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Terrified to Ride My Horse (Update on Page 7/8)

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  • #61
    KandC, I know your horse, took him to his first horse show He is an amazing athlete. I haven't quite made it through this thread but going to go back and read everything. Feel free to PM me, let me know where you guys are at now. Oh, and please give him some hugs & kisses for me, I really adored him.
    EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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    • #62
      I don't know you or the horse, but I think when you start developing an anxiety issue with a horse it can be hard to overcome. It's impossible to pretend that you have confidence that you don't have, and riding fearfully invariably makes the situation worse.

      I know everyone jumps on the saddle fit/ulcer/dental bandwagon when a horse starts acting up, but I've not ever really had good success TRULY fixing a horse through those routes. Quirky and difficult horses usually seem to remain quirky and difficult. IMO, and I'm just one of many voices here, I'd go ahead and sell the horse. It isn't a match. Horses are expensive to keep. Trials of full training and gastrogard and vet workups are pricey. Are you really having that much fun with this horse for it to be worth making that investment? Is it worth risking your own confidence (and potentially your own safety) to try to make things work out with this horse? I really don't care how "nice" or how "athletic" a horse is. If I don't enjoy them, or I don't feel confident riding them, too bad. In your situation it's lucky that the horse has some nice qualities as that will make the horse easier to sell.

      From reading your previous posts, it sounds like you are a competent rider. I'm sure there are MANY horses out there that would suit you and provide a lot of enjoyment for you. There's no need to pour your resources into a horse that isn't a good fit.

      Comment


      • #63
        I couldn't have said it better. Sometimes it's not a good match in your environment, with your schedule. He's going to rear and buck and act out given the right circumstances the rest of his life. It's often harder to move on and let something go then to keep persisting. Smart athletic horses especially can be a tough ride, they demand leadership that some people just don't have (that would be me). Others have also suggested ground work -- it can be a real confidence booster to do the whole flag waving/join up thing and really communicate with the horse. Just do your research so you don't follow a charlatan. I have been in your situation and it was a real ephiphany to me. Recognizing our own limitations is one of the toughest things. It doesn't mean that you couldn't learn and grow later on, and love a horse like this, but for now, he doesn't sound like a good match.

        Quirky and difficult horses usually seem to remain quirky and difficult. IMO, and I'm just one of many voices here, I'd go ahead and sell the horse. It isn't a match. Horses are expensive to keep. Trials of full training and gastrogard and vet workups are pricey. Are you really having that much fun with this horse for it to be worth making that investment? Is it worth risking your own confidence (and potentially your own safety) to try to make things work out with this horse? I really don't care how "nice" or how "athletic" a horse is. If I don't enjoy them, or I don't feel confident riding them, too bad. In your situation it's lucky that the horse has some nice qualities as that will make the horse easier to sell.

        Comment


        • #64
          OP, I would highly recommend a back X-ray. What you are describing to me sounds very much like KS behavior. Especially working well on the lunge and not under saddle. Recommendations based on my experience would be to 1) treat for ulcers 2) get back x-rays. Back X-rays are not terribly expensive, and you can spend a lot of money going in many false directions. Ask me how I know...

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          • Original Poster

            #65
            The biggest reason why I'm still willing to give him the chance (and yes, a lot of you will judge me, and yes, it's stupid and probably not the best use of my time/money) is because he reminds me so much of my beloved retiree in personality. And that horse was difficult and quirky, until he wasn't. I got so mad at him I threw him out into a field for 3 months, and came back to him, and started lunging, and evaluating saddle fit, and basically re-started him to help build his confidence and my confidence!

            So while I am willing to give the quirks and difficult a chance, I do want to be safe(r) than I was when I was 18. And this time, I'm not afraid to ask for help from forums, vets, and trainers. I just need to let go of the perfectionism, regain a sense of humor, and re-learn how to relax in the saddle (and yes, that includes confidence building rides on a retired, quirky horse). BUT I do have a time limit- if we haven't made progress by the end of the winter, he may not be the horse for me.

            These posts have given me a lot of perspective, helped me feel better if/when I do throw in the towel, and given me some potential problems I can troubleshoot. But oh man, I really want to feel his jump again, because it is super fun.
            About my horses and my riding:http://krseq.blogspot.com

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            • #66
              Get him tested!!! Everything you are describing is exactly what happened to my horse. I had pro after pro ride him thinking he was just being a jerk. Test him for EPM and Lyme. My horse tested positive for EPM we treated him and now he is 100% back to his old self. Word for word my horse had the same symptoms I really suggest testing him for these two things!

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              • Original Poster

                #67
                Saddle fitter comes out today!
                Hopped on him last week for a walk trot session after a short lunge in all the gaits both directions and he was an angel. Fingers crossed I find a fix!
                About my horses and my riding:http://krseq.blogspot.com

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                • #68
                  Curious minds want to know, did the saddle fitter find anything?
                  http://trainingcupid.blogspot.com/

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                  • #69
                    One thing that popped out to me was your anxiety level. Horses really pick up on human emotions, and if you are feeling really nervous and anxious, he will to. It's really hard to relax on a horse that you just don't quite trust, and he must feel that. I know personally, I have high blood pressure, and when I forget to take my medication, I can really feel it, and it shows up in my riding, if that makes sense. I get super tense, and feel shaky. My horse will absolutely pick up on it, and wonders what the heck is wrong? It's a vicious circle, so I really try to relax, and do whatever else I can to keep calm. (Including taking the darn blood pressure pills!!)

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                    • #70
                      I haven't read all four pages here. And obviously, any pain or illness issues need to be investigated. And going back to do some ground work is always valuable. But I just thought I would chime in with one thought about your anxiety level regarding riding this horse.

                      It is not uncommon to have anxiety raise it's ugly head, when horrible things happen while riding your horse. If you are having an issue with putting that behind you, a crutch may be helpful for both you and your horse to get past this. I ride alone here, and have no young buckaroo rider to take over when I have a problem, so I have used a crutch at times, with certain horses. Atravet (acepromazine) is the crutch. It's not immoral, or illegal, to keep yourself safe, and ensure a drama free, relaxing ride for both you and your horse. Your stress level will reduce, over time, with a number of relaxing, drama free rides. When both of you are stressed, your anxiety bounces off each other like a vicious circle, and fear gains the upper hand. Atravet will break the cycle, by reducing your horse's stress levels, brought about by pain issues, anger because of the pain issues (that are now solved), and the tension you both feel about what has happened between the two of you. At first, YOU will still feel the anxiety you feel, but your horse won't likely notice it, so won't react to it. You don't need a lot of atravet, you don't want him to be stumbling and sleepy, just relaxed and stress free. You are not going to be jumping big courses. So how much you need to use is dependent on how susceptible your horse is to the drug. Maybe half a cc in the vein, as you groom and tack up. It will take only a couple minutes to take effect. If that is OK and the ride goes well or is still tense, you can adjust this dose up or down or keep it the same as required in future rides. Over a few weeks, your anxiety about riding the horse is reduced. You are physically fitter again from riding regularly, your timing and reactions to your horse are more available to you, and you have some confidence back that you now lack. You can still interact with your horse while riding with atravet, he is just less counter reactive. He also will enjoy this, he will remember the stress free riding sessions, and he will like you on his back in a relaxed state. Everyone relaxes. He won't forget this in coming rides, as the atravet is withdrawn, slowly, over a few weeks, until you are riding him without the crutch again.

                      Yes, it's a cheat, it's a crutch. But sometimes a crutch that keeps you and your horse stay safe while you rework your relationship can be helpful to attaining the harmony you seek between the two of you. The atravet is not only for the horse, it is for you too, though it is the horse who gets the injection. This is an excellent opportunity for you to develop or improve your IV injecting skills, a valuable and sometimes lifesaving skill to have.

                      Just an option for you to consider before giving up and getting rid of the horse.
                      www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        I don't know about drugging the horse. First of all, she would have to get this medication from the vet, correct? Do vets give this out freely? This seems like it could be an invitation to disaster -- wrong dose, something goes wrong...I would certainly use this as a last resort. Do others do this regularly for this kind of situation?

                        I would be much more inclined to sell any horse I had to drug for weeks so I could ride it.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          I personally don't think that acepromazine is part of the solution to situations where a rider is afraid to ride their horse. A horse will invariably be uncomfortable following and obeying a tense or fearful rider, medicated or not. Ace doesn't fix that. And horses CAN still act up or act out while on ace. They also can react differently to situations. And acepromazine does not treat pain, so if the horse is having a physical/medical issue, ace is also not going to help that.

                          Personally, I think that acepromazine is more useful for other situations--horses coming off of layups or vacations, for example, or flighty horses facing exciting (non-competitive) riding conditions.

                          I would probably NOT use ace in a situation where a horse was acting out for inexplicable reasons. I feel like you need to get to the bottom of what is going on, first. Also, I would not use ace as part of the solution to a situation where a rider was fearful. I don't think that sedatives for the horse are a fix for the problem of needing a more confident rider.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Kwill View Post
                            I don't know about drugging the horse. First of all, she would have to get this medication from the vet, correct? Do vets give this out freely? This seems like it could be an invitation to disaster -- wrong dose, something goes wrong...I would certainly use this as a last resort. Do others do this regularly for this kind of situation?

                            I would be much more inclined to sell any horse I had to drug for weeks so I could ride it.
                            Yes, it is readily available from a vet, not a restricted drug. You simply ask to purchase a bottle of it. Syringes with needles are available at a pharmacy or some tack/equipment stores. The dose is easy to measure, one simply draws it into a syringe. If you ask, your vet can show you how to do an IV injection, a skill that ALL horsemen should seek to master IMO, as it can be a lifesaver for your horse in an emergency situation. Atravet also goes IM if necessary, and/or oral (but takes longer to take effect with both these methods). It is a commonly used drug, a mild tranquilizer, stress reliever. It is also useful and directed for use for tying up (muscle cramps), and lamenitis ( both due to it's ability to open blood vessels), and useful in shipping horses, also as a stress reliever. Anxiety in horses can be a killer, both for the horse, and for the rider. It's a short term crutch, to be used and withdrawn over time as anxiety is reduced in both partners. And it works when used this way. If a horse is tense, has baggage from previous physical issues or poor training or whatever is the source of the baggage, atravet "works" to relieve tension. That's what it does. It doesn't make an unbroke horse into a broke horse, it doesn't change a "bronc" into a school pony. But it does relieve stress, and is useful in the manner that I have described.

                            If you are too anxious to ride your own horse yourself, how do you recommend that horse to another rider and sell it to someone else? Where does that horse end up?

                            www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              I don't have an objection to the use of acepromazine in general. But, a horse that is bucking and rearing due to pain or some other training issue is not a good candidate for acepromazine. Ace doesn't fix pain or training issues. And while it does reduce symptoms of stress and tension, it does NOT reliably stop a horse from rearing or bucking. If you choose to use ace in a horse with behavioral problems, you still need a rider that is strong enough and confident enough to deal with those problems.

                              If the OP described her horse as having issues with nerves or tension in certain circumstances that was undermining her otherwise confident riding of the horse, then trying some ace might be reasonable.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Been there, done that. It's funny how much your confidence takes a nose dive in your mid-20s when you suddenly realize all the VERY BAD THINGS that can happen to you and how they can affect your non-horsey life (ability to pay the bills, etc.). I really do feel for you, OP, and it sounds like this horse has your number.

                                Out of curiosity, would you mind PM-ing me your general area? Given your KY native/AL transplant description and fresh-out-of-vet school history, I am guessing that we are probably in close geographic proximity. If that is the case, I'd be happy to recommend some local trainers who are very good at figuring out what is going on with horses like this.

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  I believe any sudden change in behavior is cause for further investigation into physical issues. I do agree with checking the back. I also feel like many people jump to selling without first looking into the physical issues, and without working through their anxiety and issue with the horse. Assuming the horse is not regularly launching you into the next county, I think it's a good idea to work through issues with that horse.

                                  I have anxiety too, and I have also worked through issues on a few of my horses over the years. I have found this to not only HELP my anxiety tremendously and increase my confidence, but also improve my relationship with the horse. No relationship is without it's hurdles, and I think with taking ownership of a new horse, there are bumps in the road. I came off my new 5 yr old twice already. We've worked through things and now we are doing really well and making good strides. I agree you need to be safe, and agree there can be bad matches, but I also think people can be quick to jump outta things when the going gets rough.

                                  Sounds like you are committed to at least really trying with this horse, so kudos to you! I hope you can work through this hurdle and come out better for it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    My two cents, well, horses can change a lot when they change environments. They can change a lot with feed and turn out changes. You can try to find pain and resolve issues and investigate those for YEARS.
                                    horses are not like dogs, they are more like men. One can be great on paper and just not be the right one for you. And they can move on to another life and be much much happier, and you can be happier.
                                    my philosophy, after having many, some worked, others didn't even after years of trying, is that this is a hobby that you should enjoy and if you don't, move them on.
                                    You have not failed if you move that horse on to a more suitable situation for him and get a horse you can enjoy. We pay a LOT of money to have this hobby, and there are a lot of horses out there. Struggling with a horse can take its tole on your confidence and pocketbook. You can keep trying and it could go on a very long time and never really be resolved. You have investigated a lot of avenues and it seems like the professional rider likes him so he could go on to a great home. Don't beat yourself up and move him on and get a horse you can enjoy! I know, it's a bitch finding one, but when you do you will have a lot more fun and quality time than if you pursue this. Like I said, just my two cents. I wish you well and really feel for you.
                                    Im not going to go into my personal stories. I have struggled through and have had the heart horse of my life. I have struggled through and sold some. We change and have different needs from horses. Your barn time should be a time of bliss. Don't let it become that nagging and constant struggle that never happens. People will always have suggestions. The Ace thing is a big mistake, trust me. Follow your gut above all. But I my advice is to sell him and get a nice horse that you enjoy.

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      Originally posted by Montanas_Girl View Post
                                      Been there, done that. It's funny how much your confidence takes a nose dive in your mid-20s when you suddenly realize all the VERY BAD THINGS that can happen to you and how they can affect your non-horsey life (ability to pay the bills, etc.). I really do feel for you, OP, and it sounds like this horse has your number.
                                      Very well put! Many of us are very familiar with having periods or life phases where our confidence on a horse, particularly a green or spirited horse, has wavered. I think this is normal. I went through a period like this in my 20s where I had all the thoughts MG describes. I went through another period like this when I had children. During those times, I was not able to ride green or difficult horses. Though my skills were fine, my lack of confidence and underlying tension was painfully obvious to the horses in those categories when I tried to ride them. I tried to push myself to ride those horses anyway, but it was a downhill slide. I had to set green horses aside for a while.

                                      xeroxchick , your post is beautiful and on point.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #79
                                        Saddle fitter found tightness through the shoulder (he's pretty atrophied through there) and the panels were not a good fit in firmness/shape, so we are on the hunt for a new saddle, and the first saddle rep will be out tomorrow!

                                        My life has taken a bit of an unfortunate turn on the financial level so I am holding off on EPM/Lyme testing/full lameness exam for a month or two, until I can get that stabilized out (before the lectures, parents are there as a safety net for any catastrophic vet bill that is unavoidable as well as to help out with a new saddle, but won't humor my small animal vet shotgun workup approach until saddle fit has been addressed).

                                        On the bright side, he is now A+ at his vocal lunge commands, and has been an angel for W/T under saddle. The canter is his ouchiest gait right now, so we are waiting on a better fitting saddle before returning to cantering and jumping. For what it's worth he seems more comfortable if he is moving laterally or straight, and less comfortable on circles 20 m or smaller.

                                        I am in the same boat as TWH Girl, where if I give up now that will only damage my confidence further. I like the quirkier, diamond in the rough horses, and I like a small challenge. I just want to be safe about my challenges and get *my* anxiety under control. I'm also hoping once I'm out of my current job situation, my anxiety will lessen more. I tend to forgive horses very quickly, and while I'm still nervous to ride him, it's not a blind terror, it's a healthy back of my mind fear of what he can do.

                                        Won't be riding him with Ace; I'd rather try to find the root of the problem, and go from there. A lot of my anxiety will dissipate if I feel like he is comfortable under saddle.
                                        About my horses and my riding:http://krseq.blogspot.com

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          Originally posted by KandC View Post
                                          Saddle fitter found tightness through the shoulder (he's pretty atrophied through there) and the panels were not a good fit in firmness/shape, so we are on the hunt for a new saddle, and the first saddle rep will be out tomorrow!

                                          My life has taken a bit of an unfortunate turn on the financial level so I am holding off on EPM/Lyme testing/full lameness exam for a month or two, until I can get that stabilized out (before the lectures, parents are there as a safety net for any catastrophic vet bill that is unavoidable as well as to help out with a new saddle, but won't humor my small animal vet shotgun workup approach until saddle fit has been addressed).

                                          On the bright side, he is now A+ at his vocal lunge commands, and has been an angel for W/T under saddle. The canter is his ouchiest gait right now, so we are waiting on a better fitting saddle before returning to cantering and jumping. For what it's worth he seems more comfortable if he is moving laterally or straight, and less comfortable on circles 20 m or smaller.

                                          I am in the same boat as TWH Girl, where if I give up now that will only damage my confidence further. I like the quirkier, diamond in the rough horses, and I like a small challenge. I just want to be safe about my challenges and get *my* anxiety under control. I'm also hoping once I'm out of my current job situation, my anxiety will lessen more. I tend to forgive horses very quickly, and while I'm still nervous to ride him, it's not a blind terror, it's a healthy back of my mind fear of what he can do.

                                          Won't be riding him with Ace; I'd rather try to find the root of the problem, and go from there. A lot of my anxiety will dissipate if I feel like he is comfortable under saddle.
                                          Smart Calm Ultra has really help my sensitive new 5 yr old. Huge difference and as a result, we are doing great and my confidence is up. Worth a try.

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