Horse rolls under saddle

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Horse rolls under saddle

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    04-11-2011, 11:08 AM
Horse rolls under saddle

We have a 17 year old gelding that we use for trail riding. 3x's he has rolled with my daughter riding while on trail ride. Fortunately he picks grassy spots. Any ideas how to cure/prevent??
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    04-11-2011, 11:53 AM
I've heard it is more common for horses to do this near to or in streams, but as you say he picks grassy spots I am going to assume this is not the case. What kind of saddle pad are you using? The cause may be that his back is sore or itchy, so if you are using a think saddle pad you may want to try something a little more breathable to reduce sweating under the saddle. If she can tell when he is about to roll, I would suggest urging him on and keeping him moving to try to prevent him being able to go down, it may or may not be necessary to carry a crop for this.

Other than that I am not sure what to suggest. I have never experienced this problem. I am assuming your daughter has been able to dismount safely when this happens, but she should be very careful. If she does need to do so, make sure she steps off away from his back so that she is not near his legs.

Good luck with solving this issue!
    04-11-2011, 12:16 PM
Welcome to the forum!

That sounds like a disrespectful horse and a green rider. Does the horse do that with others as well? How long have you had the horse and how long has your daughter been riding/how well does she ride?
    04-11-2011, 12:43 PM
Could also be the cinch is too tight.

Most likely though - horse is saying "I'm done".
    04-11-2011, 12:53 PM
Thank you. She is a very good rider and the only one who rides this horse. Suspect it may be a saddle blanket issue. I'll try changing that around and see what happens. Its so infrequent that it is very hard to fix a pattern.
    04-11-2011, 06:09 PM
I've had the problem with green horses. Out on trail rides and they get sweaty and want to roll. In my case usually in deep snow or relly sandy sections of the trail.

Once I find out that a particular horse has those tendencies, I had to be very proactive about stopping it. I find that my horses always start showing signals of wanting to roll. Head down, pawing etc. I have to immediately put them to work at something. Move off my leg, Dance around a sagebrush, Just ask them to do something so the have to focus on you.

Educate your daughters to the signs that the horse is looking for a good spot to roll. Tell her when she see's those signs, she needs to take control and not let the horse have an idle mind. Nip it in the bud before the horse ever gets his knees on the ground..

I had to TEMPT my horses. I know they like powder snow or really sandy spots on the trail. When I was in spots where I knew they were thinking about it, I would give them a little slack and watch for them to start looking to roll. As soon as I'd catch them, I'd correct them and put them to work. Only took them making the mistake a few times and they learned not to do that under saddle.
    04-11-2011, 07:53 PM
Green Broke
The first time I was even aware of the horse "Goose" who is now my Biscuit, my dressage instructor was riding him on a trail ride. There were only 5 or 6 of us. It was hot as all get out and we rode the horses into Lake Sam Rayburn. Goose laid down on 3 occasions...I took pictures of him doing it while his rider, who by the way, was not his owner, laughed. She is extremely experienced so that was not a problem. His owner was not amused as he certainly didn't want the horse to roll or lay down.

I had Biscuit in water up at the same lake a few months ago. His back legs started to fold a little and I was kicking him forward for all I was worth. He finally went forward. I had him in fetlock deep water this weekend and he started pawing. I pulled his head up and gave him a little kick to stop. He obeyed. I went to the same spot the next day and he pawed - I pulled reins and nudged him and he stopped.

If I hadn't, I don't doubt for a minute he would have laid down....woo hoo...I have a brand new I don't think I want any of that going on!

As Painted Horse suggested...have her watch for the signs and keep him moving.
    04-17-2011, 09:29 PM
My horse has done this to me an two other riders, just trying to scratch an itch, but I am very aware and plan to kick his arse next time he tries!
    04-17-2011, 10:21 PM
I agree with teaching her to recognize and react to the signs that he is going to roll; however, some horses can be down and going before you have a chance to be proactive. In my experience, if the horse does actually get down and start to roll, the first thing is to safely dismount. After she is safely on her own 2 feet, she needs to do everything she can to get him back onto his feet. Whatever you do, don't wait for him to finish rolling. If she has to, make him think that the world is ending in a rain of falling whips and flying feet until he gets back upright. A crop probably wouldn't be a bad idea and I am not above kicking the horse in the side (away from their legs) just hard enough to get them back on their feet.

IMHO, rolling under saddle is always a disrespect issue, itchy back or not. All my horses learn that when their back is itchy, a full body shake is acceptable, rolling is not.
    04-18-2011, 08:42 PM
Green Broke
Agreed fully with smrobs. I have yet to find a horse who wasn't rolling out of disrespect - horses don't react to pain by laying down, it's against their very nature unless of course they're SO badly injured they can't walk which would be blatantly obvious. My filly likes to think she's going to roll every time we go through water, and she's gotten a few pretty good spankings because of it.

I've been around for a LOT of horses randomly going down, and it's either because they're itchy (usually after being in water or walking in sand) or because they simply don't feel like walking anymore. If you think your horse may genuinely be exhausted, get off and walk him for a bit but in ALL other circumstances, I would do whatever it takes to get them back on their feet. Once they learn they CAN, it's a very dangerous habit.

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