help and advice re new pony please - im worried

(48 Posts)
booksinbed Mon 14-Jan-13 18:01:17

Hi all - so have had my little cob for nearly a month.


I took care and got from a dealer who said that if there are any problems he gives after purchase support etc.trys to match owner etc and will swap if doeas not work.

He was rather thin on his top line on his spine -so i went to local supplier who told me to put him on baileys calm and condition.

Last week he has done several very stange things which do not fit the dealers view of him and not how he behaved ist weeks. i do know that they can try it on after a few weeks but this seems really odd to me and i feel unnerved.


first he tried to get out of his stable and put two legs over door when two horses he goes out with were being fed/put out. also racing round stable.he cannot always go out at same time as them.

few days later took him out in trailer for first time short distance only - seemed v agitated and somehow got one leg stuck in top partition.

third - out on hack after lesson y day- napped big style.few step s at at time only.used voice, leg ,crop after first 2 did not work.after half hr dipped his shoulder i came off and he trotted home and i had to walk.he had also been stamping a lot - agitated on hack .looks a bit manic/hectic to me but fine in lesson in school but i dont know if im projecting my worries .

The dealer has always said i can swap if i need to.

several things strike me - could it be the food??.trying it on?? - combo o f both???.We had a hack in company on sat ,the day before the napping hack and he was fab, but did the trailer thing with leg on way back. rang food company baileys today who said this was the fifth strongest food they have an d he shd be on low cal if anything.

dealer said that he was a t a busy yard and mine is very very quiet and i wonder if this ma impact on him too.

Got vet today to do teeth,vacs and back check.he reared when teeth done and needed to be sedated.vet said he is def trying it on plus the food may impact. vet feels he is trying it on but does have some anxiety too.

Am going to have lots lessons,stop the food suplement and try to be more asertive/ firm.he plants his feet for eg when i say go back and wont move but if i tap him he looks scared.am having an instructor asses s him and me tomorrow.i must admit the napping thing terrified me .the dealer said he has no history of this but then again he was with lots of horses before so he may be genuinly scared of hacking out alone but if this the case why has he been fine for three weeks doing so ....

Any pearls of wisdom please.am going to try best .As said will -
remove supplement.
give no treats .
have regular lessons and support to handle.
hack out in company only.
try to build his trust by handling a lot ,grooming etc.dont have confidence to try the join up stuff with out a speclist support.

hard to decicide if a difficult pony or teething issues.my friend said that a tactic of dealers is to sell underweight, which he was ,and then when they back in condition are difficult ,which has been masked by the low weight at time of sale.Must admit this is praying on my mind.

Any support much appriciated. thanks .

DolomitesDonkey Mon 14-Jan-13 18:15:55

Get a recommended associate out from kelly marks.

High calorie does not equal fizzy food.

Stabling a horse when his friends are out is torture. It might seem his behaviour is annoying, but from his pov he's being punished.

It sounds as though you need a lot of support and I think a swap will result in different problems. Try the RA.

Don't understand leg in trailer if tied properly.

mrslaughan Mon 14-Jan-13 18:49:40

Have you had his back checked , dies his saddle fit properly? If he has put on weight , maybe his shap has changed and it is now not a good fit.

alwaysGOLD Mon 14-Jan-13 18:51:46

^^ this, i agree with.

Only thing i can add is that i found calm and condition had a adverse effect on my mare really heated her up :s so maybe cut it and see.

alwaysGOLD Mon 14-Jan-13 18:53:02

I meant that d.donkey i agree with and have the saddle check like above

Goodkingwalkingslass Mon 14-Jan-13 19:01:01

I would agree with back check and also remember that if you are pumping him full of calories he will have more energy and therefore may find outlet for that energy through playfulness/naughtiness. Good top line will only come through working in a correct outline although he obviously needs food to build the muscle and put weight on. I would give him more exercise and cut out the food as you said. A cob shouldn't need conditioning mix unless seriously underweight IMO.

As pp said turning his field mates out when he is kept in is hard on him. Maybe try some stable toys? Ultimately if you're losing your confidence I would swap him.

Kormachameleon Mon 14-Jan-13 19:05:34

Stop the feed. Put him on something like fast fibre and too chop lite which is molasses free and very low calorie/sugar. If you feel he needs it you can add something like equivite or a lo cal balancer either top spec lite or spillers lite - If you feed the recommended amount of fast fibre though he won't need any additional supplement but it is a large amount that's needed so I Feed much less to my fattie and use a balancer to ensure correct vits and mins

Can you work him every day ? 20 mins every day on the lunge, work on voice commands and transitions. Hack out in company for now and see if he is happier

Lots and lots of firm and consistent ground work is the key. Do as much reading and learning about natural horsemanship as you can, even if you choose not to use the actual methods it can be a really useful insight into their behaviours and help you understand in your approach

Kormachameleon Mon 14-Jan-13 19:08:24

Sorry meant to say that a cob simply shouldn't need a conditioning or build up feed - a basic feed and plenty of work will add the topline and condition. These higher calorie feeds are just simply too much for them ad will result in unwanted behaviour and anxiety for your horse

Also will he live out ? You may find a happier more relaxed horse if left out in the field

Booboostoo Mon 14-Jan-13 19:11:20

To be honest he sounds like a horse that lacks confidence in himself, e.g. being unsettled when other horses leave him, when hacking along, when traveling, etc. and that kind of horse is not suitable for a novice who is a bit nervous herself (I hope you don't find this characterisation offensive, it's not meant to be!!!).

What does your instructor say about the pony? Can she come with you on foot (walking behind you) to see what he does on a hack alone, or maybe take him out herself?

You should definitely try no hard feed, maximum turn out and daily work, but keep in mind that an underweight, underworked animal may change completely when in full work/top energy.

I would second removing the food - if you feel he needs something then there are plenty of non heating things around. The condition will come in time, and as a cob he'll be a good doer when the grass comes through. It will do him no harm to be a little light going into spring.

How much has his routine changed do you know, and what was he being fed before, also how long had he been with the dealer? He could just be hugely unsettled and wondering when he's next going to move house poor boy! As others have said keep him out as much as possible, handle him as much as you can so he gets to know you and get yourself a regular routine so he knows what to expect. It takes a long time for a horse to settle - there's so much to get used to, and a month is nothing really.

Be relaxed around him, enjoy him and try not to overthink things - and listen to your instincts! All horsey people love giving advice but sometimes it can be difficult to know which is the best to take. See how much you've been given here!

ponydilemma Tue 15-Jan-13 10:38:29

I agree with booboostoo - I would say his behaviour has almost nothing to do with the food and everythign to do with being unconfident. Why isn't he living out? He should be outside on grass and hay with pony nuts and plenty of work! Napping and panicking is often a sign of a young and unconfident pony and if you are also lacking in confidence it won't work.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 15-Jan-13 11:34:22

Stop the feed. The only way to build topline is through exercise, muscle and proper outline.
By feeding conditioning feed you will just put on fat and fry his brain. Put him back on the diet he was on and see what happens over the next week or two. Good muscle tone will take time.
He is a cob. He doesnt need fancy food.

50BalesOfHay Tue 15-Jan-13 13:24:20

I'd second what everyone said about feed, and also what ponydilemma said: he'd be much better living out. I also wouldn't try to travel him for a while, get him confident in his new home and surroundings first, a month is nothing, and then build gradually. Rememeber that we all have settling in traumas, and try not to get too stressed. Just stay in his (and your) comfort zone for a while and then work towards specific goals slowly and gradually. And get Kelly Mark's book, 'perfect manners' That should help you understand things from his perspective. And continue to enjoy time with him. But get someone experienced to ride him a bit as well, so you can get an idea of wether he's too green for you, or whether this is just a settling issue

Good to have you back in the Tack Room, books

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 15-Jan-13 23:05:30

Tbh, if he has to live in, I'd cut out hard feed entirely and just give him plenty of hay. You are REALLY going to have to watch his weight. You don't want to arrive in spring with a fat horse. Research how to fat score, and get a good weight tape.

Can we have a photo please - just nosy!

Callisto Wed 16-Jan-13 12:25:43

You seriously need some basic lessons on horse care. Feeding the right thing is absolutely crucial and your cob is an accident waiting to happen because you are feeding hard feed and frying his brain. Do you not have anyone to ask about these bsics where you are keeping him? Or any books that you can read on horse management?

So, why is he living in? I assume that he is clipped out, but even so, he could have been out at night for most of this month.

If he was anxious about being on a quiet yard this would have manifested immediately, not a month in. Horses do take a while to settle in, but I would have thought unless he is very highly strung he should be at least starting to settle into his new routine.

How did he manage to get a leg over the partition - do you mean the centre partition or the breast bar?

Also, is your vet a dentist too? Because I have a dentist out to do mine, it isn't something my (specialist equine) vets do.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Wed 16-Jan-13 12:30:32

Booksinbed has no winter turnout on her yard. sad remembered from an old thread
Our vet does dentistry. If sedation is needed its easier to get the vet out, than pay both vet and dentist.
In Books defense, she did ask the local feed mercheant for a recommendation. Sadly, the first thing a feed mercheant will do, is recommend a feed. Probably an expensive one. sad

Callisto Wed 16-Jan-13 12:38:49

True about the vet sedation thing, but ime vets smell scary and horses don't like them. The dentist just smells of horse spit so more trustworthy, esp with a nervous horse.

If there is no turnout then it is even more important not to overfeed/feed the wrong things. And I would look for another yard. No turnout would be a big negative for me.

octanegirl Wed 16-Jan-13 13:42:33

STARCH! Cut the feed and if he has to have hard feed switch to something that is mega low starch. Even cool cubes can have high levels of starch and it can make them bonkers.

Booboostoo Wed 16-Jan-13 16:47:29

Is this pony stabled 24/7? I didn't realise, but if that is right then OP you need to change yards immediately. The pony should be out as much as possible and ideally 24/7. There is no horse in this world that would remain calm and sane after a month with no turn out. I wouldn't want to touch, much less ride any of mine after a month with no turn out.

Rearing when getting his teeth done is a red herring, don't let it bother you in any way. Some horses are scared of having their teeth done, some get more used to it with time, some need sedation each time. If they need sedation, it's an unfortunate extra cost but it tells you nothing about the animal's character. My 100% trustworthy cob is only scared of two things: getting his teeth done and being lunged; we get him sedated for the teeth and that's the end of that. My insane dressage horse, who naps for Britain and is a bugger to handle, has absolutely no problems getting his teeth done. That's horses for you smile

PoshPenny Wed 16-Jan-13 18:42:06

Did you have him vetted before you bought him, and did the vet take bloods?

I would be very concerned that he may have been doped if his behaviour is as bad as you say it is now you have him home. Yes it could be the food, but if it is you should see a vast improvement in his behaviour if you just put him onto hay and maybe a bit of unmolassed chaff. Cobs generally live on fresh air. I hope you can sort it out.

booksinbed Wed 16-Jan-13 23:06:45

Hi all thanks for advice.

I have stopped the hard feed with immediate effect!!.He does seem a bit calmer /gentle in his eye but i dont know if that is wishful thinking.i cant beleive that thehfood i was recommended i the shop was the fifth most calorific out of 6 in the baileys range.!

Action also. ...

He has not had turn out other than a v few days as the only other person who turns out on the yard -we now have limited turnout- has been mostly away and the horses mine goes out with have been in .I cant offer to turn them out they are too big /too difficult for me to manage.As i was desperate to let him out - bearing in mind being alone may upset him,i took him to the field y day for ten mins and stayed with him and he was fine....the min i went to leave him he was calling to the other horses and cantering to the gate -i tried twice.anyway i took it as a good sign - bonding - i hope !!! that he was settled whist i was with him tho.tell me its true!!

Despite fact will upset him i have decided to move hm to a new yard that has more turnout- unless really wet- but it is the norm.it will be hard a its is 5 miles to walk him - unless i use trailer in which case i wd use sedation as he was very upset in trailor last time and he did get his foot up in partition despite being tied carefully- reared..??.this yard has instructor to give weekly lessons plus guidance.the instructor is also commimg to assess him on friday with me riding him - havnt dared since fall - esp as arm hurts.

Other stuff doing. dd rode him y day - she decent rider.she said he fine to ride in school .v hard to keep in canter ,she described him as "rude" in manners that despite a clear and experinced rider he still would not stand still when she re did girth,mounted, and barged for food as well as moves a lot when tied up and stamps and flicks feet.i have asked vet re mite jab but i feel i personality really. He does go back when approached in stable or menage without being asked but seems oblivious when tied up etc or when food around is moves a lot.


I dont know why but i get feeling he has ben hit.he flinches ever so slightly when reins go over head or when an electric wire /fence is moved.

Someone said that as he is 11 he wont change now.im hoping that if im guided and i have weekly lessons he can. A friend has offered to help with ground work too.Can horses change esp if hava had bad experinces.? i get the feeling he is an anxoius horse - when i used the whip when he was nappig after leg and voice did not work he did get much worse and then he dropped shoulder and i came off.I did have 5 star vetting and bloods were taken - what wd i need to do to check bloods?. Am very worried re what he did in trailor and hope that that could be addressed late down the line..

Am aware that some advice says that a month is not long and others say he shoud have settled by now- aware advice my be diferent...

any thoughts re this update much appriciated.

booksinbed Wed 16-Jan-13 23:15:12

ps how long wd it take to see a change if the feed was the culprit????fingers crosed it was.

Kormachameleon Wed 16-Jan-13 23:15:34

Yes absolutely horses can change - mine was 10 when I had her and she was terrible, really terrible, the only horse in over25 yrs that has genuinely frightened me
But after a lot of hard work and tears she is much much better

But I do think you need help, you sound quite inexperienced (sorry,not wanting to be dude) and the horse will very quickly either lose trust in you or take over and 'lead' you - neither of these are good outcomes

booksinbed Wed 16-Jan-13 23:21:09

i dont think that you are being rude Korama- its true !! i just struggle to get the support but hopefuly the instructor will be good .unless shes the type to hit em as i dont want that and my gut is - like i said that hes been hit- id much rather use stern voice. i really think that the horse knows i lack experince and is bossing me - so hopefully instuctor will help me address this.i really feel there is a bit of a negative cycle going on - he knows i lack confidence and its scaring him plus hes dominating me.

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