This doesn't fly here.

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This doesn't fly here.

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    12-07-2010, 08:40 PM
Angry This doesn't fly here.

Okay....when we bought Lenox, I mounted and she jumped forward a bit, but the owner said we saw her at her worst and that she usually is very calm. Riding her proved that. When I first rode her at our house, she backed between two picnik tables when I got on, exploded, and took off running. She had the bit in her teeth so I couldn't pull back, I could only grab one rein and circle her. She's a very sweet and willing horse to ride....once you've got on her.

So today we were going for a ride. We had all 3 horses tacked up, and I was helping my mom mount Lenox for the first time. She put a hay bale next to her since she's tall, and when she stood and put her foot in the stirrup, Lenox jumped around almost knocked me over (I was holding the reins since we knew she was touchy with mounting). Mom jumped back and got her foot out of the stirrup. We tried 5 more times with the same results, so I had my mom hold her while I put my hand in the stirrup, put pressure, stroked Lenox. Continued with the gradual desensitizing until I had her to where I could put my hand on the horn and put pressure in the stirrup with my foot without her running off. So I tried to get on slowly, and she jumped sideways and had me hanging off her side with one foot in the stirrup while she circled my mom, who was holding the reins. I got off, we put the horse away, she didn't get ridden.

I HATE ending on a bad note, but there was really nothing we could do. What do we do??? This is NOT a bad horse, she is a complete doll with no hangups but this one. She rides beautifully and never questions what you ask of her. Help?
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    12-07-2010, 09:10 PM
Is she sore? That's my first guess. I would get her back checked by a chiro. The poeple said she was usually goo did they? Well they can lie, my friend found that out the hard way, she got her po ny home and the pony went wild as she was drugged. With lenox, I would try (after you got his back checked) to just put the saddle on and put a little pressure on the sturrup and start from there. Sorry I can't help more.
    12-07-2010, 09:47 PM
I don't think it's pain because she doesn't show any signs of being in pain or not wanting to be ridden when you're on her, she's always got her ears pricked and her gaits aren't labored or uneven. She's fine with dismounting, too.
    12-07-2010, 09:49 PM
Super Moderator
Are you 100% sure that the saddle fits perfectly?
Lacey used to do the exact same thing, like down to a T and I tried a variety of saddles (I rode English back then) and with some of them she was a bit better but she'd always behave like that. Then, I decided "what the heck" and tried her out in a western saddle (that I knew fit pretty well). And yknow what? It was like night and day. Suddenly she was only taking a step or two when I got on, and some days she'd even stay completely still. Her back also grew so much muscle after we switched to western, permanently. I haven't found an English saddle that fits her yet so I haven't been able to see if she just hates riding English or whether it was just the ill-fitting saddles, but once I changed the saddle, she was great. Since Lenox is a draft, she's probably wider than your other horses, which could mean that your saddle is too narrow for her and she's just trying to tell you about it. I suggest putting pictures up on the forum, they were amazing when I was trying to find a saddle that fit Lacey.

Another thing that could be going on for you (at least it was going on for Lacey and I) is that you may be holding the reins too tight. I suppose as a defense mechanism, when I knew Lacey was going to take off, I'd start holding the reins tighter. However, that just freaked her out more. So, I've taken to having the rein on the right side be loose enough to really loop and having the rein on the left side be short enough that if Lacey starts moving, she has to go in a circle and she can't put her head straight forward, but not tight enough that she can't get a break. That's helped a lot, for me, mentally. I know that she can't take off with me yet she isn't being super constricted, like she's worried about.

Another thing that I discovered with Lacey that seemed to make her more comfortable undersaddle is going bitless with her. As it turns out, with her being a gray horse (and perhaps this is a little of what's going on with Lenox since she's also gray), she has hardening of the sides of her mouth from melanoma type things (that gray horses very commonly get). I can feel it very easily, you could probably easily feel it if Lenox has it too. That means that she basically cannot feel the corners of her mouth, at all. So, when I had a jointed snaffle in her mouth, well, since she couldn't feel the first pressure of the snaffle on the corners of her mouth, she got absolutely no warning before she was being poked in the roof of the mouth by the snaffle. So basically, that makes it so she really cannot be comfortable with anything in her mouth. And actually, when she was in a bit, she was a real leaner which I think stemmed from the fact that she couldn't feel my rein aids before I was really pulling on her. It was amazing how much lighter she got just switching to bitless, it was really crazy.

I wish you luck! Please, keep in mind that it's probably something that's hurting her since she's such a sweetie and she's having such a violent reaction. Don't just settle for "it's a training problem", like I did, and then torture your poor, sweet, mare for the next 2 years before you figure it out, like me. I feel so bad looking back on how I treated Lacey because I thought she was being bad, but she was really just trying to tell me that she was hurting.

ETA- Lacey was also totally fine once she was ridden for a little bit. It was just right after you got on that she was crazy. And even if you were on for a while, then got off and got back on again, that second time getting on she'd be perfect! So not acting weird after you're riding for a bit isn't a good gauge of whether she's in pain or not, imo.

And I hope you don't feel like I'm ragging on you, I'm not trying to. It's just hard since I've been there too and I feel so badly about it still. Yknow?
    12-07-2010, 09:52 PM
It's always a good idea with a horse that has a "quirk" like this to investigate pain issues. A good equine vet can tell you pretty quickly if a horse has a sore spot.

Barring that, this horse just needs lots and lots of work with this. I'd go back to basics in the round pen and do some ground work and free lunging to gain her respect first and foremost. Then I'd work on saddling and mounting just as though she were a young, green, untried horse. Go slow and easy. Every time you sense that she's about to "blow up" then you need to quickly disengage and ask her to do something physical...MOVE those feet and let her know that not standing for mounting equals harder and harder work until she does. It will take someone with very good timing and someone who is athletic enough to get out of her way quickly before she has a chance to act up. I'd also spend time desensitizing her to things like mounting blocks as well. This problem is annoying (and dangerous) but shouldn't be overly difficult to fix IF the horse is not acting out of a pain situation.
    12-07-2010, 09:57 PM
Thanks for typing all of that, Wallaby!

The thing is, she had the same reaction when I rode her at her old owner's, and her saddle there was custom fitted. The saddle I have now on her was my MFT's, and he was a BIG, wide boy.

I had the reins loose when I mounted her last week, and my mom held them loose and stroked her when I tried to mount her today.

I'm pretty confused! The girth wasn't too tight, I wasn't jumping on too fast, I wasn't pulling the saddle over....

Cobalt--That's what I've been wanting to do since we brought her home; round pen her to see how she is at liberty. We've got 2 feet of snow here, though, so that's not an option at the moment! Her old owner broke her and before acquiring her, used to start hunter-jumpers. As she's pretty short and Lenox is tall, she said she used a stepladder to mount her. I'll have to give that a go....
    12-07-2010, 10:04 PM
You can never be to sure if shje is in pain or not, horses tend to suffer in silence.
    12-07-2010, 10:12 PM
Check her withers. When you mount a horse you put quite a bit more pressure on the withers than when you are just riding them. If you (or a vet) can't find anything sore on her then I would hobble her and mount and dismount her several times. You need to be careful because she may want to blow up when she can't run off.
    12-07-2010, 10:15 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by equiniphile    
Thanks for typing all of that, Wallaby!

The thing is, she had the same reaction when I rode her at her old owner's, and her saddle there was custom fitted. The saddle I have now on her was my MFT's, and he was a BIG, wide boy.

I had the reins loose when I mounted her last week, and my mom held them loose and stroked her when I tried to mount her today.

I'm pretty confused! The girth wasn't too tight, I wasn't jumping on too fast, I wasn't pulling the saddle over....
No problem! I'm very passionate about this subject.
I'd still have someone qualified in saddle fitting check it out, or post detailed pictures on here to make sure the saddle fits as well as you think. It can be really tricky to fully tell sometimes... Also, gaited horses are generally built very differently from non-gaited horses (just from what I've heard) so I wouldn't just go off that, but I'm not there so I really don't have any concrete evidence. :)
Also, with a custom fitted saddle, she is on the younger side of things and since she is a draft and they mature later, it's highly likely that she changed shape a little or muscled up differently as she got older than the custom fitted saddle was expecting, yknow? I've read quite a few places that a saddle should be checked for fit every few years because horses do change so much.

Anyway, I applaud you for asking questions and taking the answers gracefully. :)
    12-07-2010, 10:20 PM
The saddle has wither clearance and it doesn't *seem* to pinch her, but I'll have the vet come out. I think they're due for their shots, anyway. In the meantime I'll try to get some pics to see what you guys think.

She's a very sweet girl and I just don't see how she can be a perfect lady 99.99% of the time and then act up when mounted.

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