Any advice for a horse that's antsy while saddling
My mare is very special, but she does some things that just plain bother me sometimes. Nothing dangerous, but little annoyances.
1.) When I go to saddle her, she turns into a horned monster. She dances once the saddle is on, and swings from side to side. a "NO" is usual enough to stop it, but any tips on how to prevent it int he first place? She also, when you go to cinch up, acts like you're killing her. She turned around to nip me the other day, and I wasnt even to a hole yet. I don't know if she sucks in before hand, but her barrel isnt nearly as big as my sister's paint, and i can tighten his cinch just fine. Her..you get to the fourth one, you think she's dying of oxygen deprivation, and then you go to get on and the saddle slides. Any tips for one that does this?
2.) We spook selectively. In her past she was a bolter, and still when homeless men pop out of the woods she will wheel for home and you have to get her thinking before she runs. Now, for example, when she feels like it, she will shy over something she's seen a million times. Such as a dry creekbed, or a utility trailer she's passed before. I literally had to back her down the creek the other day, and she was just grand with that. Any tips for that? It's not like she's genuinely scared, it's like she thinks if she acts up, adn I buy it, we can go home, which clearly is never the case.
She's not in pain, she rides in a snaffle, and she only is ridden four times a week.
1) Does your saddle fit her correctly? Sounds like she is in pain for sure. Especially if she is trying to bite you and filling her stomach up with air, she is trying to prevent you from making the girth too tight which in turn puts more pressure of an ill-fitting saddle on her back. Not to mention then when you get up there creates even more pressure.
2) With the spooking, are you keeping her active and busy? Usually if you are doing lots of transitions and challenging her, her mind can't really wander to look at scary things. If you are keeping her busy and she's still spooking, how are you going about getting her back under control?
I use ONE cushy thick lined blanket under her saddle..should I use two? I always thought one big one or two thin ones were adaquate?
And her spooking..I'm pretty good at reading her aat this point, so I know when one is coming. She's not as sneaky as she thinks. The trick is to keep her feet going anyway possible, even if it's just circles, to keep her thinking. We do a lot of walk and trot transitions, but I don't canter her much on the trail, because she perptually trips, and I dont want her doing that with more speed. There is nothign wrong with her feet (one leg has an old injury, but that's not applicable to the tripping., this happens with all four. mostly front) her feet are clean, no thrush, and my farrier is out her ever seven or so weeks. So she's not long. Why does she trip? Is this a focus thing too?
Ahh, I see now. I went and looked back at your other thread.
Well, I still stand by what I said in that thread and what I said here. To me, your saddle looks like it sits low on her withers but could be just the angle of the photo. And from this thread, I believe she seems to be in pain. Horses that have well fitting tack are pretty mellow about being tacked up. Maybe she's not looking forward to the rides?? Are you working her too hard?
I am by no means an expert with saddle fit and I really wish there was a way to help you out with the fit of your saddle. Maybe you can get some close up photos of your saddle on your horse and start a thread of it in the Critique Section? Take photos of your horse's back, a photo of the saddle on her back without a pad and then some with the pad and saddle.
Random question, how long have you had this mare?
Yes, keeping her busy with lots of good transitions should help with the spooking. As far as her tripping while she's cantering, you may not have her balanced enough for her to hold herself together. Does she trip much when trotting? Tripping while trotting is less scary and noticeable compared to tripping while cantering.
I don't know if this will help you or not, but I was just pumping my trainer on the subject of saddle fit. The lesson horse I ride needs both a big thick pad and this big fluffy fake-sheepskin pad under his saddle, so I asked why.
She showed me how to tell (very roughly) if the saddle fits or not. Put it on the horse without a blanket or pad under it. Press down in a jiggly way on the pommel - if the back of it rises up, then it needs some padding. Also press down in a jiggly way on the cantle and check for movement at the pommel. And look at the seat - it should be pretty level. She says if you're getting movement with any of that, or if the seat isn't level, it might be a good idea to try adding some extra padding under the saddle.
My OTTB used to dance and dance and dance. I just continued like it was nothing, and eventually he got to understanding that no matter how much he danced, the saddle was still going on.
You could also tack her up in an open area, and lunge her every time she tries to move, then saddle her at a halt, unless she tries to move again, in which case you lunge again. This of course, should be AFTER you make sure your tack is good for her. Horses don't do stuff for no reason. There is always a reason. I would try a build up pad. I use one even if I don't need one, simply because I trai lride for long distances and the thickness gives a little comfort and keeps the wither/shoulders free.
In your horse's defense, I too would want to bolt if homeless men were popping up out of the woods!
Seriously? Did no one else see that? That is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious.
Sorry I don't have any advice for you, OP.
Have you considered ulcers by chance? How long have you had this horse? Is the behavior during saddling something that has changed or always been there? And same for the spooking - is this a new or increased behavior lately?
I have a mare that started becoming girthy out of the blue - she just started acting fussy and turning around and biting me one day during saddling. We ended up putting her on an ulcer regimen and it drastically reduced this behavior.
Hope this helps!
I have never even considered ulcers. What's the ulcer regimen?
I bought an english saddle for fun. I went to put it on her,she was eating and not paying attention. But as soon as I reached for the girth..man I watched those ears pin back..and that snake head swiveled around and reached for me. And for the first time in the duration of having her, I smacked her nose, "NO!"
When I tacked her up the next morning...no issues. So I don't think its a fitting issue..its her not liking saddles.
The spooking seems better than when I got her, but the fights are worse. She wants to stop and turn for home, etc. I hate having to press her on. Mostly this is on a gravel rode, and I wonder if her feet get sore. The farrier said thats a possibility.
She wasnt ever this consistently bad til I put a troubled girl on her a few weeks ago, for a therapy ride. Id never had anyone else on my horse. My mare knew it wasn't me..and got away with all kinds of things. Since then...every ride she tests me. Is it my imagination? Or can a horse start testing again after being allowed to pull crap with someone else?
I love her, and we will get thru this..I just dint know why she's so cranky. Im also riding her way more than I use to. She gets ridden three or four times a week. And she hates it. Previously, in her life as someone else's pasture puff, she got ridden a couple times a year. She doesn't like to be ridden.
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I read that too when i first read the article, then when i was scrolling through and saw what you wrote did it really occur to me!! I was laughing in my office with co workers giving me funny looks. That would scare me let alone any normal horse!!
As for the saddle issue just keep working with her as long as her health is okay and the saddle does fit properly, my TB hates his bit, so what we do is he takes it we remove it he takes it we remove it, a few times before we ride so he knows that he needs to take it and we are not here to play games.
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