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Another moment on the last ride- I know some people will think this is anthropomorphizing, but I swear to you that she pretended to have to scratch her nose to try to snatch the reins and turn for home. She is not a horse that has a problem with an itchy face (e.g., the Gypsy Vanner gelding I ride every now and then at the barn has a massive, hairy face and needs itch breaks when he starts sweating under his bridle). But she tried it a couple of times- she would act like she was in distress and just had to reach down to scratch, so when I took pity on her, she'd give her nose one swipe across the knee and then quickly try to snatch the reins. To me- that is thinking. It didn't work- and I think it's important it doesn't- but she had plans in that little horsey brain of hers!!
Some great posts!!
What devious plans your mare had...Halla also will "ask" me very nicely if she can stretch out her neck very low and long to loosen the muscles. I let her, and then every once in awhile she'll ask as usual, then snatch the reins and run, sometimes throwing a little hop at the beginning for good measure.
BSMS - There is a balance, and I struggle to achieve it. With Mia, I was actually too pushy. I didn't understand how deep seated her fears were and just assumed I ought to be able to push her on. Looking back, the best thing I could have done with her is teach her that when things got scary, I would dismount and take care of her. If I could have taught her that - and I think I could have if I tried - then I would always need to dismount with her far more than a regular horse. But in return, I think she would have gained confidence in me.
I think a big part of being a horseman is always struggling to achieve that balance. It seems to me I will always face the challenge of figuring out what is the best approach for this horse at this time.

My personal opinion is that if you had dismounted more initially with Mia, it may not have translated into needing to dismount more than on a regular horse, after a time. Starting with Amore, the first couple of years I had to jump off so regularly I got very swift at it. It didn't seem like there was a choice, and it wasn't a question of boldness since when I did try to be bold I ate dirt. Yet this was the right approach for her, and over time it was not more common to dismount off her than other horses. She grew more bold. But Halla does not get more bold if I get off. Instead, I end up with a horse that is more difficult and dangerous to control, since I can't give her the speed, release and direction she needs to grow more calm.

There is another thread going on about a horse that bucks. Although I know very little about the situation, when the poster says the horse's behavior is worsening despite efforts to push the horse on and make the horse work harder if he bucks, then I have to believe that is the wrong approach. We do science experiments, and what makes the horse worse is wrong. There must be some other approach that will improve the horse, even if it is a slight improvement at first.

BSMS - If either Bandit or Bob is having a problem on a given day, then why not follow Hondo's advice? If something is genuinely bothering one member of the team, then "maybe try a little less?" And when a little less is OK, and one has built a "little less" as a firm foundation, try more when both are ready? Why do we, as riders and horse people, seem to insist on placing guilt on either our horse or ourselves? Yet I do it all the time...
Something I learned from some riders who are very excellent and bold is that we should all give ourselves permission to have a "bad seat day," as my friend calls it. You understand that while normally you might gallop and jump over this or that, or face a noisy truck rumbling by on your horse, today is a "bad seat day." So you don't. You go slow, or walk around the obstacle, or hop off the horse. What I really believe is that sometimes our subconscious can pick up on something that is wrong, although we can't put a finger on it. It might just be that we are too tired to give proper focus and attention to safety. Or we might sense an undetectable odor that means our horse is stressed. Whatever it is, it can be prudent to take it easy or not ride on a "bad seat day."
Is it better to prove something - how tough you are or how brave, or is it better to escape injury and have a wonderful ride later in the week? And if we gives ourselves permission to have a "bad seat day," then our horses can have permission to have an off day sometimes as well.
 

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Looks like a lovely ride in the fall foliage.

I tried an anatomical girth for Amore, and it didn't work for her.
She has a very forward, very small girth groove and it has been extremely difficult to find a saddle and girth that work for her. Although small, she is shaped like a light bulb.

In the end, I use an XW hoop tree dressage saddle and a very flat mohair girth. So the girth sits just behind her elbows but is flat enough to not interfere. That is the only way I can get a girth to go straight down from the billets. If it's not straight down, the saddle gets pulled onto her shoulders and neck.
 

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LOL, I've never had my horses in a barn that had a bathroom. However, it doesn't get so cold here and there are lots of woods around. Several weeks ago I popped over a sand dune onto the beach and surprised a woman who had gone up there to hide behind a bush. Oops, she didn't account for a fast moving horse coming up over the dune behind her. She sure pulled her pants up quick!
 

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She seems like she's settling in very well! It seems very natural to care more about being near the herd in a brand new environment. She doesn't know the place, so all she knows is that she can watch the signals of the other horses to see if they are scared or worried.
 

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Every horse is different when it comes to blankets, but I'll share a couple of experiences. I had the adjust a fit neck on one blanket, and I had the same issue. I could get it to fit better than other blankets, it seemed, but the rain came down inside the neck. For some reason I think that ability to adjust the neck creates a gap where the rain can come in. It wasn't a problem except for on the days when there was wind or driving rain, and then the moisture would get inside.

I have better luck with the Stormshield contour collar sheets. They do gap a little in the front of the chest, but that seems to not let water in. I bought one with a belly band on a whim once, and it turns out they last much longer for me. If the horses get it caught on something, it doesn't pull down and tear the surcingle strap off. That was an issue I'd have every year or two, the horses would manage to tear off a surcingle strap.

I wasn't sure if the horses would like the belly bands or not, but it seems to keep them covered better on the really windy days. I swear, Amore is like "Get in here and wrap me up."

StormShield® Contour Collar Classic Bellyband Turnout Sheet in Contour Collar Euro at Schneider Saddlery

I would think a hood might help with your situation, especially since you have someone to adjust blankets during the day. I've never had that luxury so always have to decide each day if the horses should have a blanket or not and how warm or wet it's going to be. I'll just let you know I've seen a couple horses that had thin manes from rubbing on their hoods. I'm not sure if that is a common issue or not.
 

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One thing that makes her very flustered is if I take us one way and then we have to turn around. I think I disappoint her by making a mistake :smile: The rest of the ride, she was a little nervous- especially when I asked her to explore a side trail and had to turn around again because a tree was down and blocking the path. She snorted to let me know I was really pushing my luck with two wrong turns in one day!
This part made me smile. She has a great personality! It sounds like you are having some great rides and she is being very bold already.

I hope you will find a nice place to canter. I'm not sure if there are stretches of gravel roads, but that was a reason I used to put hoof boots on, because those were nice places to canter with the right hoof protection.
 

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Glad you are OK and didn't lose your horse either.
Ugh, you are going to be sore! And bruised. It's hard to convince people sometimes that you are not in an abusive relationship when you have horses.
Those necks - I've learned they are too slim to ride upon. LOL. Hard trips are one of the most difficult things to ride. Sorry you landed on your face.

Footing is one of the hardest things to read. You have to know your horse's ability, current fitness level, current hoof trimming status or footwear, and more. Then add to that the nature of the soil and how much grip it gives, depth, unknown matter on top of it such as sticks hidden under leaves, hidden holes, bogs, ice, etc. Very tricky.
 

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There were some interesting articles about the history of Morgans in the last two issues of Equus magazine. You might still be able to buy off the stand? Great breed of horses.

The photos and video are beautiful! Looks so unreal to me.
Izzy's sire is so gorgeous. She has some nice bloodlines.
 

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I'd say she stepped on something that chipped out a little piece of her sole. It doesn't look very deep, and appears to be well into the insensitive part that won't affect a horse or cause pain. Sometimes little pieces just come out on their own, because the sole doesn't shed as a single unit but comes out in little chunks. I wouldn't worry about it. If an abscess had blown out, you would have noticed her being lame and usually they appear much deeper.
 

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Hmm...silly rider, can't you see that is a deep glacier crevasse? If a horse stepped in that dark crack they'd probably fall down a hundred feet.
A cute and funny story to us who were there and not trying to get off and on in deep and slippery snow.

My friend was telling me today that she rode with someone whose horse was new to the beach. The new horse was worried and didn't want to cross the lines and color changes in the wet and dry sand. The rider thought this was not good, but my friend reassured her that all the horses go through this. They think the lines are drop offs or shelves or other major changes in terrain. Although you can make them cross eventually, it worries them quite a lot because they are convinced it might harm them. One horse I was riding with sidestepped thirty feet to avoid crossing a line in the sand.

Unfortunately, once Halla learned the lines were not as they appeared, she became prone to stepping on solid objects as if they were only flat lines, including large logs, shells and sticks that can cause tripping and leg twisting.

My take on bad sides and good sides and horses that rush into gaits is that I've worked a lot on these issues and if it doesn't go away quickly and easily, it seems most often to stem from a body issue, not a training issue. An example is that Amore struggled with drifting and stiffness on one side. She had a club hoof on that side, and when I learned more about balancing it, the hoof became much more comfortable and she soon was picking up that lead easily and also stopped drifting out. Halla had serious crookedness with a big shoulder and uneven muscling. The more fit I've gotten her and now that she's not vitamin E deficient, the problem has improved dramatically. So I'd suspect a physical weakness or tightness that either you should work around at her age, or else see if just improving fitness can help.

In dressage they say that in order to become straight, a horse first must learn to bend. I'm learning also that in order to bend, a horse must learn to work straight. So even working on getting stronger and fitter on straighter lines, say out on the trail can help a horse bend more easily (due to improved strength and flexibility). My friend's horse Nala had difficulty doing smaller circles and transitions in the arena and now that she's stronger and fitter they are easy for her.

Another comment is that I believe the lumbar spine is very important for cantering, so if Izzy is still sore there it might be an issue. A horse I knew that had a fused lumbar spine could not physically pick up one lead anymore. I think it's because they pick up the lead with a hind leg, which has to reach far under and flex the lumbar spine. If it can't flex that way or hurts, this can become difficult or impossible.
Anyway, just some thoughts.
 

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Although, it started off with a moment of dread. I brought Izzy into the crossties, and she was standing really oddly. Her front feet were almost touching, but her hinds were splayed out wide behind her. My heart sank, and I though she was really just completely lame and I was a total jerk for asking her to trot through the deep snow yesterday. Upon closer inspection though, I realized she just had snowballs built up in 3 out of 4 feet. After knocking the built up snow out, she looked relieved and went back to standing normally.
Looks like it was a beautiful ride! Funny about the snow balls.
 

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Sorry about your barn owner's dad.

I agree with phantomhorse. What I would guess is a horse feeling sluggish from being a bit overweight. I don't see lameness, personally.

It reminds me of a few years ago when I let Amore get to about that weight. She was so low energy it was ridiculous. Once I got her weight down, her energy level picked back up.
 

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@egrogan, this is controversial and I'm probably the last to give advice with a newly foundered horse.
But I will throw this out there...
Some people believe the best thing to do with a horse that gains weight easily is to make sure they have hay 24/7 and feed in a slow feeder to limit calories. This is a popular theory from Dr. Getty, and I've read a lot about it and also know people who practice it.

I've also read a lot about how important it is to keep horses from being obese, and that this is a big risk for IR and founder.
I've read some articles about studies they've done on ponies and it has been noted that some can and will eat double their caloric needs even when allowed to eat 24/7 for a period of months. So I believe even though most horses will naturally regulate their intake if they always have access to food, there seems to be a disruption of this normal mechanism in some horses, and those horses will become obese if allowed free choice food, even when fed through a slow feeder net. I think one thing that does disrupt this is Cushing's disease, because these horses have high levels of Cortisol which induces abnormal hunger. We know this from humans, if they are given cortisol/steriods they will feel constantly hungry and gain a lot of weight.

I've observed my mare, Amore eating from the smallest hole hay net and going through 10 lbs of hay in 2 hours. She only weighs about 750 lbs, and 2 percent of her body weight in roughage is only 15 lbs. She will continue to eat hay as long as there is hay to eat. So you can see that she can and will easily eat 20 or 30 lbs of hay if allowed, which is up to double her caloric intake. This is how she ended up obese at one barn I was at, they fed her as much hay as she would eat, and she ate more than a large TB. She had no grain at all. What I have to do with her is feed her the amount of hay she needs to keep at a good weight. As a Cushing's horse, she is a super easy keeper and if I give her more than 8 lbs of hay she gets overweight (she grazes daily outside, so meets the 15 lb roughage requirement through grazing). So that is what she gets, and maintains a good weight.

There are several horses at my barn that are on the easy keeper free choice hay plan. All three are markedly obese. One has chronic laminitis which is worsening, and one of the others has had one episode with laminitis, which he has recovered from. I am more afraid of overfeeding my Cushing's horse than I am of having her go without hay for a few hours each night after she finishes her hay, because while that might possibly cause some issues, I am more worried about her body condition going above the 5+ which it always is.

So my question is (if you can't regulate her weight)...how much hay is she getting, and is it over her caloric and roughage needs? I.e. the average 1,000 lb-at-their-ideal-weight horse needs 20 lbs or less. Horses with slow metabolism from Cushing's might need a bit less.
As with humans, horses don't put on weight if they are at an energy deficit. Meaning, no overweight human or horse got that way by eating too few calories, to the point of feeling weak. But other things affecting the metabolism/endocrine/hormone balance might cause that lack of energy.
 

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Actually, seriously I look at the pictures and am not sure I see an overweight horse. What I'm hearing sounds a lot like Amore as she progressed toward needing medication with her Cushing's. We had one winter where she had a lower quality hay, and she actually got thin. And that's apparently because they can metabolize protein too fast with Cushing's, so I think the hay had too low protein for her. Once she was on a higher protein feed she tended once again to be heavier.

But I have learned to disregard her belly. I feel her spine, ribs, and look at her neck and hindquarters to see what her condition is. Cushing's horses can be deceptive because they develop a pot belly. They say this is because the abdomen is heavy and they lose the muscle tone to hold it up so it hangs down and sticks out.
If your mare is developing Cushing's, she probably won't get rid of the belly without medication. I'm not saying she needs medication now, but it is also common for Cushing's horses to get low energy at times due to the endocrine imbalances.

So I think in some of your recent pictures I don't see a thick neck. If she were as heavy as her belly suggests, I would think we'd see fat deposits over her eyes (looks like depressions instead), and her spine would probably be in a depression rather than flat with her back or raised. It doesn't sound like she is getting a ton of calories. With Amore I focus on a high protein/high quality diet with the Cushing's and it might not be right for this horse to go to a lower quality hay if that is what you suspect she may have.

I think you are doing a great job with all you are doing with her and for her.
 

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Yikes, I bet your nail really hurts.

I always worry about the horses shedding out here when it's still just spring and rainy, but you still have snow and the horses are shedding out. I guess it's natural but I always feel like they're losing their hair too soon when it's still cold out.
 

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I have Vipers. I don't use them anymore because we only have sand and grass where we ride. When we rode on gravel I used them daily. They are great boots, and stay on very well if they fit right. My horses always liked wearing them and we would gallop around the gravel roads in them. They're easy to clean too.
 
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