Misjudging distances-- back problems? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-11-2010, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Misjudging distances-- back problems?


There is a rescue pony I use in my program that has recently been worrying me. Gully came to us a few months ago and was always awesome. He babysat little ones, jumped with the bigger ones and was just an all around great pony.

Don't get me wrong, he is still sweet as can be but he has started being naughtier with beginners and stopping at fences. I fixed all problems temporarily by putting him in a bitless and he seemed happy no one could pull on his mouth.

Another trainer (who annoyingly put a bit in his mouth today) said he was naughty so I jumped on him an hour ago... of course with the bitless. He was ok going around so we went over a few poles and then to a very little x. The first time over he walked, the second he leaped so far away i almost came off and the third, he took off so long he knocked down the standards. I do know he has slight back problems so I walked him out after that.

I wonder, could his back problem be making him misjudge his distances? He used to be amazing with them. I love this little guy and I only want what's best for him. Any input would be much abliged.
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-11-2010, 07:19 PM
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Just make sure the saddle is fitting properly, and the inside of the saddle isnt running alone his spine. Maybe do some lunging work with him , circles and over smaller poles.
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-11-2010, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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He doesn't actually lunge. We're working on it but I think he had bad experiences with it due to his reaction. The rescue that got him found him in bad shape at a slaughter auction. I rule nothing out but thank you for your advice. Ill try free lunging him some more.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-12-2010, 11:31 PM
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How old is this pony?

A friend of mine was having similar issues with a 20 year old horse (still in super shape and what not) and it turned out that he was starting to lose some of his vision in his left eye.

"Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then, always be a unicorn."
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-13-2010, 09:23 AM
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vision could very well have something to do with it. place some ground poles on the ground. keep it random like bounce-stride- bounce- 2 strides- and so on. see if you can get him to canter over them calm and not actualy jump over the poles just canter over them. i dont know wat kind of materials you can get your hands on but dover saddlery has a " horsemans pride rail razor" it raises ground poles 4 inches off the ground. its a good "tool" to have anyway but you once you have him cantering over the ground poles calmly raise them the 4 inches and do it again. he still should just canter over it and not actualy jump but he will have to pick his feet up just a tad. you can also make your own by using a 6 inch long piece of wood with trim on both sides to keep the pole in place (imagine like a wooden jump cup) but anyway if he can do that calmly get some cavalelttis and work on the small side and work up. just gradual re-introduction may help alot with him.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-13-2010, 12:51 PM
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Unless there has been a trauma to the back - horses RARELY have back problems which are not symptomatic of other problems. Just like in humans how back problems are usually postural, caused by poor shoes or knee or ankle problems unless the person has fallen, been in a car accident, etc..

So. By what you've said I would look at the horse's joints. Older horses, especially ones who are jumped or otherwise worked hard are very prone to joint issues. I would first of all suspect the hocks as one of the major symptoms that vets use to diagnose hock issues is lower back pain. It would make sense that the pony is launching himself forward, not up, to avoid loading the hocks.
Call the vet.

I've actually ridden a mare with major vision issues. When she missed fences she crashed through them like they weren't there. She didn't launch herself into a long spot as this pony is doing. Keep in mind that about 3 to 4 strides out from the jump, the horses lose sight of it completely as they cannot see directly in front of them.

Good luck!

They say money doesn't buy happiness -- well happiness doesn't buy horses!
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-13-2010, 01:18 PM
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With beginners jumping, they could be accidentally landing on his back, which is why he is stopping with them and not anyone else.

If the other trainer did not know that he was going better bitless, then it is not their fault for putting a bridle on that did have a bit.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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