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Does your horse have a different personality in the winter?

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  • Does your horse have a different personality in the winter?

    I have a coming 5 year old Connemara X gelding who is the most chill guy starting in April. For the past 2 winters I've brought him to an Indoor for the winter and he's a bit of a basket case. It's been two different indoors. In the winter he's tense and looky and not much fun to ride.

    The minute I get him home to his regular barn he's chill as can be.

    I think the biggest difference is at "home" he has 24x7 turnout. The paddocks aren't huge, but he can just get out and wander a bit when he needs to.

    It makes me wonder if all those tightly wound dressage horses out there would be so much easier to ride if they lived outside...

    Does your horse undergo a personality transplant in the winter?
    ==================
    Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!

    http://reriderandpony.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Yes, my happy, fancy dressage horse/puppy dog hybrid becomes more like a paranoid jerk that can be a fancy dressage horse if you fold his neuroses up in the right way. Summer = look what I can do!! Winter = you're not the boss of me!! He has about the same amount of turnout year round, it's just the temperature for him. The week after he gets clipped I don't even want to deal with him, he acts like someone having a bad LSD experience.

    At the same time, the winter spiciness can lead to some incredible things. If my horse turns his winter crazies into work energy it's one of the best things in the world.

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    • #3
      Yes, my gelding is fresh through most of the winter. The first winter I owned him I thought someone had replaced my laid back boy with a loopy jerk who couldn't stand still and thought everything was going to eat him.
      Sheilah

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      • #4
        ditto inne. My gang is out 24/7 all yr round, and the winter crazies happen regardless. Winter rides can be just unbelievable, in the sense that you feel and capture such unbridled power-- just floating, electric energy. (of course many of those rides, you find yourself wishing for summer's congenial partnership type of ride )

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        • #5
          I know of plenty of horse who get nutty in the winter (or a few who get nutty in the summer) who live and ride in the same place all year. I think the cold weather just gets some horses tight and wound up.
          .

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          • #6
            My TB is a nut in the winter. For the first couple of years that I had him I would lunge him for 10-15 minutes to warm him up. Partly because I wanted him to get exercise without someone on his back, but also because it got really old dealing with the bucking, bolting, and squealing. Like others have said, turnout had nothing to do with it. He was and is out 24/7. As a side note, I notice no difference between his behavior when he's in a stall 24/7 for a couple of weeks (like at a show) and at home, but I notice a huge difference between cold weather and warm weather.

            The rest of my horses are much more "stable" in the winter and act the same as they do in the summer.
            __________________________________
            Flying F Sport Horses
            Horses in the NW

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            • #7
              My TB's like that, too. He goes from a perfect, fun angel to a roaring monster who is forward, forward, forward all the time.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
                I know of plenty of horse who get nutty in the winter (or a few who get nutty in the summer) who live and ride in the same place all year. I think the cold weather just gets some horses tight and wound up.
                This would be my guy - very laid back in the summer, total nut job in the winter.
                http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

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                • #9
                  My TB is like that so I usually pull his shoes and give him the winter off!

                  In my mustang I appreciate a little extra energy so I don't mind as much, although he does get a bit spooky.

                  I will say, though the spring grass has some sort of magical fairy dust in it because when they eat more grass in the spring they are so mellow and happy and, "sure mom, whatever you want" about everything. They are almost always out year-round, except for very bad weather, so it isn't a matter of them getting out more. I think spring grass is like marijuana for them or something - when I bring them back from the pasture to their dry-lot area, they are in a daze for a couple hours and just stand around chillin' out.
                  "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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                  • #10
                    My TB is completely wonderful and complacent in summer, and the biggest jerk I've ever met in winter. I'm pretty sure it is the colder temperatures and the fact that he doesn't like being in the indoor with other horses that causes our problems. This winter, I worked really hard to ride him at quiet times throughout winter and he did quite a bit better.

                    He gets less turnout in winter - smaller space, and also less time (about 4 hours vs. the 8 that he gets in summer), so that is likely also part of it. Because of our weather, he also has more days in winter where he doesn't get turned out at all (days where it is -7 even before windchill, for example, or when the paddocks are pure sheets of ice). On those days, I just absolutely dread dealing with him at night because he is just. so. angry. Although on the days I have put him out for a half hour or so in extreme cold, he has a fit and wants to come in. So, I kind of can't win.

                    For him, it also really helps to ride in the morning in the winter. No real idea why, but he is in a better mood in the morning. Like, a WAY better mood. It seems like he just believes he is supposed to work in the morning, and that's just how it should be. If I ride him in the mornings on the days they get no turnout, he is usually just fine. But if I can't make it out in the morning. Oh boy! I will pay for it!

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                    • #11
                      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I was really beginning to wonder what was going on with my tb. I have had several - this off the track guy is the only one I've noticed that seems to have summer/winter behaviour issues. He's a total jerk at times and it just is not fun those days.

                      Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
                      My TB is a nut in the winter. For the first couple of years that I had him I would lunge him for 10-15 minutes to warm him up. Partly because I wanted him to get exercise without someone on his back, but also because it got really old dealing with the bucking, bolting, and squealing. Like others have said, turnout had nothing to do with it. He was and is out 24/7. As a side note, I notice no difference between his behavior when he's in a stall 24/7 for a couple of weeks (like at a show) and at home, but I notice a huge difference between cold weather and warm weather.

                      The rest of my horses are much more "stable" in the winter and act the same as they do in the summer.
                      The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.
                      H. Cate

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                      • #12
                        One of mine is absolutely NEVER ridden after November 1 or before May; he's the lifetime record holder for one horse bucking me off--THREE TIMES!!

                        But only after Nov. 1; in the summer, he's a sweetheart.

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                        • #13
                          Cold+wind = a squealing Edward Hyde
                          Barn rat for life

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                          • #14
                            I've got one who gets cranky (not crazy) & kind of rude in the winter. At first I thought he didn't love me anymore ;-) Then I realized the same thing happens every year - and he"s also out 24/7.

                            The really funny thing is, his brother (same mom) who lives up north is just the same!
                            Y'all ain't right!

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                            • #15
                              My mare becomes almost a saintly packer in the summer (at her home barn). As much as an overly powerful WB mare can be a saintly packer, that is. It's not that she's that bad in the winter, but she's just edgy, spooky, sensitive, and strong. And in the warm weather (assuming no major wind), she just relaxes to the point that you would think she was on happy pills! She's just soft and happy!
                              Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

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                              • #16
                                For self-presevation, I devote winter to mostly schooling in the indoor and summer to hacks in the fields and woods and schooling in the outdoor. After five years of summer horse/winter horse, it just seems easier.
                                Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)

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                                • #17
                                  WOW I'm so grateful to know it's not that abnormal. Today was a nice day and he was wonderful - actually got some work done.
                                  I can see the self preservation in winter months.
                                  The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.
                                  H. Cate

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Yes, one of my horses does this as well. It's worse this year than last... but there is a lot more mud this winter and he absolutely hates it.
                                    He's super cranky at the moment and it makes me so sad! I try not to take it personally, but sometimes I just want to cuddle without getting rude glances.
                                    http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
                                    The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
                                    Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
                                    Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding

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                                    • #19
                                      Yes, it is good to know I'm not alone. I always figure it's because despite turnout, they're not walking around all day long like they are when grazing. All that said, the fire-breathing foward horse can be pretty fun to ride too-- here's my winter monster zeroing in on a puny 2ft log jump, with enough forward energy to jump a 6ft wall.

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                                      • #20
                                        I don't blame the horses, I get crankier in the winter too

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