Need some help with an anxious horse!

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Need some help with an anxious horse!

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  • Helping anxious horses
  • Dealing with anxious horses on the trail

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  • 1 Post By PunksTank

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    08-13-2013, 09:59 AM
Need some help with an anxious horse!

Hoping someone will have some insight that I haven't thought of yet...
7 year old TB mare, never raced, I have had her since she was a weanling. I will cut to the chase - she is FINE to ride at home, quiet for the most part, and very responsive. She has had extensive natural horsemanship ground training, Parelli games, bridleless bareback riding, etc...She is green under saddle as she was just started last year. Started taking her to shows and out trail riding this year. The first couple of months she was great! Went to 3 shows and several trail rides with no incident, then the problems started. She would start out fine and then halfway into the trail ride she would start get nervous and it would just escalate from there to being out of control, rearing, bucking, just extremely upset. She also started kicking other horses if they came anywhere near her, which she never used to do. Same thing at show, but not to that extreme, just nervous and very anxious, hard to control. I can't understand what is provoking this as she was so good for the first few months! She has been checked for lyme, examined for pain, scoped for ulcers, her vision is fine....she has been completely vetted and we can't find anything medically wrong with her to explain this behavior. Does anyone have any other ideas or insight? I feel so frustrated and discouraged and just don't know what to do anymore as the behavior is getting worse every time I take her some where.
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    08-13-2013, 10:09 AM
I can't understand what is provoking this as she was so good for the first few months!
A green horse will often go good for the first few months, as its focusing on learning new cues, etc. You often get a green horse that appears to 'regress' for several rides, so its not unusual. What matters is how you deal with it. If you work her through her issues and end on a good note, she will improve. Also evaluate your self. Often horses that act up off property have riders that tense up and get nervous, anxious or excited themselves, influencing the horse inadvertently.
    08-13-2013, 10:11 AM
Somethings making me think this could be a diet thing. Did you change anything in her diet at all? What does she currently get? How much does she weigh (ish) and how much of which feeds does she get?
It's odd for this behavior to have just creeped up. Unless there was an incident where she acted up and she got rewarded for it (by going home or something).
    08-13-2013, 10:19 AM
Nope no diet change....she gets very little grain, low starch because we have battled with white line disease. She eats mostly hay and some pasture.

I definitely do get nervous when the bucking starts, it's hard not to....I am not generally a nervous rider but when she starts getting out of control it definitely gets me tense and a bit rattled. I was hoping this night be something she is going through because of being green...I plan to continue working with her to see if time and consistency may change things....
Being that I raised and trained her I know that she knows how far she can push me and what she can get away with. I'm wondering if sending her to someone else for some remedial schooling might be beneficial?
    08-13-2013, 10:27 AM
Then it definitely sounds like whatBlueSpark said. Sometimes once a horse figures out the right answer, they like to try some of the wrong answers too - to see if something else gets them better results. So long as her antics don't earn her anything but more work they'll stop shortly.

Do you have your hay tested? I'd be curious to know her magnesium levels. I don't think it would hurt to try supplementing some magnesium... I'll let someone who knows more about feed explain about Mg.

Another thing you could do is bring her to riding schools and ride her there - just getting her used to new environments in a safe controlled way. You could even take her for riding lessons at other lesson barns, so you can have eyes on the ground. :)
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