A bucking mystery - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-18-2009, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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A bucking mystery

Rocky, our 25yr old Appy gelding recently had two weird episodes. Any suggestions are welcome.

We've had him 2 yrs, no problems, other than once, my hubby tried to JUMP/mount him from the ground bareback, and kicked him in the flank , so Rocky helped him off. The last episode before that was about 3 years prior, according to the previous owner, and he was stung by a wasp (as were several other horses on the ride, and he bucked her off, and kept going). Generally, Rocky is very stoic and not reactive, not spooky, and certainly not broncy, the worst habit is that he veers back to the barn.

Sat evening, I was going to ride him, so I had him saddled up, same tack/pad as usual, and was digging in the tack room for his SMBs and when I came out, his eyes bugged out and he reared, then started bucking in place. I got out of the way, he ran bucking the whole way, down the barn aisle, to the end and kept bucking for a minute, then was fine. I peeled the saddle off, looked him over, and assumed he was stung by something, and I killed a wasp in the tack shed. I rode him and he was fine.
But Sunday, I had friends over to ride, and Rocky was tied up, saddled, with a loose cinch. One lady tried to mount him without checking the cinch to see if the stirrups would fit, while he was tied. He bucked her off, kept bucking for a minute, but was very careful not to step on her as she lay there. She said he let out a sad little squeal just before he dumped her. We let him have the day off, and when I unsaddled, he flinched. I can't find anything on him, no burrs or anything on the pad, the saddle fits him the same as it always has, I am careful to groom, and I can't find ANYTHING to trigger it. He's NEVER been like this before, and I would think if it were a back pain, that my riding the night before would have sparked a reaction, but that was before I got on.

Any ideas? He's 25, and this is new,so I doubt it's a training issue, and he is able to gallop in the pasture and jump over puddles just fine, and doesn't react to my poking and pushing on any part of his back,and my being on him didn't trigger it. Do you think the events are related or cooincidence that he may have been stung the day before, and I've never mounted with a loose saddle, so that in itself was the problem the second time, (since he did dump my hubby when goosed in the flank). If he was stung on Sat, the saddle was in the same spot, so I don't see it rubbing or him being stung under it.
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-19-2009, 12:49 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Do you have access to a chiropractor? Preferably one that is a vet too. I would have him checked out thoroughly. He could have something out of whack that only bothers him at certain times. A sting is a possibility, but you'd think you would see a small swelling at least. Was the saddle pad, girth, and breast collar clean?
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-19-2009, 01:16 AM
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I would have the saddle checked by the chiropracter as well if you get one out. Horses are always changing, in muscling, fat, ect., and it would be worth it to make sure that the saddle really does still fit right. Thats one of the most common unchecked things that can cause a horse to suddenly start having bucking fits.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-19-2009, 11:39 PM
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The saddle tree could possibly be broken. I would do some saddle tests before putting it on another horse.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-22-2009, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Well, mystery solved. He has a tiny little scratch, almost invisible,on his sternum, right where tthe cinch pulls tight. I can ride him bareback, or if I readjust where the cinch goes. I'm just releived it isn't a back problem. I had been riding bareback for a week before I saddled him when he had the first "episode" so I think he just laid on something in the pasture. I use the same saddle/cinch on 2 other horses without any issues, so I'm sure it's not the cinch that caused it.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-22-2009, 10:08 AM
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I'm glad you got it figured out. I was going to suggest going over his back and ribs for broken or cracked ribs, even clipping off the hair if any lumps or bumps were detected. If I had a booboo I wouldn't want someone sitting on it or strapping something to it either

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-22-2009, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Vida, I tried all sorts of experiments to see if it was his back, including using one of my surcingles to cinch up, and he flexed really hard and literally popped it off his back, it went flying. (the stitching gave way). But I put my saddle on, not cinched at all, and he didn't react.

So I had hubby help, and we got a brand new, clean, cinch, put a rope on either end, and with nothing on his back, put it where it would go if saddled, then he on one side, I on the other, pulled upward gently and Rocky bucked at that. So we scooted it forward and back, and sure enough, just in the one spot did he react. I got on my knees and looked, and saw a teeny little scab, and I can push on it just so, and he'll tense up. So I quit torturing him, I rode him 1/2 hr bareback, and he was his sweet, old self. I was looking up chiropractors not 2 hours before we figured it out.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-22-2009, 05:40 PM
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glad you figured it out!

interesting though how you rode him in the saddle and he didn't react. Maybe the cinch was in a different spot?
appylover31803 is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 05-22-2009, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I think that because it wasn't too tight, it adjusted when he had his fit, then I pulled the whole thing off, and perhaps it wasn't in the exact spot, lucky for me. LOL I like riding him bareback anyways, so in the mean time it's no trouble.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-22-2009, 09:10 PM
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Interesting story. I really like how you located the trouble spot. Good detective work!
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