Hopping Horse-Pain or Attitude?
 
 

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Hopping Horse-Pain or Attitude?

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  • Bunny hop canter
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    05-03-2011, 12:37 AM
  #1
Foal
Question Hopping Horse-Pain or Attitude?

I'm at the end of my rope. My mare has been hopping for about 8 months. Here's the story;


Misty and I were riding as usual. No change in setting or any new objects. I had purchased her just a few months ago and had fallen in love. Continuing with the ride, I asked her for a lope. She pinned her ears and popped her rear up in protest. I thought, something was wrong. So we unsaddled and I checked her legs and hooves for pain. Nothing. I ran my fingers down her back and boom. My saddle had been pinching her. I felt like an idiot for not realizing sooner. So I gave her two weeks off from work, with daily back massages. After that, I called a local saddle fitter to check my newly purchased saddle. Zoom forward about two months. Again, we were just riding around when I asked her for a lope. She does her signature hop. I was partially surprised. So, I snap the lunge line on and unsaddle her. We walk, trot, and canter. Nothing. I tack her up again and repeat. Nothing. I have my friend lunge while I sit on her. Nothing. I say to myself, it's just a one time thing. After all, Misty does have a certain attitude (Example: I'll pick her hooves and she'll step in her poo. :roll:)She continues to hop for 3 months. It is more annoying than fear of falling (Since it is only a little hop). I guessed it may have been my seat/posture wasn't quite right and it might be setting her off balance or causing pain. So I watch my seat very carefully, but she still hops. One week later. The hopper strikes back. Ugh. I decide to re-visit groundwork. She did everything I asked with flying colors, no hopping. So I turn to my very trusted instructor. She hops on and afterwards, Misty is behaving like she used to. I ride her a few days after that, and as you can guess, she hopped. It had to be pain. So I asked my dad to take her to the vet. He says, "I'll take her when she shows pain in her eyes."

Sorry for the novel there. So my question is; Is she hopping because of pain or attitude? If pain, how can I show (such as a certain exercise) that she has discomfort? If attitude, how can I fix it?

Note: I will post additional info because right now I'm in a hurry.


Thanks for all the help!!
     
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    05-03-2011, 04:26 AM
  #2
Weanling
Is it possible to see a video? I want to say she's giving you attitude, or that it is rider error, but I don't think I can give you a good answer without actually seeing the hop.
     
    05-03-2011, 09:02 AM
  #3
Super Moderator
You have rewarded her so many times by getting off of her, that you have effectively taught her how to get you off. She has singled you out because she know it works with you.

Horses are 'creatures of habit' -- not of great intellect. Some are smarter than others and they are the ones that figure things like this out quickly.

The habit is now there -- She hops up and you get off. Simple as that. While it helps some to have someone else ride her out of it, YOU still have to convince her that you are capable enough to be her herd leader. Right now, she has no confidence in your ability on her back. More ground work is not going to 'fix' what she has learned with you on her back. You need to fix it on her back. She is not dumb about that either.
     
    05-03-2011, 10:15 AM
  #4
Showing
If a horse has hoof issues it may not show up until the horse is carrying the additional weight of a rider. If it is a hoof issue it will almost always show up when asked to canter with a hop and ear pinning. When leading her at a walk ask her to turn in a fairly tight circle. She should cross over herself. With a painful hoof she may try to hop or shuffle. Be sure to turn both ways. Allow her to straighten and repeat. Ask someone to walk her briskly. Is she scuffing the ground with her toes. Do you have the impression her toes are diving into the dirt? If so watch her fetlocks so see if they move forward. I'm hoping it's none of the above and just a learned issue.
     
    05-03-2011, 10:31 AM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
You have rewarded her so many times by getting off of her, that you have effectively taught her how to get you off. She has singled you out because she know it works with you.

Horses are 'creatures of habit' -- not of great intellect. Some are smarter than others and they are the ones that figure things like this out quickly.

The habit is now there -- She hops up and you get off. Simple as that. While it helps some to have someone else ride her out of it, YOU still have to convince her that you are capable enough to be her herd leader. Right now, she has no confidence in your ability on her back. More ground work is not going to 'fix' what she has learned with you on her back. You need to fix it on her back. She is not dumb about that either.

I totally agree with this.

My sister has a horse that does this...and I found that if I do a trot first then ask for a canter he doesn't hop. But from a walk or a halt he pins his ears back and hops into a canter.

What my sister does is tap him with a crop when he kicks and hops, just to tell him "no". Now he is starting to get the idea that he shouldn't do that.
     
    05-03-2011, 11:13 AM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
You have rewarded her so many times by getting off of her, that you have effectively taught her how to get you off. She has singled you out because she know it works with you.

Horses are 'creatures of habit' -- not of great intellect. Some are smarter than others and they are the ones that figure things like this out quickly.

The habit is now there -- She hops up and you get off. Simple as that. While it helps some to have someone else ride her out of it, YOU still have to convince her that you are capable enough to be her herd leader. Right now, she has no confidence in your ability on her back. More ground work is not going to 'fix' what she has learned with you on her back. You need to fix it on her back. She is not dumb about that either.
I completely agree, and I feel like a complete idiot for getting off . I re-visited groundwork just to see if there were any flaws (One of my friends suggested it). Is there any way to "break" the habit?
     
    05-03-2011, 03:37 PM
  #7
Weanling
You can break the habit of letting her work through it. If she does that you can tell her to knock it off or whatever, but keep riding until she gives you a few good strides and then get off/wall her if you want. I completely agree with Cherie.
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    05-03-2011, 07:42 PM
  #8
Green Broke
I just went through this very issue with my Paint mare, only a little more severe - one day, she started limping at the trot and flat out would NOT canter - she would buck, kick, rear, limp, and just pitch a fit. Obviously she looked like she was in blatant pain, so I kept getting off.

After a thorough vet check, he declared her to be bonkers. She'd been locked in a stall 16 hours a day, and in a just as tiny paddock the other 8 hours and pumped full of grain to try and put weight on her. She just got SO fed up with our schooling, she shut down on me.

It's been a month at the new place (80 acres of open glorious pasture) and she is right back to herself - no limping, no bucking, no attitude, nothing. It very much sounds like your mare is just pitching a miniature temper tantrum because it keeps working. I would definitely push her through it at this point.
     

Tags
attitude, hopping, horse issue, pain

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