View Full Version : Wheeee... cruunnch - your advice please
23rd Jan 2006, 12:23 PM
Methinks I may have been a bit slack with my horse discipline. Flint has always got quite excited upon reaching the galloping sections of our hack and thrown in a little few bucks whilst waiting for me to give him the 'go!' signal however now he has started doing them mid-gallop as well. At first I thought they were quite amusing (him just having fun and letting off steam) and I managed to sit them pretty well, but that has all changed. Last week, as we reached the gate of a field, I have him a nudge to go into canter and he set off like a greyhound (despite being 17hh). Half way across the field he threw in a huge buck and sent me catapulting off over his head. I landed on my head and did a cartwheel. Now I can't move very well (but gradually getting better). Anyway, I went out again yesterday prepared to be concentrate more and not let him get away with anything. He was impeccable except in canter/gallop where again he threw in bucks (which, if you can't picture it, were like those bucks that an excited horse will do when you turn them out aand they run across the paddock). Luckily I stayed on this time (still aching from the last time!) but I am not really sure how I can stop this behaviour. I tried to keep him in canter and kept my seat in the saddle, rather than adopting a forward position, but that doesn't work.
Flint is 11. I have had him for 2 years and he has only recently started this behaviour. He is mainly stabled in the winter but has occasional turnout including one whole day a week. However he gets ridden nearly every day and is fed on haylage. He seems happy and content and is a perfect gent in every other way. Any ideas or advice gratefully received!!!! Ta everso.
23rd Jan 2006, 12:36 PM
sit up, a sharp 'NO!' when he does it, and an upward tug of one rein to keep his head up, at the time when it is happening. a slap on the shoulder with the stick may also work - this depends on the horse's temperament and what it responds best to. sound angry, even if you think it's fun and they're only little ones. since he sounds like a polite horse normally, you just need to let him know that you have changed your mind about this being acceptable.
also buy a new hat, and make sure you get your neck x-rayed - perhaops when the initial swelling and stiffnes has subsided. i had a similar fall and cracked a vertebra, didn't show upon the x-ray under all the bruising and torn muscles, and didn't heal properly as i went about my business as normal - i will have neck trouble for the rest of my life now, and can't turn my head more than halfway to the right.
23rd Jan 2006, 12:37 PM
A couple of thoughts. Firstly even if he's worked every day and has one day out a week that's still nearly all the time stabled. If this is a recent development, expect to see a rapid return to normal once he's out full time again in the spring. Secondly, try not to always gallop at the gallop spots, tedious as this might be for both of you. And thirdly (did I say a couple?) double check your saddle isn't pinching at all. Lots of schoolwork on dark nights (if that's what you're doing) can soon build muscle. Glad you're still in riding condition, could have been nasty:eek:
23rd Jan 2006, 12:44 PM
the waiting for the signal & then pelting off like a nutter rings a bell;)
the key with my horse that will do this if allowed is to keep riding , i my case if i just give the go signal thats it , no control
if i ask quietly , & not until i have full attention & keep using my leg & half halts if nec hey presto different horse who will do working canter down a track instead of manic gallop:D
then again my horse tends to avoid teh bucking fit so you may well have a bit more to contend with than i!!
23rd Jan 2006, 12:51 PM
Thanks both. Sounds like good advice. I agree, I need to break the habit and perhaps lay off galloping in the same predictable places. It is difficult to react to it when it happens as it is so fast and once it happens staying on is all I can concentrate on (well sometimes)
Mehitabel - The muscular stiffness in my neck as gone now but that in itself has revealed a deeper, more skeletal/spinal, ache. Saying that I do have an almost normal range of motion in it..Maybe I'll pop along to the doctor today and see what he thinks. Thanks for the advice and sorry to hear of your incident.
23rd Jan 2006, 01:13 PM
echo what has been said, and to add to it..
I used to ride out with a friend who rode an ex-race horse. When he went, boy did he go ! But the friend liked to ride out with me cos we could do a hand canter for part of the way, and wouldn't get freaked out when she let go and departed at speed. This level of control is VERY useful for Xc and ODE comps :)
So - you said it was a field right - do you HAVE to stay on a particular path, can you circle etc ? You need to have him listening to you so that you can ask for something different.
Yes, changing the routine will help. But "not galloping" will just store the problem up for when you try it again .. The problem with saying "I won't canter where we normally do" is that often that is the only decent ground to do faster work on. And if you don't do ANY faster work, the horse (and rider) just get more wound up.
So do things like trot a circle, figure of 8 (you can progress it down the field rather than staying in the same spot), and only ask for canter when he settles. The initial canter needs not to be flat out. When you ask - and only when you ask - he can go faster. But you may ask for a circle, or a slow canter, or a trot. Really play with it a bit.
(Moving the figure 8 down the field is just a question of riding it a little "open" - or perhaps see it as an almost closed up serpentine ? So I come through a gate and turn left, to ride a right rein circle - but instead of turning all the way back to the gate, I incline across a bit (sightly away from the direction of travel if he is being crazy, straight across if he is calmer), and then do my "circle" the other way. if the horse is not listening I may close the circle now and then so he doesn't predict the turn and try and motor round them.)
[Parelli has this idea of "long" and "short" horses - talking about their flight distances. Circles are supposed to shorten a "long" horse ;) ]
23rd Jan 2006, 01:18 PM
First thing I would work on is to make hacking less fun and much slower. Keep all your canter work for the school and not open countryside. I had a similar problem a while back where my horse would treat going out in company and having a canter meant race and complete brake failure. I stopped hacking him out in company at anything more than a walk and trot and everywhere we previously cantered was just walked. I still cantered him on his own out hacking as he only got unstoppable in company. I stuck to this for a couple of months and now I can walk him in company across those same fields on the buckle and not have to worry about stopping him. I have cantered him in company but only with one other horse and he was good with that but I have no intentions of allowing him to canter in open spaces in a bigger group until I am confident that he will behave himself. If your horse is bucking in anticipation and excitement then you have to make it far less appealing in order to stop the behaviour.
23rd Jan 2006, 02:04 PM
when you go into canter, think of sitting as deep as possible, pushing lower legs forward *slightly*, knees in and heels down, this is a safety seat and makes you much harder to dislodge. think about keeping it steady and holding with your seat right from the transition - it's easier to stop it getting too fast than to slow it down once he is already excited.
have one hand either in the mane, on a neckstrap or on the front of the saddle, and keep the other hand higher than normal to be ready for any attempts to get the head down, in the school it's inside hand hanging on and outside hand up, but it doesn't matter much out on a hack. these won't do an awful lot for the cause, but they will help you stay on the symptoms!
it is in the air a bit at the minute - petal, who is normally impeccably behaved, squeaked and did the biggest handstand i have sat on in a long while a couple of weeks ago, and then when i finally stopped, got so overexcited that she jumped a muddy patch that was about twice her length! then bounced sideways all the way home huffing and puffing.
23rd Jan 2006, 04:13 PM
Thanks again. It looks like you lot have experienced something similar at times. I'm in the school the next few days but will try your recommendations next time I am out and about. To be honest I think I had just become too relaxed and need to get Flint listening to me more again on hacks (the feeling in my neck is a reminder that it's dangerous not to).
p.s. I do love the squeals he makes before launching into a flat out gallop though....errr..
23rd Jan 2006, 07:26 PM
Mine does this too, but only in company. Tends to only do it before we go into canter, once I've got him going forwards rather than up and down, we're ok! He gets so worked up, but if you let him go he doesn't even go fast, so I don't know what all the fuss is about - it's like 'I'm getting really, really excited but I don't know why'! He is the sort to run across the field bucking and farting when turned out (and is out 12 hours a day!).
I got whiplash from the mother of all bucks a couple of years ago, onto grass baked like concrete in the middle of summer, and was in agony for 5 weeks. Can recommend a McTimoney chiropractor - I would definitely go straight away if I fell off again.
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