Horse is a DANGEROUS handful
 
 

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Horse is a DANGEROUS handful

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  • Are cold backed horses really unpredictable and dangerous
  • My horse has become a handful

 
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    10-07-2010, 12:28 AM
  #1
Weanling
Horse is a DANGEROUS handful

So some of you that have read previous threads of mine know that I am currently working with a TWH gelding. He's 6 years old.

After having him 6 days, I have made observations that contradict my previous assumptions ... his behavior is baffling. And dangerous.

On the ground he is not dangerous. He is difficult to catch but will never push through you or kick you, even when he's cornered. When you catch him, he's very easy to handle and follows you like a puppy. He stays close to your shoulder and is very easy to control. He is a little skiddish, but nothing that is TOO extreme. When I am saddling him, he lifts up his back leg and swishes his tail, but doesn't actually kick and he doesn't move away or pin his ears back. Just kind of a "ehhh, I don't wantcha to"

In the saddle, he is explosive and unpredictable. Sometimes he will walk on just fine, other times the slightest sound will spook him and he will go into a frenzy of jumping around, bucking, rearing, ducking, etc. Today, I had three bad episodes with him within 40 minutes.

First episode. I got on him and was riding him fine, not a care in the world, tadarump tadarump, and I asked him to move in a figure 8 pattern between a couple of cones. I asked him to turn, and he just side-stepped and kept going forward, so I used my heel a little (a LITTLE!) and he exploded. Three big bucks, I was flung into the air, and I landed on my feet... I was still freaked out though.

Second episode. I gave him some time to calm down, lunged him a bit, and when the tenseness was worked out of his muscles I went to get back on. Before my foot was even over his back, he bolted. I managed to swing into the seat and keep my balance, do a one-rein stop (which may have saved my life), and dismount because I was so shaken. He had nearly thrown me over a gate (he rampaged into it... I thought we were gonners because he'd reared up and looked like he was going to try and jump it). Luckily I didn't fall off, regardless of the fact I had no stirrups. It took me a minute to work out the awful cramps I had from squeezing with my thighs, though >=/

Third episode. He rode fine, just like the first time, and then suddenly exploded. I was more prepared this time because I managed to get him with the one-rein stop. Once he stopped I released, and he walked on like nothing happened.

Wth? This horse is extremely dangerous... Is this something I can get him out of by November 2, when he goes home? I feel like this is a mental problem. He's not afraid of people, he just wants NOTHING to do with them. Someone must have done something pretty awful that he still hasn't let go, if he's acting like this, surely?

Please, any advice is TRULY appreciated.
     
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    10-07-2010, 12:35 AM
  #2
Banned
Have you checked all the 'usual suspects? Pain from saddling? Sore or cold backed? Mouth pain? Tooth pain?

How about his diet? What is he being fed? Too much starches?

How about his health? Is he *always* nice on the ground or does he get snappy there too? Could he have ulcers? Allergies?

How old is he and what kind of training has he had before.

I am suspect that anything at all has happened to this horse. This is a sure sign that he has gotten what he wanted in the past. He acts like a brat, ride either gets tossed or gets off. Repeat until people turn out out forever calling you that crazy horse.
     
    10-07-2010, 12:38 AM
  #3
Green Broke
How often do you ride/work him? For how long? What do you feed him? Sounds like one of two things to me:
1.) Needs more work as he is hot hot hot
2.) Hate to say it but the bending issue/mounting issue sound like it could be pain related, could be worthwhile ruling out any back/shoulder/HQ issues.

As for resolving the problem by November 2, well it really depends on the cause of the issue, the horse himself and the rider in question - hard to answer.

Cori - we posted at the same time!
     
    10-07-2010, 12:41 AM
  #4
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by corinowalk    
Have you checked all the 'usual suspects? Pain from saddling? Sore or cold backed? Mouth pain? Tooth pain?

How about his diet? What is he being fed? Too much starches?

How about his health? Is he *always* nice on the ground or does he get snappy there too? Could he have ulcers? Allergies?

How old is he and what kind of training has he had before.

I am suspect that anything at all has happened to this horse. This is a sure sign that he has gotten what he wanted in the past. He acts like a brat, ride either gets tossed or gets off. Repeat until people turn out out forever calling you that crazy horse.
He's six. Healthy as a... well, horse. According to the vet anyway. He's fed Legacy, per vet orders because he was skinny, but he has gained weight now and I am switching him over to Purina Active Pleasure. Saddle fits, no back pain, no teeth problems. He may just be a brat, like you said. I am just afraid that not letting him get away with anything is going to end up killing me. 0_0 He gets VERY explosive when told "NO". It's embarrassing, but I already told his owners that he may just be too much for me, and I might have to send him back. They are beginners, and they do NOT need a horse like this. Even when he is "broke out" or whatever, he will be good enough for MAYBE an advanced-intermediate rider. NO ONE can let him get away with ANYTHING or he will take full advantage of it.

Oh and as far as groundwork goes - he does everything fine from the ground. And yes, he's always obedient. At least since I've been working with him. I lunge him before I work him, but not aggressively. I thought his groundwork was stinky at first but he really does know a lot. Someone taught him all the right stuff... but then, someone taught him all the wrong stuff... if that makes any sense
     
    10-07-2010, 12:51 AM
  #5
Banned
The first thing *I* would do (not saying you have to take this advice) is to drop the feed all together. All the way. Nothing but hay from here on out. Unless he has protruding hip bones a healthy horse who is being ridden for less than an hour daily should be able to go without. Make sure he has lots of hay and lots of pasture and this should help diagnose either too much starch or in some cases, ulcers. It can take a few days to a few weeks to truely notice a difference. Horses are over sugared. Some handle it well, others don't. My Nico could not handle any kind of sweet feed. One handful set him off for a whole day.

Secondly, I would evaluate him for pain. Take your thumb and forefinger and press the whole length of his back. A horse with a strong, healthy, pain free back should barely notice. A sore or cold backed horse will dip their back away from the pressure...I've seen a very sore horse almost fall over when this method was applied. Check him for knots in the wither and the loin area.

Thirdly, make sure that saddle fits. All the way. No pinching, no extra pressure.

Fourthly, check his teeth. I've seen many a horse buck from mouth pain. The 'suddeness' of him leads me to the mouth. First explosion you would have been employing the rein. Second you did a one rein stop. Third was out of nowhere. All could be explained if he needed floated or had other teeth issues.

My motto with all horses is a tired horse is a good horse. Its against a lot of peoples thought process on here (and I respect that!) but if I had a horse like him, I would lunge him til he was sweating down his legs. Put him up and do it again the next day...only get on him afterwards. If he is still putting up a serious fight while tired, there is a real cause to his episodes.

I totally respect you telling his owners that he may be too much. Often we are so prideful that we wont admit when its too much. If you feel your safety is in danger and that he is truely out to hurt you, send him back and suggest another trainer. Good luck with him!
     
    10-07-2010, 12:54 AM
  #6
Weanling
I would gain this horse's respect on the ground (in-hand work, lunging, natural horsemanship exercises) before even attempting to ride him. It will teach him some better manners (hard to catch and angry when saddled?) and keep you safe until he is sane!
     
    10-07-2010, 01:00 AM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharliGirl    
I would gain this horse's respect on the ground (in-hand work, lunging, natural horsemanship exercises) before even attempting to ride him. It will teach him some better manners (hard to catch and angry when saddled?) and keep you safe until he is sane!
But you do believe he will become "sane" right? I do agree it is a big disrespect issue. But do you think he'll ever be safe for these beginners? He is VERY flighty and they are nervous anyway... BAD COMBINATION!
     
    10-07-2010, 01:14 AM
  #8
Yearling
He doesn't sound like he'll be a beginner horse ever. Maybe when he's 25, but since he's 6 and his "episodes" he is NOT a beginner horse! He may be sane... but I don't think his owners will be able to deal with him.

Are you *positive* that your saddle fits? If he seems angry when the saddle is on, and all of the issues are when he is under saddle, are you sure it fits? Before he has an "episode" do you ever shift your position? I think it's either saddle or mouth.
     
    10-07-2010, 01:20 AM
  #9
Green Broke
I think Corinowalk has some great advice. I certainly don't have any better advice.

I guess I just wanted to say that no horse is worth getting killed or paralyzed over. There is risk in horses enough without getting on a horse that is blatantly dangerous. So please be careful, and I really doubt, short of a miracle cure, that he will ever be safe for beginners.

I had an awful mare one time. I had her for a month trying to make her work out for me. She would rear and buck and have no respect for me whatsoever. Then I spent another month trying to sell her cheap/free to someone I thought could handle her. Finally a horse trader took her to an auction for me (and came back with her because I guess he thought he could fix her?). Anyway, if you get seriously injured or killed you won't be able to enjoy the horses you love, so if you really think this horse is dangerous, tell the owners that and send it back before you get hurt. It sounds like this horse is trouble with a capital "T." Unless you find a truly rational reason for the behavior, like majorly poor saddle fit or major teeth problems, send him back and tell the owners he is dangerous.

I don't think even sweet feed is a good excuse because I've had a few horses get "high" off of sweet feed during the winter and the weather was too bad to ride. They turn into hyper jiggy dragons the next time I ride, but they aren't flat out dangerous and they still respect me. You know what I mean? A good horse should still respect you even if they can hardly contain their energy.

I guess what I am saying is, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. Three bad act-outs in 40 minutes is a lot.
     
    10-07-2010, 01:23 AM
  #10
Started
Nope, he will not be safe for beginners. Not going to happen from the sounds of it.
I know there are always reasons that are given or suggested for a horse being an idiot,saddle fit, teeth, pain, soreness, etc but in my experience when a horse is dangerous its because he has gotten away with murder for so long and he has no intention of becoming an angel that inexperienced people can ride. At some point, you might be able to ride him because you will teach him to respect you, but newbies will not be able to do the same thing and will get hurt or killed.
Sorry, but you are risking your life for someone else to try and train a dangerous horse and make is sane. I have posted about my friends horse who will be just find and dandy, then explode and either take to bucking or going over backwards. She is great on the ground, will do anything you ask(except stand tied today and throw herself backwards tomorrow) but when she is being ridden she is dangerous and unpredictable. This mare was trained by good trainers, and most have given up on her. She is dangerous and crazy. Nothing bad every happened to her, she was treated well, fed well, trained from a baby the right way, she just flat does not want folks to be on her back. Period.
You might be able to make him safe for you because you know what to ask for. I can take an uncontrolable dog and make it mind me with the owners standing there saying it can't be done, yet the minute I hand the dog back, it starts being stupid again. I am dominate and know what to do. Sounds as if you are the same way, you know how to work a horse.
But in this case, like the friends mare, the animal is dangerous and no matter how long you ride it, howlong you tire it out, how long you work it, there are some horses that just don't want to deal with people and will do whatever it takes to get them off, hopefully not killing the person on its back.
Please tell the owners that this is not the horse for them and for your own safety I would say don't ride him anymore.
     

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