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New barn issue or unsuitable mount ? Update- post 60

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  • TWH Girl
    started a topic New barn issue or unsuitable mount ? Update- post 60

    New barn issue or unsuitable mount ? Update- post 60

    Hello-

    I am trying to figure out what to do with my 7 yr old gelding. I am 48 and started riding at age 35 so still an ammy. I am a decent, intermediate rider, but definitely not super brave and willing to get on anything. I ride casually for pleasure and a few shows, but do try to be the best rider I can. I take lessons and work with a lady near me; she rides him once a week too. I also have a 17 yr old gelding who is a solid citizen.

    I purchased the 7 yr old almost 2 yrs ago. It’s been quite the headache (literally) since. His background is I was owner #6 by the time he was 5. He is super sweet, quiet and easy to handle, shows well, has a lot talent and a great work ethic. BUT he is sensitive, quirky, and can be very spooky and reactive. I have fallen from him A LOT. More than I care to admit. Some falls are due to him spooking and exploding, and some are my fault from balance issues. I am not a very strong rider and I do have some balance issues. Horse can get worried about things if it’s not being done correctly.

    I thought with training rides and working him more we had gotten most of that out of him over the past year or so. He and I had been doing really well. I took him to a big show last summer and he did not move one muscle out of place. It was cool one day and windy, blowing silent auction papers around- but he never once spooked. We made it through fall and winter doing weekly lessons and I finally started cantering him. I thought we were over the worst of it.

    Then I moved barns March 1 and since then, he has become Mr. Anxiety all over again. Barn is very nice, small, well- kept with good owners attentive to everything. However, horse thinks the indoor arena is there to kill him. It turned out we had racoons in the indoor who got between the wall. The BO has fixed that. But horse already had PTSD about the indoor, as did I. I took a couple of falls on him in the indoor since we moved and my confidence has been shot. I took him off most grain and he gets about 1lb of Kalm and EZ and 2 lb of Essential K. He also gets plenty of hay and has finally filled out to look like a mature horse. Currently no pastures as this is a new barn yet but he gets hand grazed. He also gets Smart Calm Ultra and a SP joint supplement with MSM. He is on a dry lot with one other horse but there is plenty of room to move around, run and play and hay to last all day.

    Now that it’s finally nice outside and we have an outdoor, I am using it. We are near a sport club. Guns can be going off, the owner mowing, turkeys or deer in the field next to the ring, but he is a good boy and doesn’t react. This horse did not whoa or stop when I got him, and now I can stop to chat while on his back and I can walk him on a loose rein. The other day, the owner was burning something in a small fire pit near the outdoor and it was windy. I kept horse working and focused. He seemed a little up but not bad at all and definitely manageable. We were just about done when out of the blue he spooked hard and made his way across the arena. I fell pretty hard. I have an eventing vest but did not have it on of course, as we had “been doing so well” or so I thought. I did have a helmet on though.
    I am trying to figure out what is going on with this horse and if he is just too much for me. I don’t want to keep falling and getting hurt. Thank God I have walked away every time so far. I have fallen 5 times since moving him in March. That is too much for my comfort level.

    I am not sure if this increased spookiness has to do with being a new barn yet, or from not having a big group of geldings to play with, or what. I thought maybe it was MSM in his supplement so I am stopping that. I do work with a lady for lessons and she does a ride a week on him but this hasn’t gotten me too far. She was gone the past 3 weeks so I was riding him myself.

    At this point, I contacted my old trainer about 2 hours away and am bringing horse up there at the end of the month. They’ve known me for 10 yrs and know how I am as a rider. They will evaluate him and work with him 5 days a week for a few weeks to let me know if they think he needs additional saddle time and exposure, or if he’s just not a good fit for me and needs a stronger rider. Of course, that is a sad thought and no one likes to entertain that possibility, but I cannot keep falling either. I feel like every time I make a bit of progress with him, I have the door slammed in my face again and we are back to square 1. Obviously, this situation is creating trust issues for both of us and I am not sure we can get passed it.

    My lesson instructor down near me suggested also having him checked for any source of pain. I will do that as I have noticed he has fallen out behind lately. Feels like weak stifles but no overt lameness.
    So, I am posting because I am looking for feedback on my situations, suggestions of things to try or look into, or even opinions on whether it is time I cut bait from this guy before something bad happens. Bring it on as I am open to listening and something needs to change.
    Last edited by TWH Girl; Aug. 30, 2019, 01:41 PM.

  • hoopoe
    replied
    https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/f...m-side-effects

    Most likely the MSM

    Leave a comment:


  • HungarianHippo
    replied
    Great update! Thanks for letting us know, and glad you are enjoying your horsie.

    Leave a comment:


  • islgrl
    replied
    MSM turned my horse into a crack addled spider monkey.

    Leave a comment:


  • TWH Girl
    replied
    Just a quick update- I took my horse off msm, he moved to the trainers barn and I’ve been riding him weekly. This horse is fine. Totally fine. He’s been ridden with machinery being used, and now to two shows without a hair out of place. I showed him and he was calm. Our last show was even had a car race going on near the arena and he was like . So while I’m not sure what the issue was or if is was more than one thing...he is back to being a good boy and I’m enjoying him.

    I am keeping him at trainers through at least next show season since it’s been very helpful for me to show with a barn vs on my own. I don’t know what the future holds for us but I know he’s in the right place for it no matter what it is.

    Leave a comment:


  • TWH Girl
    replied
    Originally posted by hank View Post
    While I believe, based on your history with this horse, that you are better off selling him, if he has suddenly become very spooky after being moved, I would treat him for ulcers. My own horse gets extremely jumpy when having an ulcer flare.
    Agreed. I certainly can try some ulcer guard.

    Leave a comment:


  • Wanderosa
    replied
    Originally posted by Beck View Post
    Agreeing with most of the above. I will add the thought that while it is clear the two of you are not a good 'fit', it does not go just one way: this is not the horse for you, and you are not the rider for this horse at this time/stage in his development. It is not unusual for a greener, sensitive and reactive horse to be unsettled by a rider who has (as you admit) balance issues. A youngster like that needs a rider who can perform as a 'mentor' in the area of balance and confidence. That simply isn't part of your description as a rider. No 'fault' in either party; just a bad fit from both sides.
    I've come to think of the horse/rider match as very similar to a romantic match. Just as there are many lovely people that would seem to suit each other on paper but don't work in real life, there are many lovely horse/rider combos that are not good for each other or just "ok". And just as we shouldn't allow fear of being single and lonely to keep us in a stagnant relationship, we shouldn't stay in the wrong horse partnership, either. The difference is that the horse must rely on us to make the necessary changes because he can't exactly put a sale ad on Dream Horse by himself.

    I've seen a lot of train wreck horse/rider matches that have ended with a very fearful rider and a horse soured from sitting in the field for so long that only a long, expensive stay with a professional would get that horse back to being safe for a decent amateur. You deserve the horse of your dreams and the horse deserves the human of his dreams!

    Leave a comment:


  • SillyHorse
    replied
    Originally posted by TWH Girl View Post
    It almost feels like a relief to say "no, I'm not riding him" rather than worry and wonder all day how our ride that night will go. I felt like i almost needed a Xananx just to go to the barn to ride. I don't want to feel like that. I am a casual, fun rider and don't need to prove anything to anyone at this point in my life.
    This is the most telling to me. Riding is too expensive and time consuming for it not to be enjoyable, at the very least.

    Leave a comment:


  • hank
    replied
    While I believe, based on your history with this horse, that you are better off selling him, if he has suddenly become very spooky after being moved, I would treat him for ulcers. My own horse gets extremely jumpy when having an ulcer flare.

    Leave a comment:


  • TWH Girl
    replied
    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
    My pony as a kid had an athletic sideways spook when she was genuinely startled. My current horse rarely spooks and when she does I feel she tries to take me with her.

    But I'm also riding an older mare who is a power house in the arena, but will get neurotic silly spooking on the trails. Honestly, I figured out it is worse if her feet are bothering her like after a trim. She starts anticipating the next ouch step and getting nervous. She spooks much much less in hoof boots! Anyhow, my first experience with true spook, drop, drop shoulder and spin but fortunately in slow motion. At speed would not be fun at all!

    I also rode an older TB in lessons years ago that eventually had to be rehomed because he was becoming unrideable in the arena. I think he had very slight stifle or hock problems behind and this was his way of saying ouch.

    Whereas if my Paint mare hurts, she just refuses to go forward.
    Interesting you mention that, Scribbler....now yes, I have had issues with this horse from Day 1- some that have improved, but he has been falling out behind lately. Since he's going to the trainers and they are going to work him for me hard a few weeks to get a feel for him, I am having the vet out Monday. I am curious to see about his stifles. I had hocks and feet xrayed at his PPE and they were clean.

    What gets me is how he has backslid since moving barns. We got him to the point of almost NO spooking and when he did, it was a slight jolt and no big deal. Then we moved, and the raccoons came, and it took him a while to settle in, etc. The last spook was Saturday- so not even a week ago- and appeared to be out of no where, but the BO's husband did start a fire which is near the outdoor and it was windy out. He's been ridden outside by me on super windy days before and there is no reaction. We saw a deer on that ride and no reaction. He has seen turkey and farm equipment and the BO's husband on a mower, no reaction. So this just seems really weird to me and I need to make sure I am not missing something physical before I send him off.

    ToughShet your post was very sweet! Thank you for reminding me there is nothing 'wrong' with me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Scribbler
    replied
    My pony as a kid had an athletic sideways spook when she was genuinely startled. My current horse rarely spooks and when she does I feel she tries to take me with her.

    But I'm also riding an older mare who is a power house in the arena, but will get neurotic silly spooking on the trails. Honestly, I figured out it is worse if her feet are bothering her like after a trim. She starts anticipating the next ouch step and getting nervous. She spooks much much less in hoof boots! Anyhow, my first experience with true spook, drop, drop shoulder and spin but fortunately in slow motion. At speed would not be fun at all!

    I also rode an older TB in lessons years ago that eventually had to be rehomed because he was becoming unrideable in the arena. I think he had very slight stifle or hock problems behind and this was his way of saying ouch.

    Whereas if my Paint mare hurts, she just refuses to go forward.

    Leave a comment:


  • gradytb
    replied
    You're right to let go of this one, I agree. Confidence is precious. I have a 19-yr old OTTB that I've had since he was 3. I tried and tried everything but he has the most powerful spook out from under you I've ever encountered. He got me off once and it was so fast that he was already a ¼ mile away by the time I righted myself and realized I could move. Cracked my helmet. The situation just never improved, no matter what I tried. I'm 62 now and I can sit his antics and haven't come off him since that one time, but I was afraid every ride. I decided that was it. Won't sell him because of that issue but also because he has advanced melanoma, so I will probably put him down this year. I still have fear that makes it hard to motivate myself to ride, but once I get on, I'm fine. I have 2 OTTBs who just came off the track a year ago. One is a bit of a hot mess, but he never has done anything to try and get me off and his attitude is phenomenal. He tries super hard and progresses quickly. He doesn't scare me—he delights me. The other guy is Mr. Chill and a good boy, just very different. Enjoy your older guy. Life's too short to support an expensive hobby and be afraid!

    Leave a comment:


  • ToughShet
    replied
    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
    Spookiness is not always about being too hot and forward. It can also be a way of sucking back and resisting.
    Yes, so glad to read this. I'd only ever experienced the hot and forward kind, but now I have more of the suck back and resistance kind. It is ALL about providing a firm, yet giving, direction with my aids and being much more insistent about moving up, which requires an entirely different mindset that is new to me. And honestly I still struggle to keep that mindset at the canter! It's 50:50 whether I'll stay or switch to a different kind of ride in the future, and that's ok.

    Which is​​​​​is just to echo that there is nothing wrong with you for making this decision. What works for any one rider isn't right for another, and what felt maybe doable before may be a dealbreaker now. And when you've tried as hard as you have, there's nothing to gain from beating up yourself for deciding to change direction! It's still growth to recognize that your circumstances aren't what you need to make progress. There's nothing wrong with you ♥️

    Leave a comment:


  • Scribbler
    replied
    Spookiness is not always about being too hot and forward. It can also be a way of sucking back and resisting.

    If a horse goes to a show and gets an adrenalin boost that makes him more forward, perhaps that overcomes the spooky resistant home behavior.

    Such a horse might benefit from a confident rider that can keep horse forward and between hand and leg at all times. Move him along to this rider

    I also think it scares horses when we fall off, and if he starts to associate scary things with you falling off then he might be even more anxious.

    Leave a comment:


  • Beck
    replied
    Agreeing with most of the above. I will add the thought that while it is clear the two of you are not a good 'fit', it does not go just one way: this is not the horse for you, and you are not the rider for this horse at this time/stage in his development. It is not unusual for a greener, sensitive and reactive horse to be unsettled by a rider who has (as you admit) balance issues. A youngster like that needs a rider who can perform as a 'mentor' in the area of balance and confidence. That simply isn't part of your description as a rider. No 'fault' in either party; just a bad fit from both sides.
    Last edited by Beck; Jun. 12, 2019, 11:45 AM. Reason: spelling

    Leave a comment:


  • xeroxchick
    replied
    The great thing about horses is that you can sell them and their next owner could be the best thing that ever happened to them. The biggest problem I see here is the long term effects on your confidence and therefore your effectiveness as a rider. So much of riding is a head game, and at your age (I'm nine years older than you) it can be too late to change your head. Move him along. Get something that you can relax on and really enjoy before every horse you ride feels your body ready for that spook.

    Leave a comment:


  • IPEsq
    replied
    Originally posted by shiloh View Post
    Just one thing to throw in - you say this horse takes care of you at shows. That nothing fazes him there. Here is my thought on this: At shows he is your babysitter and puts aside his "real" self. At home, the real him comes out and it is nervous and anxiety ridden. I think (IMHO) there might be some hope for this guy with a unchanging routine and surroundings and maybe some anti-anxiety meds/feed/whatever. Changing hands that many times would give me anxiety, too, frankly. You say he has all the potential in the world and I believe you. But it is getting him to stop figuratively wringing his hands and concentrate on the work.

    Having said all that, could he be a lease situation? Get someone who can handle him and seems to click and go from there? It would be a shame for him to keep getting handed on and on and on. Then you find a mount that is more suitable. I wouldn't want to come off that many times either thank you very much.

    Two examples of this type of horse: My last horse you could take to a show and bombs could be going off and he was unperturbed. At home - move a stick out of place near the arena and it was all over. Or the lovely Arab mare that when she left the property with her ignorant owner, would totally babysit him. Nothing would get to her. When he rode her at home, same thing. But put her back in her pasture and she was a pacing, cribbing, wild-eyed ball of nerves. You could literally watch her fall apart after he left. It was like caring for him was too much. Worst ulcers in a horse ever.
    I owned one that was hot and spooky at home. Not a lot of fun to ride but the only truly hot horse I've ever had, and I learned a lot from that experience. At the same time, this horse was "safe." Meaning you might go really really really fast in the blink of an eye, but it was going to be in a straight line without any airs above the ground. Taught me to ride that. The ones that spin and drop a shoulder or buck and twist etc. are a different story. But this horse LOVED TO HORSE SHOW. And so horse show we did. Not spooky at all at the shows, but the one corner of the arena at home where the monsters lived?

    So, even if this horse has some redeeming qualities and could be good and relatively safe and steady at doing some job, it does not sound like that is the job you are providing the majority of the time.

    If he is sound and will be suitable for a different program, then it probably is in your best interest to sell. You have fallen off far too many times.

    Leave a comment:


  • SuzieQNutter
    replied
    Good luck.

    Leave a comment:


  • TWH Girl
    replied
    A young woman in my horse club, who is a good strong rider, wants a video of my little guy. She would be perfect for him. Will keep you all posted as this situation progresses....

    Leave a comment:


  • Wanderosa
    replied
    Originally posted by ElementFarm View Post

    Not to derail the thread, but that picture is all over FB! (with the comment "eventing is an interesting sport" or something along those lines. It's hilarious, and quite the display of athleticism and sticking-talent!)
    Lol! I initially saw it on her FB page, where it had a few likes. I didn't realize until I clicked into the original post that it had 1000s of likes and comments. It's one for the ages! And i I thought a good example of a talented horse that's perfectly suited to one person and totally unsuitable for most others.

    Leave a comment:

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