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Training question - green horse/bad attitude

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  • Training question - green horse/bad attitude

    Could use some help here. I was leasing a green horse for my daughter over her winter break - she has lots of experience with the greenies and the owner hasn't the time to bring one on herself - anyway, daughter rides it for 6 weeks over break, does some nice work with it and by the end, she has it confidently jumping around a 2'6" course and was able to re-establish lead changes on the flat (7 year old horse with decent flatwork training prior - so no need to worry about youth and jumping). When she left horse was happy, happy and willing to do his job.....

    The owner decided to leave horse where it was so it would stay legged up for kid to ride it over breaks and this summer. Fast forward to a recent visit home, the horse has completely changed Bad attitude, pinning ears on the flat, dropping its' hind end off during the canter and stopping and generally being snarly while jumping. Cow kicking, bucking, either stopping or plowing through the jumps, just a complete change in attitude and performance! Kid was able to get it to relax and go better on the flat before she left but jumping was a nightmare.

    Owner had the saddle fit checked, had the vet come for an eval and everything is fine in those departments, horse was chiropracted and massaged and nothing showed up there, either. Horse was jumped again last night (not by us) and he was stopping all over the place. The owner is at a complete loss as to why such a drastic turn around - the horse is just miserable. Any thoughts on what is going on and how to fix it? Help!!

  • #2
    Don't think we can help that much in a situation like this. When it's not your horse and it's out of your control? Not a whole lot you can do. And horses don't have "attitude" in the human sense, they reflect what they are taught and how they are handled for the most part. Some are a little more willing then others, some smarter, but it's not complicated like with humans.

    One reason I really came to dislike riding somebody else's horse over the years, I'd fix it, they'd unfix it. In your case, I'd bet DD is just a better rider then the owner or whoever else is riding it.

    Does the owner have a trainer? What do they say?

    Anyway, I don't think you can "fix" something like this unless you get the horse full time.

    Oh, what exactly did that vet "eval" consist of? Might be something amiss...but sometimes the most obvious cause, like being totally unsuitable for whoever is riding it ability wise is the answer. Also the most difficult one to be truthful with whoever owns/rides it about.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by findeight View Post
      Don't think we can help that much in a situation like this. When it's not your horse and it's out of your control? Not a whole lot you can do.

      One reason I really came to dislike riding somebody else's horse over the years, I'd fix it, they'd unfix it. In your case, I'd bet DD is just a better rider then the owner or whoever else is riding it.

      Does the owner have a trainer? What do they say?

      Anyway, I don't think you can "fix" something like this unless you get the horse full time.

      Oh, what exactly did that vet "eval" consist of? Might be something amiss...but sometimes the most obvious cause, like being totally unsuitable for whoever is riding it ability wise is the answer. Also the most difficult one to be truthful with whoever owns/rides it about.
      I hear ya, I just feel bad for the horse and the owner. For what it's worth, the horse has been getting ridden by the assistant pro and the working student, not the owner and she has discussed the degradation in performance with the trainer to no avail. So, a rough situation all around....

      I don't know what the vet eval consisted of because I wasn't there, I'm just getting the upset calls from the owner and trying to be supportive

      Comment


      • #4
        Hate to be harsh but...if I discussed a continuing "degradation in performance to no avail" with my trainer???? They might just be on the way to being an ex trainer.

        Dumping money into a situation like this is very discouraging. Either trainer gives an honest answer-like "I know it's not going well, might even get a little worse but it will get better. Lets give it another 30 days". Or owner needs to condsider other options.

        But, gotta tell you, the fact the horse was doing fine performance wise just 8 weeks ago but is now in the crapper and the WS and assistant are the only riders???

        Hmmmmm...that is a flashing yellow light. If the trainer is avoiding discussing it? It turns red.

        Like I implied earlier, sometimes you hear hoofbeats and it's not zebras. Sometimes a horse is bad because of bad riding or lack of riding somebody is paying for.

        It's tough one because the owner probably thinks trainer is her BFF, the assistant is wonderful and the WS the second coming of GM.

        Maybe owner can sit down in the office with trainer and get some answers??? And have Plan B working (something everybody should have anyway).

        Other then suggesting that, not much you can do. Lending and ear and being supoportive will get frustrating when the anwer is obvious. That answer is she deals directly and frankly with the trainer...or goes elsewhere.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          If horse was working well with your daughter as her only rider and improves with your daughter riding, sounds like your daughter is a better rider for the horse than assistant trainer and working student.

          Sounds like assistant trainer and/or working student are riding the horse incorrectly and causing it to be very sour and unhappy.

          Definitely sounds like trainer is providing zero help and perhaps a switch is in order, since trainer is avoiding the issue.

          Sounds like trainer knows there is a problem and is not working to improve it, which is a problem because that is their job.

          Unfortunately, aside from your daughter having to refix every problem every time she gets to ride, there is nothing you can do about it in it's current situation. What your daughter has to do now is definitely no fun for her because even with all the work she puts into the horse each ride, it has regressed by her next vacation time because of bad riding (or perhaps no riding).

          Either speak to owner and have her switch barns where a skilled assistant/working student can ride the horse while your daughter is gone, or figure out how to lease a different horse (perhaps beginning over the summer, because I'd imagine it'd be difficult to find a horse to lease that she can ride over a short break, then come back to a month later).

          If you can convince owner to switch to a different barn with a better exercise rider, I would have her go watch the first few rides to see how the horse is going (should be improving) and have her go visit once a week when that horse is being exercised to see that it isn't regressing.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by NoobieDoo View Post
            I hear ya, I just feel bad for the horse and the owner. For what it's worth, the horse has been getting ridden by the assistant pro and the working student, not the owner and she has discussed the degradation in performance with the trainer to no avail. So, a rough situation all around....

            I don't know what the vet eval consisted of because I wasn't there, I'm just getting the upset calls from the owner and trying to be supportive
            Answer is clear: fire the riders, give the horse a couple months off (assuming he can have field turnout etc, or just doing completely different "worK" is he's in an area where this is not practical) to re-set his head, & then start with a trainer/rider that work well with this horse.

            This is not to say that the assistant & WS are not competent riders, but they are definitely not a match for this horse.

            If owner has limited options (or directness issues), she can just say that you & your DD have leased the horse & will make future training arrangements due to the horse's recent performance.

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with Alto. I would not keep (if I were the owner, and I know you are not) this horse with this trainer. Something's definitely going on. And the time off would be good for the horse and then started back SLOWLY with baby steps to keep his mood happy! Good luck. Let us know what happens.
              “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
              ¯ Oscar Wilde

              Comment


              • #8
                Do you live in the Northeast? Has he been tested for Lyme? If you live in the south did they test for EPM? What about ulcers? Sounds like there is something going on.
                Dina
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                Comment


                • #9
                  Most of the time solving performance changes or issues is a process of elimination.

                  Unfortunately it does not appear that you/daughter are really in a position to solve this as you simply do not have the exposure or the ability to isolate the horse to enable you to breakdown the factors that are leading to the issues.

                  I would hazard to guess however if the owner has gone through the process of eliminating physical problems, and your daughter has been able to make improvements with the horse on the flat, that the is a strong indication that the issues are the result of the rides the horse is getting, or what is being asked of the horse, more than likely a little of both.

                  Has the owner spent the time to investigate what the horses program is, and not asking but actually, spending the time to watch the horse working in the program?

                  I know whenever I evaluate a prospect that has varying amounts of saddle time, a lot about the horses performance can be attributed to the ride, good or bad.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Another vote for Lyme and/or EPM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A horse that turns cranky and sour could still be hurting somewhere, even if the vet can't find it. Bad riding is another option. Doesn't sound to me like there is anything you can do to help.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Well, I thought I'd update those who were kind enough to offer an opinion....

                        The owner is taking over the ride for now - just light hacks on the buckle to keep the horse fit. Kid is coming home soon for break and will sit on it for a week and based on how it responds, it will either be turned out for a month or so, to start back in the summer or it will go to a barn with a pro that comes highly recommended by a trainer who taught both me, my daughter and the horses' owner back in the day. So, we will see what happens

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Cranky and sour usually does mean discomfort or pain but can also mean 1) bad riding/training so the horse mentally feels put off - maybe he is being ridden in a way that is contradictory - maybe someone is banging him in the mouth or back - 2) maybe its not the saddle- maybe its the BIT - the teeth - the way the bit fits - I have seen people have a horse like that and HELLO, someone cleaned the bridle and put the bit back on backwards and that was causing trouble - simplefix and SO simple no one looked at what was staring them in the face and 3) internal issues - a dietary imbalance, ulcers, something like that.

                          MY GUESS from limited info based on being WAY far from the situation - is if the vet says it is absolutely NOTHING physical (including dental - we got a STEAL on a dutch warmblood deemed untrainable because she had a tooth abcess and no one realized it - tooth was removed, horse was at peace and easy to ride!), then it is mental. The owner should stop letting the trainer and assistant ride him, give him a month to turnout and then let your daughter ride him for a few weeks. THAT might determine if its them.

                          In general, not all trainers and horses get along either - to be devils advocate. A lot of trainers have their certain knack and it may be WONDERFUL with certain types of horses and be terrible with others. My friend took her HIGHLY well bred Arab paint (she does the arab circuit) to an AQHA trainer who is GREAT with AQHA horses. He uses a LOT of the natural horsemanship techniques she likes. After a month the horse was nervous and jumpy just walking around his barn and rearing when ridden. She was so upset but I said WHY DID YOU TAKE AN ARAB TO A QUARTER HORSE TRAINER? ARE YOU NEW?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just because the vet exam didn't come up with anything doesn't mean the horse isn't hurting somewhere. Usually drastic changes like that are at least somewhat physical.

                            As far as the stopping, I've seen very honest horses turn into stoppers once they realized it was an option. It may be that this horse never really thought of stopping, then got buried in a fence and was forced to stop, then lost his confidence and didn't have someone on him that could give him his confidence back. Once horses realize they can say "I don't think so" to a jump, some of them will try to!

                            Unfortunately it isn't your horse so there isn't much you can do. It sounds like the owner is trying to solve the problem, even if to no avail. Time off or more intense pro-training would be my suggestions at this point as well, which it sounds like might happen.

                            Good luck

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Since my kid just got home for break and has sat on the horse a few times, I thought I'd give an update as to how it's going.....

                              It has completely returned to the horse she was riding over the winter, which is a huge relief!! It was given a week off before the kid got home, so was refreshed and ready to work. Horse is happy and going around beautifully.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Great news!
                                “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                ¯ Oscar Wilde

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