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Rachel Alexandra 05-07-2013 05:09 PM

Spooky horse, bareback tips?
Ok, so a couple months ago my mom got a new horse. He's a beautiful Appaloosa gelding named Gunner and is just the sweetest.
But the thing is, the people we got him from believe he came from Mexico, where he was formerly abused :(
Gunner rides great under saddle and everything, even knows how to slide and stop, great with stretching his neck, but we always have to lunge him before riding, so that gets tiring after a while. Even though Gunner is really spooky, and great under saddle, every time my mom brushes him, he flinches, or twitches when it goes over his back, "Its like he's trying to avoid it for some reason" is what my mom said. He's good with being brushed everywhere else except his back. My mom did manage to get on him bareback, but he bucked her off, getting her injured, AND my horse.
So my question is, is there anyway to use an Indian type style to getting this horse use to bareback? We do not want to give up on him and we really just want hi mto feel safe and comfortable with us.
So please, if there is any great way of teaching him that bareback is ok, Indian-style, PLEASE let me know, Im desperate and with all this it takes away our riding time.
Or, even if it isnt Indian- style but til la GREAT way of getting him used to bareback, that would be much appreciated,

Thank you!!

P.S. I Need info from someone who actually KNOWS how to handle this, not someone who THINKS they do.

SlideStop 05-07-2013 05:17 PM

If your horse is flinching when you brush his back its sore. Your saddle doesn't fit or someone is unbalanced/riding like a sack of potatoes. Get the vet out for some robaxin, the chiro for an adjustment and saddle fitter out to check your saddle and help you find one that does fit well.
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Annanoel 05-07-2013 05:32 PM

Couldn't agree more, I don't feel too comfortable giving advice to mount and ride bareback when it sounds like a pain issue. Have you gotten a vet check done since you've had the horse? Chiro? Slidestop hit it on the head. I'd rule out PAIN FIRST, that's always my go to, especially when they're showing signs of pain, flinching, shying away swelling or other signs...

It's not necessarily about experience in a case like this while mounting, it's about paying attention to what the horse cannot physically tell you. They're "showing" you by the signs you have to look for as the owner/caretaker.

Rachel Alexandra 05-07-2013 06:18 PM

Since we've had him, no, we have not had a vet check, but before we got him he had a vet check, but he's due, since we've had him for about 6 months.

But yeah, I think It might be a sore back as well, idk how to measure a saddle to make sure it fits, and if its too small, its the only that we have to ride with, since he doesnt take to bareback yet

SlideStop 05-07-2013 06:23 PM

Call a saddle fitter, or even an experienced trainer, to check it. Some horses are more prone to sore backs than others. He probably isn't taking well to bareback back because his back is sore, his rider is unbalanced or is being to heavy on his back. I've never met a broke horse who couldn't be ridden bareback.

Do not ride him until you have had this soreness taken care of!
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Rachel Alexandra 05-07-2013 06:52 PM

Alright thank you!
Also, do you think being abused has any role in this, because the original owners say he was in bad condition(Abuse con.) when they got him, which calls for him being spooky, maybe its also a role on not being used to bareback, like not carrying anything on his back, kinda like how a horse would respond to a cougar?

Another thing I should have mentioned, is when my mom got bucked off, she was sitting fine on him, but when she moved her legs around, thats what sent him off

smrobs 05-07-2013 07:18 PM

I agree that his back is likely sore. My guess would be that when she moved her legs around, it changed where her seat was putting pressure on him and hit a sore spot.

One pretty sure way to know for sure that his back is sore is to take your finger and thumb and push on his back on either side of his spine every few inches from his withers to his croup. If he flinches, then it hurts.

Stop riding him, call a chiro, find someone to double check the fit on your saddle (like Slidestop said, either a certified fitter or an experienced horseman/trainer). Even after he's adjusted by the chiro, I would give him a few days and spend some time each day working on the muscles in his back to loosen them up.

As for the whole abuse thing...unless I see it happen first hand, I generally take the "I think he was abused" statement with a grain of salt. Anymore, any horse that's disrespectful or spooky or touchy or green has been called "abused" because they don't react the way people think they should.

Some horses just have a snorty/spooky/touchy temperament that may or may not change with time/training. My Dad has a horse that people would swear has been horribly abused because every time you try to catch him, he acts like he's never seen a human before, you go to brush him off and he's squirming and flinching and acting like you're skinning him alive. You don't dare try to put fly spray on him because he'll tear down the entire barn trying to get away. He's never been abused, I know that for certain because he was unhandled when I bought him as a yearling. His issue is 100% bloodline related and even though he's a really nice riding horse, he's exceptionally difficult to handle on the ground.

So, I always just treat a horse as a horse and don't worry about whether there may or may not be abuse in their history.

Rachel Alexandra 05-07-2013 07:33 PM

Alright thank you! That helps a lot! I will defiantly try that. But depending on how much chiro costs, it will take a while to get him checked out.
But I will surely see where he's hurting at and not ride him until he's better.
And now that you mention the abuse thing, I believe less now hat he was abused, maybe a little mistreated, like a lot of horses, but not intentionally abused.

So thank you! :)

Saddlebag 05-07-2013 07:40 PM

Your horse may be what is often referred to as thin skinned. This refers to being what seems to be overly sensitive to grooming. Perhaps use a softer brush. What are you feeding this horse? If you are giving any supplemental feeding of grains or pelleted feed you might try reducing them until he gets none. Just hay or hay and grass. Too rich a diet can cause his behaviour.

franknbeans 05-07-2013 07:42 PM

I am not an expert like you asked for, but since this IS an open forum, I am going to add my .02 anyway. Take it or leave it. WHat you are describing is not a "spook". To me a "spook" is a reaction to something surprising/startling/scaring them. This is more a reaction to pain.

Not to sound rude, but when a horse flinches when you touch their back they are back sore. Really pretty simple. If they flinch ALL OVER, then they may just be a particularly thin skinned horse.

Smrobs is 100% right on, as usual. I also think there are many definitions of abuse, and add to that that it is one of the most "abused" terms (no pun intended) along with "rescue", I would not pay a whole lot of attention to that. Folks tend to say that to make excuses for bad behavior, IMO.

I am curious as to why, when this horse goes well under saddle, you are so determined to ride it bareback? Yes, you still need to get the chiro, but I sure would think twice before I swung a leg over with out a saddle in this case!

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