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My horse won't go to the bathroom undersaddle...

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  • My horse won't go to the bathroom undersaddle...

    My horse won't go to the bathroom undersaddle, ever! He will go before, and a few minutes after I ride but it can make it really difficult to ride him since he will not go. Anyone have any advice or experiences with this? I've never had this with any other horse.
    Dream Again Farm

  • #2
    Bad saddle fit/sore back.
    Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


    • #3
      Likely a personal preference. One of mine doesn't like to either -- and I assure you he doesn't have a sore back or an ill-fitting saddle. He has pooped under saddle (literally) only 4 times in the six and a half years I have owned him. TWO of those times were during dressage tests at the same show.

      This horse, however, parks out to poop much like a mare does to pee. He always has - he does it whether he's standing in his stall, running around in his paddock, or (rarely) under saddle. So, yes, he parked out to poop (complete with grunting sound effects) right in front of the dressage judge, while I sat up there kicking away. It's not something I can train out of him, seeing as he does it LESS than once per year either. I'm hope we don't have the same misfortune at our next show (though I'll carry a whip this time just in case).

      The other two times he went under saddle were when we were out on long trail rides and I guess he realized he didn't have any other choices. What is interesting about this horse is that I have NEVER, EVER seen him poop while in motion. He seeks out an existing pile, positions himself over it, parks out, and poops standing still. In his stall and paddock, he goes in one pile. He is quite picky and concerned with WHERE he passes manure.

      I have yet to be able to figure this one out. Vets think there is nothing wrong with him physically -- he is just quirky. I wonder if his time racing (STB) has anything to do with it... but it seems to be HIS problem, not an OTSTB problem.

      FTR, he's only peed under saddle once, while on a trail ride. He must have REALLY had to go. He normally pees in the same pile where he poops or right next to it. He has some seriously obsessive bathroom habits.

      Other than my unfortunate (and embarassing) dressage show debacle, I've never had a problem riding him because he won't go under saddle, though... And I thought it was a nerves thing, but he's generally a very relaxed and laid back horse. What riding problems are you having?

      ETA -- This horse has also never pooped in the aisle or the wash stall. He's only ever pooped those 4 times under saddle, in the trailer, in his stall, or in his paddock.
      Last edited by Phaxxton; May. 19, 2010, 02:50 PM.


      • #4
        I had a gelding like that. If I'd take him to shows I'd have to go back to the trailer, dismount, tie him up and turn my back to him in order for him to pee. He'd do it immediately, though, but only if I wasn't watching.

        For a big, tough guy he was sure shy about it.


        • #5
          Could be the kind of ground you're riding on. Some horses don't like to splash their feet when they pee and are a lot more likely to pee on grass than on dirt. You can try encouraging him by taking him onto grass, then getting your weight up off his back to encourage him to go.


          • #6
            My gelding is like this. Owned him almost 3 years and he has pooped perhaps twice under saddle. Now that I have a trailer, I am lucky that he will go as soon as he gets in so at least I know he's gone #2 before riding. He will also never poop while just walking. He always stops, parks out a bit and grunts too!

            Peeing is another story. He will not pee under saddle but has been known to HAVE to pee on trail rides and he will start acting "dancy" under saddle. When we get back to the barn if he cannot hold it, he'll go in the aisle or he goes when he walks out to his field. I have learned to untack at the trailer or outside just in case.

            In our case it's just his personality. He is also very laid back and I really do think he is shy about it. I am curious to see if he will ever, ever pee in our trailer. We'll see!!


            • #7
              My old horse wouldn't go under saddle until he was 10 or so. I bought him as a three year old. He did the hunters, which means waiting at the ring. He had to be brought back to the stall, undressed, and put in his house to poo. Of course he would always tell you he had to go. Better than one of my dogs!

              The first time he poo'd under saddle with my trainer they were schooling at a show and he actually had to see if he was broken! If a horse never goes with you on them and is awkward about it it does feel like they are broken.


              • #8
                My horse won't pee undersaddle (or in the arena, or in the wash rack apparently). I was angry at him last night because he was really fidgety in the wash rack after our ride. When I put him in his stall he barely made it to the middle before he stretched out and peed. From now on I'll bring him to his stall before I get gung ho about grooming.


                • #9
                  Mine won't even pee while turned out, much less while being ridden. He will only pee in the stall. He will only occasionally poop in the aisle, and I don't think he has ever pooped while I'm riding him. If he is outside and has to pee, he will pace and run near the gate until he is brought in.

                  It's sad for him, really. But that's just who he is.


                  • #10
                    Jet won't pee undersaddle, but he will reach up with his back hoof to scratch behind his ear while I'm on him! Talk about a funny feeling!


                    • #11
                      It could be training. Sounds silly to most, I'm sure, but I've had more than one trainer get on me about not letting him pee while working. He WILL obviously, if it's a long session, but he rarely interrupts work to ask. And I know that he has to be tied on the inside of the arena and not on the concrete because he always pees within 5 minutes of removing his saddle. If we're on long trail rides, or something, he'll take advantage of a break time to go, same with a long training session, but for the most part he's not supposed to go while working.

                      Now, #2, anytime, anywhere, even while going over a jump. LOL
                      If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                      ~ Maya Angelou


                      • #12
                        I try to give our horses a rest every couple hours on a trail ride, so they have the chance to pee. If they have to go, they will. I dismount, walk around them a bit holding the reins, stretch my legs. Usually within a couple minutes they go.

                        I am HAPPY when ours pee, then I don't have to worry that retained fluid will interfere with performance at a show, in a class. They are not doing their best if feeling that "gotta go" signal. I have great luck with the old horse, who will take every advantage given him to pee. DD KNOWS that she needs to stand him in his stall or the trailer for a couple minutes every two hours to let him go. He likes being "protected" by the walls away from home, but if that is not possible, taking him to grassy place away from other horses while you hold the reins will work. Other folks find it funny to hop him in the trailer to pee, but he will pee when I want it done. We are not waiting until he can't hold it, has no attention for rider and messing up his performance classes. I praise he each time he goes. He is SUCH a nice horse in all ways.

                        Ours all poop when they feel the need, no shy ones there! They are not prima donas, living in herd situations. In hand, under saddle, in harness, they poop anyplace. We do the potty break to pee when driving, stop them, let them stand about every two hours unless the mares are in season. In season, they need to stop every hour to relieve themselves. Team members quickly learn to take advantage of being stopped, dirt, grass, pavement they go because rest stop is not going to happen again for a LONG time. They are kept moving, have to hold it!!

                        We give them the opportunity to go, which I don't always see folks doing at rides or shows. Can be hard on the kidneys if horse is not allowed to go, or passes up the opportunity. The young ones do seem to learn from the older horses, catch on fast.

                        Never have seen any horses that don't poop when ridden or over a long day away from home. Glad they are not mine!

                        I find it amazing how many folks do not stand or lean very forward to get their weight off the kidney area when horse DOES have to go under saddle. I bet they would scream pretty loud with a big load on their back when they had to pee.


                        • #13
                          When I first got one of my horses, he used to pee in the aisle if he had to go. After a while, I got smart and started tacking him up in his stall. After a while, HE got smart and started peeing in his stall right away.

                          Now, when I ride, I always put him in his stall first, and if he doesn't pee I'll tack him up in there giving him the most time possible to take advantage of the situation. Usually, though, as soon as he sees me start assembling tack- cementing his fate to be ridden, instead of just coming inside for a spa treatment or dinner- he'll pee. After he pees, I'll usually put him on crossties then. After I ride, he ALWAYS goes straight into the stall, especially if he didn't pee before I rode. Usually he pees as soon as I walk away to put away my tack, but sometimes he does it while I'm untacking if it's super urgent.

                          Sadly, I can't always tell when his "bad behavior" in a lesson is because he has to pee, because he's just ramping up as the lesson goes on (he gets... strong and bullheaded), or because of any other myriad of reasons. As soon as I put him away after the lesson, though, and he pees almost immediately, the "bad" behavior always makes sense. I wish his "I have to pee" behaviors would manifest in a specific way, like... pawing the air or sneezing and not just blend in with his general naughty ways. And they don't usually show up until the last course or two, so getting off to run him to the barn would mean taking the gamble of missing out on the rest of the lesson, and if he doesn't have to pee, I don't trust him NOT to make the association that naughtiness = get out of work early

                          Unless you're doing like, endurance riding or you show at a lot of shows with very poorly-managed rings, I don't really think you have to worry about it, just so long as he is pooping and peeing on a regular basis otherwise. And, if you are trapped at the in-gate and his non-bathrooming tendencies are creating a problem for your trips or whatnot, perhaps you and your trainer can talk strategy, perhaps get the ingate guy or girl to be your "friend", and set your trips so that you can give him a stall break.

                          Funny story about horses peeing undersaddle: At my first lesson barn, there was a great Welsh-ish medium pony who HAD to pee at the beginning of every lesson. He was almost exclusively a beginner's pony, and at that age they all line up in the middle of the ring and get help mounting one by one, and they stay lined up until everyone is on. Well, as soon as the Welsh pony's rider was up in the saddle and the trainer moved away, he made a walking beeline to the shavings pile in the corner (and by beeline I mean he walked the exact beaten-dirt path on the edge of the ring), did his peeing business, and then continued on the path to re-join the line up. All on auto-pony-pilot. No matter if he had been used in a lesson just before it, he had to do it at the beginning of every lesson! Like some sort of pre-lesson superstition! It was always kind of funny to see it happen the first time a kid rode him- the look of shock on their face as he took off at a lumbering walk. Those kids learned how to 2-point in trial by fire that day


                          • #14
                            Does he usually go in shavings in his stall? If so, and you want him to get comfortable going under saddle, I would try putting out a pile of shavings somewhere where you can ride through, stop him over it, and see if he'll go a few times during your ride. He should be comfortable going under saddle, IMO, for his own benefit. Like somebody said above, be sure to get up off of his back while he's peeing in a 2-point.

                            My mare pees and poops during practically every ride, most often when we're hacking out before/after our ride and passing over some especially soft footing in the field. She seems to like to potty in soft places


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by saddleup View Post
                              I had a gelding like that. If I'd take him to shows I'd have to go back to the trailer, dismount, tie him up and turn my back to him in order for him to pee. He'd do it immediately, though, but only if I wasn't watching.

                              For a big, tough guy he was sure shy about it.
                              I have one exactly like that
                              Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                              Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


                              • #16
                                My very lady-like mare will go off the road or trail and get behind something to pee. With me on her back, laughing hysterically. Once she got her front hoofs up on a bank so she could pee in the ditch. I swear she does this because she's watched me go someplace secluded so many times on trail rides--the first time she ever peed undersaddle with me riding her was right after I'd taken an off-road potty break-- I thought at first she was trying to take us home but all she wanted was a little privacy.

                                My gelding has to think about whether or not he really needs to pee, that or he just likes to mess with me. He'll hesitate (usually at the beginning of a ride) and I'll give him a minute to park out, he doesnt, we go on, he hesitates again, I give him another chance, and so on. Sometimes we have to dance this dance 3 or 4 times before he gives up and lets it fly, or else I tell him to quit fooling around and we go on and ride.


                                • #17
                                  Horses don't "go to the bathroom".

                                  Just sayin'.
                                  Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


                                  • #18
                                    My mare won't pee with a rug on - had her back checked and spoke to the vet but no one has any idea why.

                                    The closest I have come to an explanation is that when she did the first few times she wore a rug it got wet and she decided she didn't like it.

                                    Weird huh?


                                    • #19
                                      It's a blessing in disguise, at it's unlikely he would fit into most bathrooms. And certainly not into a portapotty. Be glad he won't go to the bathroom with you on him. You could get decapitated when he went thru the doorway!
                                      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                      • #20
                                        My QH gelding pees EVERYTIME he is fed. Like if I go there middle of the day and throw him hay, he pees. When I feed morning and night, as soon as his hay hits the ground, he pees. I've owned him for about 5 years, and this just started. I dont get it???