I need help/advice please.

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I need help/advice please.

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    08-03-2007, 12:46 PM
Green Broke
I need help/advice please.

Hi all,

I have a problem, which isn't getting any better nor any worse, but never the less its a problem.
Petra, my new or newish girl now, has the sweetest temperament (normally) and I love riding her. However the past few weeks we've stepped up the pace and we've been working hard in the school and one day a week jumping, as now the weather is improving I'm wanting to take her out to some local events and have some fun.
Ok, or so you would think. Before anyone says its pain related or poor fitting tack, I can assure you it isn't, she's had full vet check, back man out and some light physio, as she is a little weaker in her left shoulder, but its improving with every day. And I've had the saddler out last saturday just to check it wasn't my saddle, oh and she had her teeth done a week last tuesday. Think I covered everything?!?
Anyway my problem is, whenin the school, she's developed a habit. Or atleast that's what I'm going to call it for now. When she's warmed up and I ask for contact and put my leg on, she'll go for say 5 to 10 strides, then she freezes and wont budge. She dances a bit on the spot and then its 'way hay' lets leap forward and take off. One of my trainers says she is bad tempered, but the other one says its more like she's had a good beating at some point as she has the look of fear in her. I need to add, that I don't think its the actual contact, it seems to be the more I use my leg.. If that makes sense?
:( Does anyone have any suggestions? My trainer who says she's bad tempered has fallen out with me because I refuse to sell her. He says I'm stubborn and at 33yrs old I should know better. He also said I'm a horse snob because she's pretty. Strange man! :roll:
Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated.
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    08-03-2007, 02:02 PM

I love the fact that you have gone so far to check for ANY sign of pain. What a good momma.

"some light physio, as she is a little weaker in her left shoulder, but its improving with every day."

This is very common. It's nearly impossible for a horse to have an equivalent muscular structured on both sides. It's just due to humans and horses being imperfect.

"Think I covered everything?!?"

Have you had a specialist in both chiro and massage therapy? This could be a later option. And what about the farrier?

"However the past few weeks we've stepped up the pace and we've been working hard in the school and one day a week jumping"

This really stood out to me. How often are you working her? How old is she? She may be mentally over whelmed by the work being asked. She sounds to be a sensitive horse, and very often, sensitive horses have behavioral issues because they are mentally exhausted and over whelmed. If I'm not mistaken, you are probably doing quite a bit of dressage. When riding dressage, generally, contact = work. Contact may be the on set of fear which then causes her to freeze.

I would suggest getting out of the arena. Don't go near it for several days. Go on trails, the pasture, where ever. I would walk on loose rein for the first couple of days. See how she then reacts to slight contact and from simple WTC. Very slowly take your work load back up.
In the future, I would also suggest staying out of the arena as much as possible. Have her work in a field or trail if possible.

Good luck, I hope that helped and hope you find a solution soon. :(
    08-03-2007, 04:08 PM
Green Broke
Hi Kristy,

Thanks for replying, I was hoping you would.

She gets ridden 5 days a week, 2 days pleasure hacking, 1 day possibly jump training, if not hacking, and 1 day intensive schooling with trainer, the last day is normally me trying to put into practice what my trainer covered, or lungeing.
When I say we picked up the pace, I understand it could be thought that we work really hard and for a long time, but we don't its only very maximum an hour, more often than that just 30mins.
My trainer (the one who I've now disagreed with) says I need to use my legs more. He's the kind of rider with strong iron legs, and when he's tried Petra, she will only tolerate him for so long and then she does the freezing and then shooting off. She's honestly not any where near as bad with me, but then I have a weaker set of legs.

Sorry. Back to answer your other questions, she's just turned 9yrs old. Our back man is a specialist in massage therapy. He specialises in Mctimoney? Think I've spelt it right. He's at our yard once a week, so he did the full works with Petra.
Its just so frustrating as she's a fabulous mare, and I have such fun with her, but now I've started asking a little more from her this strange behaviour has appeared.
I forgot to mention, she has done it once on a hack too. We were with two other horses and we were passing a field of ponies. My reins were loose (possibly a bit washing line like) and she froze. I thought she had seen something she didnt like, but the other two continued walking along. I put my leg on and she shot forward and sideways. We were all completely baffled. After probably about 30 seconds she just continued as normal. I'm baffled.
    08-05-2007, 07:40 AM
Green Broke
Anyone else help me out? :(
    08-05-2007, 09:23 AM
Could it be that she is testing you out? Trying to invade so she doesnt have to do what your asking?
    08-05-2007, 10:52 AM
get a titer test for lyme disease

It is well known that the first signs for lyme can be behavior - and she could hurt all over - just because someone can't "find" it doesnt mean its not there- I know alot of people that have problems convincing thier doctors something is wrong.. I would start there -it doesnt even matter if you had one already as it could have been on a day with a low titer -lyme is a good hider. The next thing is to give her a week off and do nothing- see if she's better- third thing- have her mouth looked at again -just because her teeth are done doesnt mean theres not a problem yet- depends on who is doing the teeth -ive also seen horses that have a bone spur on thier jaw and blow up the same way- try a bitless bridle and see if see if she is better that way.... Some horses can't stand alot of contact on thier mouth- you said she is fine UNTIL you start making contact- it could also be in her teeth and I would have her tranq and have someone that knows what they are doing see if her jaw is locking as this really does sound like whats going on / If you stand on the side of your horse with her head in resting position- push back her lips so you can see her incisors meet from the side(nipper or front row of teeth) they will meet and will be somewhat even unless your horse has an over or under bite-- now watch her front teeth as you raise and then lower the horses head - the bottom teeth should slide a quarter inch forward and back - if they do NOT move her teeth are locking her jaw from moving-this in turn Jams the TMJ joint(knobby bone on side of "temples" that sticks out) I would almost bet my life this is the problem with your horse -ONE tooth in the back will lock thier jaw- and of course the more she works - the more it hurts - and if you are using a dropped nose band that makes it even worse--- I think the problem is still her mouth - if you could take a picture of her teeth from the side -head raised and head lowered I bet they are not sliding at all. This is very painful for a horse and it would hurt with or without a bit in her mouth....... You need to find someone that is a vet/dental pro and have them get in there again - floating a horse is not the same as performance floats - the front incisors can even be slightly over and if its not shortend this will lock too - but it can lock the horse anywhere there is a high spot or if the horse has a wave mouth -
    08-05-2007, 11:10 AM
Whoops - I just noticed it was recent -the last few weeks? I was thinking also it was ongoing like more of a long term problem. There is one other thing it could be- some mares can get ovarian pain -i have a mare that off and on will come into season and she slams herself into a wall of the barn and flops on the ground -rocks and "skates" along the ground. She's a drama queen anyway- but it might be very possible (sorry I just noticed you said "since she's been at the school? ) that there is a gelding nearby that is keeping her in season - or another mare even - and she's having the same kind of pain? If you give a bute or even two ( I do not know how much she weighs) a few hours before you ride and see if she is better or at least not as bad- banamine would also work. It will at least tell you that it IS pain related - you said she was worse with the stronger rider -its possible that's what is going on. Have you noticed if she's focus'd on a certain horse while there?

Well those are my three suggestions -which are only a guess- you could try taking her temp for a week at the same time every day- see if it raises or lowers- check to see if her teeth are allowing her jaw to slide and its not locked- and try the bute to see if that helps if she's being crampy.
    08-05-2007, 11:20 AM
If she's new to you, then perhaps you've purchased a behavioral issue. Is there anyway to find out from people who knew her before you bought here if there were problems like this?

If you really like her, find a trainer who can help you through this. Perhaps your 'strange man' trainer just hasn't got the skill to help. I would almost definitely say he's not worth keeping if he was willing to give up so quickly. From your description of what's happening, I suspect this is something Petra has become accustomed to doing in order to avoid working. A pair of spurs and a great deal of forward motion to let her know that she'll work even harder (lots of cantering in circles, for starters) when she misbehaves will quite possibly work the problem out straight away.

When I say spurs, it's for a quick, no nonsense jab to the sides the very instant she begins to balk. Just shoot her forward hard and get her working. You don't need to continue using the spurs; it's just a wake up call
    08-05-2007, 04:39 PM
What about farrier? And what did your vet do in the exam?
Now for 439876503 questions.
It seems as if she is spooking in place, refusing work or in pain. Could you tell me step by step what happens before and after the incident? And are you becoming tense now in anticipation? How many times will she do this in a lesson?
    08-06-2007, 07:15 AM
Green Broke
Hi everyone, thanks for advice and comments.

We've had a development yesterday. We believe its something to do with her weaker shoulder/side. We've discovered when she is on the right rein and you ask for flexion to the inside and left shoulder out, its then that she acts up. The only thing is she doesn't do it with me???
I can have her in a fabulous outline, and looking the part, without pressuring her too much, where as if someone else rides her and is quite persistant with leg and firm contact, she'll have one of her moments.
I've arranged for our vet to come back out on friday, to have a look and then take it from there. Possibly for her to go in for a day so they can do some tests and find the point of pain, if there is one......

It still doesn't fully explain the time we were on a hack though.

She had a thorough check a while back though. In the past 3 months she's had two full five stage vet checks. Both times passed flying colours. I had to have two as I lost my first certificate and needed it for changing insurance companies. And they will only accept it if it has been done within a 3 week period.
The vet said I've to do gentle work till thursday and then work her hard friday morning before he comes to see her.

The farrier is due out on thursday this week, she's shod every 6 weeks. And last time he came, he says she had good feet. A farriers dream. 8)

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