Time to seek professional help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-24-2011, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Question Time to seek professional help?

I'm new to the forum but have been lurking for awhile before registering. There seems to be a lot of knowledgable people here so I am seeking guidance or confirmation that I am making the correct decision. I will try to keep this short.

I was given a 8 yr old TWH gelding by my future mother in law (and yes I realize how stupid it was to accept him). I took him partly because she was neglecting him. He was super skinny and his hooves hadn't been trimmed in over a year. He was standing in a stall with no exercise. She lead him around every couple months for exercise! Several people who knew the horse told me he was dead broke and even had "air brakes". That's the horses background. I have been riding for years but have never trained a horse. I am soft handed and have decent balance. I am very bad at riding with contact and am more comfortable with a lazy horse than one who goes, goes, goes.

Dresden(the horse) is wonderful on the ground. I can do just about anything from the ground with him even when he is saddled and bridled.

I attempted to ride him for the first time Saturday and due to a tack failure(latigo broke) I took a nasty fall resulting in bruises and a concussion. Even though it wasn't his fault, I am now skittish about riding him. I tried again Wednesday and my whole body was shaking so bad my feet almost shook out of the stirrups. That is our first problem.

The second problem is he is out of control under saddle. He doesn't buck, rear or truly bolt but he shakes his head, hunches his back like he might buck, takes off at a running walk and refuses to slow down or stop. If I really yank his head he will stop for a few seconds then he is off again. He stays on the rail of the arena and is in a really nice gait but I am just along for the ride. I am not in control of him at all.

I am considering finding a trainer that can work with both of us but I'm not sure whether to put 30 days of training on him first then have the trainer work with us both or what exactly the best option is... I am stumped. He doesn't seem bad. He really just seems clueless. Like he doesn't know what in the world I am asking for.

Ultimately if he is too much horse for me I will sell him to someone that can handle him but I'd like to exhaust other options first as selling him will cause serious tension with the future mother in law and I don't want to give him back to her thus sentencing him to a life of neglect.

I am sorry this was so long. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-24-2011, 01:19 PM
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Your plan to have the trainer put 30 days on him, and then both of you taking lessons is a sound and valid one.

I do have several questions, though. When were his teeth last done? Part of his problems sound like a pain issue, and one thing bothering him could be his teeth.

Also, the saddle may not fit him properly, which is why he's hunching and thinking about bucking.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-24-2011, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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I am going to get his teeth looked at and probably floated in the next week. I had wondered about that myself.

We tried him in 2 different saddles so far although its possible neither fits right. I was hoping to wait to buy a really good saddle until he was closer to his optimum weight.

I did find out from the mother in law he has only been ridden a handful of times in the past several years.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-24-2011, 01:39 PM
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I would send him off for 30 days. A well broke horse that has been left to sit for a while usually just needs a good refresher and some wet saddle blankets to realize that the world hasn't changed all that much!

The rushing off sound more like a saddle problem than anything. There are good, knowledgeable people who can give you a good guess if you give us some pictures of him with the saddle on without a pad.

He could just be a little frisky from being off work. Sounds like you got a good fellow there, I hope you stick it out with him!
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-24-2011, 01:40 PM
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Sounds like you're knowledgeable and have a good plan in place.

Since hasn't been ridden for several years, it's not surprising he would be antsy even with a well fitting saddle.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-24-2011, 01:48 PM
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Yes pain is always. The first thing to consider. You mentioned that his feet hadn't been trimmed in a year. Have you now had them done?

Once you have discounted pain as an issue then I would consider it likely to be a combination of balance and confidence. If you are lacking in confidence then the horse will feel it too. It is fry common for horses lacking in confidence to simply keep moving if they feel the rider is not confident either. If you consider it, then it makes sense from a horse perspective. After all if in doubt horses run first and ask questions later. Though they may not be bolting it is often a sign of insecurity. If in doubt,move! That's why many NH trainers will use exercises like 'follow the rail' or 'passive passenger'.

There is an interesting study that was carried out where horses and their handlers were asked to walk across a menage. A cone at each end and a box in the middle. They were told nothing first time. Heart monitors were attached to the horse and handler. The first run was uneventful.
Prior to the second time they were told that when they approached the box there would be a loud bang to see how the horse reacted when spooking. In actual fact there was no bang at all. However, the handlers didn't know that. Their pulse rates increased, and guess what? The majority of the horses spooked at the box they had previously passed without incident.......
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-24-2011, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Yes his hooves were done about 2 weeks ago.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-24-2011, 03:42 PM
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First of all, props to you for taking him and getting him the care he needs. Secondly, it's amazing what a horse can sense. I agree with what Doe said about confidence. If you're nervous, he'll probably be nervous... at least until he's back in riding mode again. 30 days with a trainer and some lessons on the horse in that time could do amazing things for both of you. You'll both get comfortable and he'll remember what being a riding horse is all about again.

Did you lunge him before you rode? It may seem minor, but my horse for example is unbelievably lazy, yet the first time I get on him, he gets lunged and lunged and lunged because that boy will play!! If I piled right on him, he'd probably do the same thing your horse did.

Best of luck to you!
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-25-2011, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update- I'm one to admit when I am the problem. And I am the problem. I've seen 2 other people ride him today and he rides beautifully for them. Luckily one is my boyfriend so hopefully dresden will become the boyfriends horse :) thank you all for the words of wisdom
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