Is it is personality?
So I wrote earlier about Blaze and I have read a lot of the posts under training and have come to the conclusion that Blaze does not like to be ridden. However, most of the problems I have with him are due to how high strung he is. Blaze is very intelligent and impatient and he picks up on things at the drop of a hat, unfortunately the amount of spirit he has is preventing me from having a fun and safe riding experience. When it comes to how I take care of Blaze, I try my very best to be fair, firm, and consistent. I have established with him that I am not a predator and have taken passenger lessons on him. I try my best to accommodate both of us by moving quickly, efficiently, and calmly, no matter how he acts. Blaze does everything by the book in the round pen and arena when it comes to ground work. He will back when I ask him, trot and woa when I ask him, come to me, halt on the rail, spin circles, play the parelli games I have taught him. He drops his head and relaxes and accepts me as his dominant in the round pen. It's when I get in the saddle that things change. I can ride him in the round pen and arena with little complaint, but if he is anywhere else I have a very difficult time controlling him. I do my best to make him work when he is super edgy, but I can't work him enough! This horse has an endless and daunting supply of energy under saddle. If I ride him around the open field and ask him to stop, he will stamp his feet and paw and dig vigorously, toss his head, dance around, try to move forward, pretty much anything to try to force me to give in. When I ask him to trot he tries to pull through with all his force to go faster, when I ask him to canter he tries to pull through and dead gallop.. and since I have tried some of the things others have suggested he bucks much less but still wants to do what he wants to do, which is run, run, run... just with me as a passenger, lol. So i decided that since Blaze is so bored that trail riding must be a good solution so he can have a job and work out some of this energy. I have taken him out with a group 3 times now, and going out he will show out as much as possible, dancing around, trying to turn, backing over things... so I will ask him to back over objects, circle him, and keep him moving, and he will eventually settle down and then he wants to lead the trail ride. I discovered today that he will NOT tolerate the other horses reaching a certain distance in front of him. He was running in place and trying to break away from me, all while grinding his teeth and tossing his head. Well I asked him to trot, so at least he would be working, and he broke into a lope.. and although I usually will one reign stop him ( i use that to fix most of his problems) I don't feel comfortable enough with my seat to do that without the risk of falling off. So I took a real "passenger" trail ride today, as he broke into a dead on survival style gallop to reach those other horses, all with me hauling on his mouth and singing to him very calmly to walk... and he completely ignored me, something he would never do in the round pen. Blaze seems to like going out on trail rides, more than anything else, but both going out and back he hassles me almost the whole time. When Blaze calms down and walks I pat his neck and tell him good boy and give him his head, and it's like that triggers him to misbehave, no amount of good boys and kind behavior will make him stop. So I rode him today for 25 miles, and he probably full on galloped or loped about 5 of those and he was covered in sweat, but that did nothing for his energy level. He came home just as nervous and prancy as we left. The only time he even bothered to listen to me at all was on the way home when I completely lost it after an hour straight of head tossing and trotting in place and started just spinning kicking and jerking his head about as hard as I could. I thought that was about the most juvenile and bad thing I could do, totally losing my temper like I did and taking it out on him. However, after that he actually walked on a loose reign, and when I tried to say good boy and pat him.. he started trotting again and prancing around. So just as a weird idea, when we were close to home I hopped off of him and let him go. I figured he wants to go home so badly he will run home. Instead he walked relatively calmly right next to me or behind me. Same thing with him bolting, when some birds flew up he bolted and I almost fell off backwards and instead of taking off with me dangling half way off of him he listened to me when I had no reigns and stopped... where normally he wouldn't listen to me at all. So... I don't know if he trusts me or not, he seems to in fight or flight situations.. so I can't quite figure out why he wants to give me such a hard time. He's been through a few owners, so I have to imagine this is his personality coming through... he seems to be very snotty and belligerent in the saddle. His previous owner told me he was different with each person that rode him, some people with horrible seats he just liked and would let ride him and some people, even good riders, he would terrorize. That's why they never made him a lesson horse. So I know without seeing the horse this is hard to say, but could this really just be his personality or is this fixable? Blaze has bonded with me and likes me, he just has the "my way or the high way" type attitude with everything he does.
Have you had his back/teeth/tack checked? This to me sounds like a pain issue. I would get the vet out to him to check his teeth and back, and get someone to look at his saddle to make sure it isn't hurting him. Don't lose your temper with him as this will just make him worse. Hope this helps :)
I feel your pain! I had a TB that was just like that. She was great at home, beautiful ground manners, did everything asked of her in the arena but get her on a trail and she was a basket case. Scared of everything and hard to control. I spent 2 years trying to make a trail horse of her and finally gave up and sold her. I don't know if it was me or what, but I'm much happier with the horse I have now. Sorry I don't have any real advice to give you, just wanted to let you know your not alone.
He definitely needs his teeth done, but he is having no problems eating and practically takes the bit from my hand. When I can actually afford taking him to the vet that is the first thing I'm going to do... the hauling alone will cost 200 dollars. but I gave him a massage and applied pressure everywhere to make sure he's not in pain, and he seemed fine. I also figured that a 25 mile ride would reveal if his saddle were rubbing him wrong, and he came back just fine and in no visible pain, and no saddle sores. I think and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, that I just weigh more than what he is used to carrying. His last regular rider was 110 pounds and I'm about 185...because gradually it seems to be getting a little bit better. But how much of an issue can his teeth really be? They aren't horrible, he seems to be pretty neurotic on or off the trail.
It does sound like it's his teeth. They probably need rasping down, one of them might be a bit sharp, causing him discomfort. I would get the vet to him as soon as possible. Hope you get it sorted soon x :)
If his teeth are not balanced then that can cause HUGE issues. If the teeth aren't balanced, the whole horse will not be balanced. Teeth affect everything in the horse.
I personally don't trust vets to float teeth. They spend all of 1 or 2 days "learning" how to float teeth, not enough time in my book. They may be able to identify pathology, but they may not know how to correctly fix the problems.
I would suggest you look into a man named Spencer LaFlure. He is an equine dentist and he does phenominal work. He has a different approach to floatring teeth, and we have one of Spencer's Instructors come in from Wisconsin to float our horse's teeth, and no one else will ever touch our horse's mouths. We have seen great improvement in all of our horses, and our friends who use him also have seen huge changes as well. I can give you his information if you want.
I'm just throwing this out there as an option, but maybe you could go to a Level 1 Parelli clinic. This sounds like a pretty exreme issue, and having an instructor there would be your best bet. What state do you live in?
I live in sunny California, right smack in the middle of the Mojave desert. I am going to try and find a specialist, we don't even have a vet here so that wouldn't be an option anyways. It just kinda sucks because I want to go to clinics and stuff but I live a few hours away from anything. So I just kinda have to learn as I go, which I don't mind because everything seems to be slowly getting better. Ideally I would sell Blaze, but thanks to the timing of the Southern California fires and the hay reaching 20.50 a bale come December I don't think I could find a home for him here even if I wanted to; tons of people are giving away horses that they can't afford where I live, and those horses don't have as many problems.
I don't have a real answer for you, but I feel your pain. We have a 19 year old gelding who is like that, and I am sure he would literally work himself to death before calming down on a trail ride. He actually gets more worked up the longer you ride. You can try to ride him on a simple walking ride out on the trail, and he will work himself into a lathering sweat. If you try to stop him on the trail, he dances and jumps in place. I can ride and control him on trail, but it sure is not enjoyable or relaxing in any way! He is certainly a neurotic weirdo.
I have resigned to using him as an in yard lesson horse, and my six year old sister's trusty mount. She leads him all over, rides him bareback, bridles him herself, picks his feet, etc...he is fabulous and patient in this capacity. His only in yard flaw is that he is very cinchy, so it takes an experienced person to actually tighten his cinch without him getting really upset.
Maybe you could look into finding a different kind of job for him that he is better at for the time being until you are able to get help working out his issues...at least that will keep you safer.
I certainly agree that the issue of some sort of pain should not be overlooked, but it seems to me if he were having a teeth issues they would show up with your ridden work in the round pen or arena. It also seems to me that bucking, rearing, refusing, moving funny would be more connected with pain issues than bolting to catch up to other horses (which is a natural instinct of a horse). I wouldn't overlook that possibilities of the issues being metal with him (not as in crazy, but as in extremely heard driven and instictive). It seems to me it is possibly some personality, instinct, and prior learned/enforced behavior (that he got away with). How old is he?
Have you tried just riding around the yard outside of the arena? Trail riding with no other horses? Maybe try these things and see how his reactions differ. If you can find some variations in behavior, you can start to get something to work with...maybe you can start trying to "reprogram" him so that he chooses to trust you outside of the roundpen/arena more and ignore what his instincts are telling him (to some extent). When he becomes more confident in you outside of the arena, he may rely more on you than running around looking for other horses or simply "running away" from nothing. It seems he trusts you from the ground also, just keep trying to expand that trust. Take tiny trail rides that are really successful around your yard, and try to gradually extend them?
What a tough issue...good luck :)
Sounds like you may possibly also benefit from a less rich feed. tho I don't know what you feed now. IF you are where you can get it this feed is very helpful with nervous, tense horses.. You might see if you can find a supplier who will carry it if there's none near you.. http://aussielogic.com click on the kool & kalm feed link after you get inside the site.. If the link doesn't work, just copy the url OR do a google search.. A friend of mine is using this feed on a very jumpy nervous horse and it is helping a lot. I am using it to put weight on my old appy. works for that too. ;)
I am trying very hard to see if this is a feed or pain issue. I am lucky enough to have found a high school girl who wants to lease Blaze for dressage and she will be supervised at a larger stable about 70 miles from me and they bring out their own equine dentist to float teeth and their own vet from Norcal twice a year to do shots and whatnot. I do want to figure out what the heck is bothering him though! All he eats is 2 flakes of grass hay and 8 cups of wet beat pulp. He is not that much better in the yard, he constantly just wants to go faster when I ride him. Before he was bucking and acting out every time I rode him, and gradually the more I ride him the more responsive he is. His previous owner gave him to me because she couldn't control him, and she was getting bucked off and he kept running back to his stall and she would take off his tack and leave him there. So, he's used to being bad and getting away with it. It might have something to do with my seat because I am not the greatest rider in the world and he performs much better for people who really know how to ride. I guess I'll have to have someone come out and look at him. I do have a question though for anyone who is reading this, how do I find out about his show career? I called the people who used to show him and they have not called me back. They told me once he was in all Arabian shows, so shouldn't I be able to look up his show records and points?
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