unsuitable behavior..

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by neiner neiner 3 years, 4 months ago.

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  • shamrock84 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    I’ve own my British riding pony for 17 months. He is the perfect horse with fantastic ground manners and respect. For about 3 months when I first brought him home I could only ride him twice a week and longe him the rest of the week (as I can only ride safely when my neighbours are not at home).His canter was always a problem. At 1st he would just pop his head up and go very fast, he slowed down little by little and all was good until my summer break from school (I teach); I started riding him more often and the weird behavior started after about 2 months. He would sort of bunny hop going into canter. I would insist that we would not stop until a calm canter for a few steps, but head wad still up in the air. At 1st I thought he was stung by wasps, but going into autumn. I knew it was not it. And then the spooking started, worse after just a few steps of canter. He is also reactive in the pasture/ when he is eating little things would spook him on the spot. The other day, after drinking, he shooed a fly and spooked himself doing so. In spite of 7 months on the longe line wearing a Chambon he still has a nearly non existant top line. At 1 point he put on a lot of weight but the top line was still non existant. I have not ridden in 7 months and I’m getting desperate.

    ShilohsGirl ShilohsGirl
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 49

    The best advice I have is to maybe take a break from the canter. I was having trouble with my horse’s canter, until my trainer advised we take a one month break from it. We worked on her top line, trotting up hills and doing pole work ect. The best exercise we did was to do a figure eight at a trot, and bring her down to a walk in the middle between the two circles. One month later, I had her working her hind end, did the figure eight the same way, then set a pole in the middle of the eight (between the two circles) and asked for the canter over the pole. She was balanced, and had a great transition. Riding is kind of like cutting hair, you have to know what to cut, but also what to leave. hope this helps!

    "Think of riding as a science, but love it as an art" ~George Morris

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

    I have a similar list! One thing that is helping is a lot of trotting, and very careful use of draw reins, to teach my horse where I want his head to be. I would not recommend that you do this without a trainer/instructor/really competent rider to assist you, as you cannot see how you and your horse look while you are mounted. Also, shake up your routine – don’t ask for transitions in the same order or the same place in your ring. Rather than insist on the canter until it is the way you want it, just go a few strides and then ask for a walk or trot, and eventually a halt. If he is anticipating what you are going to do (or if you are inadvertently telegraphing), he will just keep tossing his head more and more. If he doesn’t know what to expect, he should pay more attention to you. I haven’t totally solved my problems, but I do see improvement mostly. I have also changed from my forward seat saddle (which I have used for 55 years) to a dressage saddle, in order to make me concentrate also. Riding trails for relaxation is also helpful.

    It is never the horse's fault

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    I am hearing about a horse in pain that is progressive under the current use. Arthritis or some such similar condition, or a poorly fitting saddle due to body changes might be behind it. Head in the air/hollow thru the back is a common back issue sign, not exclusive, just common.

    Spooky behaviour and quick to react are also signs of discomfort in that the horse is quick to set up to flee. Points of consideration, always rule out pain first.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

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

    Very true. I should have mentioned that, as it was an issue for me also. Another brain malfunction on my part. I put my boy on a muscle mass supplement and one for joints. The people at SmartPak are really good at helping choose what will work best for a horse (assuming that the vet has ruled out other possible issues).

    It is never the horse's fault

    shamrock84 Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    Thank you for the great comments! Keep them coming! I’m moving (back) to Europe very soon and hopefully taking him with me. He will be fitted for a saddle and will have REAL chiropractic work done with evaluation. I did think it was somewhat pain related but all the people I asked (where I live) said it was my fault (they never saw me ride) and I ended up sort of believing it. I am also giving him ulcer meds, just in case. Please, keep your great comments coming!

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

    Don’t give medications unless he really needs them. We (all people) have moved from overmedicating ourselves and our children to doing it to our animals. Then, when medications are needed, they don’t work because a resistance has been built.

    It is never the horse's fault

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    The fact that the animal is calm and compliant on the ground, specifically for grooming and assuming tacking, sort of rules out ulcers but that is a vet’s call, not for my internet speculation. Frankly, ulcers are not something to mess with. Painful, affects the quality of ALL activities of life, body and spirit, and makes for an un-necessarily cranky, high-maintenance horse. If you are concerned about ulcers, bother to have the horse scoped and go from there.

    Head carriage is based on balance. Weak/compromised hocks and spine are common causes for hollow backs, high heads. Once Horse is diagnosed as work worthy, lose the chambon for a while and let the horse trot long low and easy, stretch the back. Seek rhythm first, then engagement from the hind. This will allow and encourage more symmetrical usage and development, making YOUR goals easier to achieve : )

    I agree we are often too quick to medicate everything.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    neiner neiner
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 8

    I agree with all of the suggestions already mentioned; my horse was a pain to canter when I first got him. He was really green and would canter if asked, but was completely unbalanced, and the transition was always a mess. My barn does not have a round pen, but that’s the quickest way to help your horse fix the issue of being unbalanced. I suspect he struggles anyway, and having a rider on his back is not helping. If you have a round pen, forget the lounge line and chambon and get him in there. Focus on trotting and transitions, build your way up to a canter for one revolution, then back down to trotting. As he becomes more comfortable and confident, I’ll bet (assuming he’s not in pain) that he stops putting his head up and bunny hopping through transitions. (The chambon is a complete waste of time and does not address his real problem, if you ask me.) THEN get on in the round pen and ask him for the same things that you do when on the ground, and just stay out of his way. If he naturally carries his head up high, you can address that later (with horsemanship, not more riding “aids”), but for now, I suggest simply giving him some confidence. For his topline, hills [as someone already mentioned] are great. 🙂 Good luck!

    "Gentle in what you do; firm in how you do it." -Buck Brannaman

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