4 yr old appendix out of balance...

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4 yr old appendix out of balance...

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    08-05-2012, 03:04 PM
4 yr old appendix out of balance...

I though he would grow out of this awkward thing that he does but it looks like I will need to help him a bit and I think I'm at the end of my experience at this.

Symptoms: very reluctant to canter under saddle, downward transitions like train wrecks, you never know what lead he will pick up if he chooses to canter regardless of what you do to cue him, he will not use his butt at all to go or stop

Things I'm trying: rollbacks and more rollbacks-going better in the round pen than under saddle, lots of halts without going to a walk first (its like using the only front brakes on a bicycle)

If anyone has suggestions to help him find his balance I would be game to try anything at this point. I wish I could just tell him "hey buddy, use your butt and you would be more comfortable". He tries hard, he's just not getting this part.

Thanks in advance!
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    08-05-2012, 09:11 PM
I'd seriously consider physical issues. Firstly he's only 4yo & I wouldn't be doing too much/hard on his back until he's mature. You may consider a bodyworker come give him a checkup. How's saddle fit? Remember, as he's a growing boy, this needs to be carefully checked quite frequently. Saddle/rider balance also effects the horse & many saddles force the rider into an unbalanced position. How are his feet? Well trimmed? Short toes? Comfortable? At 4yo he won't yet have very well developed heels, so he will probably need added protection to be comfortable on hard/rough ground.
PunksTank likes this.
    08-05-2012, 09:30 PM
Definitely gotta give him more time to mature. Most horses I've known grow up till about 3, then out till about 6. If he hasn't quite found himself yet he's going to have a great deal of trouble doing it with you on him. Excessive roll backs IMO aren't good for such a young horse, his hind end is still developing don't overdo it.
You could practice long-lining him over poles and through obstacles to help build his balance and top-line without having to compensate for a rider. This way he can find his own balance.

I have to completely agree with everything else Loosie said about tack and bodywork.

Good luck with your pony :)
loosie likes this.
    08-05-2012, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the input.

I hadn't thought about pole work to develop balance. Are you thinking trotting poles or tall cavaletti or both?

His feet are in pretty good shape, trimmed regularly. You are dead on about his heels, not much there yet. I had shoes on him earlier this summer hoping to really get some mileage on him but I chose not to reset them to work on this issue before taking him on longer trail rides.

I know he's only 4 and because of that he almost never works more than an hour. He spends most of his schooling time in a deep sand arena or a much larger grass arena.

His tack fits well, I just got a new Aussie to accommodate his growth. The old one still fit fine but this one has a bit more room for his withers.

So far the rollbacks are pretty far from what one would expect. His version is pounding on the front brakes, turning on his front end and walk, trot, canter back up to speed. Its a bit better without me on, but I don't beat him up with it I'm just trying to get him to put his butt into it. I never want him to feel like working is work. I honestly don't think I have the stamina to get this horse tired on the ground or in the saddle. I just want him to be comfortable which will hopefully make me more comfortable.
    08-05-2012, 10:56 PM
Again, he's still growing don't push it for him, give him time to develop. 1 hour of hard work can be harder on the joints/muscles than 4 of easy work. It sounds to me you're doing hard work. Yes trotting poles, but again try it on lines, not under saddle so he has time to develop his own balance. W/T/C intense building of top line and trying hard to get him riding off his hind end, while all important are very stressful on a horse who's not ready, they need to be built up to that and IMO shouldn't do it to any extreme until they are Fully grown.

You sound fairly knowledgeable I just worry about overdoing young horses - I run a rescue and have seen more young broken horses than I ever care to.
    08-05-2012, 10:57 PM
Originally Posted by effzedpilot    
I know he's only 4 and because of that he almost never works more than an hour. He spends most of his schooling time in a deep sand arena or a much larger grass arena.
An hour, particularly in deep sand, cantering, rollbacks(yes, even prelim ones) sounds like pretty heavy work to me, for a 4yo. I know they do it for showies, etc, but if you're serious about long term soundness I'd reconsider & look into it further personally.

His tack fits well, I just got a new Aussie to accommodate his growth. The old one still fit fine but this one has a bit more room for his withers.
Great. When you say 'Aussie' I presume you mean stock saddle? Is it custom made? If not, may I know the brand please, as they're generally quite narrow in the gullet & forks. I'd like to look into it if this one is nice & roomy.
PunksTank likes this.
    08-05-2012, 10:59 PM
Ditto about the saddle! My mare has the widest back I've ever seen so I haven't met an aussie saddle that would fit her - but I love them and want one! XD
    08-05-2012, 11:02 PM
As for saddle style, my fav are the ones called 'cross breed' or 'hybrid' which are a cross between Stock & Western styles.
    08-06-2012, 07:25 AM
The saddle I had been using was an old Sydney Hamilton from Libertyville. It did fine. I had another of the same brand that we used on draft horses when I was a kid. We just ordered "wide tree" and it was fine.

The new one is a Kimberly. The seat is deeper and its a bit taller in the front but really isn't much wider. I love Australian saddles and have given up on everything else. I grew up riding huntseat and saddleseat and have no desire to go back. I haven't met a western saddle that comes close to the comfort either. In fact I swapped my only western for this new Kimberly.

I promise, I won't break this little guy working him too hard. I had the vet xray his joints before I started getting on him last year. I know rollbacks in deep sand sound grueling, he doesn't even work up a sweat...in Texas. Really we do those exercises for a few minutes and go back to bending and sidepassing. Most of his hour or so is walking. BTW I am super pleased with his sidepassing. He doesn't even need a fence in front of him anymore. Just a little heel bump and he starts crossing his feet. Of course the back end moves a little slower and needs some more encouragement otherwise he would just do a sidepassing circle around his back end....but I guess that's desirable to a few disciplines.
    08-06-2012, 07:27 AM
I was wondering if you had a vet take a look at him. I have a 4 year old that is heavy on his forehand and "weird" in his back end. It turns out he is a little bit off in the hind end, like semi neurologic and it shows when he is under conditioned. I just wonder if maybe there is something like that going on with your boy. Does he turn on the forehand? How does he move his hind feet on a turn on the forehand? Is he sloppy at all? I would also ask if you are doing any trails with him. It would be lighter work in a conventional sense but obstacles like trees and hills might help build his muscle better which might help balance him out. My first step would be a basic lameness work up with flexion tests.

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