Advice desperatley needed

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Advice desperatley needed

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  • Which hurts navicular horses? uphill or downhill?

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    08-31-2013, 06:02 PM
Advice desperatley needed

So I'm having some issues with my horse that isin't very commonly seen. Basically what he is doing is the opposite of what a horse who is barn sour would do. He does not want to go back home to his stall. The way the stable ground is situated is they have the riding arenas up at the top of a hill and the barns at the bottom. My horse does great going up the hill to the arena and is perfectly quite safe and sane in the arena. But yesterday we had a huge issue with not wanting to go back home. As soon as we walk out of the arena and start our way down the hill (dirt with two slopes) he starts backing up. Our first effort going down, he decided to buck on the level part separating the slopes and then started backing up until we almost bumped into one of the arenas. Once he bucked I could not get him to move forward, just kept on backing.

So I then hopped off, hand walked him up and down the hill about 5 times so he can see there is nothing to spook at, and he was fine. So I got back on him, walked him back into the arena, to get him safely under control again and walked out, we got maybe to the top of the first slop when he started backing up. Usually if he backs he grabs the bit and takes control. So I was quickly able to stop him from backing by putting him in a circle until he let go of the bit and moved forward. I took him out of the circle and walked him forward to the top of the slope. Again once we were there he started backing up. So I decided to try something different and had him walk down the first slope backwards. We got down to the bottom of the first slope until he once again realized we were going back home and started backing up once again.

After finding out backing didn't do any good I walked him back up to the arena and got him quite and controlled again then started to walk him out slowly and each time he would threaten to back up I circled him back into the arena and repeated. Each time he was going to back up I repeated and each time he behaved I let him go forward, mind you this was for maybe only 5 steps before he would start backing again.

I tried this for just over an hour and I hate to say it gave up, partly do to heat exhaustion and hopped off for good and hand walked him back to his stall, which he acted just fine going down the hill.

Mind you this was after a half our of light he has arthritis in his knees and navicular in his leg, and is sound enough for trotting and light canter work.

Has anyone dealt with a horse with this kind of issue? And any idea what else I can do. He also does this out on trail, so I don't go out anymore but I can't just not go out into the arenas like trails, so I have to somehow break him of this habit which also feels a bit like a power struggle and when he does this, he's a completely different and unpredictable horse.
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    08-31-2013, 06:10 PM
I think it has more to do with going downhill with a rider aboard. The saddle may be hurting him, or his is "out" somewhere and going downhill with a rider aboard hurts, and he knows it.
Wallaby, smrobs, Walkamile and 6 others like this.
    08-31-2013, 06:12 PM
Super Moderator
To me, since you say he has arthritis in his knees and some navicular changes, it almost sounds like he might be avoiding going down those hills because it hurts?
Perhaps the added weight of a rider, while going downhill, is just too much. [downhill forces him to put quite a bit of weight on his front legs, one at a time, in a way that doesn't happen going uphill or on the flat]

Does he do a similar thing out on the trail, when faced with a similar slope?

ETA: I agree 100% with TinyLiny!!
    08-31-2013, 06:30 PM
Hi tinylily and wallaby thank you for responding.

The last time I took him out on trail was at my old stables last summer. The only hill that we had to encounter was at the gate entrance leading down to the trail. Going out of the stables *downhill* he was ok, he just took his time slowly going down the hill. But on the way back if I were to use the same I entered he would act like this, and mind you out on trail he did far worse than what he's doing now, even on a flat path like a dirt road, it didn't seem to matter to him weather we were in a Euclayptus forest, dry riverbed, or dirt path. As soon as we were headed in the direction towards home, he would snort, paw, rear, buck, kick out, and grab the bit, lock his jaw and walk backwards as fast as he could. When we went out on trail we almost went down the side of a hill, landed in a dried up riverbed, backed up into a tree, and even a house. I had gone out alone, with riders, even had one lady circle her horse around mine to try to get him to go forward, had someone on the ground grab on to his bridle and try to make him walk forward. But nothing would work, so I would always just have to hop off and walk back to the barn with a psycho horse. So I just stopped going all together after giving up.

But like going out yesterday to the arenas he was perfectly fine and perfectly quite riding. Out on trail he would act like a seasoned trail horse until he realized we were heading home. I even tried tricking him a few times and would head back at different points on the trail but that didn't work either.

So I could see if going down hill with a rider, and possibly saddle issues would hurt one, his back, and two his legs because he would be anticipating the pain and would therefore react in anticipation. But last when I would have him go down the hill to the trail entrance, he acted fine, though it has been a year so I don't know if his arthritis has further inflamed since then.
    08-31-2013, 06:41 PM
Very odd. So, is he tortured at the barn, so he fears going back?

I am just kidding! Totally kidding.
    08-31-2013, 06:51 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
very odd. So, is he tortured at the barn, so he fears going back?

I am just kidding! Totally kidding.
LOL if only that were the case, then it would explain everything I even had one rider, say to me yesterday your horse must be the only horse who does not want to go back home.

Some past advice that I had been given when he acted up on trail was to make try and make him work his butt off on trail so much so that he would be dripping with sweat, and not like it as much and actually want to go back home. Which with his medical conditions is obviously not going to happen.

And I was also told to give him a ton of treats each time he gets back home, which that I do, with his treat bucket and extra hay, but that's not working either. One thing that I forgot to mention is that he does have Cushings, he's 13 and diagnosed young, and thought maybe his eye site could be going and couldn't see clearly out on trail, but up in the arenas, poor/bad lighting isin't an excuse for him, so I have no idea what it is.

The only way to describe it is just odd behavior, he's just a completely different horse and it's like something changes in his mind, almost like he's bipolar.
    08-31-2013, 07:04 PM
I had a horse that did that for a while. When I moved her to a different place, she totally got over it. I think that she spent way too much time confined to her stall and really just wanted to go out. She ended up being a great trail horse. She would go anywhere. Even home once she was in a place where she could be turned out.
    08-31-2013, 08:16 PM
@ Celeste: I hope my horse will be able to also get over his issue and become a trail horse like your mare, wanting to be out more does seem like a logical cause for the issue, I just wish I had an option for him to be in a turnout for a few hours at my stables to get him out more to see if that would help, but we don't have any options for that. Maybe i'll try to ride him even longer at just the walk and trot like an hour to 1 1/2 or something like that and see what happens.
Celeste and Northernstar like this.
    08-31-2013, 09:03 PM
Well that horse turned out to be a truly great trail horse. I hope the same will happen for you. I would do rides that are long enough to wear him out so that he will be ready to go home.
Northernstar and SoCalCowgirl like this.
    08-31-2013, 09:13 PM
Green Broke
I agree with Celeste - seems like the mystery just got solved! If he doesn't have much turn out time and craves the out-of-doors (like any horse would!) then there lies the answer. Heck, I'm a human, and would climb the walls if kept indoors for lengthy periods of time (I'm also a Naturalist, so there lies my answer!) I say to get him out as often as possible, and if possible, maybe work out a better plan for him when you're not there? Good luck, and so glad you're looking out for his best interests! :)
SoCalCowgirl likes this.

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