Studdish Behavior in Gelding
What in the world is going on?!?
My Haflinger gelding has a damaged sacroiliac ligament and is currently having to do some exercises to help work around the damage. As soon as we start the regime, he drops way down. At first I was amused, thinking, "Boy, it must be nice to be so relaxed, I guess this isn't bothering him", but as we move along with his exercises, he is clearly NOT relaxed.
He starts "chuckling" like a stallion, tries to nip, begins prancing, everything below gets stiff and he gets tense through his and body neck also, and then yesterday, he reared in a very stallion-esque manner, if I make myself clear.
We start the exercises by lifting the hind leg on the non-damaged side and I try to sway him a little, to get the muscles on the other side balancing and to show him that he can support himself on that side. Then I move to the damaged side and lift that leg, stretch in forwards and then backwards and hold it for a bit. We repeat this series 5 times. He is pretty good for this, and I don't tie him or shut him in his stall; he just stays around with the lead rope over his shoulder.
Then I am supposed to gently but firmly grasp his tail by the root and pull, really leaning my weight back. The chiro said he would not mind this at all, but he hates it.
Finally, the exercise that really gets him wound up is walking over ground poles followed by backing up. I weight his damaged side hind leg with about a pound of lead, lead him over three ground poles two strides apart, and then back him up the length of the three ground poles and repeat also 5 times. I have just begun raising one side of the groundpoles up about 6 inches.
So I am assuming that this behavior is part of a much bigger manners/leading issue. Part of the problem is not being clear about how much I can do with him other than the prescribed exercises. And a huge part of the problem is undoubtedly his living situation. He lives alone and although he comes and goes in his barn as he chooses, his paddock is small and muddy and there is not much to do there. Even munching on hay is out, since he is an easy keeper and has to manage on 10-12 pounds a day. He gets it in a slow-feed hay net but even so, he can clean it up in half an hour, twice a day.
Any ideas will be gratefully received...