5 year old 17h thoroughbred acting up. Help?

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5 year old 17h thoroughbred acting up. Help?

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    02-18-2010, 01:49 AM
Unhappy 5 year old 17h thoroughbred acting up. Help?

Ok I'll try to keep this as short as possible. I recently bought a five year old unraced 17h thoroughbred gelding. I have been riding for 16 years; and work with an experienced trainer as well.
MAIN POINT: This guy is sweet and once he gets going, is perfectly fine. Problem: He reared up very badly today while I was walking him in hand; I saw no real reason why he did. What to do? 2nd Problem: He seems to throw these massive hissy fits the first five minutes of riding; very bad hopping, bucking, and rearing.
When I tried him out mind you, he was an angel. But anyway I'm just wondering if he could be stiff? Growing pains? Saddle not fitting? Because honestly, I'm baffled. He is a NIGHTMARE the first few steps after getting on and even gave my trainer a hard time the other day; but once he got him really going he was ok. Is this just baby stuff or something more?
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    02-18-2010, 02:18 AM
Super Moderator
My mare used to exactly like that (only in her case, she had been out of work for over 5 years) and while she's still not perfect, she's much better. In her case, I believe it was a saddle fit issue. It turns out that the saddle I was using was pinching her shoulders and basically causing her pain with each step. I ended up just switching to a western saddle and while she still walks off when I mount and has a hard time stopping calmly right after mounting, she never rears/bucks/what have you anymore. It did take a few sessions in the western saddle before her behavior really started to change but it happened.

I would definitely get his saddle fit checked out if I were you. =) It could be (if you're using the same saddle you tried him in) that he's grown/filled out because I believe around 5 is that major filling out stage, right? And now the saddle doesn't fit at all where it used to.

Good luck! And, welcome to the forum! =)
    02-18-2010, 02:20 AM
Thanks SO much. It could be the saddle fit. There's alot of possible things that could be causing it. Im definitely going to check that out.
    02-18-2010, 04:04 AM
The rearing, if it was a one off let it pass but be aware. Next time he does it, run him full pelt backwards then backwards some more. Teach the brute that rearing is **** uncomfortable. If he gets away with it he may begin to strike and that is extremely dangerous!

As for the problems under saddle. He's a young tb with a new owner/riding. He is going to test the boundaries, that's just what they do.
Keep him forward and thinking. Lots of circles, transitions, changes of rein, serpentines, leg yield etc. etc. Don't go more than a few strides without changing something about how he is going. You need to keep him thinking so that he's more focussed on the next thing you're going to ask than how to get out of the work.

When he bucks, really get up him, force him to go forward and really drive him up to the bridle. If he is the type of horse that you can feel a buck coming on, pull his head around and spin him on a small circle, then ride out again.

The crow hopping is a matter of not having him forward, they can't do it if they are travelling so when he goes to start crow hopping, get up him and get him choofing along so that he can't get the momentum to crow hop.

I don't take rearers. Not into that type of dirt. He can't rear if he's going forward, so keep him active. If he stops and jacks trying to go up, again, spin him and kick him out. It's far better to avoid the rear than get up into a vertical rear where he can flip over and badly injure you.
Horses that get into the habit of rearing, I've heard that cracking an egg over their head at the height of the rear will make them think they've cracked their skull and they won't try it again. I've never had to go to that extreme to 'fix' a rearer, but a friend did so on her ottb and he has never reared since.
    02-18-2010, 04:47 AM
No advice here (thought you've gotten some good stuff), I just wanted to comment that anyone who can carry an egg, wait for a rear, and then have the calm presence of mind to break it over their head at the height of a rear is my personal hero. =p
    02-18-2010, 05:36 AM
Haha tealamutt... totally agree with you!!! My mate is a track rider, hackie, dressage rider AND showjumping. She has outstanding balance and seeing her ride is just amazing. The horse she used the egg on was a chronic rearer, basically as soon as you get on he'd go up, so she didn't need to wait long for him to have a go.
    02-18-2010, 05:48 AM
Green Broke
Probably just growing pains and especially at that age. He may be protesting about carrying some extra weight, so maybe get a nice sheep skin numnah for him and maybe he will feel better. Walk him round for 10-15 mins if you feel like he has stiff legs.
    02-18-2010, 06:45 AM
At 17hh being a 5 year old tb I would HIGHLY doubt he has growing pains. He is testing the boundaries being a young horse. How long ago was he broken in? Unless he is a breaker again, I highly doubt he is concerned about having a rider on his back.
    02-18-2010, 06:48 AM
Oh and seeing as he cracks it within the first 5 minutes of your ride, I would say he is cold backed. Sorry I didn't read closely enough the first time. Do you lunge him before you get on?
It is best with cold backed horses to warm them up a little on the lunge 5 mins each way to get their back moving before you get on. Otherwise, hop on but walk him on a long rein (with contact) for at least 10minutes at a nice marching active pace and do a little leg yield here and there to get him working that back.
A cold backed horse will soften the back and be willing to carry you once they've warmed their muscles up.
    02-18-2010, 12:03 PM
Thank you everyone for the tips and advice. I guess I have to really get after him with this crap. :roll:

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