Training vs Pain issue - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Training vs Pain issue

Back Story
I went out to a barn yesterday to check out a horse. The barn does all the IHSA stuff and with the students all going home for summer break, the horses are going to need exercise. That's where I come in. There's one horse in particular who needs special attention. The BO claims no one on the team can ride him and that he is a very one person horse. Okay, fine.

I go out and meet him and he's about 150lbs under weight. One of their pastures got flooded and he's in with about 7 other horses. They said they're moving a bunch of horses and he's going to be moved to a smaller pen with a round bale. In the meantime they're giving him high fat/high protein grain (not sure what exactly). Feet and everything else are getting done this weekend (didn't look terrrible) and teeth were done over spring break sometime.

Important Stuff
Horse is a 10 year old TB. Has been off the track for awhile and apparently did quite well. The BO is a Grand Prix rider and says she was going to use him for her own horse but had 2 in training so he ended up going to the team.

He's had a bit of time off the past few months, but the girl who has been riding him got on then me. He was very cranky, throwing his head into the air, gaping mouth (even with little to no contact) and pinned ears. At a canter departure this got magnified 100%. He also does this thing where he throws his neck out and twists his head to the side. I figured it was to evade the bit, but he did it even when I asked him to trot on the buckle.

He was being ridden in a plain O ring snaffle. Apparently a french link made this worse. He has a martingale and they said they have ridden him in draw reins and are going to be putting him in a flash soon.

To fix the head, they had me wiggle my inside finger and push him up into the bridle. Not what I'm used to doing but these people are riding GP dressage tests and I have a hard time doing the beginner novice test...

I'm not paying for him, I'm just keeping him in work until he sells, and I don't want to step on any toes. If he was my horse, I'd get him checked for ulcers and have a chiro look at him. Ride him with no martingale or flash,etc and just try and get him to relax.

They say it's "Just him" when I ask though. They mentioned it's partially because of his off the track status and just because he's a sensitive horse and has always been that way. My gut is that something hurts and he's trying to tell me. He's also quite girthy.

Anyway. What do you think?
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 11:16 AM
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He's hurting. This isn't a training issue, this is a pain issue - I agree. If your gut is telling you something, it's because he's trying to convey to you in hopes that you listen.

I feel bad for him :( If he were mine, I'd up his hay intake dramatically - so I hope that they do hold to their word stating that he'll go into a pen with a round bale - *keeping fingers crossed* because that'll do him a world of good.

But the damage is done, he needs to be scoped - my suspicion is he already has ulcers and needs digestion help. I wouldn't be focusing much on work until he gets back to par health wise....if he were mine. Maybe fun trail rides where he can just relax and not be expected to do too much.

I would get his teeth done as well, and yes - I agree, Chiro work.

Too bad you can't get your hands on him.

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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I was hoping you'd respond.

They're selling him for 3k, which I think is pretty over priced for him in his condition or else I'd consider taking him and getting him healthy and happy.

I'm going to back out on Sunday and check on him. Fingers crossed he'll have his head in a round bale like they said but I tend to not hold my breath on those sorts of things.

Since I'm not paying to lease him, I've considered asking if I can have a vet come out and scope him and then have his back checked. Knowing my luck I'll do that and they'll sell him in a month, but at least he'll be feeling a little better. They've had him for about three years and he's apparently been this way the entire time which just makes me really sad because he's a really sweet boy.

Thanks for confirming my suspicions... I feel bad questioning riders far more advanced than me but I think I was right thinking the horse was trying to tell me something.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 11:36 AM
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$3,000 is way over priced. I'd give them $800 - maybe make the cash offer and see what they say. As I've learnt in the horse world is "Money talks and Shhhht walks".

There's no way they'd sell him for that price in the shape/condition he is currently in. And I would definately get a thorough vet check done before purchase, regardless if it is $3,000.00.

You could use the arguement that he's in poor condition, mentally and physically. They might take a much lower offer.

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post #5 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm... that's a thought. I haven't jumped him over fences though he placed 4th in 2'9 jumpers this past weekend and has only schooled XC...but if I could get them down to that it may be a little more reasonable.

I'll try and get some pictures of him when I'm out this weekend.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 11:51 AM
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Follow your gut feeling. That definitely sounds like a pain issue to me too, especially with the head tossing & twisting. Something can't feel good. Hope it all works out!

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 01:32 PM
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It sounds like he has the heart to do the job, especially if you want to get into eventing. If you can get a vet to come out, and assess his condition and soundness mentally and physically - determining the outcome, I'd make a cash offer on him.

I wouldn't wait for the barn to do the "fixes" themselves, because then the price will go up or they may remain firm on the asking price - but if the Vet says this is definately fixable and he can event...I'd jump on it, if you're willing to spend the time, effort and $ into rehabbing him and starting from basics with him to build him back up to where he should be at this point in time.

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post #8 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 01:54 PM
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My TB does the same thing! She has just started tossing her head in the air and stopping and always holds her head to the side...

So could it be ulcers or a back issue?

And I hate saying this but a flash is the only thing that stops her tossing her head and diving into the bit. She just had her teeth done about two weeks ago.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know how I feel about the flash issue. I don't like the idea of just strapping his mouth shut, but I don't have a lot of experience in needing to use them.

I do think it is either ulcers or somewhere in his back is hurting. He needs some groceries and to be brought back into work gradually, IMO. I have to check with the BO first to make sure I'm allowed to bring the vet out at all but if it seems he'd be clear, I like the idea of offering cash for around 800 since I'd be putting $$ into him to get him back into shape.

I'm terrible at making offers -- I always worry about insulting them, but he just doesnt seem like a 3k horse to me yet.
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