April 29, 2015 at 4:34 am
Having been laid up since the end of November, partly due to a lameness issue (thankfully resolved) and partly due to the foul winter, Joe Joe has decided that he is retired. Now that I am able to try riding him again, he is fighting me tooth and nail (okay, tooth and head). If he isn’t throwing his head around, he is tucked a tad too much, and grinds his teeth (floated last week, so not a dental issue) all the way around the ring. Short of a 2×4 upside the head, does anyone have any ideas on stopping this, or do I just have to suffer until he decides to play nice? It is not a bit issue, because he does it without a bridle also. He is also one of those who gets hotter if I longe him.
It is never the horse's faultApril 29, 2015 at 6:19 am
Did he start this behaviour before or after his dental float? Do not write off dental just because he was recently floated. Floating can cause a load of issues if one is not paying attention.
If after, consider that the recent floating could possibly have aggravated/loosened/created a pre-existing situation. It is not uncommon in older horses or those with iffy teeth to suffer cracks, cavities and/or bad roots that won’t present til AFTER a float. Keep an eye on him/his temp. Unless we take rads at every float, these things are virtually invisible until an abscess, or worse, rears its ugly head. Breath, nasal discharge on one side, different expression in one eye than the other, runny eye on one side, odd head carriage, drooling, grinding, odd chewing(one side only), facial swelling, appetite decrease, hollow under saddle and a slew of other s/s are common dental issue signs that a lot of folks don’t think about. The only reason *I* know of these things is that Pheety taught me. My good soldier had dental issues, too, that presented in a similar way to Pheets, albeit different etiology. Also possible that he could have something stuck between teeth, or a chip has dislodged. I would start with re-evaluating his mouth but that’s just me.
The Dodger is an Arabian, been with you a long time, and might not be impressed with or decided about Selena just yet. Has to have his say about her. He might be setting you up to start/prove your relationship/loyalty with him all over again. They do that sometimes when their place is threatened. Insecurity in an Arabian is not the same as insecurity in a horse. It is VERY personal with them. Always address him first, regardless of the time spent with either of them.
I would still start with his mouth, tho. Then, if no resolve, I might consider chiropractic Tx. But that’s just me.
Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.April 29, 2015 at 6:53 am
Pheets – as ever, you make good points. I should have included more information. He was like this when I first met him, and got over it. His dentist says he has great teeth, and they look as if he is 10 years younger than he is, and has apparently had excellent dental care throughout his life. He is always first, with food, grooming, and any other attention. I do think it is most likely some “Arabian” thing, and he just wants to have me groom, feed and play with him, but none of this asking him to do stupid things (half-pass, circles, trotting slowly, etc.). He has also recently discovered that if he stands perpendicular to the mounting block, I cannot reach him, and stands there smirking at me and nuzzling me. His personality is much stronger than mine, and at times there is a “I don’t want to and you can’t make me” about it. He will go beautifully in long lines for practically anyone else, but for me he just turns and backs. The last time we tried, the only way I got him to move forward was to take him to the far end of the ring, turn him, and tell him that if he wanted to get out he was going to have to go forward. He’s a lot of fun, but I don’t want his ears in my mouth, nor do I want to have to listen to the tooth nonsense. Attitude is a great thing to have, but once in awhile I’d like to just enjoy him rather than having a battle. He knows how to do all the things I ask for (not a piaffe, but a lot of stuff), and when he is in the mood will do it all without me doing anything but say the words. You know the breed better than I – how can I tell what mood he happens to be in at various times? He’s 24, so one would expect him to have matured emotionally to some degree. I think it’s me, really, and he knows he can get away with acting like a child. At our last show, he yawned through his in-hand classes, and when we walked out of the ring, woke up and said “There are cars! People! Strange horses! I have to kill them all!”, and proceeded to leap around in circles, kicking and huffing. Didn’t even want to go in the barn to get undressed. Yet, whenever he pulls these stunts, he is always very, very careful to keep his legs away from me, and makes no attempt to get loose. One of us needs at attitude adjustment. Or something.
It is never the horse's faultApril 29, 2015 at 7:12 am
Maturity: SO over-rated…. Pheets is 28… we still waiting. Mumma was a veteran at 3.
I can only offer my own experience on mood prediction: Watch how he takes the bridle. ALL 3 of my Beans, deliberately or not, have been predictable thru the bridling dance. When I offer the bit, if Bean dives in, its gonna be one of THOSE rides: hanging on for Life, hoping we WON’T leap off the cliff/into the pond/get lost in the harvest-ready cattle corn acreage, riding it out thru that awesome tweedle..See..busy Ara-Beans do not have to walk, trot or canter to get anywhere, they can tweedle and dance so fluidly, and they WILL canter at least one stride into EVERYthing, even the halt.. GRANDE ride but def a work out for rider’s heart. Gotta like the kind of horse that likes that kind of ride to truly appreciate it : ) If I have to invite Bean to take the bit: I get a casual attitude, casual ride (casual by Arabian gauges)Bean could clearly take it or leave it, probably rather leave it. If I have to actually apply thumb to dental bar for bit acceptance: one of those OTHER rides, that often ends up in the opposite venue I originally intended: if I wanted ring work, we end up outside, if I want to trail, we end up in the ring, might involve a lasting impression here or there by the end… not necessarily with the Bean.
Maybe you could try developing different attitudes or excercise agendas for different rides..find what he is looking for, know what you want, then compromise: he is older, should be able to just enjoy YOU. Maybe he really DOESN’T want to be ringfancy anymore? I don’t know.. He is definitely telling you something… he also expects you to get it and deal.
I might know Arabians somewhat but YOU know The Dodger well. Apparently, he knows you well, too : ) Thing is, if you change up your attitude too quickly or radically at first, he will not take you seriously for a while. “That’s NOT how we always do it, Mom. And *I* know that YOU know that *I* know that”… And don’t forget the smirk : )
Might consider a chronic TMJ, too, something not always straightforward in symptom or constant and not readily caught by Dental unless they are looking for it. That can be addressed thru chiro.
Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.April 29, 2015 at 7:59 am
I think I will try the chiro thing, if I can find one in this cultural wasteland. As for bridling, it is always the same. I put the reins over his neck, and he sticks his head into the bridle and takes the bit all by himself. Maybe he would like one of those bits with a rolling thing that he could play with? Perhaps he thinks of the bit as a toy? Or a pacifier? When in company, he thinks we should be racing. Alone, he thinks we should be bored. And, to be completely honest, since that fall (when I learned that I no longer bounce, but break), I am a bit afraid of riding in open areas. He is very looky, and even gets suspicious if the manure pile is a different shape or size. Dirt which is a different color from other dirt is also suspect, but I can understand that. Peacocks and male turkeys are terrifying, but chickens and guinea fowl are fine. He was gelded after he stopped racing (not sure of age), so he was a stallion for longer than the “average” riding horse. We also recently got two new horses in his field, and they are extremely dominant, which is affecting him, but he was being silly before they arrived. They may be a contributing factor, but are not the root cause.
It is never the horse's faultApril 29, 2015 at 8:22 am
Change in the residentia certainly can have an influence. He sounds a bit like Pheety, too, in that he is hyper-aware, ALL the time. If he retained any of his stallionism (mentality, not so much ..parts of parts) from late gelding, it might be he feels the challenge of the new horses’ dominance..it IS spring. There are mares there. One of them is his but does he know that or has he accepted that yet? I know she hasn’t been there all that long…
I suppose, to be true to the “Horse Business” world and if I want to continue to consider myself ‘experienced’, I should tell you the standard Do not allow him to deviate in ANY way at ANY time cos YOU are the BOSS at ALL times, yadayada… not that I disagree with the mentality in general (and softer) terms, just the tunnelism of it… You have an actual relationship/mutual trust with him. Certain exceptions, with an established cognizant, sentient being, really are ok. He won’t ‘go bad’. If he really doesn’t want to do the lateral or collected stuff, save that for Selena?
Also very possible he IS stroking you like you say, simply because..he can : ) Maintain the range of expression. With the behaviours you don’t want sometimes in an older horse and a more long term relationship, the best we can do is limit the volume, not necessarily change the statement.
How long have you or have you not been riding in the same saddle/pad arrangement? As much as he might be playing you, turning sideways to the mounting block is almost a signature sign of saddle.. or pad.. issues
Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.
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