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Very ring sour.. help!

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  • Very ring sour.. help!

    I'm so frustrated about this, not because it's annoying to have a ring sour horse.. but I can keep Juice at home, I PAY to have him at a boarding barn with a RING so I can progress in our training!!

    A little back ground... Juice was moved to the barn last fall, he was really underweight and the stress of moving didn't help. Thankfully the owner of the barn is amazing and slowly but surely put weight on him (which is no easy task in the middle of winter with a hard keeper!) Throughout the winter he was same old Juice.. calm, cool, easy to ride, almost a bit pokey

    Flash forward this spring and it's a new ball game. He is SO obnixious!! I don't get to ride him much, maybe 1-2 times a week, but I have a friend who works with him a few other days. He's never been the type of horse that it matter if he got ridden every day, or every other month.

    Now when I go to ride him he's jiggy, antsy, spooky, and I don't really know how to describe it but he gets really light in the front, like he's thinking about rearing or spinning on me.

    Today he was ok at the walk but when I asked him to trot he would first shiver all over then go into a really tight trot swishing his tail at me and grunting. If we move away from the gate he'd scrutch up into a ball and kick out and get really light like he was thinking of bucking or bolting.

    I took him x-country last weekend.. totally different horse, calm, relaxed, loping around jumping, not a care in the world.

    I pay a lot of money to keep him at a boarding barn and it's really annoying that he's acting this way. Does he just need a major "conversation" about this or what should I do?
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

  • #2
    Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

    I pay a lot of money to keep him at a boarding barn and it's really annoying that he's acting this way. Does he just need a major "conversation" about this or what should I do?
    I was going to suggest pain until you mentioned that he was FINE out of the ring. So now it's up to you, since you know your horse. Is he really just ring sour? Does he need a break out of the ring, even just to do the same exercises in the field? Sometimes horses just need to get out, same as jogging outside is different than jogging on a treadmill.

    That said...if he's being a brat, and if you want to call his bluff on the popping up (or are confident enough to handle it if he does) get a nice crop with a big popper on it. If he balks about moving away from the gate, do the "ask, then tell" thing. Ask him to walk by, with some leg pressure. If he gives you attitude about then, then smack him firmly on the butt with the popper, and send him forward. Don't hang on his mouth; you don't want to punish him for moving forward......an "oh shit! strap" might be an excellent idea.

    Does he do it on the lunge line? That may be a safer way to work him out of it without you being on top of him.

    This is one situation where I feel like a firm Come to Jesus response is completely acceptable. It's a nasty, nasty habit and not acceptable.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I always want to give him, and all my horses the benefit of the doubt first before I assume they're being little brats.. but like I said, I took him off the farm the other day and he was a dream-boat, totally like his old self. Not a spook, jig, or tail swish.

      I do ride with an "oh sh!t strap" so I have that if I need it, he's NEVER (knock on wood..) done anything stupid to me in all the years I've had him, it's just not his nature.

      I had a bad fall last month and was out of the saddle for a while, so maybe I'm just not riding as confidently as I need to be. I did put in a call to the trainer tonight.
      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

        I do ride with an "oh sh!t strap" so I have that if I need it, he's NEVER (knock on wood..) done anything stupid to me in all the years I've had him, it's just not his nature.

        I had a bad fall last month and was out of the saddle for a while, so maybe I'm just not riding as confidently as I need to be. I did put in a call to the trainer tonight.
        I just suggested the strap because if you give him a good smack with the crop, you want him to pop forward, and you don't want to accidentally catch him in the mouth and "punish him." Not cause I think he'll respond nastily to it.

        Having someone confident hop on him (any sassy crash dumm-...err...barn rats, kicking around?) may be a great start, and might be enough to straighten him out. Depending on how sour he really is, he might still try it with you, but you may need to be less firm with him if someone else has already kicked his butt.

        I feel you about the bad falls, they can really do a number on you and you don't even realize it!

        Comment


        • #5
          i hate to say it, but what about the person who's riding him? could s/he be doing something to or with him in the ring that's pissing him off or undoing his training/reinforcing bad habits or something and it's spilling over to your rides?
          My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE

          Comment


          • #6
            I always want to give him, and all my horses the benefit of the doubt first before I assume they're being little brats.


            I second the opinion that maybe the other rider has something to do with it.

            Maybe lead him in. Lounge him for a few minutes and walk him out and get on where he is comfortable and then go for a walk around somewhere. Do it as ground work so you are safe.

            If you can get into the ring without a major fight, walk around a few times, maybe a short trot, and then go right back out and hit a trail ... or anything besides the ring.
            Last edited by BaroquePony; Apr. 15, 2012, 03:36 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              First I'd check to see what the other person has been doing with him in the arena to see if he has any mental hang ups about that space.

              Horses get ring sour because they are either bored or we ask them for things in the ring that we don't ask them for elsewhere.

              On the XC course you probably aren't worried about him being straight or going on the bit or making a good circle. And he has other things to think about besides you.

              When the exercise in the ring becomes difficult and especially if we aren't consistent horses get ring sour. If they protest to the work and the answer we give them is "oh I'll just ride you outside" they'll never get any better. I also think that tend to slack off in what we ask of them in our home ring so they act more naughty because of that.

              So I'd work him in the ring and make him go forward and really only worry about going forward until he does that consistently then I'd start adding in asking him to work on more contact and doing more dressagy things.
              http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                First, I do not believe in the concept 'ring sour' but rather 'the actions which happen there' sour. Nor do I think horses are ever 'little brats', they just are a product of our actions/their reactions based on their history. It is the rider's job to take responsibility and figure it out, not to blame them.

                So, he has put on weight/is healthier/stronger is one change. AND he (still) hacks out comfortably. So whats the different? since you only ride him occasionally. According to you there is only ONE thing: " .......but I have a friend who works with him a few other days. He's never been the type of horse that it matter if he got ridden every day, or every other month." Not the horse's nature to be upset. So, either he was over faced, is in pain, underidden, or you are compounding tension.

                So what is it that either your friend (or you) do which causes him to feel so restrained that he becomes tense in the indoor? SOMETHING has gone on which creates that kind of over reaction, and I would ask.

                Remember the horse is NOT 'doing this to you'. Either there was something really off, or something in the aids is causing this. Since you were hurt perhaps you are holding and driving when the horse gets tense you got tenser?
                I.D.E.A. yoda

                Comment


                • #9
                  Finnegan was doing something similar to me this winter. For him it was diet. I had changed part of his grain to a high fat supposed low carb diet. It was just too high in sugar and he was about jumping out of his skin.
                  He did not want to go forward. He wanted to hop in place, was humpy backed. Spookier than normal.
                  Now he was a bit of a brat XC too but he was better there as long as I was allowing him to stretch it out and move forward.

                  It took about 1 week off the high fat feed to get my horse back. Take a look at your horses diet. For Finnegan I was feeding him the equine equivalent of Twinkies.
                  Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                    I'm so frustrated about this, not because it's annoying to have a ring sour horse.. but I can keep Juice at home, I PAY to have him at a boarding barn with a RING so I can progress in our training!!

                    A little back ground... Juice was moved to the barn last fall, he was really underweight and the stress of moving didn't help. Thankfully the owner of the barn is amazing and slowly but surely put weight on him (which is no easy task in the middle of winter with a hard keeper!) Throughout the winter he was same old Juice.. calm, cool, easy to ride, almost a bit pokey

                    Flash forward this spring and it's a new ball game. He is SO obnixious!! I don't get to ride him much, maybe 1-2 times a week, but I have a friend who works with him a few other days. He's never been the type of horse that it matter if he got ridden every day, or every other month.

                    Now when I go to ride him he's jiggy, antsy, spooky, and I don't really know how to describe it but he gets really light in the front, like he's thinking about rearing or spinning on me.

                    Today he was ok at the walk but when I asked him to trot he would first shiver all over then go into a really tight trot swishing his tail at me and grunting. If we move away from the gate he'd scrutch up into a ball and kick out and get really light like he was thinking of bucking or bolting.

                    I took him x-country last weekend.. totally different horse, calm, relaxed, loping around jumping, not a care in the world.

                    I pay a lot of money to keep him at a boarding barn and it's really annoying that he's acting this way. Does he just need a major "conversation" about this or what should I do?
                    Sounds like your horse is clostrophobic. We have a horse like this at the barn I work at. She is getting a lot better but before she was just so tense in the ring and spooky, but bring her outside in the outdoor ring and she would open right up and be very light.

                    I'm not sure what to do about this (my trainer worked with the horse that had the same problem)
                    http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
                    Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Has he recently been ridden in an indoor ring prior to the move?
                      http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
                      Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Agh sorry things just keep coming to my head. Is it possible that you can just let him out in the indoor ring to explore at his own pace? This may allow him to become more comfortable. Throw a flake of hay in there with him, and just leave him be. If there is a window sit by the window and just observe him. Let him explore his surroundings before putting yourself on his back
                        http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
                        Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Your horse obviously has had something stressful happen in the arena. I'd agree to let him freely explore the arena and observe his behavior, let him leave relaxed, then another day free lunge him, again observe his behavior, let him leave relaxed.

                          Always leave on a quiet, positive note coming out of the arena. It may help that after a session and wash down, that you hand walk the horse around the arena while he dries. They can't tell you what stressed them out in the arena but you can create a calmer attitude toward the arena.

                          Also, when you get back in the saddle, as soon as the horse seems stressed, go back to his warm-up routine and try again. He should settle down but has to push through his stress in his time, not yours.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            agree with ideayoda. also, first thought to me was ulcers....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              But then it would be in all riding, this is very specific to either rider or treatment that occurred in a specific place. We have not yet heard how it reacts there unmounted, or in hand.
                              I.D.E.A. yoda

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Whoever mentioned diet had a very good point also.

                                If he was being given enough to get him up into good weight over the winter .... and now it is spring he doesn't need all that extra food now.

                                Sometimes when they are too fresh they don't let go of something that gets their attention and they can sort of overreact ... spook, spin, rear if you don't drop your reins, maybe bolt.

                                But if he is doing well on XC then he can just go forward without focusing and getting *stuck* on something in particular.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  There is nothing like regular calm work to make a horse an obedient and happy student, whether in the ring or in the open. Are you systematic in your approach each and every ride? Do you have a "lesson plan" for what you want to teach the horse each time you tack up? Even if the horse has now come up to optimum weight, maybe the work he is getting is not consistent or systematic enough.
                                  Just a thought. I am sure your trainer has ideas to help too.
                                  Anne
                                  -------
                                  "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

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