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When do you throw in the towel

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  • When do you throw in the towel

    My horse has had a history of problems...He was fine when I got him 7 years ago but since then he had sustained a few injuries that caused problems. The last one being bolting from the mounting block. We thought we had solved this problem. He has been quiet and calm for the last 7 months no problems what so ever but today he decided that I guess he didn't want to work. Just standing at the mounting block when the leg was lifted, no left stirrup is used, he ran off! After that he was worked on the ground, long lining, and then on/off with the mounting. He was nervous at first and then got better...I am unsure what to do...He has been so good but this behavior before was pain related, today we are unsure. He was fine yesterday...
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks for listening
    Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
    Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
    "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

  • #2
    So, he used to bolt from the mounting block due to a pain related issue, the issue was resolved and for 7 months he has been a good stander, till today? Is that correct?

    Maybe he spooked or was inadvertantly poked or gouged at the same time as the mounting process. Try mounting again another day, using extreme care and paying attention to activities in the surrounding area, and if he repeats then he may have a new source of pain or possibly a vision issue.

    If by throwing in the towel you mean you can't take his behavior any longer, perhaps training time? I can't see a good outcome trying to sell him with that bolting issue.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Well, he would not be poked considering that the leg is lifted over him without using the left stirrup...I will not sell him, more likely give him away to a companion home. He is a beautiful horse and has lots of talent but this has really thrown me for a loop....He was mounted and dismounted several times today after being worked.....
      Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
      Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
      "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

      Comment


      • #4
        I vote for getting a good trainer to work with him. She or he can help you decide if his problems can be solved. Maybe he would be better in a different home or maybe it is time to give up and retire him. We had an ADD horse who was quite difficult with us, even though he was a nice horse. We sold him to a person who kept him at a fancy boarding barn. He thrived in the boarding barn where meals were always served at the same time, he always got the same stall, and he was ridden at the same time every day. Routine made him very happy. We were not the best home for him.

        The trainer we use taught my youngster not to bolt during mounting because mounting was always followed by a treat. All he could think about during mounting was "where is my treat?" After a while, we made the treats smaller and then phased them out. He hasn't bolted during mounting since the first treat.

        Comment


        • #5
          You've had him for so long you must know him well, what does your instinct tell you the problem is?

          everyone has a bad day, and every so often old training issues you thought you'd gotten past rear their ugly heads, happens to everyone. But, if it prompts you to consider throwing in the towel and giving him up, there must be a lot of water under the bridge, or you don't have a rosey outlook on the future for some reason.

          Horses, for most of us, are a luxury and a hobby, there is no reason to beat yourself over the head with a horse that doesn't make you happy. If you're unhappy, then you really have to listen to that.
          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

          Comment


          • #6
            Have you had his vision checked?
            Balanced Care Equine

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              buck22- I was very happy until today. Each day over the past year has been a learning experience and we progressed. Sometimes we slid back but most of the time we would plateau and then move on. It is strictly the bolting that is my issue. It is a dangerous behavior. He has been a absolute doll! I had high hopes when I got him, he is gorgeous, but as time marched on I was happy just to do trail riding. i do know him well and I can generally tell when something is bothering him. Unfortunately, today my trainer was there and i wasn't. She is very good, level headed and calm thank god for that. I might have seen something that she didn't but she isn;t ready to give up yet but I am certainly close....
              Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
              Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
              "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                He went to Cornell 1 1/2 years ago and they said he did have a slight cataract (sp) starting in the left eye, could this be the problem? The eye is clear, no cloudy coverage...
                Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ivy62 View Post
                  He went to Cornell 1 1/2 years ago and they said he did have a slight cataract (sp) starting in the left eye, could this be the problem? The eye is clear, no cloudy coverage...
                  I'd say worth following up on with your vet, especially since it was the left eye. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it hasn't progressed from when it was first diagnosed; cataracts are often not visible with the naked eye until they're very mature (sometimes long after they have clouded your horse's vision). Keep us posted!
                  Last edited by faybe; Apr. 10, 2010, 12:48 AM. Reason: typo
                  Balanced Care Equine

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Absolutely follow up on the cataract!

                    The movement om his left side might have startled him if he can't see well out of it. If this is the issue then maybe just a lot of talking and moving slowly on that side as he adjusts to it. Maybe learn to mount from the right.

                    I've recently read some where (horse.com maybe?) they suspect horses are left-eye dominant so if he's loosing vision in it that may be a factor. And that the fight or flight response may be hard wired to take the info coming from the left eye in to account for a reaction.

                    There are a lot of blind horses out there being ridden and having great productive lives, so no, I would not throw in the towel yet. I'd also go back to the pain issue thing and make sure that has not cropped up again.
                    First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do. ~Epictectus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I like projects, the training process and the long-term relationship i build with horses. All that makes me very slow to give up on an issue that seems to be partly between the ears.

                      I agree that bolting when mounting is scary. It also can be fixed (the between the ears part) in addition to whatever physical or management issue is going on.

                      If your pro isn't ready to give up yet, borrow some of her faith and emotional distance from the problem. But do talk to her about all of the possible causes and what you guys can try.

                      I have fixed horses that do this. Some of that comes from a somewhat hard-a$$ view of horses, work and training. I'll be thorough about looking for a source of pain. But I also think that all performance horses need to learn to put up with some. The good ones already do it.

                      The difference between the campaigner who clocks around a course no matter what and the one owned and ridden by a ammy momma who loves him is that we don't spend enough time reminding our precious babies that they must man up and punch in at work whether they want to or not.

                      If you think you may not have laid down this "bottom line" expectation for him, it may be part of your problem. See what your trainer thinks.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My girl who never spooks in the ring.......has spooked twice at birds in the pasture next to the ring .......always with the pasture on the right side.......I am suspecting a possible eye sight issue......and will have it checked when shots are done in two weeks.

                        I will be interested to know if you find out if your guys spooking problem is eye related.

                        Dalemma

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Update

                          our trainer came on Tuesday and he was very good. I worked him long lining on Sat and he was very good. We even went to the mounting block and he stood there like a champ...We will keep going and see what happens. The vet is coming tomorrow and so she will check his vision also. One explaination is that maybe she didn't do his stretches before she tried to get on him. He is very cold backed...and those little exercises make a huge difference....
                          Today he worked very well both on the lines and at the block. I was very tempted to climb aboard but not today...There is a lot going on this week....
                          Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                          Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                          "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Throw in the towel when the towel is filthy, dirty, covered in blood and soaked with tears...

                            Sometimes a horses emotional needs are not matched with the riders. the most basic is the green horse green rider adage. If an owner is contemplating giving up and moving on, that is sometimes the best thing to do for both the horse and the owner. It just takes different people longer to figure it out.

                            I akin it to this. I have many very novice riders, mostly adult. While their skill level barely takes them to puttering around the indoor, I can never guarantee them that the horse may decide to throw more at them than they can handle. so I am very forthright about getting them to practice and be aware and prepared for the unexpected.

                            Now, the question you might ask yourself is this. Are you prepared to let the horse go?

                            If the answer is no, then decide to spend money on training and lessons or learn to compartmentalize the horses actions so they are not an emotional trigger for you. Tough, i know, but required when working and owning a horse with a "please take care of me" mentality. do you need a horse with a more "I'll take care of YOU" mentality?

                            And always, no horse is worth one hair on your head. So if a horse has the distinct possiblity of hurting you, you are over horsed. By distinct, i mean above and beyond the normal nature of the animal. Horses provide us all with a lot of things in our lives and hearts but never should you put your own safety and your responsibility to your family below the horse. Are you capable of handling a bolt with your foot in the stirrup?

                            I wish you lots of luck finding the answer to the questions. I always feel so bad when an owner has reached an impass with an animal. It generally comes down to two things: rider horse mismatch in personality or rider is over horsed.
                            ...don't sh** where you eat...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm curious to know what "a history of problems" means. Can you elaborate on these problems?
                              "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Well, I am not a novice rider. I have had this horse for a very long time and we have been through a lot together. He has taught me a host of things. Everything from good hoof care to long lining to possibly driving and of course riding. Our history is long....
                                When I got him it was supposed to be a smooth transition from on track tb to OTTB... He was wonderful except his feet were awful. We fixed that..and he was working well....I started from the ground for he needed a good case of manners training on the ground. We moved on from there no problem...Then about a year later he was lame really badly. We didn't know what happened. It looked like he had hurt himself in the field but nothing that some rest didn't fix...back to work...then we had a bad time of it for the next year then eventually found out he had Lyme...He was a different horse! he was aggressive, difficult to handle and so on....treated him for that he was better..then 6 weeks later he was 3 legged lame....sent to large animal clinic for a work up...they did a bone scan and he lit up the a Xmas tree through his back, SI joint, hip and down through the hocks...We followed the routine that they recommended and he slowly got better...then about a year later he relapsed..sent to Cornell..they did a full lameness work up..tested for RER, vision (they are the ones that said he had a baby cataract) etc...they said handling him on the ground he was good but when you tacked him up he was awful! Biting the reins and running off etc. oh and by the way my saddle does fit him. and I have it checked every 6 months. They suggested high dose Robaxin..So we did that and I added shockwave to it and he was awesome...I also learned how to do stretches with him from a trigger point therapist and he loves them..If I forget to do them before we work he is definitely stiffer then if I do them...I worked him on the ground for abour 5 months with raised poles, to strengthen his abs and his back and he was awesome..then I hooked up with this trainer and she has been wonderful...He was definitely afraid to let someone on him but he got over it because she went slow and never hurt him. Even being ridden was stressful at that time. He did have a Lyme relapse last fall and we treated that and he was better...he was working well and then he started bucking into the canter very unusual for him.. had chiro out and she said it looks like he fell on the ice. It presented very different then before..I have had vit E/ Se levels on him and have watched his bloodwork for the lyme. But he is not showing symptoms of that..
                                Can I handle a horse that bolts...who can? With your left foot in the stirrup and you in mid-air, if he takes off you are going to get left, and that is the problem.. We have had many rides and we actually do well together. Most people say he acts really nice for me and that he likes me. I just don't want anyone getting hurt.especially him. We have a bond that is for sure....
                                We can always learn to drive..he ground drives like a champ and actually enjoys our walkabouts...it is an option...
                                Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                                Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                                "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Certain systemic diseases can really ravage a horse. My horse had both West Nile and lyme and he was not the same (both physical and mentally) afterwards-- even with full treatment. Only you know what your limit is-- but I would not be shocked to hear of long term personality changes following lyme.
                                  ~Veronica
                                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                  http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Hard part is that these moments are few and far between...It seems to pop up out of no where....I was not there when it happened, I may have picked up on something before my trainer, I know him that well.....I can tell just by the look in his eye what kind of a day we will have...He actually would do very well with arena dressage ith a single wheeled cart. If it comes to not riding I probably will do that. The only problem is I like riding but then again I like driving also....
                                    Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                                    Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                                    "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Wow, you and he certainly have been through a lot.

                                      If I were you, I'd have a frank discussion with the vet about his problems and prognosis regarding recurrence and chronic pain. Sounds as though bolting is his response to discomfort, so unless you can get a handle on consistent pain management, this issue will continue to crop up.

                                      If he's completely safe to handle in hand and if you're interested, there's a lot of fun things that can be done long-lining. And maybe he would be a great little driving horse. But I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. Consult with your vet, and go from there.

                                      ETA... To be perfectly honest, I've been down the "unpredictable horse" road, so I understand the frustration. If this were my horse, after all you've already done to address the physiological problems, I'd probably call it a day on his riding career and start a new chapter in my relationship with him. Good luck making your decision.
                                      "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        The bad part is I do not think it is pain related. The usual pain responses for him are not there, that is the scary part....Actually, my trainer hadn't even touched him and he bolted off..She gets on without the use of the stirrup so once she is on he is generally okay...But this time she walked him up to the block and all she did, I understand, is lift her leg and he bolted off.....He has been so good at the block that I was starting to really trust him again. I got hurt pretty badly the last time he left me at the block..That was 2 years ago..... :-(
                                        Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                                        Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                                        "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                                        Comment

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