Health Issues Before Training Issues.
   

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Health Issues Before Training Issues.

This is a discussion on Health Issues Before Training Issues. within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Effects of incorrect fitting bridle and bit
  • Pain from over tight girth

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  • 5 Post By ChingazMyBoy
  • 2 Post By DraftyAiresMum

 
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    09-07-2011, 08:24 PM
  #1
Green Broke
Health Issues Before Training Issues.

Rarely do I post threads like this - but I figured I would post this as it may educate some members of the forum.

Many times have I logged onto the forum and found threads about horses suddenly misbehaving or disliking their tack (I am not referring to any threads, just a general statement). Before you spend six months trying to fix a training issue which isn't there, spending money on trainers or other things along these lines. Ruling out health issues is always a good idea, I'm not saying that the reason your horse has suddenly started bucking is because his saddle doesn't fit anymore - but wouldn't it be best to tick off this issue (along with others) and know that your horse is 100% sound and healthy.

Just a few things to tick off are -

- Back issues.
- Teeth issues.
- Ulcers.
- Incorrectly fitting tack (Bridle, Saddle..)
- Incorrectly placed tack (Have you put the bit in the incorrect way, is your saddle too far back..)
- Girth being tightened too much or pinching at the horse.

The list goes on..

The point that I am trying to get across is that if someone put an incorrectly fitted object on you and than tried to ride you, naturally - you will disagree and fight the pain. Horses cannot speak and this is there way of getting rid of the pain OR telling us about the pain, therefore as horse owners/riders/leases its our 'jobs' to listen to what they are saying and try to resolve it.

Another point is, if a heath issue does go unsolved for a long enough period of time, once it is fixed - the horse may have developed a training issue. Therefore, cross off these health issues BEFORE you begin with training issues and it could save you a lot of time, frustration, money AND you'll have a happier and healthier horse.

     
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    09-07-2011, 08:37 PM
  #2
Trained
I agree completely, Chinga.

Here's a perfect example of tack issues exacerbating training issues and the giant cycle it can create, which can lead to a horse that is extremely difficult to handle.

My old gelding was started as a hunter horse at age three, but was pushed too hard, too young, and came up lame after a year (he has severe arthritis in his hocks and his right hock is completely fused as a nine-year-old). When he came up lame and started refusing jumps, his owners switched him over to Western Pleasure. Unfortunately, they just threw any old saddle on him and ended up with one that didn't fit him at all. Being part arab, he let them know he didn't like the way his saddle by becoming difficult under saddle. Instead of looking at saddle fit, they automatically put him in a twisted wire snaffle because, obviously, it was a training problem, it couldn't possibly be a tack problem. When he balked at the use of the harsher bit, they put rowled western spurs to him.

So, what did I end up with when I started working with him when he was almost seven? I got an iron-sided, hard-mouthed horse that didn't want to do anything because he *knew* it was going to involve pain. It took almost two years of basically retraining him from the ground up until I had a soft, compliant horse who responded to a french link snaffle. The immediate difference was noticed as soon as we put a saddle on him that actually fit.
ChingazMyBoy and aforred like this.
     
    09-07-2011, 08:41 PM
  #3
Weanling
Thank you Chinga. There are countless cases of people who think their horse has turned 'evil' or 'mean' when they don't even begin to look into the fact the horse may be in pain.
     
    09-07-2011, 08:46 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Thank you both for your replies.

I do believe that this is not always an issue of disregard but one of inexperience.
     
    09-07-2011, 08:55 PM
  #5
Started
I just had a similar issue with my three year old. I sent her off to get started, and the second time I rode her she was telling me something didn't feel good. I checked the fit of the saddle I was using and it was fine. BUT, my cinch was neoprene, and it irritated the dickens out of her skin.

I just got a wool-lined nylon cinch (real wool, not synthetic), and I'm going to try that on her tomorrow. But between the day that happened and tomorrow, it will be 6 days since I've ridden her. I really wanted to, but I knew that she wouldn't act right until I got the problem solved. Hopefully, this will do it.
     
    09-07-2011, 09:42 PM
  #6
Foal
I have a couple stories like this.
I sold a horse to a girl a couple years back. Sweet sweet gentle old mare. VERY forgiving and kind. The mare rode in either a snaffle or simply a halter and lead (She was trained to a point she didn't need any tack or even a halter, she knew from your seat and legs). The new owner of her decided one day all the tack she was given wasn't enough and got her a new saddle bridle and bit. She called me up one day and asked me to come have a look at her horse, as now this once sweet mare would buck her off every time, buck with other people and give major attitude. So I went out and said I'd have a see, I went out to find her riding, and you could see from the ground that the saddle didn't fit. It would rise off the horse in the back then when it landed wouldn't just fall down but dig into her back. I told her to get off and untack the horse, you could see a giant open sore on her back from the saddle, and when she took the bridle off she'd replaced her once soft snaffle with the most jadded corkscrew bit I've even seen. Poor mare. I regret that sale SO so much. But people come across different then they seem sometimes. Waited for her back to heal, got her old fitted tack on her and was once again calm enough to put a kid on. Though she did keep her sourness to her owner..

When I first met my gelding his tack didn't fit right either, he was bad for trying to rush ahead and was consistently tossing his head in the air. Got him a new saddle and he stopped trying to rush. Put a softer bit in and the head tossing stopped.

I could go on, stories about lesson horses trying to do nothing but run and go faster, so I put a softer bit in and the horse calms right down.

Lots of stories even about how feet will effect them. Great forum, good for people to learn. Sometimes less is much more, and it's not always "behavior" but their way of trying to let us know. Great lesson.
     
    09-07-2011, 09:57 PM
  #7
Yearling
I totally agree Chinga. I have read many threads that this could be applied to. It's not always pain, but I would rather find out its not pain and correct the attitude, then try to correct the attitude and find out it's pain. When they are in pain and you push them, it only makes things worse.

GREAT POST!!
     
    09-07-2011, 10:29 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
Yes, Chinga, very good post!
It is true that people think of their tack as "one size fits all" many times. Unfortunately, saddles are very expensive and few people have one of every size. Often as a result, poor fitting ones are used....much to the horse's discomfort. One horse I am riding had me trying four saddles and I will be trying a fifth tomorrow.

There are so many reasons a horse may start misbehaving, and sudden attitude is rarely the only thing that starts it. There is usually a good reason behind any attitude change.
     
    09-07-2011, 10:39 PM
  #9
Yearling
I agree completely. Had some health issues develop with my young colt when we sent him off at 3 years old to the trainer. My fault, he was thin, growing fast but not muscled up, and ended up getting ulcers later but we didn't know it. He bucked and pushed his nose up and out, and was not happy at all with his training, plus for a smart colt he didn't seem to learn a lot. His trainer was concerned because he developed "soundness" issues and we had him checked out by my vet and trainer's vet-chiro. Long story short he did have ulcers, they were irritated by the tight cinch, the pain caused him to also get sore in his back (probably didn't help that they used the horn to pull up into the saddle instead of a mounting block), and on and on. When I figured out he was sick, I pulled him out of training and let him be a horse in his pasture back home for a few months. He healed up from his ulcers and then I personally started over, working on his bad attitude by using an easy bit he liked, and teaching him to pull a cart (looser cinch, no weight on his back). We worked on that to get him to round his back and keep his head down instead of rooting through the bit and tossing his head. Now he's calm, responsive, soft, rounded, and enjoying being ridden. A fun ride and he wants to work - 180 degree change. Like Ray Hunt says, to go fast you need to go slow.
     
    09-12-2011, 10:46 PM
  #10
Green Broke
Thanks for all your responses.

Some people find they learn better through other peoples stories. So hopefully a few horses/riders will go through a lot less stress and frustration now!
     

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