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Why would pony suddenly stop working as well?

17 replies

TheOtherSideOfTheMountain · 27/03/2020 11:41

Ideas please why my pony might suddenly stop working as well?

Go back 2 weeks and she was working beautifully, in the most fabulous outline I've ever had from her, nice and forward etc.

The last 3 times I've popped on, she's not wanted to work in an outline at all. Not head like a giraffe, just no real bend and contact. Has seemed a bit distracted and sluggish which is unusual for her.

She isnt lame, isn't showing any resistance to transitions or as though she wants to run forward / buck etc. Nothing has changed with her turnout, feed, tack. I suppose she is going more schooling and no hacking due to the coronavirus, but I've been trying to vary it with pole work.

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Blackberrythief · 27/03/2020 11:46

Have you had her back checked? Saddle checked? If she has been working well, she might be a bit sore in her back. She may have muscled up in which case the saddle might be pinching. Equally she may have had a bit of a hoony in the field and tweaked herself. With lockdown could be worth giving her a couple of days off and then lunge without tack to see how she goes.

maxelly · 27/03/2020 12:50

Most likely pain or not feeling well in herself somehow- could be back, saddle fit, teeth, ulcers, joint pain, hayfever/allergies, the early stages of a viral infection (horses get them too!), slight lameness not visible to the untrained eye - could even be bridle fit which is a lesser known cause of issues than saddle fit but ill-fitting poll/nose pressure can make them fussy or evade the contact. It doesn't have to be something dramatic or really serious for pain/illness to cause behaviour change, just like with people if ponies are in slight pain or feeling a bit 'off' then they won't give their best work and will just go through the motions a bit. Or possibly if she is a sensitive soul it could be some minor change to her routine or herd dynamics in the field or something like that that is bothering her, or even it could be that she's picking up on some stress/anxiety in you that you aren't even aware of - if only they could talk!

In normal times I would suggest getting physio, saddler, dentist, vet out to do thorough checks, get your instructor or someone else to ride to see how she goes for someone else and so you can observe on the ground, try her in different tack etc. but TBH it will be difficult to do all that under lockdown and possibly risky to really push a horse that may be in pain, this could lead to more dramatic behaviour which you don't want! If you can, I'd not ride for the time being (sensible anyway), if possible just turn out 24/7 or if she absolutely needs exercise then long rein her or do ground work in the school for a bit and see if things improve in a few weeks when hopefully restrictions will be improved ...

Pleasedontdothat · 27/03/2020 14:05

DD’s horse had a short period of being ‘not quite right’ a few weeks ago - he was coming up a little short on his right hind in canter but it was so subtle it was really hard to spot from the ground. He also had a squitty bum which again was unlike him ... dd catastrophised as she’s a teenager and was envisaging all kinds of terrible prognoses - her instructor advised giving him a few days off before call out and vet and lo and behold the following week he was back to his normal, happy self. A bit of time off, especially in the current circumstances, could work wonders for your horse

TheOtherSideOfTheMountain · 27/03/2020 14:30

Thanks all, ok I'll give her a week off - no harm at the moment, as you say - and see if she's back to her usual fabulous self afterwards

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Vanhi · 30/03/2020 18:23

Look at an anatomical diagram of where the ovaries are - she could just be in season and really feeling it. You may find your saddle sits squarely over the ovaries. Give that area a gentle massage - and I do mean gentle. Don't go straight for that area, work towards it and keep a careful eye on her reaction as you approach that area.

TheOtherSideOfTheMountain · 31/03/2020 19:14

@Vanhi interestingly she literally started showing signs of being in season yesterday!

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DarkPassenger · 31/03/2020 19:39

At this time of year also bear in mind spring grass coming through and potential laminitis issues. Soreness in all four hooves won't always present as obvious lameness so can be easy to overlook.

DarkPassenger · 31/03/2020 19:43

Is soreness even a word? I might have made that up while thinking of the word tenderness.

maxelly · 01/04/2020 14:50

I think it's a word DarkPassenger, we knew what you meant anyway Grin

TheOtherSideOfTheMountain · 11/04/2020 14:56

So, she definitely was distracted with being in season. But is now off, and still not quite right. I've introduced an all purpose mineral supplement as she's on a v low cal diet (very porky pony!). That's perked up her energy a bit, but still resistant to working 'soft'.

So today I videod our session and i think i may be the problem- my rein contact is far from ideal, keeps going tight then slack, especially in trot. I'm not aware of it when I'm riding and she hasn't seemed to mind before but now I think there definitely must be some connection. Does anybody have any tips for improving rein contact? I may start a new thread unless get a few responses here! Thanks all.

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landgirl1 · 11/04/2020 15:02

Also the ground has gone hard very rapidly so they are getting a level of concussion & if you’ve got poached gateways then there’s twisting as well. Do you have a digital pulse? Lots of horses have early laminitis clinical signs without it becoming full blown according to my farrier, the wet winter had exhausted low nutrition grass and now it’s flushing even if we can’t see it

landgirl1 · 11/04/2020 15:07

Rein contact- brain dump ahead! could be you losing your balance- make sure stirrups are neither too long or short.add blocks if you have that type of saddle- to support the leg. Try using a balance strap or even a flash strap fed through the saddle d rings so you can steady your hands. Try a flexi rein attachment like Carl Hester type. Is she rhythmic in her paces or is she shooting forwards then backing off the contact? Are you making sure she is worked in, working properly from the hocks ( tracking up) before you ask for a contact? Pole work is great to encourage engagement

TheOtherSideOfTheMountain · 11/04/2020 18:15

Thanks @landgirl Don't think there's a digital pulse...I'm never 100% what I'm checking for but keep checking round by her fetlocks and cant feel anything. Farrier only came last week and I specifically asked him if there were any lami signs (either now or past) and he said not that he could see. She is chunky though!

Never heard of the Carl Hester flexi rein, I'll go and look it up. I think my balance is pretty decent, and her pace is very consistent. But I'm not sure I'm holding the reins very well (think I possibly hold more with my lower fingers than thumb/ring finger) and quite probably have done that for 30+ years so won't be easy to fix! And I can't seem to 'feel' when I'm on her if my rein contact is going slack /tight. A balance bar may help...I tried riding holding a v short crop to keep my hands level, and didn't find it made much difference to how she was going. Although I certainly found it harder to steer which probably speaks volumes that my leg and core aren't strong enough!

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TheOtherSideOfTheMountain · 11/04/2020 18:19

Just looked up the flexireins @landgirl1 never knew these existed but they sound fabulous! Shall be ordering tonight to try and teach myself better feel and save my fabulous pony from getting jerked about in the process

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landgirl1 · 11/04/2020 19:57

Bought a copy set on eBay , just buckle them onto the bit and your existing reins - done their job and about to go on for a fiver if any good to you?!

midnightstar66 · 11/04/2020 19:59

Back, teeth or possibly coming in season at this time of year

TheOtherSideOfTheMountain · 11/04/2020 22:13

@landgirl1 yes definitely would buy! If you message me the link I'll do a buy it now if you would? But could we do tomorrow please as about to go to bed!

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