First, I'd like to introduce you all to Cinder, my 18 year old Heinz 57 mare! I was told she was a TB/Appy when I bought her, but I'm CONVINCED there is arab somewhere in the last 2 generations!
She looks innocent, right?
Not so much...
I've owned her for nearly 7 years now and it's been a LONG struggle, and I love the challenge she gives me. I had to sell her in Jan '08 when I started college, but through some AMAZING friends and a little trickery, I bought her back in Aug '08. When I originally bought her, bucking, rearing, and bolting was all she knew how to do. The lady owned her for 8 years and only rode every 2 weeks...and all they did was gallop around the block, and she taught her to rear with a rider as a TRICK. I spent the first 5 years teaching her walk, trot, and whoa were all things she needed to know how to do...and that any sort of rearing was NOT OK! She's always had immaculate ground manners, but once you were halfway in the saddle boy, you were on HER turf!
Anyway, when I sold her she was still a very spirited and animated horse, but there was NO rearing and minimal bucking. I have videos somewhere of my friend taping me out in a farmer's field TRYING to get a little action from her, just before I sold her. (bad I know, but I thought I'd never ride a buck again!) So, sold her to a girl that seemed to know how to handle Cinder's antics, and immediately regret it, knowing I had sold my other half.
SO, 7 months after selling her, I brought her back home. She was straight out a bronc chute again but this time, I couldn't settle her. After a couple months of consistant riding, she would NOT calm down...so I had a chiripractor out and discovered her hip was fused to part of her spine. The western saddle sat right on top of that spot, which made it uncomfortable!
Now, after having 6 months not in work, I've followed my vet's instruction to put her on a low dose of bute as a trial to see how she reacts to it. I have to explain though...she's FULL of herself out in the pasture! Bucking, galloping, pivots and all...I can ride her bareback and she behaves better, but I don't trust miss rodeo not to toss me! My velcrow butt's not THAT good! The other thing I discovered before trying bute, is the smaller the saddle got (western vs english), the more she relaxed and behaved.
Wow long post...LOL! So, after only 2 weeks on bute, Cinder's gone from this:
At her worst:
And now, with her best yet to come.
She has come SO far in the last couple rides...she no longer jigs, trots without pouncing into it, and canters without bolting! I truely think it was just the big saddle putting too much pressure on her "tickle spot"...between using a smaller saddle, learning to ride her better, and the small amount of bute, she has become an entirely new horse. I understand the risks with using bute, ulcers and such, but like I said she's on a very small dose.
I do have a question though...how do I ASK her to bring her head down? I know a couple aids I could use but I'd like to try asking her before showing her...if that makes sense?
Couple more recent pics...
Darn post in the middle of the yard!
Old headset...(Jan '09)
How do I get her to round a little more? Thanks to everyone that read all that! Sorry for the novel! But any advise would be more than appreciated! :)