Help --- Horse lies down while being ridden. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Question Help --- Horse lies down while being ridden.

My ten y/o TW mare lies down while I'm riding her. Why does she do that? She's not ridden very often so is so out of shape that she gets tired enough to have to lie down? I don't have any trouble getting her back up though. I kinda thought that she got sweaty and wanted to roll, but she wasn't all that sweaty and she didn't try to roll when she layed down - she just layed there upright and ate some grass sometimes. When we got out of the field and onto the road it seemed like she kept trying to get over to the grassy ditch to lay in it. Why does she do this and what can I do to make her stop?

Also she always has her head turned to the left while I'm riding her. I think that maybe she does this because she's nosey and wants to look at everything. When she keeps her head turned her rear naturally goes the opposite direction, which causes her to walk kinda sideways. This makes her difficult to ride especially on a wooded trail. Any suggestions for why she does this and how to fix it? Maybe tying strings from both sides of the bit to the saddle to hold her head straight? Or would she just completely turn her body instead? I've used something like the strings before on my other horses to help keep them from bucking or rearing and also to help with some nice head carriage. The strings just keep their head where it belongs - in the middle not too high and not too low so they have to behave themselves. The only time she really keeps her head straight is when she's trotting, because she can't trot with her head turned. Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 12:07 PM
Green Broke
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Has a vet checked her out lately? Does she eat where it's sandy, or where she could injest dirt and sand? My first thought is that you might want to rule out sand in her instine (which could lead to sand colic) and stones. I have seen horses get down and roll on trail etc, and end up having one of these issues.

Does your saddle, tack fit correctly? Is there anything on your pad that could be itching your horses? I would check out these things too.

After any medical or tack reason is ruled out, I would say your horse has you completely duped! Somewhere it has learned that this is a great way to get rid of it's rider! This is something that will take work and time. Any time she gets down and rolls, get right back on and work her, maybe trotting in tight circles or something to show her that when she does it, she is only making it harder on herself. Don't let her get away with it.

As for the head turning to the side, it's making me think that something is wrong with the tack, or you may be sitting to one side or are off somehow yourself. Or she could be stronger one one side. PLEASE DO NOT TIE STRINGS FROM THE BIT TO YOUR SADDLE, you are asking for a serious amount of hurt to you and your horse if things go bad!!!! Instead, make sure that you are holding your reins evenly. You can mark your hand holds on your rains or buy "rainbow reins" where there are different colored sections to make sure you are holding them evenly. If you have to, you can tighten the one rein on the side she is not turning to in order to hold her straight. Again, medical, tack, and riders reasons ruled out, she is duping you with this too.

It sounds like you could possibly have a very spoiled horse on your hands who knows how to get her own way.
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post #3 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 06:33 PM
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I'm basically just going to be repeating what Cinny said; she had some good advice.

Whenever she lays down, GET HER UP. Give her a big slap with the reins and a boot with your legs. Ideally, you should not let her go down in the first place. She will likely show signs of thinking about laying down before she does it.

If she does it often, I might get her checked out by a vet, but to me, anyways, it sounds like she's just doing it because she's lazy and she knows she'll get rid of her rider.

I agree with Cinny for the head turned thing. Is something wrong with her tack, are you sitting wrong, does she have some sort of medical issue or pain that causes her to walk twisted? I wouldn't advise tying her head straight, as it's just putting a mask over the problem and likely won't fix anything. And, as CW said, it puts you in a bad spot if things go south.

You said she trots alright, which makes me think she may just be looking around. It's odd, though, how her back end swings out when she turns her head-unless she's so oblivious and looking so hard that she doesn't really pay attention to what she's doing? At any rate, you should be trying harder to get her attention and keep her focused. My older mare will walk with her right end slightly out at the start of a ride because she has a bit of arthritis in that hock. I use my leg to get her hindquarters pushed up straight and push her forwards at a faster walk to get her moving straighter and reaching farther with more impulsion.
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post #4 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 07:55 PM
Green Broke
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my horse used to get so worried about stuff on the side of the trail he didnt watch where he was going, So I let him plow head first into a tree. He learned real quick to pay attention.
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post #5 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 08:07 PM
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Ha ha, Joe! I thought that I was the only one that did that, and with exactly the same result. It was so funny, I almost wet my saddle!
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post #6 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 08:32 PM
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I seriously doubt there's anything medically wrong with this horse because if she's sick enough to want to lie down, you'd know it. I have dealt with this problem with a client's child's pony. The horse figured if it laid down, work is over, right? Unless you know the signs & feelings of when she's going down, you won't be able to fix it. I was given this pony to fix because I am light & could fix the problem & you bet I did. The moment you feel that horse wanting to go down, raise your hands straight up, not back & get them moving with your legs, seat, whip, whatever you use to forward cue. And continue to work them for a good bit. The pony only tried this with me twice. He goes back to the little girl and does it again. So I hooked him up to the tractor & dragged him up when he would did this to her. He never did it again. In fact that little pony is still alive and still owned by that little girl who is a now young adult. She told me he was her perfect mount & would keep him forever. I like to think I had a part in that.
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post #7 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
...So I hooked him up to the tractor & dragged him up when he would did this to her. He never did it again.
!!! I can't wrap my head around this... Kid, sitting on pony being dragged by tractor... Sure am glad everything came out alright. Lol
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post #8 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 09:19 PM
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Pony goes down, dad scoops kid up & away we go dragging the pony. One time was enough.
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post #9 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
Pony goes down, dad scoops kid up & away we go dragging the pony. One time was enough.

Still a super funny mental image, I would have never thought of it... And if I had, i might have killed someone implementing it...
*Trying to make this UN-insulting, FYI Sometimes I am not good at that. I really did just think it was funny. My whole family got a laugh over it

Last edited by christabelle; 12-02-2011 at 09:59 PM.
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post #10 of 33 Old 12-02-2011, 10:06 PM
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Allison Finch just notified me of this thread. Lol I have a horse with an odd character, and thought I would share a little bit about what I know about Jake and why he lays down.

First of all, I taught Jake to lay down as a fun trick. Well after a few years he when he would get frustrated he would do anything and everything he could think of to avoid doing what I wanted him to do (Like walk...down a trail instead of run) and he would throw a temper tantrum, when rearing wouldn't work he would lay down. He doesn't roll, try to shake me off or anything. Sometimes he'll lay on his belly or quietly on his side, I'll ask him to get back ups (sometimes he gives me a half attempt and will lay back down) but will get up on cue, I get back on and ride on.

Is it caused by frustration? Does she not want to go out any farther? Does she want to go home faster and your holding her back? Is she hyper?

Jake has also laid down to nap in very soft deep sand before when I wasn't paying attention. He naos with me in turn out in the sun from time to time. If you watch 99% of horses will have their heads down, pawing, shuffling, trying to circle. Though Jake is the 1% that can lay down from a rear...

With Jake his main issue was frustration, he would shut down and give up when he reached a certain level. So once I learned to work him without making him frustrated he stopped. It wasn't an avoiding work thing, most of the time it was me holding him back. When he made indications he wanted to lay down I would get my spurs into his side or lay into him with the whip, get him moving. Once he was down, I wouldn't go after him much, do what it took to get him up, and remount! Sometimes I would make him get up with me still on as well.

Here is Jake in all his glory :
((Watch the second half starting at 0:28))

((This video is a year old, and my timing was off/handled it poorly. Jake sidesteps just fine now. I have gotten tons of hate mail/comments on this so no need to comment on that. I don't regret how I handled it, though I don't think I would handle it like this again.))

Want to know the story? From The Start? It is a work in progress.
The $25 horse I didn't want.
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lies down , riding

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