Test ride, opinions on picking up wrong lead please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Test ride, opinions on picking up wrong lead please

So I looked around on craig's list today, and found a couple ads that sounded like decent horses for sale. One in particular caught my eye regarding a 9 yo TB mare, that has had dressage training in her past. Described to be bomb proof in the ad and "perfect" (seems like they are all described as perfect, lol). Anyways, I called and went to see her tonight. The girl who rides her now (Jr in high school) rode her first. The mare went ok. She avoided the bit at all costs, but showed an obvious ability to collect..just not much willingness to do so, and stay that way for long. As the girl worked her, she eventually asked her for a canter, the mare obliged..but quickly switched into the wrong lead (after just a few strides). After a few strides, she switched into the correct lead..then back to the incorrect lead again. (was very grumpy, hollow, ears pinned etc while cantering.)

So my turn...walk, fine. Trot, fine. Canter from the walk, goes directly into the wrong lead..after a few strides she begins bucking. Before the bucking begain, her head was high, head shaking, ears back etc. This mare just did NOT want to canter.

SO, at one point in her past, she was injured while jumping. On a front leg..current owners do not know which leg sustained the injury. According to current owners she has remained sound while they have had her (1 year). They have not ridden her very extensively..mostly trails and pleasure stuff so I do not believe the injury has had much stress.

I am not interested in moving forward with the mare after tonights test ride for a few different reasons..but I am wondering with the mare picking up the wrong leads..and displaying obvious discomfort while in the canter, is this an indication of pain? Or lack of training? Sheer laziness? Isn't it quite unnatural for a horse to repeatedly pick up the incorrect lead?

“Anything forced and misunderstood can never be beautiful” Xenophon, 380 B.C.

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post #2 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 11:10 PM
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I would bet on pain if she continued to pick up that lead, even after she was switched. If she was lazy, wouldn't it be more effort to switch back onto the incorrect lead if she was shown the correct one?
Also, what it on both leads that she kept switching, or specifically one lead she didn't like? It could also be saddle fit, or rider error (but probably not since the both of you rode her..) but I would still want to see the horse lunged.

Good for you for passing on this one, and not trying to be the hero and it ending in heart break ;)

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 11:11 PM
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Sounds like pain. If you, as a rider, don't have that problem (which would indicate a twistedness in YOUR body) then I would guess she has some pain issue. Might have nothting to do with the jumping injury. My guess would be hip or hock over foot.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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She picked up wrong leads going right, and going left. Because she did it in both directions, with both riders, I am thinking something must have been going on with the mare physically obviously. (On a side note..after she bucked with me I walked her around for a while letting her stretch, and when I got off the girl said "When she bucks, it isn't that hard..." I thought to myself, "WHEN she bucks?" I took it as the mare does this regularly..not something they mentioned in their craigslist ad, or prior to my getting on her.)

“Anything forced and misunderstood can never be beautiful” Xenophon, 380 B.C.

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post #5 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 11:26 PM
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That behavior is highly suggestive of spinal pain. I would walk....no run...away. If you really want to try, get a vet to check for spinal pain ASAP.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Allison Finch View Post
If you really want to try....
I don't.

Do you think I should follow up with them and suggest they have her checked? Just for her well being?

“Anything forced and misunderstood can never be beautiful” Xenophon, 380 B.C.

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post #7 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 10:21 AM
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My mare acted the same when her hip was out of place. More bucking than switching leads (she would start bucking after only a few strides) if I asked her to lope. She would pin her ears and start lowering her head when I would ask. I would have to ask several times before she would do it.

My vet is also a chiro and said her hip was out of place. She popped it back and my mare has a beautiful lope now.
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