Horse's behavior has changed!
 
 

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Horse's behavior has changed!

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  • Horses behavior changed after i bought
  • Disrespectful on ground behavior in the paddock

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    04-01-2013, 08:48 PM
  #1
Foal
Horse's behavior has changed!

I'll try to keep it short. I got an OTTB a few months ago, not right off the track, he had to be off for years, don't know what he was doing since, and no history is available for him. He was rode through at the auction w/t/c and went over small jump. Very skinny. He had very nice ground manners, didn't ride him right away as he needed more weight and just to settle in.

When he had enough weight, I rode him, just walk at first, then asked for trot, okay for awhile then he fought hard to just run, but was able to be stopped and slowed down. Found myself a good trainer to work with him and me at this point, and we started from the ground up and are making progress, I'm in no big rush, slow and steady is fine with me, I want him to be right and I want to trust him and have him trust me. I thought the riding aspect would be the hardest part but,

Now that he's almost at perfect weight, his ground manners are getting worse. He has become an expert at pulling off cross-ties and after behaving for the farrier on previous visits, was a real pain in the neck this last time. He gets front shoes only, back just trimmed. (I tried him without shoes when I first got him but he was not comfortable, so they are back on). I should note that he doesn't do any aggressive moves towards anyone. He is more of a backer away (fast) to get out of things.

Anyway, my question is, do TB's dislike cross-ties in general, and is he just showing it now because he's feeling better, and should I continue to keep cross-tieing him or just use lead rope with slip knot to tie him?

Also, if anyone has any suggestions and have dealt with a similar situation with a horse going from poor health to good health and behavior changing, please feel free to offer suggestions and advice. I'm glad he's feeling better, but he is different now then when I got him. (Sorry I didn't keep it short).
     
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    04-02-2013, 01:22 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
Of course he is different. He was poor, skinny and weak. Now you are seeing the REAL HORSE YOU BOUGHT. You never have any idea of what a skinny horse knows until you get him fat. They are all nice. We have a name for it. We just say "They can't stand prosperity!" Many of them can't. You feed them up and you create a monster. We learned long ago to take advantage of a thin horse. We ride them from day one. We use plenty of saddle pads and do not ride them hard, but we make sure they learn a whole lot before they they get fat and silly.

You are probably in waaaay over your head. He is going to take a very experienced person that can deal with a OTTB.

In the meantime, get him off of 'hot feed' and all grain products. Don't give him any vitamins or anything else to make him feel like a race horse. Give him free choice hay and not much else until you figure out how you are going to do. Then, put him on a feeding program that will keep weight on him and not build his blood up high like a race horse needs to run his heart out. That's what you have now.
     
    04-02-2013, 01:40 PM
  #3
Weanling
I am in a similar situation as you. I bought a skinny horse a few months ago and now that he is getting healthy and muscling up he is a completely different horse...I love him no less but now I am seeing the real him and probably why the previous owners sold him (I have other threads about his issues if you are interested). I had to take a few steps back in training and found a trainer to work with us and we are taking things slower. He too is a backer-upper when he gets into a confusing/stressful/frustrating situation, he would never try to hurt anyone or anything, but he sure can be a handful. He even was being a brat to the farrier even though he had done his feet in the past, and he had to put him in his place before continuing...he was hobbling around on his three legs and leaning into the farrier and just being plain disrespectful towards him. He tests new people working with him and sees what he can get away with.

When I first got him I trained him to stand in cross ties and he was doing so well. He would stand perfectly...even if I ran around the corner to grab something he'd still be standing there waiting for me to return but now he started pacing and pawing in the cross ties and I just get tired of constantly correcting him because it makes him more anxious and he starts trying to back out of the cross ties, so I have been tying him outside to a post while I groom/tack him up and he is much better about it...plus this is how he was worked with at his old home and this is what he is comfortable with. I still make him stand in the cross ties occasionally just so he doesn't forget about them for when we have to use them every day again in winter, but I prefere to be outside grooming/tacking up rather than inside if it is nice out...he is just more relaxed being outside and it makes things easier on the both of us.

I'm all new to this too, and I hope things work out for you two! Keep us updated.
     
    04-02-2013, 07:25 PM
  #4
Foal
Thanks Shelly, I will use a lead rope outside and continue to work with him on cross-ties. I guess some horses are not used to them or comfortable with them.

Thanks for the reply, Cherie. Yeah, I probably am in over my head, so that's why I have an experienced trainer on board, who has worked with tb's among other breeds. The riding isn't the issue now, just behavior in certain ground situations. My experience has been with horses that will stand on cross-ties all day so one who has such an issue with them took me by surprise, I just can't figure how a horse of his age never got used to them, and wondered if certain breeds just don't or are never taught. I am working with trainer on the ground with him as well as riding, I'm not too proud to ask for help and know I need help.

I might have gone too light on him at beginning, but he behaved so well and frankly, I didn't feel comfortable riding a horse as thin as him, spine sticking out, ribs showing, etc. Thank you for the feed tips, I am still working on what would be right for him and I appreciate your advice.
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    04-02-2013, 07:33 PM
  #5
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
We learned long ago to take advantage of a thin horse. We ride them from day one. We use plenty of saddle pads and do not ride them hard, but we make sure they learn a whole lot before they they get fat and silly.
Wait, what? Ride a skinny horse, pad 'em up and go?
I have to disagree there - first time for everything, Cherie!
Do stuff on the ground for respect, sure, but I suggest that you wait until they're at a decent weight before making them work under saddle. A lot of groundwork will translate well to the saddle.
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    04-02-2013, 07:38 PM
  #6
Started
I'm very glad to hear you have a trainer on board :) That's fantastic!

I have two questions.
1) What sort of groundwork do you do with him? There are many respect building exercises you can do - even non-aggressive, silly behavior can be dangerous with an animal as big as a horse.
2) What is he getting for feed? I've got a skinny horse myself who's just getting to his normal weight and yup - he's got a lot more fire now!! It's normal for them to act out when they're finally feeling good, but your feed may be too hot for him now that he's healthy.

I would suggest teaching him first to tie with one rope - there are so many methods, go with what you or your trainer are most familiar with and go from there if those don't work. Once he is tying comfortably with a single rope you can graduate to cross ties.

Good luck, sounds like you're making good decisions :)
     
    04-02-2013, 07:46 PM
  #7
Foal
After the settling in to new home and weight started to be put on I just did easy ground work with him, did a lot of hand walking, grooming, got his hoofs taken care of, vet work done, teeth floated, etc., then progressed more with ground work as his weight got better. Just couldn't put a saddle on the poor boy until his weight was closer to normal, now he is able to handle it and trainer is taking him through the steps slowly, and he is learning that slow is okay.

He is asserting his personality more on the ground stuff, especially cross-ties, but much more ground work is in his future. LOL
     
    04-02-2013, 07:50 PM
  #8
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunnylucy    
After the settling in to new home and weight started to be put on I just did easy ground work with him, did a lot of hand walking, grooming, got his hoofs taken care of, vet work done, teeth floated, etc., then progressed more with ground work as his weight got better. Just couldn't put a saddle on the poor boy until his weight was closer to normal, now he is able to handle it and trainer is taking him through the steps slowly, and he is learning that slow is okay.

He is asserting his personality more on the ground stuff, especially cross-ties, but much more ground work is in his future. LOL
Ok, but what are you working on now? Have you practiced any yielding or backing or tying?
And what does his diet consist of?
I have a draft mare who was exceedingly hot for her breed and age - just off the walls and flighty. A change of feed has brought her back to her drafty mentality. You're OTTB will, of course, be hot, but the right feed really may make a difference.
     
    04-02-2013, 08:05 PM
  #9
Foal
Hi Punk, Thank you for the kind words, when I first got him, I tied him outside in his paddock area and groomed him there, I think I will go back to that now and just put him on cross-ties a little at a time and keep building the time he will stand there. Farrier issue, I don't know, I think I will work on holding up his legs and increasing the time. He seems to freak out the most when front shoes are taken off, he was pretty good when they were put back on, go figure. He only gets front shoes, he actually held back legs up for trims.

Ground work is pretty basic stuff I guess, hand walking with stops, turning, backing up, lungeing on lead rope, yielding his hind, lungeing at walk and trot on lunge line now, he stands back when being fed and doesn't approach until he's told to, etc.

He was being fed Safechoice and that is being gradually switched to Country Acres 12% basic, hay of course, probiotics and supplement for hoofs and coat. He had been getting Poulin super bites hay stretcher, but that is being weaned down till he is off it.
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    04-02-2013, 08:28 PM
  #10
Foal
Oh, to give full picture, I should also mention, that up till one month ago he was stalled at night and was turned out in his own paddock for the day, he was moved a month ago to a barn where he now has an in and out so can choose to be inside or outside, trainer felt it was better for him. And he gets 2 qts of the grain A.M. And P.M., now that weight is back I would like to cut this down, but don't want him to lose weight or not feel like he has enough to eat, he really loves to hear that grain hit his bucket. No one around here does free choice hay, but the new barn does give him plenty and it lasts pretty much to the next feeding time since its in his in and out and he can come and go and eat a little all day if he wants, unlike where he had been and would finish it all in a couple of hours.
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behavior, cross-ties, ottb, thoroughbred

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