Rolling while riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-02-2010, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Rolling while riding

Well this is a problem I've never encountered before. Actually, I was rolled w/ for the first time this year, but in Gypsy's defence she was trying to tell me there was something bothering her, I just took to long figuring it out.

So anyway on to my problem, I think my dad's new horse has a rolling problem. He's done it 3 times now, first time we rode him in his pasture, thought it might be a fluke, like Gypsy something was bothering him and he took care of it, but then he did it again the next day. He's not even really rolling, just dropping down, laying on his side and getting back up. Since then we've mostly been riding him on the roads, so it's not been an issue, but today my brother in law was riding him (first time) and on our way to the road we're in the yard (grass) and he dropped down and did a nice big roll (I had to laugh and laugh, because he'd gotten such a kick out of me being rolled with, welcomed him to the club). So starting to look like this may be a problem, I have a few ideas how to handle it, but thought I'd get other opinions.
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-02-2010, 11:15 PM
Green Broke
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It could be a few things. He could be telling you there is a problem (sadde/tack), he's not feeling well, something about the way you are riding him is off or he's throwing a tantrum.

I work for fish and wildlife and we do high lake fish plants by horse back. One of the guys that volunteered with us that had a horse that would always throw a tantrum right at the beginning of the ride. He'd lay down, the guy would get off, walk a way until the horse was done has his little tantrum.

Horse would get up and away they would go. Just something the horse always did no matter what they guy did to train it out of him.

Check all the tack - is there something under the saddle poking/itching/tickling him, make sure there isn't anything medically wrong, check how you are riding and if those all pan out, he's likely just having a little fit.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-02-2010, 11:17 PM
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I would start with your saddle fit, as well as making sure his cinch, or pad don't have anything pokey in them, and his skin isn't being pinched anywhere. If he is being pestered by flies, make sure to get a good spray for when you ride, and make sure he is sprayed well on his belly.

Don't let his head down, and try to make sure you are paying attention to when he is slowing down and potentially 'thinking' about dropping. When you sense that he is going to go down, start 'upping' your cues to keep him moving, lift his head, and just get him moving his feet.


"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-02-2010, 11:26 PM
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I agree to start with the tack. We have a horse at the farm that was constantly laying down on rides. We found out that while the saddle looked pretty good when we left the the time we got down the road a piece it was almost laying on his withers. The trouble diagnosing this was the fact that after he rolled, the saddle would have to be adjusted and reset...resetting the saddle to its original position.
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-03-2010, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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My sister was riding him when he rolled the first two times and there isn't anything wrong w/ her riding, I've checked the tack and haven't found anything there, it's not moving at all during the rides (and only needed to be reset the last time, because he rolled over it several times), currently it's the only saddle we have that fits him, but my dad is saddle shopping (he's borrowing this one from me). I'm leaning more towards bahavioral because he didn't actually roll the first two times, just dropped down and laid on his side then got right back up. He also doesn't drop his head, he's moving along and his shoulders are the first thing to go down (he doesn't even slow down). After he's done it, it's done and he's not done it twice on one ride, it's generally early in the ride, and he seems perfectly fine the rest of the ride.

I may try some different things w/ his tack tomarrow, see if that makes a difference. I do have a new saddle that would probably fit him, but I'm not putting it on him because I don't want it destroyed.

Flies are not likely the problem, we're crazy w/ the fly spray.
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-03-2010, 01:48 AM
Green Broke
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He doesn't have narcolepsy does he?

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-03-2010, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Not that I'm aware of.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-03-2010, 11:55 AM
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Check that you're not over girthing him or that the girth is right for him... this is really quite common with sensitive horses, or horses with a thinner skin... but can happen with any horse.

I have a mare here who needs a soft soft girth (fleecy for English, string for western)... and done up so that it's just snug enough the saddle won't slip. A girth too hard (like a rolled leather) or "sticky" (like neoprene), or too narrow will set her off... as will a girth done up more than "two fingers loose" (just tight enough that the saddle won't slip). She will sometimes just hump up, sometimes buck, sometimes back up, sometimes go right down. It happens within the first couple of minutes of the ride, and once whatever she's going to do is over with she's fine. (Note : this is not the same as "cold backed" )

Check also that your girth is the right size and in the right place. These can be factors too. There is a vein/artery that runs just behind the horse's elbow... in some horses it's very close to the skin and any real pressure on it can stop blood flow causing a horse to "faint"... and incorrectly fitted, and/or too tight girth can do this.

Another thing to do is to walk the horse around for a couple of minutes prior to mounting - or at the very least stretch the front legs out to pull any skin that might be stuck.
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-03-2010, 12:32 PM
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My horse did it once when I was putting her under saddle (BTW, tack was fine). She was sweaty and itchy and decided it's time for her to roll to feel better. Although I blame it on her being still very green and not knowing the "rules".

What I noticed though you can tell right away it's going down. So just keep him moving (even on slow walk).
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-03-2010, 12:55 PM
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There was a horse at my barn that recently passed away, and she used to roll too. It was only in the summer, because of flies. She was allergic to all fly spray, so we couldn't use it on her. We did everything we could to protect her from tthem, but sometimes her only defense was to roll. If he isn't being bothered by a bug, I would first check saddle fit. Them make sure his bridle is on right. Make sure they you're balanced in the saddle and not all over the place. Maybe his back hurts. You could get a chiro out. Just a few suggestions, good luck!
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