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struggling with DD's horse - advice anyone?

(20 Posts)
prelim29 Tue 07-May-13 21:45:42

Last year we bought a lovely horse for my DD (age 22, riding at PC open level, B test, capeable rider). He was/is lovely, a registered ID x TB, age 8, with low mileage, we bought him through a friend who had bought him for her son who had lost interest and he was too good as only a 'mum's hack'.

DD has spent the winter having lessons, hacking, a little indoor jumping but this spring he has suddenly changed personality - really getting bolshy in the yard, started rearing in the school and taking a hold in canter. All very out of character.

I've had the equine physio give him a check over, he's had his teeth rasped in the last 2 weeks, he's fed on Calm and Condition and hay so a real low energy diet.

Does anyone have any further suggestions? I'm at my wit's end - having horses is meant to be pleasureable! Incidentally he's fine to hack and totally non spooky, quite chilled, in fact.

Thanks for reading.

chocolatecakeystuff Tue 07-May-13 21:53:21

Spring grass? I know the minute the sun shines & mine have a bit of fresh grass in their bellys they're like different horses.

Saddle fit alright?

At 8 he's still pretty young could just be testing the boundries....

Anything happened in the school?

Have you had an ri do any work with him?

LastMangoInParis Tue 07-May-13 21:54:20

Could be to do with change of seasons?
Could he be bored with work in school?
Is DD or whoever's handling him slightly nervous?
What's Calm and Condition? Healthy horses who aren't doing hardcore top level competing generally don't need supplements.

mrslaughan Tue 07-May-13 21:56:51

has someone else tried riding him - like her Instructor? does he do it with him/her?

how much is he being ridden?

prelim29 Tue 07-May-13 22:05:52

Thank you for all your replies! He's had a month off following lameness (field injury) and of course the spring grass is not helping. Instructor has never ridden him but she has a high opinion of him. To be honest I think he just needs more work but I'm worried that the fitter he gets the more bolshy he will become.

Calm and condition is a non-heating feed, he gets this with hi fi lite.

chocolatecakeystuff Tue 07-May-13 22:11:42

Ah... he's had a month off due to lameness.... what's been the problem..

From that id guess he's probably just a bit excitable from his time off... you imagine not doing anything for a month you're bound to be a bit rusty/ excitable... or might plain just not want to do it.

Or, he's still in pain/ not right from being lame.

LastMangoInParis Tue 07-May-13 22:14:15

To be honest I think he just needs more work but I'm worried that the fitter he gets the more bolshy he will become.

IKWYM, prelim, but if this is your feeling, you need to address it constructively - talk about it to the instructor or someone else who is experienced and knows the horse. It's really not a great idea to be reluctant to have your horse in optimum condition because you're scared of control issues. And TBH a fit horse, if schooled and ridden properly is safer than an unfit horse.
(And Matt Hicks made an interesting point in H&H or somewhere a couple of weeks ago, basically saying that you need to have the confidence to be looking to what can go right, rather than what can go wrong.)

I might get some flack for this, but I'd go for old school feeding: most basic hard feed available, and cut down a little now grass is good.

sleeton Tue 07-May-13 23:47:49

We have a forward going Tb X, who becomes much more challenging when on 'Calm and Condition'.

Strange! smile

Pixel Wed 08-May-13 00:18:04

I think Chocolatecakestuff has a point about the saddle. Not only has he had time off therefore almost certainly lost muscle, but at 8 he's reached maturity (ID making him fairly stocky I imagine?). It's likely he's changed shape quite a lot recently. Dhorse is just turning 8 and has had to have a wider saddle as he has changed so much in the last year and he'd better not grow any more or else.

Principality Wed 08-May-13 11:29:54

Have you put him on C+C recently? It makes a friends 17hh usually sensible horse go nuts! I'd cut his feed tbh. Or at least cut it to no sugar/molasses and no cereals and see how he does.

lovebeansontoast Wed 08-May-13 12:49:37

I agree with the others. I'd stop the calm and condition and just give him hay and not too much grass. Hopefully it's spring fever and lack of work, and he will calm down.

lovebeansontoast Wed 08-May-13 12:51:30

Another thought, how about lungeing him for now until he's a bit less fresh, especially before riding. Rearing in the school is a bit challenging to say the least.

frostyfingers Wed 08-May-13 13:38:58

Is he stabled, or out 24/7. If he's out and in fairly light work then he probably doesn't need any hard feed. He won't necessarily become much fitter if you just do light hacking to keep him entertained - long walks should have him ticking over in mind and body!

My TB thrived this winter, hunting 1 day a week, hacking for 3-4 days on Safe & Sound (nicked from his pony friend....). It's meant for laminitics (pony has it because he has a tendency to colic, and being stable had to have something!)

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 08-May-13 15:02:10

Cut out the hard feed. Keep an eye on his condition and only start feeding if he loses weight.
We feed BioCare from Falcon. Its got a really high oil content, which apparently stops them being fizzy and is great for condition, and you really dont need to give a lot. My friend maintains her 18hhWB on half a scoop a day. We feed it to everything from WB to shettie and none of them have ever gone daft on it.
Its amazing the 'plain' and 'non heating' foods that sent horses and ponies potty! We had a TB pony who went off his head on cheap and cheerful grass nuts!

chocolatecakeystuff Wed 08-May-13 19:53:21

Is the calm & condition the baileys one? Used to send my tb off its rocker too....

Just stick with happy hoof theses days & a bit of sbeet in cold weather.

miggy Wed 08-May-13 21:12:03

one scoop calm and condition gives my sons games pony as much oomph as the three scoops competition mix previous owners were giving so might be something to consider. Fast fibre would be a step down.

If all the bad behaviour happens in the school it may be that he doesnt really like the school and as he gets fitter and sharper, he is looking for excuses to misbehave in there. My connie went to my dressage instructor for two weeks and when he came home riding him in the school was a bloody nightmare, he was like a supercharged ferrari constantly on edge, hacking out though he was his normal self because he liked that and his stress levels were obviously lower. Have you tried jumping in field, hiring a cross country course, bit of fun stuff? its been a long hard winter sad

SlowlorisIncognito Thu 09-May-13 14:57:09

I agree get the saddle fit checked, he may well have changed shape with a month off work and spring grass. The month off may also have something to do with it.

Can your daughter lunge him? What is he like on the lunge? If he is also badly behaved on the lunge (without a saddle on) it's unlikely to be a tack issue, but could still be a pain thing.

If the saddle fits ok, I would give him a bit of time to settle down doing heavier work with less feed and if his bad behaviour continues, I would consider getting a vet out to look for possible physical causes.

If he is rearing dangerously (i.e. likely to topple over backwards), then I would get a vet out first, as it's not worth your daughter risking serious injury over.

prelim29 Tue 14-May-13 21:09:10

Ahh, thanks everyone for your lovely helpful replies. I have cut the C+C down to virtually nothing and won't bother buying another bag. Feed suggestions welcome although tbh he'll do well on the grass now it's through.

Physio came today and is re-booked for a month's time. Saddler booked for next week. Incidentally DD had a good lesson over the w/e and instructor was v helpful.

Fingers crossed for all the above to help, and thank you all for your comments.

chocolatecakeystuff Tue 14-May-13 21:28:47

Yayyy sounds good. Maybe was the c&c after all.

I swear by happy hoof for my good doer... but if he needs a little more what about a balancer? Top spec are really good with them.

Ehhn Wed 15-May-13 18:26:46

If you need hard feed for competition energy, adding Vegetable oil (cheap) or linseed oil puts condition on without heating. Worked wonders on a tricky but light horse I had. It's an old fashioned method... Also any simple feeds with few/no sugars- nuts and molasses free chaff should be enough. And happy hoof is great smile

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