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Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

(24 Posts)
N0tinmylife Thu 04-Oct-12 21:01:08

I am feeling a bit down in the dumps, and could use some impartial advice. I've had my new horse for 5 months now, and all has been going well. Apart a few minor issues early on, he has been a laid back and easy going horse. However last week, we were out hacking with one other horse. On the way back we decided to have a canter, and the other horse went off a bit quick. Mine just exploded, massive bucking fit, and needless to say I went flying. The next thing I knew I got up, looked around, and realised I had no idea where I was or how to get back to the stables.

To cut a long story short, an ambulance was called, and I was told it was mild concussion, and I'd be fine in a day or two. It has really shaken me up, and I am not sure where to go from here. I feel like a complete wimp, as you hear so many stories, on here and elsewhere, about people having horrendous accidents, and carrying on afterwards, when I have gone all wobbly after a minor bump. sad

Maybe I just need a kick up the backside, and to just get on with it, but I don't want a repeat of the same thing, and I'm not sure how to stop it happening again. I have recently changed my saddle, and upped his feed, both of which could have caused this, or this could just be him getting fit, and full of it. So any suggestions about what to do now would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Pixel Thu 04-Oct-12 21:25:16

Oh dear, glad you weren't too badly hurt - don't forget to buy a new hat, if you've had concussion your old one must have had a bash.

Horses do sometimes get a bit lively with the change of seasons (spring and autumn), there will be a flush of sugar in the grass and the weather can be crisp or blustery which can set them off. I think you are right about it being the feed as if it was the saddle you would probably have noticed him being uncomfortable at other times, not the sudden explosion you describe (and I assume you had it properly fitted). Can I ask why you upped his feed?

Ponyofdoom Thu 04-Oct-12 23:18:38

Sounds nasty. 5 months is no time to get used to a new horse, they say it takes a year! Even my usually steady, home bred 12 year old chap goes feral sometimes; suddenly galloping, especially towards home with another horse is bound to cause equine excitement! I would cut the feed pretty much right out, just feed grass/hay unless there is any reason not to- and if you have to, make it low energy like hi fi nuts.Def check the saddle too.

ExitPursuedByJKR Thu 04-Oct-12 23:21:25

Get your saddle checked. Mine used to chuck me for fun because of a saddle (I think confused)

Only real advice is to be careful where and when you let go. Always canter first, or like me, give up that cantering malarkey altogether.

Stay safe.

Zazzles007 Fri 05-Oct-12 04:19:59

Glad you are ok OP, and that it wasn't any worse. When you have a concussion, its important not to put yourself in a situation where you might fall off and have another concussion soon after the first one - ask me how I know grin. This means not doing something which is likely to result in another fall.

As far as it happening again, yes upping the feed could have contributed, as well as horsie thinking that cantering was a bit exciting and hence the bucking fit. If you want to avoid the situation happening again, perhaps cut the feed a little for the next 2-4 weeks, as well as making sure that your ride occurs in controlled circumstnaces. Do you have an arena in which to do your next few rides? What about a lesson or two with an instructor to boost your confidence?

Hope this helps.

horseylady Fri 05-Oct-12 08:38:33

Agree with the above!!!

Get back on when you're ready and want to not when you feel you have to!!

Check the saddle, check your feed (why did you increase it and what too? We could offer alternatives) but put it down to one of those things!! Some horses do just react like that (mine goes vertical evil mare)!!

AllPastYears Fri 05-Oct-12 08:55:12

Take it easy for a while. Get back on when you're ready, plod round - with someone alongside if you need it - until you're ready for more. Maybe get someone else to ride him in the meantime if you can.

FWIW my pony seems to go a bit loopy around the first week in October, I think it's the grass. Last year DD got bucked off around now and the year before I had the pleasure. confused They weren't isolated incidents in that he was very silly for a week or two. Has your horse been different lately or is this a one-off?

N0tinmylife Fri 05-Oct-12 09:31:46

Thanks all! I upped his feed because he came to me a bit on the skinny side. He is looking really well now, and with the weather getting colder and wetter I didn't want him to drop it all again. I've found in the past once they lose it in the winter its really hard to get the weight back on again. He wasn't having huge amounts, just a large scoop of Hifi nuts, and one of AlfaA. I have dropped it right down again now though, in case it was that.

I did get the saddle properly fitted, and tried out a couple in the school, before I bought. The daft thing is, I noticed he went differently in the saddle I bought straight away, but I thought it was a positive thing. He had been described by my instructor as a bit lazy in the school, and with that saddle he seemed to wake up, and carry himself better. Thinking back he has been on his toes since I got it, but like an idiot I did not make the connection. I actually thought maybe he'd been slightly uncomfortable in the old saddle, and that was why he'd been on the lazy side! Luckily his owner, (he is on loan) still has his old saddle, and has kindly said she will bring it back down at the weekend, so I think I will leave riding him again until then and see how he is in that.

Go on Zazzle, how do you know? I want to hear that story! grin I have been back on him twice, a couple of days after. It might have been a bit too soon, but I felt like I needed to get it over with. I was a gibbering wreck though! I am having regular lessons, which helps.

AllPastYears Fri 05-Oct-12 09:34:18

PS this year DPony's silliness came a bit early, in mid-September. He did buck with me, and also with my instructor (in a temper) - but he hasn't had anyone off this time. (touch wood wink)

N0tinmylife Fri 05-Oct-12 15:44:34

AllPastYears, fingers crossed he'll decide to skip it this year!

I've been thinking about this a bit more today. Does anyone know if just seeming more lively is likely to be a sign of a problem with the saddle? He did the same when he wasn't happy with his bit, in that he starts fidgeting when asked to stand, chucking his head about, and doing little hops, threatening to rear. I changed the bit, and he was immediately much more relaxed. It seems a bit odd that he would react like this to the saddle hurting him though!

I have also been wondering if the amount of feed he has been having over the last couple of weeks would be enough to cause that kind of reaction, and if so how long would it take to get back out of his system?

Also does anyone know how long the bloody headache is likely to last. Its been a week and I'm getting bored of it now!

rogersmellyonthetelly Fri 05-Oct-12 18:17:46

I would look at his feed first. Lots of horses can get a bit cheeky as the weather cools off, and extra feed won't help. I find a week off the feed and a few sessions on the lunge get it out of my horses system, we've had a lot of problems with him with cereals, hes now doing really well on simple system feed with a micronised linseed for condition. Completely agree its hard to get weight on in winter!
Also, has he been clipped at all? We used to refer to clipping as giving them "go faster stripes" cold air on a recently clipped undercarriage can make them frisky!
It's also quite common to have second thoughts about a horse a few months in, especially when you have had your old horse a long time, you get very used to how the old horse does things and it can be a bit tricky to adjust.

AllPastYears Fri 05-Oct-12 18:42:32

DH was knocked out 6 months ago and still sometimes gets headaches. sad He got tired easily for a good 3 months as well. Look after yourself! smile

frostyfingers Fri 05-Oct-12 19:20:19

Well I think if he came to you a bit skinny, the fact that you've fed him up and got him fit means he's probably feeling loads better and wanted to share that with you. Don't always assume there's a problem, but it may be worth getting his back checked for your peace of mind. I suspect it was just a case of "whoopee", encouraged by his mate going off like a rocket too.

Concussion wise, I knocked myself out at the end of Jan in a fall (and managed whiplash and a cracked vertebrae for good measure) and I was surprised at how long I felt like I was wandering around in a fog for. It was a good 2 weeks before it lifted and I suddenly realised my head didn't feel like it was going to fall off. I got back on my horse after a week and just pootled about, although it wasn't him I fell off so I wasn't too worried.

Take it easy, but don't leave it too long before you get back on either, the longer you leave it, the harder it is. Could you ride him in a school the first time, or perhaps lunge him to take the fizz off if you're a bit nervous?

I hope your head feels better soon - it is a horrible feeling.

AllPastYears Fri 05-Oct-12 19:43:35

I would also add, having looked into this a bit after DH's accident, that if you damage your brain again while it is still recovering the chance of long term damage is higher. So stay safe. smile

SingingTunelessly Fri 05-Oct-12 20:40:24

Ahh sorry you've had a nasty fall. Really does knock your confidence doesn't it. Some good advice on here already. I always find if I ask my horse for canter on the way home he usually goes like a rocket. I don't do it anymore <wimp>. It's probably the extra feed, some Autumn grass and feeling good in himself.

I would say don't build it up anymore in your mind iykwim. It happened, take care over where you canter, get some lessons in and put it down to just one of those things. We ride horses, we all fall off sometimes. Don't let it get you down. smile.

cq Fri 05-Oct-12 20:56:32

Take your time and build your confidence back up slowly.

I can highly recommend Rescue Remedy to calm the collywobbles before you get on. I used to have a hyper-sensitive gelding so before a dressage test I would have a few drops of RR and give him a squirt too!! May only be a placebo effect, but if you think it has calmed you, then you will be calmer, and he will pick that up. I kept a bottle in my grooming kit permanently grin

Good luck and take it slow. Just walking out or in the school until you're really bored and therefore relaxed. And agree with above comments, get someone else to ride him too, keep the edge off.

Hope the headaches stop soon, but actually they are probably a good reminder to still take it easy.

Zazzles007 Sat 06-Oct-12 00:33:06

Hi there N0t, the headaches should settle within a week or so. If you are concerned, I would go and see your GP and explain what happened.

My story? I was in a jump lesson, and my horse completely tripped over the jump and fell nose first into the sand. I was already in a forward position in the saddle in preparation to take the jump, and I went head first down his neck, landing on my head. Horsie fell in heap after me. I remember lying on the ground with my instructor standing over me. I turned over on my back and said "F***, that hurt!" grin When I eventually got up, and turned to my horse, he had sand up his nose, in his ears and on his saddle. Stupid thing was, when this horse and I came a cropper, we always did it in style grin.

I spent the following week in bed with headaches as well. Although my GP knew he couldn't tell me not to ride, he advised me not to do anything 'risky' for the next 6 months - ie no jumping or galloping.

Hope the headaches get better. They should fade after a while.

N0tinmylife Sat 06-Oct-12 14:05:13

Lots of good advice there thanks! I haven't had him clipped yet, I still have that to look forward to! grin They have to come in at night from the end of the month as well.

SingingTunelessly, you are right, I am in danger of building this up in my head. I have made a concerted effort to stop dwelling on it today, and I do think its helping. I think I just got a shock finding out I don't bounce as well as I did in my 20's. I used to fall off for a pastime, and would usually land on my feet, laugh and jump back on. I must be getting old!

cq, I may give rescue remedy a go, depending on how the nerves go!

Zazzles, ouch!! That must have smarted a bit. I guess if you are going to do it you may as well do it properly smile

frostyfingers Sat 06-Oct-12 16:40:57

Indeed, after a certain age one does not bounce - I have discovered that to my cost! And one doesn't heal quite as quickly afterwards either.......

When I tipped off out hunting I leapt back on saying "I'm fine, I'm fine" as you do - then when asked about 20 minutes later what day it was, what date it was I had no idea at all.....twas very weird. I declined a lift home on the quad bike and wobbled home on the horse. My sister who accompanied me said that I made absolutely no sense for the next two hours! And I was trying SO hard to be normal!

Riding horses = falling off occasionally, try not to dwell on it too much.

booksinbed Sat 06-Oct-12 22:45:30

Hi Op hope you are feeling a bit better now- i too have a new pony and its exiting and daunting at the same time - never mind what happened to you.If it were me i wd get back on asap in a school situation and try to project confidence to myself - hard i know.when i feel anxoius i actaully sing on the pony - i dont know why but it seems to help.thinking of you - hope all well.

Roger- just to ask - why is it common a few months in to feel a bit second thoughts about a horse a few months in- im grateful that you said that as ive ben feeling like that and i have felt terrible esp as it is financialy affecting my family and our choices and it has been a dream of mine to get a pony.maybe after the initial euphoria you have to come down.i accept that it is hard work alongside the fun bits but i find i tend to worry bout my pony and my head feels a bit too full !!!

N0tinmylife Mon 08-Oct-12 10:41:19

frostyfingers you put me to shame, it didn't even occur to me to get back on this time, although I do usually! I know what you mean about trying to be normal though. It wasn't until we got back to the road and I had to ask my sister which way to turn that she realised things were not quite right, very odd feeling!

books, thanks, I've been back on a couple of times without any major issues, so hopefully it was a one off and we can put it behind us!

rogersmellyonthetelly Mon 08-Oct-12 12:20:45

I think most people barring seasoned professionals have some hiccups with a new horse once the honeymoon period wears off, certainly most people I know have second thoughts about if they have taken on more than they can handle after a nasty fall or a scary ride when the horse has been unmanageable for part of it, you would be daft not to I think!
Most times it has worked out ok, either the horse doesn't do it again and all is fine, or the rider gets someone more experienced to help until they have worked through the problem, or very occasionally, the horse is too much for the riders ability or the problem gets worse not better and the rider sells the horse and buys something more suitable.
When I bought Merlin last year I felt very confident I would be fine, old horse could be a real git out riding, bucks, rears, spinning round and buggerin off back to the stables, it never bothered me and he never got away with it more than once, I knew all his tricks and likes and dislikes. Merlin arrived and within a couple of weeks I had been stood on, barged, kicked, had him rear up in hand and after he reared three times on a hack out on my own, I didn't ride him out for months, stuck to schooling in the arena, and worked on his manners. It wasn't until I moved to a new yard and had weekly lessons and the yard owner who is a bhsi rode him out a few times that I agreed to hack out again and only then in company.
I had the old horse for 13 years, broke and schooled him on myself and dealt with a lot of problems, but still felt like I was floundering with a new horse.
Now I've had him about 14 months he has some manners at last, doesn't barge, and is a pleasant happy ride. Finally he feels like my horse and I wouldn't sell him for the world.

Landy77 Mon 08-Oct-12 14:52:31

So sorry about your fall, I dont think this has been mentioned before but I find that Alfa A has more explosive energy in than you think, my mare certainly can be more wired when I feed Alfa A, I always notice a real boost as tend to feed it to her in the winter, often more of an affect than a competion type mix when I compete.

higgle Mon 08-Oct-12 16:06:10

If that was me I'd be very wobbly indeed, good to hear you are thinking positive thoughts. To restore confidence can you round up a real old plodder to go out with?

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