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Any advice much appreciated...

42 replies

Rexyroo12345 · 12/07/2015 16:39

I have a horse on loan, had him since September. During this time he had about three months off due to being lame. When he came back off box rest, he was understandably stir crazy, threw me off more times than I care to remember by fly bucking and bolting. He has been much better recently, but today when I rode, he was like a coiled spring. Spooked at corners, half hearted attempts at bolting etc. I ended up changing schools, walking him around a bit, then doing some very sedate trotting before getting off. I actually got off when walking back to the yard as I felt that he was going to just go, and I didn't fancy coming face to face with the Tarmac from the height of a 16.3. I have been riding for years, but this has completely unsettled me, and it's not just me that he has done this with. Feeling like an absolute failure right now, and not sure what to do, as now when I ride, I am tense and this unsettles him. Any advice, apart from lunging etc etc etc. I need my riding mojo back! Thanks.

OP posts:
horseygeorgie · 14/07/2015 21:37

100% with you there villainous. I'm a hunt groom and have worked with advanced event horses (please no comments about hunting on this thread!) and through the season our horses are out on exercise for 2 hours a day and will hunt twice a week. The eventers did interval training as well and even the hunters will be jumped at home, either out hacking or in the school before their normal hack. The work is fast and we do crack on and no matter how sharp/difficult/lunatic the horse may be at the start of the season, or just in its nature, I have never know one who hasn't settled with serious work.

OscarWinningActress · 14/07/2015 21:58

DEFINITELY check his feed. Mine went through a phase like this after we changed his food to try and get a bit more weight on him...there were several months where I was terrified just driving to the barn to see him...he became a different horse from the one I purchased. We moved barns and switched his feed back to a normal 'fat and fibre' and he went back to his ordinary sweet self. And I know you said no lunging but it was my lifeline (haha) during those months and really seemed to calm him also helped me get more confidence and feel more in control.

Gabilan · 14/07/2015 22:06

" I have never know one who hasn't settled with serious work"

I think the thing to remember is that a horse is a working animal. They do not make good pets.

horseygeorgie · 14/07/2015 22:11

I think the vast majority of horses in this country are massively underworked. When you see how much they do in a professional capacity and then compare them to happy hackers it is worlds apart. Of course there is NOTHING wrong with being a happy hacker or weekend rider as long as you have the type of horse who will be happy with that level of work. I've come across some that would be lethal without hard regular work but oddly enough I've never met a horse who doesn't like work.

villainousbroodmare · 15/07/2015 07:28

Rexyroo, I know this is just a phrase, and a sweet phrase at that: "wouldn't stand still to mount for love nor polos".
However, I was reading back over the thread and I was wondering if it might be symbolic of the sweet, soft way you engage with this horse. If a horse won't stand still to be mounted for me, he's going to encounter damn-all love and no polos; he's going to be faced into a corner, held there if necessary, and given absolutely no choices about moving or not.
I would never ask him for anything, I'd tell him, and nicely, but once only.
And I would very strongly consider getting a very fearless person to do quite a bit of work on him.

horseygeorgie · 15/07/2015 09:06


I really LIKE you! Grin

Second that, do you know of a good rider who wouldn't be fazed by him? Where abouts in the country are you?

villainousbroodmare · 15/07/2015 11:12

I'm Irish but I'm living in South Africa which is probably a bit far away to get stuck into Lord Rexyroo! Also 40+4 pregnant.

horseygeorgie · 15/07/2015 11:17

Do we know where abouts the OP is what I meant lovely! wow, that is REALLY pregnant! I don't envy you that lol, I remember those days!

villainousbroodmare · 15/07/2015 11:43
GillynMilly · 15/07/2015 23:58

Why not stop and take a breath, go back to some bonding basics,take the stress and danger away and don't ride,tell your self something like,I can't ride for a month but I can do loads of ground work and in hand,Monty Roberts,intelligent horse type stuff. Teach him some new tricks,try and keep all equipment simple to start with I.e not going on to stronger things to control him,sometimes it goes on and on in a battle of wills and strength,which he will win in the end and in the process he is learning lots of things you don't want him too,I.e galloping off,rearing etc. try and find a good physio or chiropractor and have a go at some massage. After box rest he could have all sorts of niggles,mental and physical. Just worth a re think sometimes and think out side the box as it were,there's no rush to get him going under saddle. Re build and strengthen your bond,on the ground! Just my ideas!

honeyroar · 17/07/2015 03:59

As has already been mentioned by someone, this is your hobby and you shouldn't feel scared. Personally I would have a chat with the owner, but also think of sending him back. You've tried so much, nobody can say otherwise, and if he was tricky for your instructor too it's not you. If he were yours I'd think about scoping, but as he's not I'd let him go. There are so many horses up for loan or share nowadays you'd find something that suited you better very easily. We had a spooky pony on loan for my stepson. She frightened him more and more until riding was a chore. In the end we sent her back and bought a cheap cob for him, his confidence came back and soared, and they had a wonderful time winning everything at PC. It was the best thing we did for his riding. He had fun and progressed. If we'd have kept the scary pony he would probably have ended up giving up..

Sigma33 · 17/07/2015 04:13

I had a similar experience with a lovely old boy - he started to misbehave and nothing anyone tried worked. He had simply had enough of being told what to do! Luckily his owner was happy to retire him and he became easy to handle and is still pottering round the farm in his mid 20s. Yes, younger horses can do with the work, but perhaps some older ones are just saying that they are ready for retirement?

Just a thought...

Rexyroo12345 · 17/07/2015 17:01

Sorry for the belated reply, kept writing them and they kept disappearing, most annoying! Thank you for all the advice, really helpful suggestions. Just to say that although he is old, he really does love his work (most of the time!) and he gets a lot of exercise as he is used by the riding school as well where I loan him, so he is ridden at least once a day. I think I will have a chat with the owners as advised when I go up at the weekend. Although Sod's law, when I rode yesterday, he was perfect, did not put a hoof wrong! Typical

OP posts:
horseygeorgie · 17/07/2015 18:40

If he is being used in the riding school (I am not saying it is a bad thing by any means.) could he just be getting bored of the school enviroment and 'teaching' people? Can you give him some more varied work? Age doesn't always have to be a factor in how much work they need; if he is doing RS work every day he could be just doing an hour school work which IMO is not the same as an hours decent hack. If he is good in the RS i would think tbh it is more a case of him testing you as if he was in pain etc he would do it all the time. How often do YOU ride him? How old is he?

his is your hobby as someone has stated and if you aren't getting the fun and enjoyment out of it there is no shame at sending him back to his owners. Glad you had a good ride yesterday!

Rexyroo12345 · 17/07/2015 19:10

He is only ridden by the more experienced riders, due to the fact is 16.3 and half thoroughbred might have something to do with it! Although has had a few off recently. Like I said, prior to the box rest although forward going and very responsive, he was always controllable and collectable even when excited, I ride about three times a week, more if I can. He is 21 but literally acts like a 5 year old. I think the problem started after he came off box rest and I then gave up my weekly lesson (being too cocky). I think having at least one lesson a week might help me see where the issue might be? Thanks horsey, he really was an angel, made me feel like I was making a fuss over nothing, but it's just the unpredictability that is getting me (and obviously him) down... We did lots of transition work from trot to canter and back again, as in trot the long side, canter the short, trot again, and he seemed to enjoy that, plus he was controlled, and we did some loops and actually practised an old dressage test. Few poles and that. He only got slightly silly at the end. I will speak to the owners tomorrow when I am at the yard.

OP posts:
honeyroar · 17/07/2015 19:27

Yes of course start up your lessons again. Get the professional who knows you and the horse's advice...

AuntieDee · 10/08/2015 15:31

9/10 bolting and rearing is due to pain. Yes there are cases when they aren't but can you have it on your conscience that there is a possibility that the horse is telling you, in the only way they know how, that they are in pain?

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