4 yr. old OTTB mare with sensitive back...beaten???

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4 yr. old OTTB mare with sensitive back...beaten???

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    05-08-2014, 01:40 PM
4 yr. old OTTB mare with sensitive back...beaten???

I have just leased a 4 year old OTTB mare, fresh off the track from light racing. She refused to run so the owner basically gave her away. Every time I brush her back, between withers and hip, she will kick out on that side. Her tail swishes violently and she is kicking basically out of annoyance. Has this horse been beaten by the jockeys/stable grooms and what is the best way to desensitize her? I patiently brush her all over gently for 20 minutes before I put on her pad and saddle, and was told to swat her rump with a small bat crop whenever she does kick out. I don't want to resort to beating a horse that has been beaten, so thoughts? Suggestions? I have returned to riding after a 30 year hiatus and feel she senses my greenness. I want to be gentile but feel she is not really being trained.
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    05-08-2014, 01:51 PM
Green Broke
Forget that she may have been beat. Get an equine chiropractor and/or a vet out to check her. It sounds more like a pain thing then a scare or been beat thing. Especially being fresh off the track a green horse is not the best idea to start back on she most likely needs time off and a good vet check.
    05-08-2014, 01:55 PM
The problem isn't abuse. I have worked with abused horses and do not treat them any differently. If a horse is being dangerous (ie: kicking out) then it immediately needs to be taken care. I'm not going to go into training measures because this sounds like a case of pain to me. Get a vet out before you try to ride or train and after pain has been eliminated if it's still happening, I'd love to give you pointers.
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Palomine and bkylem like this.
    05-08-2014, 02:00 PM
Lets start by taking the beating statement out of the picture. Next, because you lease her, where do you fall into her care responsibilities? Do not ride this horse until you get her back sorted out but why pay on a horse you can not ride? A horse fresh off the track usually needs time off to be over the rigors of racing. I wouldn't expect to do much with an OTTB for at least 2 months other than manners and groundwork.

I would guess that this mare has pain issues with her back. If your back hurts that last thing you want to do is run. Could be a back injury (like she flipped over), bad saddle fit or she could just be ticklish. Does she carry herself straight, does she track evenly, can she flex, is she underweight, does she have any racing injuries... The root cause could be a combination of things. I would start with a vet exam to find out what is going on. Worse case she can maim you just trying to brush her or you can waste a ton of time dinking around with it trying to "get her over it". She might get great relief from some acupuncture treatments.
smrobs, Palomine, Cherie and 3 others like this.
    05-08-2014, 02:17 PM
Agree with above comments.
Do not ride until you have her checked out by a vet/chiropractor.

Please do not expect too much too soon. You have an off-the-track horse, 4 years old, with issues. Pain is not going to help, if that is the problem, and could make her dangerous...and it would not be her fault.
For your safety and her comfort, please have her checked.
And pleeze keep us posted.
Palomine likes this.
    05-08-2014, 02:22 PM
Very possibly a bad case of ulcers also

smrobs, Cherie, waresbear and 5 others like this.
    05-08-2014, 02:53 PM
Sensitive 4yr old ottb for a nervous beginner... Receipt for disaster. I hope you at least have avery good coach at your disposal!!!

Just because a horse reacts negatively does not equate to it having been beaten.
I'd be 99% certain it is a pain issue which could be back/muscular pain, or it could be internal. Ulcers are a very common issue for racers, they are fed extremely high protein diets with limited roughage and turnout - their existence is very much manufactured which results in high stress levels and thus stomach ulcers.
Some horses are just very sensitive - there's a possibility that she's just sensitive over that area. Often if you're brushing very lightly/gently a sensitive skinned horse will react.

I would most certainly be getting a full veterinary work up done, saddle refit, physio etc.
You don't want to ignore it, have it compound and end up getting turfed because she's finally become so sick of being sore that she doesn't put up with it anymore.
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    05-08-2014, 05:41 PM
Green Broke
Could also be that your brushing her gently for 20 minutes is getting on her last nerve too.

Gentle can equate to irritating to a horse. Best to use a soft brush and rubrag and keep pressure firm, and no nonsense.

But forget the beating and abuse thoughts. Thorough going over with good diagnostics can give better insight into this.
    05-08-2014, 06:25 PM
Super Moderator
I am just sitting here shaking my head. WHY on earth would 'beating' be the first thing that comes to mind? Do you somehow equate any problem, either behavioral or physical, with the evil people that take a board and just beat on a horse? I do not get it. Please enlighten me?

As others have said --- she needs to be completely Vetted, needs a Chiropractor and needs proper 'let-down' after coming off of the track. She also needs someone to direct her re-training that knows how to deal with OTTBs.

But, please, please stop thinking that everything wrong with any horse comes from abuse. Most abused horses are abused through neglect and/or ignorance. A very few are actually beaten and physically abused. They are usually shaking, quivering nut-cases that try to self-destruct.
    05-08-2014, 09:22 PM
From experience treating a horse like he was abused will make him a but case especially if he was abused. Always treat them as you would any other horse. Special treatment will only make a spoiled disrespectful horse so forget about the past and move on. I can guarantee the horse already has or will once you do too. I worked with abused horses and we treat them no differently than the others. They all turned out as wonderful trail horses too.
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abused, ottb, sensitive back

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