At my wits end....been through 3 horse trainers :( - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 58 Old 10-04-2013, 12:03 PM
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I'd like to add. Hopefully you are using a knotted halter. When next you lunge him if he bucks, yank his head off with one hard yank. Don't just pull. Put a little slack in the line then give it a good snatch. He won't learn the first time so keep him going. You may have to do this a dozen times but he'll learn that bucking results in head pain. Do nothing else with him but lunge him daily for a week so he really commits this to memory. Repetition, repetition, repetition. The you need to teach him the one-rein stop from the ground and his nose must touch the girth area. The more you do this exercise the more he will come to relax. Do both sides and when you next get on him, do this both from the ground and from the saddle. Don't ask him to go anywhere just do this until his nose will touch your boot and he'll leave it there without your pulling on the rein. You are dealing with a horse that may continue to have flashbacks of the track and accompanying behaviour. He's confused when he thinks he should run, or go to the starting gate and he can't.
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post #22 of 58 Old 10-04-2013, 12:19 PM
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Just out of curiosity, how old is your boy, and how extensively was he raced? It sounds like that first trainer really did him a disservice and he might have just been pushed too far for his young mind. Is he 2? 3? If he's anything younger than 4-5, maybe he just isn't mentally mature enough for this. Its a long shot, but sometimes when they're just pushed too fast they can't handle it. We have a little mixbreed mare who we tried to start as a 3 1/2 year old and she had the same behavior as your guy. Blew up with the saddle, stayed very tense and worried even if you did get to the point of getting on her, and ended up learning to do some NASTY tricks to get a rider off her back. We actually gave up on her and just called her a dud despite her wonderful ground manners and personality, and tossed her into a pasture. Last year as a 7 year old we, for whatever reason, decided to try one more time with her, and started from scratch as if she'd never seen a saddle. She did just fine! She was saddle trained w-t-c without a single buck and sold on as a barrel prospect a few months ago without a problem.

That may not be your boy's problem, but if you run out of ideas, you might consider that he might just be too immature.

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post #23 of 58 Old 10-04-2013, 02:40 PM
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one more thing: diet. are you feeding him a ton of sweet feed?
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post #24 of 58 Old 10-04-2013, 06:20 PM
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Just a few questions to throw out:

Feed? What is he on? I've found sweet feed is not good for most TBs and they really need a high fat and high fiber diet to help them concentrate.

Feet? How are his feet? I would love to see pictures of his feet including soles to see how they look.

Ulcers? Have you treated him for ulcers? I put all my OTTBs on a minimum of 30 days of Equishure to treat ulcers and hindgut issues. Most are off of it by 60 days and only had 2 go to 90 days but they had a lot of ulcers.

Obviously he has a cold back and a serious defense mechanism for it. I would really get the chiropractor out again along with a massage therapist to double check his alignment.

Next I would purchase a cheap bareback pad (no stirrups just plain pad) and put it on him in a round pen and let him buck it out. Once he is done bucking (it really does a number on their backs) have your therapists show you a few moves for helping to keep the back in line. Do not ride yet, do this for 2-3 days or until you can put the pad on, do his massages, and you get no explosive reactions.

Once he has stopped his fits, put the saddle on and hand walk him 10 mins. Most horses are walked before their morning exercises so their backs are warmed up. Once in the saddle, always use a mounting blocks, the amount of torque used is very hard on their backs. Do not sit down quickly, stay in 2 point for at least 10-15 strides than gently lower into the saddle. Spend a minimum of 10 minutes doing slow warm ups, lots of walking on a loose rein to let him stretch his back, lots of circles, changes of rein, serpentines, figure 8's, etc until you can start slowly getting him to trot on a light contact.

Keep trying various things until you can find his key, it really sounds like he needs a good massage pre and post ride, and a long warm up. Please at least try the 10 minute hand walk pre ride to let him warm up.

Good luck !!
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post #25 of 58 Old 10-04-2013, 07:24 PM
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Imo, you need to see if he bucks from fear or if he bucks from resistance to being ridden. The fear should be obvious in his eyes, his tenseness, his adrenaline-fueled super-quick reactions. If, otoh, he winds up to buck in a calm, deliberate manner, he's left-brained & has found a way to try & get out of being ridden.

You'll note that his love of going out on the trail is typical LBI (left-brain introvert) love, & that's the calm, deliberate type.

You of course approach these two different mentalities totally differently, for an effective cure.
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post #26 of 58 Old 10-04-2013, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Everyone has asked some different questions about Duke so here goes:

Duke is 7 year old. Mature enough.

He HAS been palpated by a chiropractor recently, had 2 small vert. adjustments, palpated again, no pain.

Duke gets NO sweet feed. He is on Legends show and pleasure and grass all day. The legends is one of the only feeds that I have found keeps the weight on him. He is in very good shape and lots of energy.

Duke's hooves are a little pancaked and he is slightly pigeon toed. No lameness what so ever. Bottoms of his feet are tough and in good shape

He hasn't bucked when the saddle is first put on in a couple weeks, it's only when the rider tries to move him forward IF he is not lunged first. He freezes up, bolts, threatens to rear, then bucks in a tight circle or crow hopping.

Duke already knows flexing and the on reign stop. Hard to do the one reign stop if he is already bent while bucking. I don't want him to go down.

He didn't race a lot. He was too slow. I think maybe 4 races from what I have found.

He does have VERY good conformation. He is brother to Rachel Alexander as his sire is Medaglia d'oro.

Duke is a very happy horse. Although he is low man around the pasture, he is ALWAYS happy, picks and teases my other gelding at least 3 or 4 times a day to start up play and they play and run and have fun much of the day. He runs a lot in the pasture and shows no sign of pain or lameness.

Duke has VERY good ground manners. I can do anything to him (maybe just a little touchy around the ears, I think he was maybe twitched sometime ago) On the ground he is calm, never aggressive, welcoming of attention and does not shy when I go to get him. Not barn sour AT ALL. And when he does finally settle down, loves to go on trail rides.

THANKS SO MUCH friends for all of your input!!!
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post #27 of 58 Old 10-04-2013, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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I changed my Avatar. Duke is in the middle. I am having a hard time uploading pics to my post.....
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post #28 of 58 Old 10-05-2013, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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One more thing to add.....he is NOT cinchy at all.
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post #29 of 58 Old 10-05-2013, 01:40 AM
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I had a training challenge with my one gelding.Don't know about Duke but I know they can have security issues!! Insecurities can manifest in a # of negative behaviors My gelding I had done some extensive ground work with him as he was a more nervous insecure horse than I had trained before.I had backed him & ridden him in round pen. The following spring I thought taking off to a trainer {colt breaker I had used before} to see new sights ,be around other horses would help,build his confidence. I just wanted him started under saddle 30-60 days.I ended up bring him home after 2 1/2 week they couldn't get anywhere with him,never did get on him he,feeling he was unsafe & he regressed in all I had taught him. What now I thought??. I ended up working with him myself that summer had to re do what he had lost & then go on from there. We were riding about the ring & trails by end of summer.I wanted to take him to next level in his training so I thought about taking him back to a trainer{show horse trainer}. I told her of the trouble we had with him & his trust issues. She took him on. After week at trainers She had just worked with him ground stuff to get him use to her but he was nervous. I went out to ride him Hopped on took him about the arena. Their mouth dropped,OMG he is like a different horse with you!! Basically after seeing his trust & relaxed demeanor with him we took on a different approach with training. The time it would take the trainer to gain that level of trust from horse & be able to get on him was going to be issue. I ended up going out several times a week & she coached me on what to do in his training. The 2 of us learned SOOOO much!!. He is better around other people now & trainer was able to ride him after being there a month. I have yet to test him but he is much more comfortable around strangers{normal horse now} I finally think he is ridable by someone other than myself
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post #30 of 58 Old 10-05-2013, 08:29 AM
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When you mount up do the flexing (one rein stop) until you think your arms will fall off, then gently squeeze with your legs, or cluck, whichever he best responds to, allow only a step or two and flex him again and again, another few steps and more flexing. It may seem like too many but it's causing him to keep him mind on what you want and not what he wants. If you get only half a dozen strides total and he's willing to stand quietly, that is when you dismount, otherwise more flexing. By doing this daily it may take a week to get a hundred feet but don't rush this stage. People get in a hurry for forward movement but take the time now and do it well.
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