Saddling Issues - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 25 Old 10-22-2011, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Saddling Issues

I really need help with a problem I've been having since the start of the year. I really am confused and I have no idea even remotely how to tackle it anymore.

I think it was last January, my horse began...protesting...when I put a saddle on her. It was a pretty sudden occurrence, though I will bet she gave me a thousand warning signs before it escalated and I just am not experienced enough to see it. She would pin her ears and would even try to nip (she never came close, just "snaked" her head-but the threat was pretty clear). I got after her pretty hard soon after she began "nipping", and she doesn't nip anymore, but the 'angry' expression and ears turned back are still there. This isn't progress-if I were having progress, it would not be taking 7 months to fix.

I have tried everything-from ignoring it to getting after her really hard (like, chasing her backwards smacking her), and I am not seeing improvement.

The strangest thing is, though, she only does it at the hitching post. I took her out into the open yard so I had room to move her and let her back up and work with her, and she stood still. She had an irritated expression, but after I backed her up and then proceeded to throw it on her over and over and over again, she didn't particularly care. What is it about the hitching post? I groom her there many times without saddling-it's not like she ONLY ever gets tied there to be saddled. However, it is (for the most part) the only place I ever saddle her when I intend on riding-if I'm just 'practising' to get her over this problem, I sometimes take her other places. Really though, it shouldn't matter if it's the hitching post or ground tied. I don't want to make it a habit of not saddling at the rail, because then soon enough she won't like being saddled in some other spot, and then eventually she probably wouldn't allow me to saddle her at all. So I want to get her over this period.

I am almost positive it's not a pain issue. I've had her regular saddle checked, and she does it no matter what saddle I'm using. Plus, she only really does it when we're at home-if we trailer away, no ear pinning, no irritation, though she does sometimes move away and swing her butt away.

At first I thought it was a simple matter of respect (obviously it is, if she's pinning her ears at me), but even after I back her up, move her over, make her yield to my space, as soon as I tie her up and come with the saddle, it seems to have no effect. I don't know if it's me? If it is, I don't know what I need to do to change (if I did, I wouldn't be having this problem).

I would really appreciate help with this. It's sort of made me develop a distrust of her, which of course affects us in other areas, too. I'm going to ask my trainer about it, but any other advice and help would be greatly welcomed.



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post #2 of 25 Old 10-22-2011, 07:23 PM
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I would just leave her alone and not worry about it. My horses expresion is its own and there's not much I can do about it. As long as the feet stay still and the head stays where you want it I don't see much of a problem. You may want to pay attention to how you throw your saddle up and how you tighten the cinch. With western saddles the stirrup can slap the horse on the leg or in the ribs and create some aggrivation. If you are over cinching your horse ( the most common problem) then your horse may be anticipating that.
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post #3 of 25 Old 10-22-2011, 07:40 PM
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Good answer above. My dad always tells me that as long as they're not acting on the threat of ear pinning, to leave them alone and it's not too big a deal.
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post #4 of 25 Old 10-22-2011, 10:04 PM
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I would still have her checked for pain. It may not be a saddle fit issue. I knew a mare who was horribly hateful like that. Turned out she had a massive ovarian cyst that was causing her excruciating pain. They spayed her, but by that point the behaviors were ingrained, and she only improved slightly.
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post #5 of 25 Old 10-22-2011, 10:48 PM
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saddle problems

If you haven't done it already you might press your thumb and forefinger behind the withers and down the spine to see if your horse flinches or pins it's ears from pain. I once had a client who complained about her horse sitting back when tied and said she was thinking about selling it. I said, "Why tie it. Teach it to ground tie." When I showed her how to teach her horse to ground tie it already knew how. This horse had been sitting back for years when tied.... to his owners aggravation. Yet, it stood perfectly still for saddling when untied. My horse does the same thing as yours when I saddle him. It's probably because I over tighten the cinch a bit. I am not as as agile as I used to be when mounting and I was cursed with short legs. I should probably make a mounting block. Anyway, I just ignore it unless he gets aggressive. Nobody is perfect. There is an old book that was written by an Arizona cowboy in the fifties. It seems a group of nuns was visiting the ranch one morning and he was saddling his horse. Before he did anything he kicked the horse in the belly and of course, one of the nuns objected. He said, "Sister, If I didn't do that right off, this horse would drive Jesus Christ Himself to profanity!"
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post #6 of 25 Old 10-23-2011, 12:20 AM
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Also some horse are just more senstive than others as well.. My young one pulls faces when you put the saddle on... she's done it since she was broken in ... also hates her cover being moved/straightened or anything like that - she's just really sensitive..

As long as you rule out the obvious.... Pain (I use an osteo on my horses regually), saddle fit... then its prob just her....
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post #7 of 25 Old 10-23-2011, 09:42 AM
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Don't start hitting on her, it fixes nothing. As suggested, try ground tying her or flip the lead over your elbow allowing about 4' of float in the rope. When you back your horse up like that while hitting it you are engaging it's fight or flight response. If it sees no escape backwards then it's going to lunge forward in panic and if you're in the way.....Instead try flapping your left elbow like a chicken, as soon as her head starts to move toward you. Do it just out of the blue, it will keep her sharp watching for it. If she runs into it she'll quickly pull her head away and she can't grap a flapping elbow.
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post #8 of 25 Old 10-23-2011, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
I would just leave her alone and not worry about it. My horses expresion is its own and there's not much I can do about it. As long as the feet stay still and the head stays where you want it I don't see much of a problem. You may want to pay attention to how you throw your saddle up and how you tighten the cinch. With western saddles the stirrup can slap the horse on the leg or in the ribs and create some aggrivation. If you are over cinching your horse ( the most common problem) then your horse may be anticipating that.
I asked my trainer about it today and she said almost literally exactly this. I suppose it may be something I just have to live with. I'm a perfectionist and a control freak, and if I don't like something, I always get so worked up over it and think it's a huge deal.

Could it still be a health issue if she doesn't do it all the time, or she only does it really in certain places?



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post #9 of 25 Old 10-23-2011, 04:44 PM
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It could be but how many hundreds of dollars can you spend to find out? Being around horses is going to be hard on the perfectionist/control freak part of you!

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #10 of 25 Old 10-23-2011, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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As I am discovering



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