Just hours ago, I had the worst ride I've ever had on my horse. I need help.
I bought him two months ago. He's an 11 y/o Thoroughbred gelding. I got him to learn some basic dressage on, he's no schoolmaster, but he has been schooled and I wanted to learn how to take him further.
Today, as soon as I got on him, he was dropping his shoulder and napping towards the gate, bracing against my rein when I tried to bring his head around. He shook his head and pigrooted, bolting sideways, and I couldn't get him to focus. I lost my stirrups, but managed to get him back under control. I dropped my whip immediately, not wanting to make things worse. There was another rider trotting on the road while leading another horse, and my horse was very focused on them. When the rider went out of view, he switched his attention to the cars going by, the truck pulling out of the driveway ahead, the magpies cawing in the next paddock - tuning me out completely! Every time I asked him to walk forward, he would take a few steps and then blow it again, shaking his head, dropping one shoulder, backing up, and bolting forward to let out a small buck.
I kept at it, talking to him, encouraging him forward with my legs, but he only got worse. He began to rear, which he's never done before, and it was only then that I dismounted.
I've ridden him around that paddock many times before, and I couldn't understand why he was so distracted and spooky. I led him on foot around the paddock, letting him look at everything. After a while, when he seemed calmer, I got back on. He was still unhappy, but he walked forward when I asked him to, and when I asked him to trot, he again dropped a shoulder, braced against my reins, and napped towards the gate. I asked him again once I got him straightened out, and his reaction was even more violent - he let out with a small buck, and at that point, I decided I would take no more.
Desperate to end on a good note, I got off him again and walked him around the paddock, since he seemed quite happy to do that. I ended things after that.
So - there's a problem. Or maybe a few.
He's got absolutely no muscle on him. His withers are pronounced, his spine sticks out, saddle fitting has been a nightmare. After spending a long time searching for saddles, I finally got him in a Tottenham with a medium gullet. I suspect his back is sore, because he swishes his tail when I brush his saddle area.
He wears a French link eggbutt snaffle, and I ride with little or no contact when I'm warming him up. I try to have soft hands and when I ask for a turn, I use leg first and then back it up with rein.
He has a strange bump on his loins, right between where his back meets his rump. I've heard of hunter's bump before - could this be it? Attached are several photos, and I've tried to make them as clear as possible.
Maybe his browband is too small? I know his face is dirty in the photos - that could have caused some irritation to him as well. I had work in two hours and I didn't have time to carefully clean his face - he had mud caked on his ears!
So - without further ado - meet Andy, everyone!