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Mr. Grumpy-pants

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  • Mr. Grumpy-pants

    So Kieran has been a touch girthy for a while now. He had girth galls this past summer that took forever to heal up (and when I did think they had, they'd turn all pink again) and it started around the same time so I figured it was related to that. Never anything very bad, just sort of a sidelong look and a bit of stepping around while I tighten the girth (and note: I never just crank it up in one go. I usually start on the lowest hole, inch it up a few, go to the other side, inch it up...you get the idea. I also stretch out his front legs after girthing so as to ensure no skin was caught under it).

    Anyway, last night he didn't just look at me sidelong, but really put his ears back (which he's not wont to do) and looked annoyed (and I typically describe him as the most level-headed horse ever). I mean...okay, it wasn't hugely demonstrative, he didn't try to take a chunk out of me or anything, but something obviously made him uncomfortable (it's possible he was just grumpy and didn't want to work because I was tacking him up at the same time all the other horses were getting turned out and he'd been stalled all day).

    As near as I can tell, he's not back sore (Christina and I both poked and prodded his back) and the saddle ought to fit him. There wasn't anything poky-like on the saddle pad (Or the girth, which is covered in a fleecy thing because the neoprene bothered him [think it contributed to the girth galls]). And he has no galls now. He wasn't off when I rode (we just did a half-hour lesson and it was mostly focused on me. My riding endurance goes to crap if I don't ride for a couple of weeks, let me tell you!) but he did wring his tail some when made to work (see: trot) and he just seemed a bit...out of sorts.

    Like I said, he's not very demonstrative most of the time. This could be nothing. But I have a niggling feeling there's a problem brewing I want to nip in the bud before it turns into something ugly.

    Anyway, Christina knows a good saddle fitter she's going to recommend to me so I'll at least get the saddle double checked. It's probably also time for the vet to check his teeth (again, because his are crazy, he's missing one down below in the back so the one above it just keeps growing. Plus he's got a wave mouth that when the vet first came to float him she was like, "how does he keep weight on???"). After that, not sure. I mean, he gets tons of turnout (like, he's out more than he's in), has a pretty relaxed lifestyle, and isn't on any high sugar/carb feed (worried about EPSM since he's a drafty so he's on a high fat diet), and gets all the hay he can stuff himself with (alfalfa mix inside, and whatever's in the round bales outside, currently drawing a blank).

    Thoughts? Anyone who wants to tell me I'm overreacting and it's nothing and he just had a grumpy pony day?
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Nope, not just a grumpy pony day. Apparently, he tried to bite the person who was saddling him tonight.

    Again, no signs of being off otherwise, but pissy about tacking where he didn't used to be.
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

    Comment


    • #3
      Have you had him treated for ulcers? It might be interesting to try a few tubes of Gastroguard and see what happens with his attitude ...
      Full-time bargain hunter.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        I have not, mostly because he's not a horse you'd expect to see them. (lots of turnout, lots of hay, relaxed lifestyle, etc) It is a possibility that's on my mind, though.
        The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
        Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ulcers yes,
          also if he had girth galls, try a different girth! It may be rubbing him. That and a different pad.
          Even duct tape can't fix stupid

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by LisaB View Post
            Ulcers yes,
            also if he had girth galls, try a different girth! It may be rubbing him. That and a different pad.
            He does use a different girth now.

            What do you mean for a different pad? Like, just a different one, or do you mean use a different type of pad? Because, generally, we rotate through three regular pads (with a fleece half pad on top that I started using after he got fitter and his saddle was just a hair too wide. That's a big reason why I'm getting the saddle fitter out to check it now), I don't use the same exact pad for every ride.
            The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
            Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

            Comment


            • #7
              Does he get grumpy with one particular pad?
              And when you girth him up, do you leave it loose and slowly tighten as you get ready?
              I love the cheap fleece double elastic girths. And horses can be allergic to detergents.
              He could have gas if he's left in a lot. A run, buck, fart does wonders.
              Even duct tape can't fix stupid

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                No, it isn't pad specific. Last night, the person riding him wasn't even using one of my pads.

                And yep, (I mention it in the OP, too), I start with the girth on the loosest setting and slowly move it up, a whole or two at a time. Usually, I leave the last couple holes for right before I get on.

                His usual girth is a 30" dressage girth (saddle is a dressage-rigged Duett) that's kinda squishy with a fleecy cover and I do believe is elastic on both ends.

                And he's not in very much. Now that it's winter, they come in some time at night (if it's clear and not too windy, they stay out as long as possible) and go back out in the morning after breakfast.
                The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by analise View Post
                  No, it isn't pad specific. Last night, the person riding him wasn't even using one of my pads.

                  And yep, (I mention it in the OP, too), I start with the girth on the loosest setting and slowly move it up, a whole or two at a time. Usually, I leave the last couple holes for right before I get on.

                  His usual girth is a 30" dressage girth (saddle is a dressage-rigged Duett) that's kinda squishy with a fleecy cover and I do believe is elastic on both ends.

                  And he's not in very much. Now that it's winter, they come in some time at night (if it's clear and not too windy, they stay out as long as possible) and go back out in the morning after breakfast.
                  ;ppk at the way the rdier is riding him as in using her legs could be she has toactive leg and constantly banging his side and if spurs are used then thats why so ditch spurs give time off for horse to heal teach rider how to sit and use her seat independant of her legs as in work with no stirrups helps with position balance and keeping legs still

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Have you had a chiro look at him recently? I'd go that route before spending on Gastrogaurd.

                    If he's had nasty galls, the area could still be sensitive even though it appears fully healed. Sort of like having a really bad blister or burn, even after your skin has gone through the process of healing and peeling, it takes a while to toughen back up.

                    There's a psychological component involved now also that you'll need to address. The horse has experienced the rubs enough to associate his discomfort with being tacked up. Once you're able to rule out any physical problem, you'll need to be diligent about making his tacking experience as positive and rewarding for him as possible.

                    Out of curiosity, how long has he been ridden by multiple riders? Has there been a new one added recently? If he is being confused or handled incorrectly (per his expecations), that could be reflected in his change of attitude.
                    "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      goeslikestink,

                      He's not just doing it with the other rider, he did it to me. Neither of us use spurs and my leg is pretty quiet.

                      Aggie4Bar,

                      I've never had him looked at by a chiropractor. I want his regular vet to look at him first and see what she says.

                      I'm not sure what one would call nasty as this was my first experience with the. The hair did rub off (it's since grown back and you can't see that anything was there) and they did rub a bit raw but there was never a big mess and it's been, literally, months since they healed up. (and I have tried to be careful since then. Stopped using the neoprene directly on his skin in case it was a reaction to that. Stretch out his legs after girthing to ensure no folds of skin are caught. Girthing up slowly every time, that sort of thing.)
                      The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                      Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Could be some lingering nerve sensitivity from the galls.

                        Like someone else here said, even though the areas appear completely healed it is new skin & possibly more sensitive to the slightest pinch or rub.

                        I agree with ditching the neoprene girth - my horses never liked mine very much & it did seem to rub even when sweaty.

                        Maybe try an extra-fluffy girth cover?
                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I do have a fluffy girth cover.

                          (I'm not trying to be all like, "no, I already tried that, shut up!" but...I did already try a lot of this. Hence why I'm so stumped. Mentioned the ulcer thing to my BO today to make sure she mentions it when the vet comes out [because the vet is usually there when I can't make it due to work]).
                          The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                          Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Evaluate saddle fit, chiropractic might/will help...and any chance a low grade infection of Lyme or other tick-borne disease may be cropping; up exhibiting itself as Mr. Grumpy?

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Haven't thought about the Lyme but could check his temp since fever seems to go along with it (several horse at the barn have had issues with tick born diseases so you'd think I would've thought of this). He's not off in any other way that I can detect, though.

                              And the past couple of times I've ridden him since I've made this post, the grumps have been noticeably less noticeable (hah) when tacking. I've been taking my time with grooming/stretching before we even get to the tacking part though, and I think that's helping. My instructor suspects it's remembered ouchieness from when he had the girth galls (combined with being bored with ringwork and knowing that's what the saddle means).

                              Some short video of us from yesterday at the end of our ride.
                              The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                              Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It could be something as simple as: horse used to suffer from girth galls and they hurt. Horse is paranoid about pain returning. Rider accidentally pinches horse when tacking up. Horse remembers pain of girth galls and goes on the diffensive for a while.
                                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by analise View Post
                                  I do have a fluffy girth cover.

                                  (I'm not trying to be all like, "no, I already tried that, shut up!" but...I did already try a lot of this. Hence why I'm so stumped. Mentioned the ulcer thing to my BO today to make sure she mentions it when the vet comes out [because the vet is usually there when I can't make it due to work]).
                                  No offense taken.
                                  You could also try a karaya gel pad over the places the girth galls were.
                                  You can pick these up at medical supply stores (they're used for ostomy care).
                                  A friend whose horse had a nasty sore on his withers used these until he healed completely.
                                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Sometimes with Ted I can't determine whether the problem is still there, bothering him, or whether he is just remembering there was a problem and is anticipating the discomfort or pain.

                                    But it does sound like there is something going on.
                                    www.specialhorses.org
                                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      The odd thing about the girthing is that I notice his reaction more when I start it and he's still tied.

                                      I usually don't tighten it all the way until we get in the ring and there I can do it with the reins looped loosely over my arm and he just sort of turns to see what I'm doing, no big deal. I guess I figure if it was real pain (as opposed to remembered pain) he'd react at least as much when I'm making it even tighter.
                                      The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                                      Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        analise, in my massage practice I have come to adore girthy horses because they always make me look good. Perhaps related to the galls, perhaps just coincidental, I'll bet your guy has some degree of pectoral pain. I have yet to meet a girthy horse that didn't have pain here and/or in the trapezius or longissimus (usually with red flags for saddle fit in those cases). I love the jaw-drop followed by a huge grin when I work on the horse, then ask for the saddle and girth up without incidence.

                                        If you have access to a good massage therapist, that could also be an avenue to explore. I always give my clients homework to help the massage "stick" and prevent future problems, as well.
                                        Equinox Equine Massage

                                        In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                                        -Albert Camus

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