Hypersensitive gelding
 
 

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Hypersensitive gelding

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  • Hypersensertive horses
  • Working with the hyper sensitive horse

 
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    11-14-2010, 01:11 PM
  #1
Started
Hypersensitive gelding

I rescued Legacy from the kill pen 6 months ago he is a appaloosa gelding in his late teens-20's, and I've noticed that he is hypersensitive, for instance when I lightly pat him on the neck he shakes his head almost like it itches his ears, and now that I have started riding him even the reins touching him on the neck will make him shake his head, I had the vet out back in july for vaccines,a dental and check up on all of them and when the vet injected him with the sedative he also shook his head(and for the vaccines) She didn't seem to think anything of it, so I wasn't really concerned, but I had massages for the horses set up for yesterday and she wasn't even able to do him because every time she tried to touch him he would do that, it got to the point where he would do it before she even touched him, has anyone ever had a horse do this before, she's going to come back out next saturday and try his massage again(she said he seems very tight, which I figured it would be because he is a high stress horse), but I'd really like to find the underline cause, the vet was very traumatic for him, so ideally i'd rather not put him through an exam until he is due again. This is his kill pen video(from another chance 4 horses to try to get him saved) you can see towards the end he is doing the head shake thing.
Thanks for any help you can give!
     
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    11-14-2010, 06:59 PM
  #2
Green Broke
It was hard to tell because at the end his head was not in the video but the 1st thing I would do is trim his bridle path and get the hair away from his ears. They will shake when the hair is bothering them. Then if it is still an issue another video showing more of it may help
     
    11-14-2010, 07:14 PM
  #3
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by churumbeque    
It was hard to tell because at the end his head was not in the video but the 1st thing I would do is trim his bridle path and get the hair away from his ears. They will shake when the hair is bothering them. Then if it is still an issue another video showing more of it may help
He looks like he is "ear shy"...do you have trouble butting on the bridle?

Sometimes it is just a habit that was learned a long time ago. Try to offer a treat when you touch him, see if you can retrain him to hold his head still for a treat.

Try direct rein instead of neck reining for a while, he looks like he might have been a games horse & maybe had someone handle him roughly. Do a lot of circles & transitions to give him something else to think about.

Probably a learned behavior thing since the vet didn't remark on it. They see a lot of head slinging...

Good luck! He looks like a really nice horse, especially for that age
     
    11-14-2010, 07:28 PM
  #4
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by churumbeque    
It was hard to tell because at the end his head was not in the video but the 1st thing I would do is trim his bridle path and get the hair away from his ears. They will shake when the hair is bothering them. Then if it is still an issue another video showing more of it may help
you could see it a little when he is trotting towards the camera, but this is the only other video I have of him and he only did it once in the beginning http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1498908179&v=app_2392950137#!/video/video.php?v=1656812549040
My battery is dead on my camera and I lost the charger so it will be a little while before I can get another video, I tried to clip the hair around his ears and bridal path but he freaked out over it, started trying to run and then rearing up when he couldn't, he's a very spooky horse, he's been doing much better, but he is still hesitant
     
    11-14-2010, 07:34 PM
  #5
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne    
He looks like he is "ear shy"...do you have trouble butting on the bridle?

Sometimes it is just a habit that was learned a long time ago. Try to offer a treat when you touch him, see if you can retrain him to hold his head still for a treat.

Try direct rein instead of neck reining for a while, he looks like he might have been a games horse & maybe had someone handle him roughly. Do a lot of circles & transitions to give him something else to think about.

Probably a learned behavior thing since the vet didn't remark on it. They see a lot of head slinging...

Good luck! He looks like a really nice horse, especially for that age
Yes he is ear shy, a few weeks after we got him I tried to get a bridal on him and as soon as it came near his ear he threw his head up and just kept freaking out so I gave up and everyday(pretty much) since then I have been making a point of touching his ears, now I can bridal him with very little problems. We rode today and aside from being gate sour he did very well, he wasn't really responding to my leg or rein cues, and I have been off from riding for a while so i'm a little nervous, so I had my friend get on and he listened much better to her, except for he threw a little buck when she tried to get him away from the gate...it's been suggested to try giving him about 250mg of benadryl to see if it's some kind of histamine reaction, but I don't want it to make him too sleepy and he gets hurt, he's out 24/7 with a huge run in and our stall is small so i'd take to lock him in there, we only use it for giving grain to my old gelding because he will chase everyone else away from their food
     
    11-14-2010, 07:35 PM
  #6
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne    
Try to offer a treat when you touch him, see if you can retrain him to hold his head still for a treat.
and yes he will do just about anything for a treat lol
     
    11-14-2010, 08:45 PM
  #7
Green Broke
Just use scissors for his bridle path. Get the blunt tipped kind for safety/

I wonder if it's an inner ear infection? Or he could be just ear shy. If he's ear shy, you just need to keep working with him on rubbing up his neck, giving him lots of treats to make it a positive experience.
     
    11-14-2010, 09:08 PM
  #8
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel1786    
Yes he is ear shy, a few weeks after we got him I tried to get a bridal on him and as soon as it came near his ear he threw his head up and just kept freaking out so I gave up and everyday(pretty much) since then I have been making a point of touching his ears, now I can bridal him with very little problems. We rode today and aside from being gate sour he did very well, he wasn't really responding to my leg or rein cues, and I have been off from riding for a while so i'm a little nervous, so I had my friend get on and he listened much better to her, except for he threw a little buck when she tried to get him away from the gate...it's been suggested to try giving him about 250mg of benadryl to see if it's some kind of histamine reaction, but I don't want it to make him too sleepy and he gets hurt, he's out 24/7 with a huge run in and our stall is small so i'd take to lock him in there, we only use it for giving grain to my old gelding because he will chase everyone else away from their food
No, do not give him any kind of drugs! That is never the answer!

To retrain a horse like that, shower him with kindness. Spend a lot of time grooming & treating (but do not allow biting) and when you get on him, just walk. Make the ride pleasant & let him know there is nothing to fear. It is called training a horse back, and it is a slow process. Everytime you get on him, reward him for standing still & walking calmly. I used to ride a barrel horse that was ring sour & needed to be "repurposed". I would ride him down the road at a walk to a friend's house, then just sit on him while we talked. Then ride him back, tell him how great he was then get off & feed him. He quickly learnt there would be no pressure, no abuse.

That horse became one of the best, sweetest, kid-safe horse I have ever owned. We could do anything on him EXCEPT run barrels!

So it can be done, but you must never act scared, because that will worry a horse. Try to think "boring" while you are riding & you will relax. Do not worry about riding thru gates or anything yet. You will add that back in once he trusts you.

If you ever feel unsafe, just get off & lead him around then get back on & follow the same route. Change him to a snaffle bridle instead of a curb so the cues are different. Learn the one-rein stop & spin him if he acts up, then ask for a slow walk. Eventually, he will decide that he likes this lazy work and then when his mind is thinking, slow walk 7 stop, then you can start asking for more trot & canter. Remember to use lots of circles to keep his mind busy, go one way then the other.

One of the "old timey" cowboy ways of controlling a horse is to twist their ear, makes for a lot of ear shy horses!
     
    11-14-2010, 11:09 PM
  #9
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne    
No, do not give him any kind of drugs! That is never the answer!

To retrain a horse like that, shower him with kindness. Spend a lot of time grooming & treating (but do not allow biting) and when you get on him, just walk. Make the ride pleasant & let him know there is nothing to fear. It is called training a horse back, and it is a slow process. Everytime you get on him, reward him for standing still & walking calmly. I used to ride a barrel horse that was ring sour & needed to be "repurposed". I would ride him down the road at a walk to a friend's house, then just sit on him while we talked. Then ride him back, tell him how great he was then get off & feed him. He quickly learnt there would be no pressure, no abuse.

That horse became one of the best, sweetest, kid-safe horse I have ever owned. We could do anything on him EXCEPT run barrels!

So it can be done, but you must never act scared, because that will worry a horse. Try to think "boring" while you are riding & you will relax. Do not worry about riding thru gates or anything yet. You will add that back in once he trusts you.

If you ever feel unsafe, just get off & lead him around then get back on & follow the same route. Change him to a snaffle bridle instead of a curb so the cues are different. Learn the one-rein stop & spin him if he acts up, then ask for a slow walk. Eventually, he will decide that he likes this lazy work and then when his mind is thinking, slow walk 7 stop, then you can start asking for more trot & canter. Remember to use lots of circles to keep his mind busy, go one way then the other.

One of the "old timey" cowboy ways of controlling a horse is to twist their ear, makes for a lot of ear shy horses!
I normally wouldn't even think about giving any kind of drugs, but it made sense that it could be some kind of allergy or something and I know it's a safe drug so I was going to ask my vet about giving him a dose.
We gave him off for 6 months because he was so nervous when we got him, so we just started working with him last weekend and have only had 4 rides so far, they have all been walking with a little bit of trotting. When I said he's gate sour, I meant that when riding in the ring he wants to be by the gate and i've been having some issues keeping him from going to it. Also I am using a loose ring snaffle on him, the first video is from the kill pen/broker lot they use the same tack on all the horses, I prefer a mild bit. I have a friend who is much more confident then I am so I asked her if she could help me with him, i'm going to try to do light riding on him a few times a week just to get him used to being ridden again since he's been off for so long
     
    11-15-2010, 12:25 AM
  #10
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel1786    
I normally wouldn't even think about giving any kind of drugs, but it made sense that it could be some kind of allergy or something and I know it's a safe drug so I was going to ask my vet about giving him a dose.
We gave him off for 6 months because he was so nervous when we got him, so we just started working with him last weekend and have only had 4 rides so far, they have all been walking with a little bit of trotting. When I said he's gate sour, I meant that when riding in the ring he wants to be by the gate and i've been having some issues keeping him from going to it. Also I am using a loose ring snaffle on him, the first video is from the kill pen/broker lot they use the same tack on all the horses, I prefer a mild bit. I have a friend who is much more confident then I am so I asked her if she could help me with him, i'm going to try to do light riding on him a few times a week just to get him used to being ridden again since he's been off for so long
The work you are doing is correct!

For the gate, work him really hard by the gate, then walk away from it & let him relax. You need to change his mind to think the gate means work, away from the gate means rest. So this can be done on the lunge line first, then you can change to on his back. Take off his tack in the center of the arena, feed him a treat, etc. He thinks the gate means no more work, so you need to make him think that the gate means work. Even try walking him thru the gate, then lunging really hard.
     

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