Lesson sour? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-09-2019, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Lesson sour?

Title basically says it all. I'm just wondering what you would consider a "sour" horse.

The horse is question is one I've ridden a lot previously, and we have our issues. He is not a very nice horse. He pins his ears back when tacking time comes, kicks out sideways when brushing him down, bites without being provoked. (He's bitten me, my mother, even attempted it with a barnhand and the barn owner.)

He's naughty under saddle as well.

I'm just wondering, is it me, or is he just a sour old horse? My instructor says I need to be stricter, and maybe I do, but it's like a game to him. Reprimand sternly, he bites back. It's gotten to be frustrating. I want to have a bond with my horse, not feel unsafe when I'm alone with him.
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-09-2019, 01:49 AM
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This sounds like a horse that suffers from ulcers. Classic ulcer symptoms. Might want to check that out with a veterinarian.

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post #3 of 12 Old 06-09-2019, 02:56 AM
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Yep, he sounds 'sour' - ditto above, that whether ulcers or otherwise, I'd be willing to bet he's 'sour' because he's been trying to tell people he's hurting somehow. And being 'sour' will not get better(generally) with 'getting stricter', but (assuming he's NOT hurting - I'd want to rule that out/treat first) rewarding him & making it worth his while to do as you ask will help change his attitude.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-09-2019, 07:43 AM
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Sounds like your instructor needs to witness these events taking place before a bite truly connects and put someone in the hospital and her in trouble, big trouble with the law and facing a law suit will be one of her many headaches.
And your trainer ignores your telling her, asking for help...
I would be having a real heart-to-heart with said trainer about her horsemanship care skills and either she starts assisting so you not get hurt or you will be looking for a new barn to take your $$ to for lessons.
Don't make it a threat...make it a promise and follow through on it.
If you are not an adult, then you need to let your parents know what is going on, really going on as you mention mom has already been bit and it is not a one-time thing with this horse.

Ring sour, used to much in roundy-round lessons can make the nicest disposition animal cranky.
Add in a possibility of pain...
Horse bites hurt, if they truly connect they can rip skin and crush bones...
This "lesson" horse is sending the warning loudly... the warning is about worn out and he is going to connect.
Make that "connection" not be on you.

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post #5 of 12 Old 06-09-2019, 10:30 AM
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Is this the "sandman" you have spoken of in other threads that has stifles that slip?
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-09-2019, 10:40 AM
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I agree with sour and I agree with pain, however I agree with your instructor too, she's not telling you he's not sour she's simply telling you how to handle him. Many sour horses perk up when they realize they are dealing with someone who knows how to deal with them, respect needs to go both ways.

However, as someone who just about had a chunk taken out of my arm, completely unprovoked, by a lesson horse your trainer needs to do her job of caring for the horse and figuring out what's going on. I know some horses that are "grumpy" but wouldn't hurt a fly and some that are just so fed up with **** they just start lashing out. The one that bit me (thank god it wasn't a kid cluelessly standing there cause he was out for blood!) was consequentially barely handled after that point and never by the children until they sold him and he sat out in a pasture with a bunch of minis and his new owner doted on him and how sweet he was. Poor guy. I definitely don't blame him (and hindsight is 20 20, don't stay at a job where the horse attacks you a month in, I left cause I was fed up by the lack of care the horses received...). It scared the crap out of me because it was a truly blind lashing out attack with no warning. That said, like I said above, lots of nippy or grumpy horses that won't escalate. But your trainer needs to step up if this is out of character for him, and get him checked out to ensure that there isn't going on, especially in an older heavily used horse (your average lesson horse)
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-09-2019, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by QtrBel View Post
Is this the "sandman" you have spoken of in other threads that has stifles that slip?
Yes. It's been going on for longer than his stifles, though.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-11-2019, 03:36 PM
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Okay, that definitely screams ulcers to me. My mare had very very very similar symptoms. Got her scoped - she had ulcers. After treatment, no signs of that at all. There's usually a reason why horses act the way they do. I don't think in this case it's only a sour issue, sounds more like a pain issue too. He's probably tired of trying to tell people he's uncomfortable/hurting (like if he has ulcers) & he won't change unless he gets better.

For your instructor to say you need to be stricter...well, in this case, I don't think that will do too much for him. She needs to get him checked out/scoped for ulcers...it could be other things, maybe ill-fitting tack, but it screams ulcers to me. At least get that ruled out.

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post #9 of 12 Old 06-13-2019, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry it's taken me so long to get back, I procrastinate, haha.

I can mention ulcers to her next time I see her - he gets vet checked often, though, but maybe.

My instructor is a great lady, I love her and I was doing really well with her up until my accident. She's also kind of the only instructor in the area, save for one with a 2-year waiting list.....for group lessons. The list for private lessons is likely double that.

I just don't know that she really sees how nasty he can be. She is pretty much the only one he respects. I've tried being stern with him like she is, nothing. I've tried the opposite - quick visits for a few pets and a carrot or two when I'm not there to ride, still nothing. Ears go straight down when I walk in.

It's just not a great feeling, being scared to do any groundwork with your horse because you've already been stepped on, kicked at, and bitten hard enough to leave welts. I don't think it helps my fear after my accident, heh.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-13-2019, 12:43 PM
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I think you need to video his behavior with you when the instructor isnít around so you can show it to her. Apart from you, sheís the person most familiar with this horse and can help you in person to follow up with all these suggestions. But until she sees the extent of the situation she canít help.
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