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Anyone else riding a stick of dynamite this spring?

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  • Anyone else riding a stick of dynamite this spring?

    I worked my mare a bit over winter, as much as I could. We handwalked down the road lots, and round penned and did groundwork, but compared to the summer and previous seasons, she was off. (we have lots and lots and lots of snow here - still do - and nowhere to ride once it gets too deep)

    I've never had a horse off for the winter before, my previous location had better winter weather, so I'm new to this coming back in spring and WOW. She is a handful these days!!

    She got away from a barnworker last week and went for a tour around the farm on her own - tail streaming behind her, lead flying in the wind. She is a twit to lead in general right now - hopping, bucking and being stupid. Its not like she is badly trained and doesn't know better either. I'm super strict on ground manners.
    Under saddle...well....I tried to do some walk trot the other day in our newly melted arena and it was calm sane walk for about 2 min then into bucking leaping headshaking canterlike gait.
    Under normal circumstances I would ask her to move forward out of the bucking sillyness, but the footing is still yucky and I don't want to run my out of shape girl in it.

    Bah. I can ride the bucking etc, but its annoying. I know its not tack fit cause she does it on the ground and in the field as well. She's just really really full of herself.

    The roads are all nicely melted and calling for trail rides and there is not way in hell I'm taking her on them while she's like this!

    Anyone else have this problem? Any help for it or am I just gonna have to wait until the ground gets harder and I can school properly?

    Sigh. At this rate we won't be looking at a jump until mid July

  • #2
    Is the footing so bad you can't give her a canter? I understand not wanting to stress an out of shape horse, but I also know that sometimes you just HAVE to get them to unwind, and sometimes that means two point, plant your hands and canter the sillies out.

    One of our mares had a lot more time off this winter than most of our horses (minor surgery in November kept her out of work for 6ish weeks, plus other normal winter riding issues). At some point in one of her earlier rides with her owner, she was being a complete dork, flinging herself around like an idiot. Her owner wanted to keep slowing her down, trying to make her be quiet. I had her do the opposite- GO FORWARD. It was hardly out of control or stupid, but by the end of the first lap of the indoor, the little mare settled and relaxed into the rhythm and after a minute or two was happy to go back to some more appropriate work for her fitness level. Now, when ever the spring time loonies get the better of her, that's what her owner does.

    I would try and go forward. I find that a lot of horses (especially the TB types) get more crazed when you are constantly trying to make them go slow. Even my old little appy, at 20-21, would only walk about 30 seconds before he'd have enough and need to get on with things.


    • #3
      PS- Can you cut her calories back? Sometime an adjustment in their feed can make a big difference.


      • #4
        I second what YB said and I always remind everyone that forward is your friend. Yes, my hosres all have a case of the spring sillies. It has been cold here and the footing has been yucky due to rain. It has finally dried up and this week they are running around like absolute goons with airs above the grounds, crazy bucking and all sorts of crazy behavior. I am encouraging them to get that out of their system in the field and not when I am on them.

        I am rehabbing a horse who is living in a very small paddock where he can only get minimum exercise. He is a really nice 5 yr tb who was the quietest horse in the barn before he got hurt. He eats a ration balancer (low sugar) and timothy hay. I do have to use a bit of drugs at the moment to keep his feet on the ground but even then he still can be silly so it's all about going forward. He wants to squeal and leap but feels like a bouncy ball. I keep encouraging him to go forward. Much easier to ride the behavior when they are going forward.

        Can you free lunge her in a paddock or the ring? That is often enough to get the silly stuff out of the system.


        • #5
          My TB has the spring sillies -- yesterday someone in the development next to my farm was having their gutters cleaned, with people on the roof and banging and cranes and....you can imagine. He was off all winter due to snow/ice. I agree with YB and JLG -- he was acting the total fool so I put him in a nice forward canter, got him between my hand and leg and gave him something to think about besides spooking, and he was fine. Until we walked again and he had time to notice the dudes on the roof.

          I empathize with you though, we had some fun spook-splosions when the gutter cleaners threw things off that roof. I can't totally blame him, that is probably pretty scary to a horse, but I still growled and made him act like a big boy and focus on me. He's got to toughen up, cupcake.

          I would let her canter it out in the newly melted arena if you can, a couple minutes of canter aren't going to hurt her and will do a world of good getting her head back in the game. Even a couple laps around the ring will probably take the edge off if she's out of shape. I think my guy went around about three times each way and was much less impressed by the gutter debacle afterward.


          • #6
            Tess, who has been quiet and lovely at home, was highly energetic at the Paul Frazer combined test on Saturday.

            I galloped her, worked on suppling exercises, stretching exercises, galloped again, but she was just full of p*ss and vinegar.

            We got two 8's for the first two movements of our dressage test, then it went down hill from there. If Tess could speak, she would have yelled, "Half halt? What half halt?".

            Of course, it did not help that the wind chill was in the 30's and she has totally shed out. You can only use a polar tec quarter sheet in the warm up. When it came off, the wind blew up her butt and off we went.

            Tess is not a horse that will take you to a fence in SJ. She is always very rideable. Saturday, she was hell bent for election. WhooHoo what a ride!

            I do hope that it warms up for Spring Bay.

            Let me know if you figure out a way to reach their minds, because all of the things that I tried just did not help.
            When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


            • #7
              Time off isn't a precursor to Spring Hussy outbursts

              Mine is in consistent work all winter... And Spring... uh, exhilerating...

              I've been working through it using every tool in the tool box. I also have a very talented 20 something ride her and actually bonus her for going out on the trails.

              Best, will be foxhunting on April 19th. That should shake her out a bit. It is "relatively" safe since she'll be in a herd galloping. I hope to get her out 3 times before our first event.

              She's a mare... a talented athletic mare... but a mare, nonetheless. I look forward to late May...

              Good luck to you and enjoy the ride... best that you can!
              Live, Laugh, Love


              • #8
                Oh yeah - the older ones go for a gallop to get it out of their systems, the young ones stay on the lunge line. Or in the barn. There are days when the right choice is to go clean your tack and make some brownies.


                • #9
                  I can sympathize. My TB mare has definitely got the spring sillies. We got back into serious work towards the end of February (I am lucky enough to be in the south, where winter departs much earlier ) and it has been interesting. She has spooked at cars passing (though she has been around cars passing for YEARS!) and galloped off with me, bucked around anytime we went faster than a walk, and then last Monday she dumped me after a really huge spook. I have never come off my mare. This has not been the smoothest spring!!!!

                  Hope your girl gets it out of her system, and you can look at a jump much earlier than July!!!


                  • #10
                    Most of them get a bit crazy this time of year. The barn where I ride has an indoor, the horses have almost all been in regular work and they get 14-16 hours turnout every day. Doesn't matter - there were lots of wild eyes on the weekend. Including a 23-year old ex-event horse who was having a grand 'ole time. Its even worse with the youngsters, so I would give her a lot of leeway if she hasn't been in regular work. I would still take a look at her feed/turnout routine and make any improvements required, but I'll bet you have a different horse entirely in a few weeks.


                    • #11
                      In normal circumstances, my mare is the kind that you wear a hole in your half chaps, kicking her along. But since coming back into work after 2 years off, she is FOR-VART. Cantering is our friend. But I'm having my trainer re-introduce her to the great outdoors for me, cuz she is ready to rock and roll when she gets that breeze up her butt.

                      I think at a certain point, particularly with a TB, trying to hold 'em back just pisses 'em off. She settles after she takes a few canter laps around the ring each way, and is much more ready to work.
                      I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                      I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                      • #12
                        NOPE. Keebler was in beyond-dynamite-more-like-nuclear-warhead mode all winter due to prolonged stall rest, on 100 mg of Ace powder just to be barely sane, and now with a return to turnout, a little omeprazole, and the DW secret ingredient (earplugs!) he's as quiet as can be. Loving the new him, let me tell you! His spin-and-bolt maneuver is nerve-shattering and I'm glad to see it gone!
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                          NOPE. Keebler was in beyond-dynamite-more-like-nuclear-warhead mode all winter due to prolonged stall rest, on 100 mg of Ace powder just to be barely sane
                          Wow! I've given mine 25mg of powder and had a very drowsy horse (he's a big 17h TB). Perfect example of how ace has varying effects on individual horses

                          Mine has been much better now that the footing has improved and he's able to gallop around in the paddock...thank goodness


                          • #14
                            I should probably try earplugs.

                            Katy had become uber sensitive to Things That Make The Arena Rattle over the winter, and we have been desensitizing her to it lately by leading her around the ring in hand and throwing rocks at the walls, banging them with the dressage whip, etc. She is better now, other than thinking we are really weird -- when we are banging on the walls, she doesn't spook, but she does look at us like we are really weird. :-)
                            I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                            I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                            • #15
                              Earplugs! Wow, didn't think of that but totally need them.

                              This guy has also been extremely sensitive to things that would have never bothered him before. He is getting 1cc of ace to ride and sometimes I can do less depending on his mood.

                              I am sure it will get better when he can have some larger turnout but right now it's a bit wild.


                              • Original Poster

                                Haha, thanks guys!

                                There isn't much I can cut back on her diet - she's an air fern so she gets grass hay and vitamin supplements, and is still much rounder than I'd like.

                                She is not a TB - but is an Arab/Warmblood cross and at 15 she's worse than many of the youngsters in our barn. Sigh.

                                Cantereoin - I hear you on the talented athletic mare part!

                                The footing is okish at one end of the arena, but you have to stay on a circle to stay in the ok footing, and I dislike asking them to go forward on a circle like that when they are out of shape.
                                She is turned out 24/7 in large paddocks, with herd turnout daily weather/footing permitting - so no help there!
                                I'll just have to cross my fingers that the couple of days of dry that are forecast actually turn out to be dry and I can use my arena


                                • #17
                                  My foot brushed the wall/kickboard the other day, and I think my horse nearly had a cardiac event. I will be glad to see the spring sillies leave! Though, I kind of like the fall sillies. Maybe because we are typically still able to ride outside and you can make better use of that extra energy in a larger space!


                                  • #18
                                    I hear ya. My guy has been back in work for well over 8 weeks (from appx one month off) and is still acting like a complete d-bag. Normally he's Mr. Mellow, but under tack he's been AWFUL. Lowered his grain, took him for a gallop, checked his saddle fit, etc... he still thinks it's funny as s*** to squeal and bolt into the canter when I ask for an upward transition. At first it was, "Oh, he'll be fine once he's back in consistent work." Then it's, "I'm riding him five to six days a week, and he's still acting like someone shoved a firecracker up his ass." With him, it's difficult to determine whether he's being fresh from the weather, or just downright NAUGHTY.
                                    Road to the T3D
                                    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                                    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk


                                    • #19
                                      Oh boy, I feel for you. And I thought my mare had it not so great right now (deep, deep, sticky, slippery mud..., so no real turnout, just a smallish paddock w/ shelter), but she gets worked 5 days a week in a beautiful, giant indoor with great footing and gets turned out in there to romp and roll at least 3 days a week. And still, the other day (we've had some major rain storms), she was pretty ADD in our lesson, and when I let her roll *afterward*, she plopped down immediately to roll over 5 times, then jumped up, *squealed*, and galloped and bucked for 10 min (until I had to catch her when other folks wanted to ride). Sigh. I guess I have to give her credit for not doing the squealing/bucking routine while I was on her!

                                      Can't wait for all this mud to dry up so she has her 24/7 huge grassy paddock back, and we can go gallop around the trails
                                      Last edited by InsideLeg2OutsideRein; Mar. 29, 2011, 05:16 PM.
                                      "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht


                                      • #20
                                        FrittSkritt -- giggle. :-)

                                        My mare is finally settling down to the point where I can say "gee it's nice not to have to kick so much" instead of having one hand on the breastplate at all times.
                                        I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                                        I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09