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horse throwing himself? - figured it out! pg 3

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  • horse throwing himself? - figured it out! pg 3

    Need some ideas here, guys! I have a 3yo colt who just moved to a new barn and the new trainer called to say he's out of control - which represents a 180 degree change. This boy is the most mild mannered, quietest, bombproofest colt in the world. But, the new trainer couldn't get him on the track - he threw himself in the shedrow and then threw himself into a ditch with a rider up. He also has been attacking other horses in the barn. NONE of this is like this colt and both I the trainer that had him before are shocked and stumped.

    This colt hasn't been stabled on this backside before, but he has been shipped in to breeze on this track and has been in the receiving barn stalls - and has been totally professional and a joy to handle (I've seen this first hand). He was previously at a private training center, but he has been hauled other places to just get bombproofed and has always been easy to handle. He was moved to the new trainer just to finish him prior to running. He was previously stalled in a barn with screens b/w the stalls so he had contact with the other horses, but was fine with colts and geldings.

    This is a colt who everyone is shocked to find out is still intact and we left him intact specifically because he is so quiet. Gelding him is of course an option, but I'm not sure that's really the problem here. The trainer says he doesn't think he is in pain. I've ridden the horse and handle him regularly so I really know him and know this is new behavior.

    The trainer is going to give him a couple of days but if he doesn't improve, he's not going to keep him. I'm going to watch him gallop (or attempt to gallop) Monday to see if I can get a better idea of what is going on. I was going to go tomorrow, but the trainer says he thinks he is going to be too banged up from his antics today to gallop tomorrow. I have not used this trainer before, so this is really awkward. I don't want to be stuck with a problem horse, so I want to nip this in the bud and I also don't want to get a reputation of having crazy horses.

    My first thought was the horse was in pain, but the trainer says the colt just wants to be in charge and is throwing tantrums.

    I'd appreciate any input if any of you have had a similar situation.
    Last edited by SleepyFox; Apr. 3, 2008, 05:27 PM.

  • #2
    What's he eating? Has his diet been changed recently?

    Is there something different in the way he's being handled now? Personality clash?

    It sounds like the behavior has come about too suddenly to be a case of feeling his hormones, but that's always a possibility.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ulcers.

      Comment


      • #4
        checklist

        1) what's this trainer's reputation?
        2) who does he have riding him?
        3) check his mouth- he's at the right age where teeth are popping up all over the place
        4) very well could be testing his new surroundings and new handlers
        5) how long has he been at the new track? maybe he needs to settle.
        6) is the feed the same? hay the same?
        7) is he stressed out? In pain because of ulcers?
        8) is he just being a sh**? after all he's 3 and a colt
        9) if he's doing average on the track and you don't plan on breeding with him, maybe consider gelding? It would make life easier.

        I hope you look into it further. You don't want him to get a bad reputation.
        www.littlekentuckyfarm.com
        Thoroughbred Training and Sales

        Comment


        • #5
          seems very odd. it might be that the horse is being handled differently and objects to that form of handling ... but without seeing the behavior its really hard to speculate. cheers, alex

          Comment


          • #6
            drugs?

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks, everyone, for the good suggestions!! Answers to questions are below..

              Originally posted by LKF View Post
              1) what's this trainer's reputation? stellar
              2) who does he have riding him? I don't know, former trainer's excercise rider has offered to go get on him to see if it's a rider problem, we'll see if that really happens
              3) check his mouth- he's at the right age where teeth are popping up all over the place good idea, will do it when I go see him
              4) very well could be testing his new surroundings and new handlers yes... during breaking, a friend wanted to try him, plopped a western saddle on him (instead of flat tack), and the sweet little colt turned into a bronc - bucking him off repeatedly. Could be going thru something similar now?
              5) how long has he been at the new track? maybe he needs to settle. One and half days. I agree w/ the settling but trainer thinks he's way worse than he should be for being unsettled
              6) is the feed the same? hay the same? I believe the feed is the same and hay is similar
              7) is he stressed out? In pain because of ulcers? He shows no other signs of ulcers or stress
              8) is he just being a sh**? after all he's 3 and a colt This is what the trainer thinks, but wow, it's a big change in a hurry
              9) if he's doing average on the track and you don't plan on breeding with him, maybe consider gelding? It would make life easier. You'll laugh,but the concern has been that he'll be TOO quiet if we cut him. As of Tuesday, he was still quiet, so I dunno here. It's definitely a possibility, if need be.

              I hope you look into it further. You don't want him to get a bad reputation.
              Yeah, me either!!


              What's he eating? Has his diet been changed recently?

              Is there something different in the way he's being handled now? Personality clash?

              It sounds like the behavior has come about too suddenly to be a case of feeling his hormones, but that's always a possibility.
              Diet is pretty much the same. I think it's the same feed and the hay is similar. It really may be a personality clash - he's in a big barn now and is just a number whereas he has always been in small barns where he's been the center of attention with everyone taking their time with him. I'm thinking the same thing regarding the hormones, Barnfairy.

              seems very odd. it might be that the horse is being handled differently and objects to that form of handling ... but without seeing the behavior its really hard to speculate. cheers, alex
              Thank you, Alex - your statement makes me feel better about wanting to go see this first hand. I'm sure the new trainer is less than thrilled about me wanting to witness this, but you're exactly right - it helps to see it.

              Comment


              • #8
                I woudn't feel bad for wanting to see him first hand! I'd definitely want to see for myself what he's doing. I'm not an expert, but my first guess would be a severe case of spoiled brat-itis.

                And I don't mean you spoiled him. I've had a few babies throw MAJOR hissy fits when they realize the good life is over and it's time to work. A lot of times it's the friendly, interactive ones that you'd never expect it from.

                One of the first babies I ever broke I had with me from weaning until 2 year old. She was sweet as could be 90% of the time, but man oh man, the devil in her would come out every time she was presented with something new. She would also throw herself when at her worst. The owner ended up naming her after me... I wasn't sure if I should be flattered or offended by the gesture.
                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm wondering if this horse is going out alone or in company? Also, what was he used to before? Maybe he needs a buddy to walk out with, if thats what he's been used to.

                  I'm sure you will have more answers when you go see him. I agree with having his teeth checked, and also check out the equipment they are training him in. Sometimes little changes will have big effects.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    [QUOTE=Acertainsmile;2993398]I'm wondering if this horse is going out alone or in company? Also, what was he used to before? Maybe he needs a buddy to walk out with, if thats what he's been used to. QUOTE]
                    They took him out alone, but he's used to going both alone and in company and has done both at this track and is the same behavior-wise either way. I wonder if a pony would help.

                    I'm wondering about the equipment, too. He's never even used a cavesson, so if they cranked a noseband tight on him he might have been unhappy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would think the trainer would automatically take him out with a pony after the 1st days episode...as things like this can quickly become a habit/game....

                      Also, it will be interesting to see what kind of pads they are using, some trainers use the big foam pads, compared to the contoured pad with a saddle towel.

                      Wondering how big the rider is, and how good an excersise rider this person getting on him is... Just because the trainer has a stellar reputation, doesnt mean he doesnt have a lousy or green excersise rider in his barn. (This very well may be the case, since your horse had a good reputation going into this barn)...I'm wondering if the trainer has tried a different rider?

                      These things still seem minor (except for the rider scenario) to create such a reaction, but I guess you never know...

                      I'm going to add one more thing, after reading your post again... on the aggresivness... any chance your former trainer gave him steroids? I would be calling the vet who worked on him just to ask that question... if not, you may seriously want to geld him ASAP.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        talked to the trainer...

                        and they didn't gallop him today since he'd banged himself up yesterday throwing himself. So they put him on the walking wheel with a saddle and he threw himself as soon as the wheel tugged on him. They took the saddle off and he was fine.

                        He tried to throw himself one other time when the rider was first legged up. But, we gave adjusted the girth and he was fine, so we assumed it was that he was pinched. Never really thought about it again. But maybe they are either tightening the girth too quickly or he's getting pinched somehow?

                        At least the trainer was more friendly today and said we'd work with it on Monday and even borrow a roundpen if need be. Now he's saying "we'll get it straightened out" instead of "you might have to come get him."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, that is interesting...LOL...sounds like it could be a couple of things...my first pick would be that he's really girthy, and they are not giving him a chance to come out of it... alot of barns will tighten the girth, lead them out of the stall, and throw a rider up... Instead of giving them a turn around the barn...

                          I'm wondering if this is whats going on, if they are using a good girth cover, not those cheesy material ones.

                          I had a filly that was super girthy, and I had my chiro take a look at her... I believe it was her 5th vertabrae was out of whack, which apparently causes a horse to be girthy... she adjusted her and I could really see a difference.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                            I'm going to add one more thing, after reading your post again... on the aggresivness... any chance your former trainer gave him steroids? I would be calling the vet who worked on him just to ask that question... if not, you may seriously want to geld him ASAP.
                            I don't think so. We specifically talked about keeping him intact so we didn't have to give him steroids. But, I don't know for sure, of course. The horse has always been fine with the old trainer - I mean, I've seen him, handled him, etc - he's like a gelding. And it wouldn't make sense for the old trainer to spend the $$ to give him steroids just prior to him shipping out, would it?

                            I also thought maybe the old trainer had him sedated, but again, it wouldn't wear off over night.

                            I specifically told the new trainer to not give him steroids without talking to me first, but it is possible that the vet was there the day he shipped in and he was treated anyway. It's crossed my mind.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SleepyFox View Post
                              I'm wondering about the equipment, too. He's never even used a cavesson, so if they cranked a noseband tight on him he might have been unhappy.
                              ...especially if he does have an ouchy molar situation going on.

                              For this behavior to have come about within 48 hours, I'm thinking it really leans towards equipment or handling (with the possibility of this being an underlying physical issue that manifests itself because of new equipment.)

                              I'd think if he were prone to babyhissyfititis, you'd have seen at least hints of it before now. Same with ulcers or environment (though I certainly have seen normally bombproof horses suddenly react outwardly when pushed beyond their limit, including one very sad case in which a horse that had just had enough of being in an overstimulating environment --he had been trailered to the beach for a local riding club's day-long outing-- reared, flipped, and died of his injuries. Tragic.)

                              While I totally understand it is important to allow a trainer to "do his thing" and not get in the way, on the other hand...if this were my horse you can bet I'd be there to see first hand exactly what is going on.

                              LKF, I love your check list, btw.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I dont think your former trainer would pay for the drugs himself... that would just show up on next months vet bill...LOL...

                                It will be very interesting to see what you find when you get out there!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                                  Well, that is interesting...LOL...sounds like it could be a couple of things...my first pick would be that he's really girthy, and they are not giving him a chance to come out of it... alot of barns will tighten the girth, lead them out of the stall, and throw a rider up... Instead of giving them a turn around the barn...

                                  I'm wondering if this is whats going on, if they are using a good girth cover, not those cheesy material ones.

                                  I had a filly that was super girthy, and I had my chiro take a look at her... I believe it was her 5th vertabrae was out of whack, which apparently causes a horse to be girthy... she adjusted her and I could really see a difference.
                                  Good advice - I suggested back pain to the trainer this morning and he sort of snorted - chiro could be a hard sell. But, yeah, I'm really getting curious about how they are saddling this guy. Why can't anything just be easy??

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Ideas

                                    I would have his back gone over, since he threw the first hissy fit with a western saddle and you do know that he is girthy and went bonkers with the saddle on when he was put on the walker, it is possible that something is going on with neck or back.
                                    "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                                      I dont think your former trainer would pay for the drugs himself... that would just show up on next months vet bill...LOL...

                                      It will be very interesting to see what you find when you get out there!
                                      Well, that's just it - he'd have to pay it himself since he knows I would flip out if saw it on a bill - after we DIDN'T geld the horse. Or maybe I'd just get a "tack charge" or something.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The more info you get, it definitely sounds physical...
                                        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

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