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Horsesdontlie 06-03-2011 04:02 PM

Horse goes down after Saddling
No I didn't exactly know where to post this. Any Mods who think this should be somewhere else just let me know.

Now I have a problem that I have never had anybody that could really relate to or explain things to me. Every once in a while Jake goes through a phase that will last for about 2-5 weeks. Having to do with getting cinchy and shutting down. It started a long time ago when Jake would randomly get nervous after being saddled and soon as I would untie to walk him out he would bolt, freeze, bolt, freeze until I could get him lunging he wouldn't calm down. It was dangerous as he didn't care who or what he ran into when he bolted. Like a spring fully taught and then explode. After thats over he would be 100% fine and fall asleep back at the tying post.

Now after a while I convinced him that it was not okay to run me over, or bolt. That he had to mind where he was stepping. But that also had an adverse he goes down. He starts to lean back, bending at the knees and dropping his head down, he looks like the first few horses in this video who are being tapped. (Please no debate on the tap, I just want to give a visual. I can't ever get it on video.)

He never bucks/kicks out. I do not encourage him to go backwards at all when he starts acting like this, nor to try to get him forward, because he tends to launch forward into the tie rail, me, the trailer....anything around. Then 50% of the time he will go all the way down, often panicking about crouching down like that, tries to back up and falls over. He is very startled about falling over (this is the horse that if he trips and falls he waits calmly for me to get out of the way and tell him to get up) and often thrashes, and in his panic will fail to get up, fall over again I often end up keeping him down till he is done panicking. Then I ask him to get up (trained to lay down) and he calmly gets up easily.

He has never had any sore spots on his back, cinch area or anything. His saddles fit well and are adequately padded. Jake goes a good 4-5 months before it resurfaces again. Nothing a vet could find wrong. I'm guessing he just gets claustrophobic and looses his mind. He is negative for HYPP. It happens for both english/western I saddle slowly, he will act like this if the cinch is very very loose, like if is tied up without touching him he acts like this. So i don't think its pain. Could he be holding his breath and puffing out? Which he does puff out when I cinch up.

He did it today for the first time in over a year. I thought he was over with it. I can see it coming, make sure there is nothing and no one around him and try and wait it out. He has cases that are mild (he acts odd when I ask him to stretch out his legs, and gets a little rushy) to the full blown falling over. He never pulls back on the rail and I am always able to untie him when this happens. If I can I take him away from all dangers and let him run it out until he has it out of his system. I used to saddle him in a round pen and leave him alone when he used to be very bad and leave him for a good 45 minutes so he worked out of it himself.

Anyone had a horse that did/does this? What did you do for it? Does it go away? I'm tired of my saddles getting scratched/chipped at from him laying on them. He has never hurt himself doing this, I am always able to continue my day like nothing happened.

JustDressageIt 06-03-2011 05:26 PM

It sounds like the nerve (that Endo engages when using the TAP) is being affected by the saddle. Perhaps the saddle is causing him pain, hence the bolting reactions, and is pinching so much that it's now affecting the nerves. Have you had a certified saddle fitter out?
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Horsesdontlie 06-03-2011 05:42 PM

From what endo describes there is no nerve with being pinched. Its the shutting down of the flight response in coordination with claustrophobia. He explains it the release of endorphins. I've been trying to figure out why Jake would be going through the same thing, because if it is the same thing, I wonder what is making him panic?

I have not had a saddle fitter out. I have had a vet and chiropractic look at his back and they said he was fine. The only thing is that I think if it was a saddle problem, the issue would be constant? I also don't think it would happen if I have not even tightened the cinch yet. He starts acting like this when I have the cinch up against his belly, before I even tighten it. I have not changed saddles/pads anything in over 4 years it only happens rarely, but once he does it once it sticks around for a while.

Maybe I should try and record it tomorrow when I go out for my ride. Now that he started I'll have at least two weeks of working around it.

Brighteyes 06-03-2011 05:48 PM

Do you girth up in the barn or outside?

My trainer told me she knew one horse who did the exact thing yours is doing. He would fall out if saddled inside the barn, but if one waited to girth him up outside in an open space where he wasn't tied, he was fine. :shock:

Horsesdontlie 06-03-2011 05:55 PM


Originally Posted by Brighteyes (Post 1055548)
Do you girth up in the barn or outside?

My trainer told me she knew one horse who did the exact thing yours is doing. He would fall out if saddled inside the barn, but if one waited to girth him up outside in an open space where he wasn't tied, he was fine. :shock:

Inside, outside, tied to a trailer, tied to post, cross tied, ground tied, no halter at all.....all were with the same results. I wish it was that easy of just going somewhere else. o.0 I haven't been able to figure out how to avoid it.


Anyhow, I found a video I made of a very mild case a few years ago. There is a bunch of text (feel free to skip I over analyzed everything) that you can ignore. He is ground tied for this clip, its horrible quality and I would skip to 0:30 if I were you. =P

Yes Jake had an accident in cross ties, that was the first time he went down while saddling. I hadn't connected his bolting to a saddling issue then. So the cross ties issue did not start everything.

corinowalk 06-03-2011 06:12 PM

Have you tried different saddles? Cinches? Saddle pads? Have you tried it without the breastcollar?

I would switch it all up. Try a longer girth, a different saddle and a different pad. Leave the breast collar off. Also, try putting your saddle and cinch back a bit.

Endiku 06-03-2011 06:21 PM

subbing. I dont know enough to give you advice, but I want updates on how he's doing! Poor guy. I'm glad he has someone who's willing to try and fix him instead of just toss him aside!

jwells84 06-03-2011 07:59 PM

maybe try to girth him up really slow.. i've seen several horses who were apposed to be being girthed up quickly.. once the girth was in contact with skin we could only go up one hole at a time. my mare actually did nearly lye down once while i girthed her up. she seemed to be gassy(maybe had gas colic im not sure) but once i moved her round she came out of it fine.

jwells84 06-03-2011 08:06 PM

well after watching the video. im not sure,i can tell you girthed him up pretty slowly. do you have a bareback pad?? you could put that on him and girth him up,to help you see if it is the saddle. and i'll second the try with out a breastcollar, i like a roping Girth on my mare it seems to spread out the pressure better as it is wider.

JustDressageIt 06-03-2011 08:32 PM

What I see in the video is very normal, up to when he starts to waver back and forth a bit. He looks relaxed and well trained to ground-tie, hence not shifting around when you "park" him. I don't see a tense horse, in fact I really don't see much put of the ordinary save for the slight wavering.
Please - please never ever do up the breastcollar first - that is very unsafe. If he were to bolt or do something stupid, the saddle would be along for the ride, but unstable.
Would be interested in hearing what Kevinshorses would say to this thread.
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