Highstrung or Nervous?

This topic contains 17 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by riding for Christ riding for Christ 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • Summer Original Poster
    Topics Started: 9Replies Posted: 19

    Hi Guys!
    I have a 12 year old APHA gelding. I use him for gaming.
    At shows or even just riding him at home in the pasture he is always on edge. Very, jittery, i guess you could say.It’s like he’s always on the look out for something to spook at. And when he does, it’s not safe; he rears and bucks and it takes awhile to get undercontroll. He never wants to walk after i lope him a lap, it’s always gallop gallop gallop. And he’s not even in shape. He is quite overweight.
    What do you think it is; highsrung, or just nervous?
    And is there anything to take the edge off him @ shows and riding clinics for 4-h? Not like a drug or anything like that, just something to calm him or take the edge off, but still be th fast spunky gaming horse i know, and need the for.

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    Have you tried a magnesium supplement? Apparently magnesium deficiency in horses is much more common than most people realize. But not all magnesium supplements are created equal. I will have to look up the name of the company that made the supplement I, and several friends, have used with considerable success.

    fmdstella
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I, too, was going to recommend a magnesium supp.

    Have you had him checked out by the vet? when was the last time his teeth were done?

    Also, what kind of feed is he on? any grain? is he on a low carb hay? he may have some metabolic issues, just a thought. If you can, I’d try switching to a low carb grass hay, get him checked out by the vet, do the mag supp, and reevaluate in several months.

    Summer Original Poster
    Topics Started: 9Replies Posted: 19

    Ok. Well, the last time he was checked by the vet was in the spring for his vaccs. and dewormers. His teeth, i am not for sure, when we bought him(@ an auction) the owner wasn’t present. But we do think he has a wolf tooth tarting to form, and we are probs. gonna check out this year.
    Um he has pasture 24/7, we sometimes give him for pellets/grain after a long hard workout it’s like Smart Balance i think.
    Thanks, i might try the magnesium.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    It could also be that gaming is stressful for him, and he doesn’t know how to relax. Some horses, by nature, are just hotter than they should be. Mine are both nutcases, and both benefit from being massaged and using lavender oil.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Summer Original Poster
    Topics Started: 9Replies Posted: 19

    It’s not only at shows. And i don’t think it’s stressfull for him because he loves runnig home.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Does he love running or does he think he is running for his life? How can you be sure? Just because he does it at home as well as at shows doesn’t mean he isn’t stressed. To calm mine, I have just periodically got on them bareback with a halter and lead (in the ring) and just walked. Then, I get off. If I keep it random, they never know if they will be working or just ambling around (and I do the amble thing with full tack also just to confuse them). They are less likely to act like loons when they don’t know what to expect. Of course, mine are not every horse – they are special loons, but it works for us. Generally, I find that treating behavior issues with diet does not, in the long run, solve the problem. I would also consider “high strung” and “nervous” to be essentially synonymous. From what you have said (and I have nothing else to go by, not ever having seen your horse), it sounds as if he is anticipating what he thinks you are going to do, without enjoying it. Why is he overweight and out of shape?

    It is never the horse's fault

    Ricci
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    My suggestion is to wear a helmet! If you ride western Chris Cox has some helmets built into Cowboy hats. For your horse I would supplement him with U (ulcer) guard. Can most likely be found at a local feed store. There is a 4 pound bucket available, and also a 10 pound bucket. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the price. You know he’s super stressed, help him out.

    Khizzy’s mom
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Just wondered have you checked your horse to see if they have ulcers? Might sound crazy but that will keep a horse on edge. I had a rescue that acted that way and treated her for ulcers. It worked and she started acting completely different. It didn’t solve all her issues because she had so many but it made a huge difference.

    Tom L
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Your horse has no confidence in you… Work with your horse three to five days a week… Doing what ever type of work that you enjoy… Try to remember that every minute of that time someone will be getting trained… Develop an independent seat… Keep your hands light and still… Get off his face… Teach him patience in everything that you do… In 6 to 9 months you will have the most amazing horse and he will still have the energy and work ethic that he has today… Truth is you probably already have an amazing horse you just need to reach in and let him out.

    Good luck and have fun.

    Summer Original Poster
    Topics Started: 9Replies Posted: 19

    I think my horse has confidence in my. We practice and show spring, summer, and fall. A lot of our practices are just trail rides and short gallops in the field. Then once or 2 a week we do a medium to hard work out on the patterns. And one day just doing some training in the patterns. I do have soft hands, but if i loosen the reins at all he takes advantage and speeds up because he luvs to run. And i actually have a really good seat because i have another horse that’s lazy and spunky at the same time and bucks for joy. So i think i have the seat mastered. I have been on my horse through a rearing fit too.

    pflady
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 25

    I would have his teeth checked. I knew someone who owned a mare who appeared crazy. She was nervous, spooky, reared and bucked. They tried a flash nose band to keep the bit in place and then she really went berserk! Nobody wanted to train her because she was so wild. I suggested that they have her teeth looked at and they found they were cutting into the inside of her mouth. Once her teeth were done she turned into a perfectly sweet and gentle horse.

    Summer Original Poster
    Topics Started: 9Replies Posted: 19

    Ok thanks! We acually were thinking about it!

    Quitocat77
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    Hi Summer, I have been doing natural horsemanship and have been studying the psychology of horses for over 20 years and now have the education and experience to understand horses at a great level. It sounds like your horse is lacking confidence in both himself, and then you, as his leader. (No fault of yours at all). Horses are herd animals and to be calm and confident they search for the leader(whomever or whatever that is) to place confidence in them when they are unconfident for any reason. It is like grabbing your friends arm when something jumps out at you. That is your reaction to feeling safe. If your friend freaks out so will you, but if your friend can stay calm and meet you where you are at in your fear and know how to get you to calm down then all is well. If your horse doesn’t feel like he has anyone as this kind of leader around, that will be able to help him feel safe then he will fret. It isn’t anything that you have done wrong, you just need some tools to help him gain that trust in you and then ultimately build his confidence in himself. It sounds like you have an extrovert personality (horsenality) in your horse and he is acting right brained. Right brained is the instinctual side of his thinking. There is not much logical reasoning going on in his mind when he is right brained. He is running off of adrenaline. His mind says danger and get out of it. Horses are prey animals and we are predators so we don’t think alike very much at all. Just know that he is acting exactly how he is supposed to for his species to have survived all of these years. This is where your horse is stuck at when you are riding him. Left brained is the thinking side and he needs to be taught how to start clicking over to that side. He doesn’t know how to do this yet and this is where you can teach him. Think about when you get scared and how you feel if you can’t get out of the situation. Your adrenaline rises and you want to run. You might even panic. Logical thinking is much harder to do at this point. If you were able to find a safe spot out of that situation then you would be able to reason it all out better. Only then, when you realize that there really isn’t any danger, then you can start going back towards that scary spot and you will notice that you aren’t nearly as scared. If you have a confident friend to go with you then it is even easier. Same for your horse. He just needs your help to become more confident and start thinking instead of reacting. Think of his thinking from a horse’s perspective and not a human’s and you will understand him better. Extrovert horses need to move their feet when uncomfortable and circles work best to get them to calm down and start using the thinking side. Straight lines fire them up. If you are trying to hold him back when he is fretting then the tension and nerves will build in him and he will get worse and worse, and also more unsafe, so circle, circle, circle until he starts to relax and then release him. Repeat if necessary. The crazier he is acting the smaller you want your circles to be. Just make sure you are doing this exercise with calmness, not trying to punish him. Horses do not understand punishment. I’d also recommend riding him in a well fitted smooth mouth snaffle for now so that you can bend his head around safely and not scare him further. If you feel unsafe, EVER, get off! No point in getting hurt or killed. When he is calm then get back on. I have a couple of extroverts and absolutely love them! When they become confident in themselves they are fun and love to please. There is so much more to my answer than what I can write here, but the program that I follow is the Parelli Program. It goes far beyond surface type horsemanship. (If you are reading this and want to say something negative about this program please don’t. This forum is to help someone explore all options). It has changed myself, my horsemanship, and then because of this, my horses have changed immensely. Start by getting on their website and looking up the 7 games. They are a human version of how to play the games that horses play with each other to gain the horses confidence and respect with themself and you. They are also played on the ground where you are safest, but translate to being on his back. Just know that horses and horsemanship are a neverending journey of learning and can be really fun and rewarding if you stick with it. I know that you can get your horse to become all he and you want him to be with the right knowledge and time put into him. Best of wishes to you two!

    Summer Original Poster
    Topics Started: 9Replies Posted: 19

    Thank you!

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