Ronan is a very skin-sensitive horse. He hates the sensation of something lightly touching him (i.e. Flies, my reins sitting lightly on his neck) - so sensitive that I have to keep a fly sheet on him during the summer and spray him with fly spray otherwise he's miserable. He's so sensitive that he's the only horse I've ever known to not get bot eggs on his legs - he doesn't allow them to land long enough.
HOWEVER... he's VERY lazy and VERY unreactive 99% of the time. (He can have his "moments" but other than that, he's very quiet). He needs a TON of leg to get him going and keep forward momentum. So I usually ride in spurs, and only engage them as needed. I've ridden in the same set of spurs since I bought him in May and he's been absolutely fine. My legs are fairly strong and pretty quiet - though I will be having a video taken ASAP to make sure that is the case.
- I'm actively trying to get him less dead-sided by carrying a crop, and employing the "ask, tell, demand" method.
- Since I bought a new saddle that fits correctly, he is more willing to move out and forward; so the saddle seems to have been a problem and may have been pinching or rubbing, causing him to simply not want to move forwards.
Anyways, moving on - in the past couple of weeks, ever since he started shedding and growing his winter coat, my spurs and even heel has rubbed hair off his side. Of course I felt awful as soon as I saw it, and took my spurs off, but it seems to not make a lick of difference, and I find I have to use *more* leg to get him to move out.
I went and bought $55 Stubben "soft touch" spurs that seem to be doing better... but I'm still concerned.
When I talked to the gal at the tack store, she suggested that because he's shedding, his hair follicles are open to allow the winter coat in and summer coat out, and that this happens to thinner-skinned horses.
He doesn't seem bothered by it in the least. He doesn't shimmy away from my leg, gives no indication of being uncomfortable while I'm riding... nothing. Not even a tail-swish, or anything of any sort to indicate discomfort. Hell, he's just as unreactive to leg as before. He doesn't seem bothered in the least by my touching the area with my hand either. Really, overall he doesn't seem fussed at all.
Has anyone ever heard of this happening? What can I do to prevent this?
I feel just awful and I've adapted my leg and riding to allow the spot to heal up, as well I've taken a more proactive approach to getting him to move off soft leg contact and of course the new saddle seems to have made a big difference in his willingness to move forwards.
I sure as hell don't want anyone to think ill of me or my riding. I was completely shocked when I got off and noticed the rub, and (as I said) took my spurs off to let it heal, but the same rub occurred with my heel too, as well he was fine all the way through the summer...
My coach and barn buddies have all assured me to not worry. My coach has ridden Ronan on a number of occasions and knows how truly lazy he is, and says that he's just a thin-skinned horse.
*Note* Also, there's a calcification lump on his back (vet said it's normal and nothing to be the least bit concerned about) that has hair rubbed off of it as well, a bit, when it hadn't all summer as well.