiming for a young horse class this summer, so fingers crossed we keep on track because she is a very special lady.

    Has anyone else had issues with Houston horses and saddles?

  • #2
    Have you ever had her back x rayed? She could just be that sensitive to saddle fit, but she sounds like my Oldenburg mare who was diagnosed with kissing spines. Hopefully it's just that she likes the Semiflex, Good luck!
    'Like' my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calla...946873?sk=wall


    • Original Poster

      No, not had her back xrayed because in this Semiflex she is absolutely super and is really working through the back and very soft and rounded. She has regular physio and chiro checks being a baby horse who is throwing hersef around in the field etc and there is no tension in her back and all looking good so far.

      If she had not been happy in the semiflex, then I would have looked into having some xrays done of her back, but she is a very sensitive soul in everything, so it doesn't surprise me one bit that she is particular about the fit of the saddle. Plus, she is outstanding to mount and girth up etc, so would have expected some reaction to the riders weight having known a few horses with kissing spines... Did your mare react to anything the rider did once in the saddle? I can wiggle about and fidget once mounted and she doesn't bat an eyelid.

      Houston babies seem to have a slightly tricky back conformation (she has high long withers and couple that with a very short flat back it makes things rather difficult) to fit saddles to, I remember someone on here sending me a message explaining such and they were spot on...


      • #4
        If the saddle fit really well, she would not do anything. If it didn't fit well, or if her back was cold or she didn't get turnout, she would be stiff on her right hind.

        I hope your mare doesn't kissing spines. Hopefully as you say, it is just her genetics and the saddle is the solution.
        'Like' my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calla...946873?sk=wall


        • Original Poster

          Thanks Callaway... Not had anything like stiffness and she is not 'cold backed' at all despite the fact I know some Houston horses do have this problem. I ride her from cold every day (ie. no lunging in tack etc just straight in the plate) and there is absolutely no reaction at the moment.

          I will keep my eye on her though.


          • #6
            Welcome to the world of owning houston. Great horses BUTTTT

            their backs are ubber sensitive. My boy Texas is like your girl. it doesn't have to do as much with fit as with being cold backed.

            We also found when traeted for ulcers he was much better.

            I love my horse but i by far have one of the more difficult ones (that cold back also led to issues mounting) we got him to schooling fourth. unfortunatly a soundness issue had him off for a while. Starting him back this summer.
            Qualified Saddle Fitter with the S.M.S.


            • #7
              Good to hear from you Nevar!
              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


              • #8
                vote for back x-ray

                I am pretty sure reading somewhere that many Houston's actually have issues with their spines (kissing spines, "vertebrae OCD" etc) and that leads to all those bucking and rearing tendencies. Some are fine until 3rd level where collection and real use of the back starts and then they begin to rear, buck, balk. If this horse was mine I would go with a back x-ray just to have peace of mind if its clean. And there is lots you can do about stuff like that when its found early. If you wait a long time it might be too late to treat.

                Hope its nothing and just a "regular" saddle fit issue!


                • #9
                  Houstons with Kissing Spines AND wobblers

                  Writing you from my hotel room in Hawaii - ALOHA! :-)

                  Not to scare you, but I was the owner of one of those Houston's. I imported him as a 3 yr old in 2003, I believe. Not only did he have wobblets and KS, but he also had something wrong in his coccyxial region.

                  A 4 yr old requiring physio and chiropractic, And being unhappy about saddling would hugely have me concerned. Hopefully there is nothing wrong with your filly, but an exam by a top professional vet Might be in store, considering history.

                  Her grimace from the saddle could also be ulcers. Imported another horse who in Holland made a face and was also spooky under saddle. Got him home, scoped him, and he had ulcers. Treated him 60 days and was like a new horse.

                  Good luck with your filly!! I would love to have another Houston and would get one in a heartbeat - but only after neck xrays, mylagrams, and full body MRI prior to import.


                  • #10
                    Thanks Eq i've disapeared a bit (Tex hit 'retirement' then i got divorced, my young guy has been in work until this fall when i tore my acl.)

                    So now i'm motivated to ride and randomly googled Houston nd found this thread (Jetset i think your the one who knows Rebecca right? i think i posted on the HH Forum when you got this girl?)

                    btw i always said owning houston ws like joining a club you don't know what it's like untl your in. But yet you always wnt to be in it. My drem horse is Texs again. just sound and ideally with out the MOUNTING issue *Sigh* that said now i'm so bloody careful mounting up not many bad things snaek past me. never had a horse give so much but yet be so unpreditcable. Until he was 5 i wasn't sure wed make a go of it. like i said i totally think he is one of the worst THAT way. But yet after that first mount once he was five i could toss kids on him. hack out gallop in fields. IT's n odd mix of personality
                    Qualified Saddle Fitter with the S.M.S.


                    • #11
                      My Houston gelding always had cold backed and mounting issues. I got a custom Hennig that fit him well. He and I won regional third level championships, then had to retire him after two colic surgeries led to permanent unsoundness.

                      His back was x-rayed, no problems.


                      • #12
                        My Houston has great spine films, but was very difficult to fit saddle wise (super long high withers, flat back, super uphill). He did develop ulcers that showed up as a crankiness when saddled - but once treated he has been fine. Never any mounting issues. We won CDS Adult Amateurs at 4th and PSG this year.
                        RoseLane Sportponies
                        Golden State - 2012 Bundeschampion & 2014 USDF Horse of the Year
                        Golden West - 2014 & 2015 Bundeschampion Pony Stallion
                        Petit Marc Aurel- FEI Dressage Pony Stallion


                        • #13
                          My Houston had a mounting problem, too. Taught him clicker training and that helped. Just thought he was ultra sensitive. Physical (no xrays) exam revealed no abnormalities at the time.

                          Also bolted a lot in the beginning. Gave me the worst bolt of my life of riding a few years shy of 40 years - stand still 0 to 60 balls out bolting - like nobody's business.

                          Retired him to pasture basically at age 5. Years later had the father of basket surgery in horses, Dr. Barry Grant, diagnose his conditions.