Change in behaviour !

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Change in behaviour !

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  • Unexplained behavior change in horse
  • Behaviour change in horse

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    10-31-2010, 12:16 PM
Change in behaviour !

Hi All

I am new to the forum as a user but have used it for advice many times over the last few months. This time I can't find an answer to my question - so I joined so that I could pick everyones brain !!!

My story has 2 parts ! I have a thoroughbred that I rescued in January this year - after lots of vet bills and TLC she is now in good health - so much so that we have been to a few shows and placed in the walk - walk / trot classes.

As we progressed on to bigger things ( like the trot - ha ha ! ) I had shoes put on her - and her movement became even better.

Then at the last show she started to try and trot when I wasnt asking her to - that was 2 weeks ago and everytime we ride she does the same thing. If I let her go and I post with her after a while she seems to bring her back end under like she is slipping underneath me.

Now for the second part ! Her back bone seems to take a dip - not like a sway back - just like a bone is sticking up. My vet said in the past that they thought that it was just needing filled out with muscle - but now she is in great shape and the muscle is all in place and the hollow still hasnt filled in.

My trainer thinks she may have a vertibra out of line - and that because she now has shoes - and now that she has filled out then it is starting to cause her pain - when I ride she said its almost like she is trying to get away from the saddle. She has told me to go and see a chiroprator - which I will do - but I just wondered if anyone ele had any experience of anything like this ???
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    10-31-2010, 06:06 PM
I have a previous steeplechaser TB who will often try to break into the trot (or canter or gallop)...he does it because he is smart and likes to test his limits, but I push him into a 10-meter circle (using my outside aids hard) and he stops jigging. Then he gets to do working trot-collected trot-walk-halt transitions until he settles down. But it does sound like your mare may be acting off pain...I think the chiropractor is a really good idea. See if you can connect her breaking into the trot with anything that's happening around changing position, a loud noise, sudden movement, etc, to try to pinpoint what is bothering her. If you can't find any reason for her to be doing that, I think it would be a good idea to make her halt when she does it, maybe put her on a little circle like I do, as she may be starting to feel good and fit and be testing her limits a little like my boy does. In that case you need to establish RIGHT AWAY that she is not to do anything you don't ask for...otherwise it can escalade into bad run-away-with-the-rider habits later!! DON'T let her do what she wants (trot)...make her HALT for a few seconds, then walk and do a whole bunch transitions, changes of direction, and really sounds like she it trying to test the lines like mine does! If you let her get away with it at the trot, soon she will do it at the canter and later it might crescendo into bolting while jumping (if you are going to be doing that with her). Racehorses definetly know how to push the pace ...establish right now that she needs to go faster when YOU tell her to and ONLY when you tell her to. Hope this helps.
    10-31-2010, 06:58 PM
Sounds like something might be out of place in her back. Do you have photos? Getting an accredited chiropractor out to see your horse might be a good idea. As for the training issue, it's like anything else. If you allow it sometimes and not others, how is your horse supposed to know what is right and what is wrong? It would be like a grade school teacher saying "2+2=4" then one day you answer 5 by mistake, and she says "yep, that's right" so you don't know the right answer; consistency is key, you have to teach her that walk means walk, and she is to wait for a cue from you to transition up to a trot.
    11-01-2010, 01:10 PM
Thanks for the replies

I have attached a picture - its not the best - but hopefully it gives you an idea of where it is and what it looks like

I do stop her when she starts to move off - so hopefully if it is a habbit forming rather than a back issue then I am stoopping it before it even starts ! I like the idea of the circle thing as well and will give that a try. She is very smart so this may be a possibilty that she is trying to set the rules for me - and of course with her being a rescue and only recently starting to get her health back I may be seeing the true horse ! And then of course there may be a bit of the fact that she is a mare and a thoroughbred !!
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    11-01-2010, 06:38 PM
That is the lumbar-sacral joint. If she is having pain in sacrolilliac, that would explain why she's doing what she's doing. Only a vet can diagnose it properly. A lot of TB's have that, (hunter's bump). It's not a factor most of the time, but it does like it might be a factor if she's dipping her back there. It is treatable if that helps you.
    11-01-2010, 06:44 PM
Back Pain and the Sacroiliac Joint in Horses |

Sorry to repost, but here's some more info on it.
    11-04-2010, 03:04 PM
This summer, before we found my current TB, I tried out a 17 hh TB (also an ex-racer) who had a bump like that...I didn't know what it was at the time; I figured if we decided to go further with him the vet would know if it was a problem. We decided not to buy him, but it didn't seem to be affecting him...I did some flatwork, putting him into a fairly collected frame, and jumped about 3 feet that day, and he didn't seem to have issues. But thoroughbreds seem to be especially sensitive to any pain on their backs...mine is very cold-backed when mounting (he has bolted and bucked me off when I was halfway on before); I'm hoping when we get a saddle that actually fits him (maybe for the first time in his life) it will fade or go away completely. We are trying out a Black Country saddle right now that he really loves and is coming rounder and softer than before. Maybe your mare is reacting to her tack as well?? What type of saddle do you have on her? I think in general TBs and other hotter horses react really well to saddles with wool flocking, I.e. Stubben, Clack Country. It is just so much softer and more forgiving on their backs. We are debating between two saddles Sprite really likes, a Stubben genesis and the Black County. He is so much quieter and softer in those; I have put a Collegiate, Amerigo, Stackhouse, Antares, even a Devoucoux on him, and he likes the Stubben and Black County. He is very specific about even the model; he hated the Stubben Edelweiss, which is only slightly different from the Genesis, because apparently the panels weren't shaped quite right and it moved around too much on his back. So sorry to ramble on here...I'm just thinking if her jigging might be related to her saddle. But I would definetly look into getting the chiropracter/vet out to check that bump...I think that would be the primary cause.
    11-05-2010, 10:59 PM
Ok so I went to the chiropracter on wednesday - she actually rode ok when we got her there - in fact it was the best she has been in 2 weeks ! He said it was her hocks ! He injected them - and then did acupuncture on her back - he told me I would have a new horse by friday - guess what - got on her tonight and she is still the same !!!!!!

Her full attitde is strange - I had the biggest fight getting her in the trailer which I have never had before - and she has also started to do this head jerking thing and pulling up - my arm an shoulder are killing me !

I have a lesson tomorrow I hope my trainer has some ideas as this is trning into a saga !!!

FYI - I have a collegiate with the changable gullet system - its the only thing that I could get that didnt sit on her withers !
    11-06-2010, 03:20 PM
I really think you should call the vet. Any type of sudden, unexplained behavioral issues are usually serious. I have no idea why he would inject her old is she? If her hocks were bothering her she wouldn't be jigging...she would be having a hard time flexing and her hind legs would look stiff, but she wouldn't be trying to go faster. I think you should find a different chiropractor. He didn't adjust her back at all? What did he say about the bump?
    11-06-2010, 08:08 PM
We have success !!! I had a lesson with my trainer today. And we started on the ground - then the trailer then with riding. And it seems that my girl has remembered that she is a thoroughbred ! Like I said before she is a rescue - I got her in January and at last it seems she is back in peak physical condition. The trouble is she knows it - we won the trailer battle today which then resulted in the ride being a lot quieter and although she did try to run on a few occassions after a battle of the wills she calmed back down again.

I am so glad that it is behaviour issues and not something medical again ! I am a bit peeved that it cost me $500 at the chiropractor for nothing - and wont be using him again ! So it seems that I have to re-establish dominance and probably have a few battles in between - but I can live with that now that I know that she is not in pain !

Oh and finally the chiropractor said that the dip in her back was just her confirmation - the way she was made - and it would cause any problems or pain for her. He did comment about the slope on her rear - and said this was usually a sign that she is fast.

Oh Joy - can't wait for that battle !

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