My horse is perfect...as long as you're on the ground.
So I'm very new to horses but I've been watching some workshops and talking to local riders and I figured I'd post this here to see if I can get some more advice.
My retired barrel racer is seriously the perfect horse when doing ground work, he's attentive, all eyes on you, eager to do whatever you ask, calm and reliable. He takes verbal commands and is always very respectful...as long as you're on the ground. He tacks well, he stands and doesn't mind anything that you do, you can walk under him, around him, make noise, anything.
But once you're in the saddle its a whole different story. He doesn't mind you sitting there, he doesn't mind turning to the right . But anything else and he thinks its time to become a rodeo bronco, he spins and dances and tosses his head and bucks his back up like he's trying to pop his rider out of the saddle. I've had the vet out to look at him, I've had the farrier out to look at him, everyone tells me that he's 100% so it isn't health related, we've tried him on different bits and even a hackamore, bareback and saddled.
At first I thought it was just me, that I lacked the confidence but I've had experienced riders over to test him out and see if he'd mind for them but its the same song and dance no matter who is on him. Unless there's someone on the ground, then he follows like a puppy dog and does everything you ask, he just refuses to listen to a rider!
Somebody has jacked him up in the saddle and ran him hard quite a bit I'd say. It is going to take a lot of time, patience and deprogramming to rehab him. You will save yourself tons of frustration if you get someone experienced in this to help you.
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First off, howdy and welcome to the forum.
I'm sorry that you're having trouble with your horse, stuff like that is never fun.
Has your horse always done this or is this something that just came on recently...or has it been building over time, starting with minor misbehaviors?
You said you had the vet look at him, but have you considered having a chiro out to look at him? Vets, with all their schooling, don't always have all the answers.
Another thing to think about is having a saddle fitter out to make sure your saddle isn't pinching anywhere.
Once all of that is ruled out, I would be getting in touch with a professional trainer who has experience re-training problem horses.
Welcome to the Horse Forum. I'm sorry you are having problems. You probably are not in a very good situation. Be sure to have his teeth done. That can really contribute to problems with horses being obedient to the reins.
If he checks out OK physically, it means that his under saddle training has 'huge holes' in it. Horses are 'creatures of habit', so it is not unusual to have totally different behaviors in different circumstances. I have seen many horses like this and just as many that are great under saddle and complete idiots or poorly trained on the ground (easier to deal with).
It means that his mind had been 'blown up' under saddle by a barrel racer that did not put a good enough foundation on him under saddle and did not do enough slow work to keep him sane and ridable.
It will be a long, long road to completely retrain him. It will require the input of a good trainer or very knowledgeable mentor. He will need to be sent to a trainer or you will need to take lessons on him if you try to do it yourself. You will have many times more money in him that he will ever be worth 'in dollars' and some of these retraining projects of 'blown up' horses are never successful. The first time you try to lope them, you can lose 2 months of trying to get them nice at a walk and trot. I've seen it happen.
One thing is sure. If you are new to horses, this one has got you in it waaay over your head. New riders really benefit from a steady, 'forgiving', well-trained horse that can give the new rider confidence and 'teach' the rider. That is a much better type of 'first horse'. Good luck with this one. You are going to need it and a really knowledgeable person to help you.
Theres a horse exact alike at my barn, The kindess and friendliess as long as no ones on his back. It will take time to try and break him to ride again
Thanks so much, this is all really useful info, I like that you put it straight forward and didn't coddle or sugar coat it. I'm going to be making some calls to local trainers in the next week to see if anyone has any openings to assist me with working with Rascal.
I figured he was way beyond my current skill level, luckily I do have other horses and Rascal isn't really my "first horse" because I didn't actively seek him out and buy him (my first horse is my retired racing horse Viceroy, who does lovely under the saddle and on the ground and is great for learning on) Rascal was being boarded with us and then abandoned.
Good grief. I've boarded a horse one time and I'll never do if again as he was abandoned, then became a bit if a mess when the ex wife wanted him back. You've also had the same problem multiple times with abandonment. It's the reason why I won't board horses anymore. As for advice it's a shame that this barrel racer has "blown up" this horse. When trained correctly this won't happen. I'd take Cherie's advice, a professional trainer is the only thing that's going to help you ride this horse. He going to need lots of slow work and a guiding confident hand.
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Horse could have broken ribs, broken bars in mouth, broken teeth, broken withers process.
Unless vet did more testing than just looked at him a little bit, you won't know what is going on.
I would say, this horse is in pain, chiro is not going to help much, as I am afraid it is much more than chiro will help.
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