What are the chances of working this out?
Haven't posted in a while becuase things have been going well. I admit it, I"m a "foul weather" poster. backstory, I share a 13 year old aqha gelding with my 15 year old daughter. we board at a mostly show barn with a good trainer who lives right there and knows pretty much everything about all the horses in her care. we show hunters (sorry my cap key is broken:-)).
My horse is generally bombproof. He was in a costume class with sticks for wings last august and didn't even blink. He'll do the odd spook, but generally if you tell him to stop it's no big deal, he will stop. He is also forgiving. If you jump and end up on his neck, he will be pretty tolerant and wont get all worked up or dump you.
He is very smart, and he does seem to get "mad" if you as the rider fail and cause a problem for him (you sit down too soon and so he bumps the jump. He'll grunt or maybe throw in a little buck).
He has always been willing to throw in a little buck. when we first got him he would buck at canter becuase he has a soft mouth, and my hands weren't soft enough. and when he does spook, it's often with a little buck.
well, the bucking is getting worse. two weeks ago he bucked my daughter off in a show. she didn't get hurt, but she did hit her head (yes, helmets always). then this past weds he bucked with me on him, and it was a twisty buck, and I went right into the four board fence. broke my thumb and really nasty bruise on my thigh. could have been a lot worse.
trainer says what we ask needs to be reasonable and it was a big class and it was feeding time and he was excited. and to be fair it was definitly partly my fault becuase I asked him to canter right behind another horse and tha thorse bucked, and then mine did. trainer says I have to be a little smarter with him knowing he can get that way and make sure all looks good before cantering.
I get that. but on the other hand, i don't really expect to be likely to be bucked off at every show. I can generally sit his little bucks, but this was a twisty one, and I really had no chance.
I want to ask about a feed change as they recently went from sweet to some kind of pellet. he may be reacting to that. I also need to have vet look at his front feet, becuase it seems this last set of more frequent bucking has been happening after I noticed some thrush. the thrush seems to be gone, but maybe??
the trainer has checked saddle fit and sees no problems.
so I am trying to figure out what are the chances of this having a happy ending. I am kind of ready to sell, but my daughter would be broken hearted (yes, yes, of course I'd rather have a broken hearted girl than a physcially broken girl). If this can be worked out, then of course i'd rather keep him.
the trainer is going to school him while I happen to be away this week. but if he's just being a bad ass, then of course he will only act his way with me and my kid, not her. my kid is not as atheletic as some of the girls and he can get her off pretty easily. usually i can stay on better than she can, but not this last time.
I'm not scared of getting back on as of right now and I love my horse. it may be a matter of just doing less with him and more warm ups and all theother things my trainer said. but it may also be that he has our number and it won't get better. can i tell at this point which is the more likely scenario?
Gonna say the first thing that pops to my mind - Saddle fit! Generally they don't buck at hard hands, they toss their head and and refuse to move or even rear if it's really bad, but they typically don't buck.
Horses buck when it hurts to move. It sounds like he's always been sore, that he bucked when asked to canter, that's when saddles jiggle around alot, slide too far forward or back and hurt the most, so many horses with ill-fitted saddles Do buck when asked to canter. I'd immediately call a professional saddle fitter and get a vet/chiropractor out to check out his back.
I think he's been putting up with it for a good long time and it's just gotten to the point he can't just ride through it anymore. Sounds like a doll of a horse though. :)
aww, thanks so much. that almost made me cry. OK, here's the costume class pic. He really is a good boy. I guess I'd better see about taht saddle. It is a collegiate convertable and I have the measuring device, and I have measured him regularly and he has the indicated gullet plate. but I know there is more to it than that.
He did not even bat an eye with this costume. He was SO good. I was leading him just in case ...
Mary, did you try chiropractor out to see if something wrong with his back? I'd also use saddle fitter rather than trainer to rule out the issues with the saddle.
My qh used to throw bucks out of excitement (NOT bad back or saddle) when she was around 5 years old. I just sat through them and made her moving forward. However when I started working with the trainer and also show her it became a big no-no, so I just carefully looked for the sign it -may- be coming and put more leg on to prevent that.
In your situation if pain is ruled out it means just one thing: he knows bucking will get rid of the rider. So your options are let trainer fix it or sell him. If it's something he does quite common and trainer won't be able to fix I wouldn't risk your and (especially) your daughter's health and sell him.
Val--I have not tried chiro or even felt around on his back recently to see if it is sore. I can do that. Honestly, the last chiro visit to the barn, I rode the lady's horse right after and he seemed worse and he's been having bucking issues ever since, so I'm not sure I trust the one that comes to our barn. that horse seems to have a really short, choppy canter now. they injected his hocks, too, and it just seems he was better before they did all that.
I wonder if it means anything that my horse often grunts about the time he launches a buck? Maybe that's very telling, that he's saying "ouch" at that moment ...
Oh, and I do use a thinline pad under my fleece most of the time. I was for sure last wednesday.
I would cut back on his grain, too. Along with the saddle fit check. Why is he getting grain ? Is the hay not good? Horses don't need grain if the hay/grass is good.
And, I tend to think that maybe he isn't doing enough, rather than he is doing too much. Does he ever go for a long trail ride? or go out and canter until he is begging to stop?
It might be he is sour on jumping, I don't know, but he may also be getting a little spoiled and need to work harder, not less.
I'd have a 3 pronged approach to the issue.
#1 - Have a chiropractor check him out and adjust him as necessary.
If that's not the problem, or if it's only part of it, he still bucks afterwards, then
#2 - Double check saddle fit to take away excuses
#3 - Ride him until he begs for mercy. And everytime he even thinks of giving a tiny bounce, work him more.
If it isn't physical as in pain, then he's either high from his ration and needs more work or he's being a jerk and needs more work. Sweaty blankets will cure 99% of either of those issues.
6 months from now if he hasn't improved significantly or stopped being a jerk altogether, then sell him and go find a nicer horse you and your daughter can safely enjoy. Life's too short to put up with crap from a horse.
My first thing would to check saddle fit.
Second, find a really good chiropractor!
Third, have vet check for ulcers. Is he tender around his girth area? Personality change? Eating all his food? The fact that he grunts while asked to canter makes me suspicious.
If you havent had issues since you got him, and this is new behavior, he's trying to tell you something. Its your job to listen.
Don't give up on him yet.
My first thought is ring sour, both at home and at shows. Does he ever get out of the ring for trail rides? As we prepare for shows we are inclined to spend more time in the ring but often times the horse will perform better after given a break. I rode at a stable with good jumping horses. They rarely were in the ring. We had set up jumps on the trails which kept the horses fit. At the shows these horses cleaned up. The horses from other stables that were constantly ring worked often bucked or refused jumps.
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