Saddlebred with no brain.

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Ziast, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

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    My friend (a relativity green rider) is leasing a 16yr old Saddlebred who's been giving her some trouble. He has no brain, very scatterbrained and ADD. Seems he's very well know for being 'slow' where he came from... He is a finished saddle seat horse, he's been used as a lesson horse for several years before the BO got him.

    I'm able to help my friend with him on the ground, getting his attention back on her etc through ground work and a few things undersaddle, but he's just do different form any horse I've worked with I'm a bit lost with where to help her (I'm hunter, never worked with a SS horse before).

    He likes to take off when she first gets on him. She'll mount then he'll canter off. It's not a bolt, but like a pleasure canter. When he does this he locks his neck and mouth and she is taken for a ride around the arena until she manages to get a small enough of a circle for him to trot. He will also do this other times during their ride, tho sometimes he just takes off at the trot. I've only ridden him once and he did this to me at the trot, normally I'd try to bend and unlock his neck, but there is no softening his mouth when he get's into that mode. I feel if we can get this problem out of the way I can help her with the rest.

    Anyway I can help her enjoy her horse? I can tell she's starting to get frustrated, but is too stubborn to call it quits :)
     
  2. whisperbaby

    whisperbaby Senior Member+

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    Since she can't stop him when she gets on him, perhaps leave his halter on, with a lead (tied around his neck so he doesn't trip on it if this doesn't work) have her mount with you holding him, and then back him up a few strides, and tell her to cue for a walk, and if he tries to go off again, back him again. That's the only thing I can think of if she can't stop him. Has she talked to an instructor about his stiff neck and cantering off?
     
  3. Ambrose

    Ambrose Senior Member+

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    It's hard to really give a lot of advice on this because the owner will know firsthand a bit more about the situation. Here, any advice given has to go through you to her, and that's troublesome when it comes to things like getting a vet out, etc.

    Do you know his feed schedule? What is his turnout schedule? If he was known for being a good horse, "slow" at the other place, but here he's acting like a brainless nut, it could be A) change in feed making him hot, B) change in turnout making him hot, C) response to bad riding...or any combination thereof. Or some other thing that is less common but still possible.

    The running off and lack of softness could be a result of being too hot and energetic, or it could be a response to pain from the saddle, the bridle, or the rider. Since the rider is green, that's a pretty big red flag. It could also be a lack of respect and confidence in the rider's abilities, particularly if she's inadvertently hurting or punishing the horse. She won't realize it, of course, but that's very very common among novice riders.

    On the other side of the spectrum, she may be too permissive with him and he has "learned her number," so to speak, and is now taking her for a ride.

    However, there's no way for us to know any of that. Even if we were communicating directly with her...you can't expect to ask someone, "Do you think your inexperience as a rider is causing resistance issues in this horse?" and expect an honest reply; the trouble is that most folks do not realize the impact that their riding has on the horse.

    Couple that with the animal's care and routine, and his saddle, and his bit, and the condition of his body and teeth...too many variables to narrow it down or even begin to give advice. :( Is she working with a skilled trainer?
     
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  4. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

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    The only instructor she has is the BO, but she's a little crazy. Her response would be pull harder. The one time I rode him, he had a nice soft neck and mouth when i was working, the he went into run mode and it all just freezes.

    I know on the ground when he goes into this mode, he will run through you and take you where he wants. It's odd because he'll be respecting you nicely, then something just goes off... So I don't know if holding him with a halter will do much unfortunately. :(
     
  5. Gayle

    Gayle Full Member

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    The simpler way would be to simply pull his head around when you are mounting. (like you would do in flexion exercises) not so much as to allow him to do circles, just enough to keep him controlled. That would allow you to pull him into a tight circle if he tries to lope off. Keep his nose inside until he settles and stands quiet for a few minutes so the message to stand quiet is clearly conveyed. He cant lope off if you dont give him his head so dont allow him to have his head until you want him to walk off. Patience with this one I think..and alot of it at that.
     
  6. Ambrose

    Ambrose Senior Member+

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    My honest impression is that she's in over her head. This problem could be rooted in many things and to eliminate the possibilities (if there's not something glaringly obvious about his feed/turnout schedule), she's going to need to get a vet out and likely a chiropractor, to go through his whole body (plus his teeth). Then if pain was ruled out, she'd need a serious examination of her riding to see if her actions are contributing to this problem, and it doesn't sound like there's someone truly qualified to give her that assessment.

    Given that...perhaps a different horse is better for her. If this guy had a reputation for being slow and was a finished horse, plus used for lessons...there is something going on here, and unless she's willing to fix it, it's not fair to her or the horse to keep this up. Nor is it safe; a problem like this can quickly escalate. :(
     
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  7. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

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    Hmm, let's see if i can get all these questions...
    24/7 pasture turnout, before he was stalled 24/7. Don't know his feed before, but now they are trying to get him to eat oats/BP/BOSS/oil to gain weight. He never finishes it, so he doesn't get enough to really make him hot or anything. He was chiro'd a few months ago, nothing serious was out and his teeth were done recently. Nothing about his saddle fit screams at me, but I'll look closer tomorrow. He's in a Full cheek FL, so nice and soft.
     
  8. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

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    And when I mentioned slow, I was meaning mentally slow, not speed wise, if i was confusing anyone :)
     
  9. Ambrose

    Ambrose Senior Member+

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    A little bit of oats can go a long way...it's possible that it's a factor; might be worth investigating. It's probably not the sole cause, but it's possible. And there are better options for weight gain than oats anyhow, so it wouldn't be hard to swap them out for something that doesn't tend to make a horse reactive...like Triple Crown Senior or something similar.

    Ulcers are also a possibility.

    I hate throwing out possibility after possibility. :( Did he get a chiro exam while she was riding him, or before she started leasing him? If he was chiro'd, came out okay, but then she took up the lease, I'd say do it again. Good that the teeth are in good shape. :)
     
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  10. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

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    I've been trying to get the BO to change him off the oat mixes b/c IMO no many horses benefit from them, I suggested a senior feed and she just said how its all carp and doesn't work -.- He eats Safe Choice so I think he's getting switched to that but it's not my first choice. I think he was chiro's before she leased him, but between his weight, school and sports she only rides him once a week. The chiro was out last week too, So I don't know when she'll be out next :\
     

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