View Full Version : advice urgently sought!
4th Feb 2002, 07:08 PM
Ok you lot you've been great when i have had a horsey prob! but can you help my friend? (who hasn't got access to web)
She owns a 14.2hh pure tb and he's an old man.He has always been a live wire ,unpredictable and bucking bronco since she got him 4yrs ago.They seem to have got into a downward spiral.She lost her nerve with him and therefore has hardley been riding him because of this and he now is very unfit with more energy then sense.The last time she rode him he tanked off when she tried o pull him up he started bucking really violently .When he did eventually pull up he was shaking like a leave and was really struggling to breathe.He settled down for about 10mins just walked around the countryside until he started bucking again she tried to hold him up but he started running backwards and wouldn't go forward.When he finally stopped she dismounted and found he had his tongue over the bit.She has now totally lost her nerve and will not ride any horse.He's been put into retirement and has become v.depressed.This horses behaviour has always been like this to some extent but never this bad.Can anyone suggest any tips to cheer him up ,or calm his behaviour down.I have ridden this horse and had the same probs and am currently trying to pluck up courage to ride him and i really am not a confident rider.
He is currently ridden in a pelham and roundings leather curb.
Fed 1kg of pasture mix ad lib hay and turned out during the day.He is going to have his back and teeth checked again.
Has anyone else had the same problems? or is it time to call it a day for him?
4th Feb 2002, 08:31 PM
Even though he is very old, try a bit of lunging and get him obedient from the ground. Then side reins, long reining and riding on the lunge. Hack out in company (in long reins if you can, with a walker for safety). Gently take on to riding out. ie start again. Also maybe try a change of bit (try a non-steel one if this is what he is ridden in at the moment, maybe with a mullen mouth).
Skye, you do need to get a very competent rider to try him though. It may be that there is something wrond that someone experienced would be able to spot. No heroics please if you are scared of him he'll spot it in a instant.
4th Feb 2002, 08:33 PM
how old is he then? First check would be back, teeth, tack. Have you tried a calming supplement. Probably a bit of a catch 22 situation - being a tb he needs daily exercise, he's not getting it so it'smaking him worse. What's he like in hand? Perhaps to rebuild confidence he could be taken out for walks? Can you get the help of an experienced rider or a qualified instructor? What's he like in a school. How much turnout is he getting? I don'tknow what's in Pasture Mix- is it a low energy feed?
On a different note, whereabouts in somerset are you? i'm in North somerset
5th Feb 2002, 08:21 AM
Sounds like he's in pain.
I wouldn't say that TB's need riding/schooling everyday, as long as they get turned out everyday, especially as they get older. But I do agree, murphs, that his back, teeth and possibly poll area need to be checked. It sounds like he's trying to get away from something. It is rare that horses behave like this for no reason, especially with everyone that rides them!
Pasture mix is non-heating, however I have found that Spillers Cool Mix, or Allen and Page Quiet Mix is excellent for TB's or more warm blooded horses. However, as they get older, they do need more nutrients and I now feed my TB 16 plus, which is again non-heating and excellent.
It might also be worth having all of him checked over - he may have arthritis or inflammation somewhere less obvious.
Don't give up just yet!! Good luck and let us know how it goes.
5th Feb 2002, 08:41 AM
I am inclined to agree with Piaffe. I think he must be in some discomfort - and a considerable amount to be reacting like this.
I don't think anyone can say enough - get his teeth, and back checked, I would also be tempted to check his saddle, and his numnah - I know someone whose horse was allergic to the material the numnah was made of so it pays to check.
Arthritis - could be another factor - you said he is quite an old boy.
Ground work I think would be a good start - provided all the health checks go ok. Is he ok with being led in hand?
The bit your friend has him in - is a strong one - maybe the old saying "less is more" could apply - has anyone ridden him in just a snaffle? I see no reason not to - he obviously can't get any worse. Why was he put in the pelham and curb in the first place? Was there a specific reason or just rider preference.
(Sorry I really hate pelhams!!)
All I can say is - let us all know what happens. There aren't many horses that are too far gone.
5th Feb 2002, 09:04 AM
I have to say I would go along with everyone else's advice:)
Have him assessed by a qualified instructor and then take it from there.
I'm having a few problems at the moment with bucking:(
Keep us posted and I wish you luck
5th Feb 2002, 09:42 AM
Totally agree with Nickie about pelhams, especially when used with a curb chain.
You could try a copper roller with a flash noseband to stop him getting his tongue over the bit if he is very strong. But before doing anything, have him completely MOT'd!
When all is confirmed to be clear, start schooling quietly in a plain snaffle - I find most TB's are happiest in a french link (make sure it is a 'hollow mouth' type, not too thin in the mouthpiece).
5th Feb 2002, 05:28 PM
Hes supposed to be 31yrs old going on 2! He had his back and teeth checked about 6 months ago no probs and his tack was also re fitted profesionally .Vet didn't think he had arthritis as he couldn't find any stiffness etc.He was ridden in a snaffle but was to strong so a pelham was tried.Wouldn't really say he was happy in it though seems to over bend on it.Hes turned out every day and walked out in hand twice a week in a headcollar and he's as quiet as a lamb! hes a perfect gent in the stable ,just a total looney to be ridden! v.frustrating he has been tried on steady up but it didn't help him. Does anyone know if changing him to a cubed diet would help? There isn't anyone else we can get to ride him as he is only 14.3hh and has a weight limit of 9stone and finding anyone light enough/confident enough to ride him is mission impossible really.We don't have access to a school but has been traveled to one for an assessment by an instructor and he didn't put a foot wrong! major frustrating horse! Hes booked in for an MOT in 10 days fingers crossed!
thanks again for all your input!much appreciated! :D
p.s murphs i'm in W somerset! nice to find a fellow somersetter!;)
5th Feb 2002, 05:58 PM
Originally posted by skye
He was ridden in a snaffle but was to strong so a pelham was tried.Wouldn't really say he was happy in it though seems to over bend on it.
try riding him in a slightly softer bit then. if you think that he doesnt like anything then eliminate it asap because that could cause him to react even more. It seems to be like a vicious circle! horse bucks - rider get scared - pulls on horses mouth to try and get him to stop- bit is too strong- causes more discomfort causin him to keep bucking! that is one of aloads of possibilities that could be wrong. try maybe a kimblewick or a rubber pellham. Just something that would take the edge off a full blown stainless steel pelham :) hope it hepls :D
5th Feb 2002, 09:18 PM
will try that if i pluck up enough courage to ride him.I don't think his owner will change it for a milder one as she can't stop him in this ,she will definately feel more in secure with a mild one.I recently tried my cob in a rubber pelham after having some real problems with evading the bit etc and he goes perfectly in this!
5th Feb 2002, 11:11 PM
What shape is this horse's back? It may have changed quite significantly if he's 31 - horses that age tend to get quite hollow. I know you say his saddle was fitted professionally, but that doesn't always mean much. Could you possibly pluck up courage to try him bareback, even if it's only being led, and just see if he reacts at all? If he feels like he's going to buck it's easy enough to slip off.
If he's running away from pain, then no bit will stop him. Getting his tongue over it was probably just the result of your friend pulling harder, and could have happened with any bit. I'm assuming it wasn't fitted very low in his mouth, but don't yank it up extra high to stop him doing it, of course! If you think he overbends in the Pelham, try an elastic curb chain - they're very nice. And take off the roundings!
I feel I'm becoming a bore on the subject of saddles, but I do think they ought to be Prime Suspect in cases like this where your vet can't find any obvious problems. (I could, of course, be completely wrong.) Did the horse come with tack, or did your friend buy her own?
5th Feb 2002, 11:48 PM
I think previous answers point in a good direction. that of pain. if the horse went crazy like that. I once shared a gorgeous palomino pony with it's (none too bright) owner. the horse danced when we went out. it never walked. it was a lovely movement and easy to control. everything seemed fine when suddenly he went completely crazy, bucking and twisting etc. eventually (in that strange slow motion way) i landed straight on my back.
his owner had left a webbing headcollar on him (in wet weather!) and of couse it had shrunk. my fault i should have been careful enough to notice but he was desperate to get out having been laid up for a week. underneath his cheek bones there were some areas that had been rubbed raw by the headcollar. there was no skin! poor horse. with his whiskers and winter coat i probably wouldn't have noticed it if there hadn't suddenly been a very good reason to check him over. once i was off him and there was no "play" on the bridle, he turned into a gentle lamb.
6th Feb 2002, 08:08 AM
Get rid of the pelham. The pelham works on the poll as well as the mouth - if he overbends, he is trying to evade the poll action.
I used to share a 15.2, 25yr old tb, who was very strong. I rode him in a copper roller and a grackle noseband. He was still strong, but he was easier to control.
The copper roller will stop him from being able to grab hold of the bit and the grackle stops the jaw from crossing.
However, I would start with a flash noseband, as it seems he only gets his tongue over the bit.
6th Feb 2002, 10:19 AM
I agree with Ros. It sounds like a reaction to an ill fitting saddle more than anything or it could be some other discomfort.
If a horse overbends in the pelham, he's reacting to the rider pulling on the reins, which she's pretty much guaranteed to do whatever the bit, if she's frightened and her horse is bucking and running away. Plenty of horses overbend in bits other than the pelham.
A copper roller snaffle combined with a grackle or flash noseband isn't a particularly mild bitting arrangement. I think rather than trying even stronger bits and then using nosebands to keep his mouth shut, if your friend wants to continue to ride her horse she needs to investigate much further what's causing him to buck and run away. It may be that he's no longer comfortable being ridden, 31 is a fair old age for a TB and it might be that he's no longer strong enough to carry her, especially if he's had lots of time off.
Good luck skye.
6th Feb 2002, 12:01 PM
will bear it all in mind.Ros his back is quite dipped,typical high withered tb with arm chair shape back.Could be quite right in the fact his back is no longer strong enough to carry a rider.I wouldn't be able to ride him bareback very easily! Hes 14.2hh and i'm 5ft7 and being a tb when i'm used to cobs i find him very um.... non existant with my legs flapping in the breeze. find it more secure with a saddle on this one!My horse is a round and deep cob although he's 14.1hh my legs don't come of his sides! My friends only 5ft so if she has the confidence it might well work!Will print this thread off and give to my friend.
Thanks again for all your good advice!:D
25th Feb 2002, 11:36 AM
A horse a used to ride used to be very similiar. He was mid twenties but htought he was 5. He never bucked but was very good and shooting off.
My advice would be to try a in between bit, try a rubber Kimiblewick, nice for the mouth and not to strong. If he's running backwards with the pelham it may mean he finds this to strong. If he overbends too much with the KM you could always try a happy mouth gag, using the second ring (not too strong). This will also help keep his head up and help with brakes.
The old man I used to ride had to have his bit changed on a regular basis, cause he got too used to it.
Remember older horses have been through a lot and know how to push peoples buttons, and this ones got your card marked!! Time to turn the tables.
Try lunging before you go out, just in trot. Keep away from the cantering as this may get him too exicted.
Hope this helps.
Any questions post a message for me.
25th Feb 2002, 12:02 PM
We have an ID x 13.2/3 Gelding, about 12 years old. Always very strong, as he is solid, but recently trys to buck the rider off both in and out field, the rider is usually my 11 years old. I get on him and can settle him down, but he is very bullish and immensely strong. I was advised to cut out his feed, which was a mix of Light Mix Plus and AlfaA, plus minerals etc.
I am going to ride him, get his weight down and see if this makes him less fizzy, because he is becomming a bit of a pain.
My daughters confidence is going downhill fast, so I need to act quick to rectify it. I am not a brilliant rider, but don't mind him bucking, at least he is only 13.2 and I have learnt how to stay in the saddle (touch wood).
Have you tried other feed to reduce the energy?
25th Feb 2002, 01:07 PM
I'll assume all the necessary checks, back, teeth etc have been done.
Sounds to me he knows who he can get away with bucking with.
Have you tried to lunge him before your daughter gets on? If not try this. Also you can lunge him with your daughter on his back, it might make her feel safer, and gives you a bit more control.
As for his feed, if he is needing to lose weight, cut out his hard feed altogether for the time being. Just feed him on Alpha A, and if he has been good start to give him some pony nuts along with this.
Hope this helps
27th Feb 2002, 04:32 PM
I have 2 ex-racing TB's. One is a wonderful bombproof easygoing baby; the other still thinks she's on the track. I have found that I am safest riding her bareback, with a halter and lead rope. As soon as she gets the bit or the saddle on, she starts to think she's on the track.
After months & months of work, she's finally starting to calm down sometimes and accept the bit--but I still mostly ride her bareback with no bit.
2nd Mar 2002, 03:00 PM
and everythings sound.His back ,teeth tack etc all fine.The main problem is you can't tell when he is going to buck/tank off.If you try and stop him tanking off he bucks ,cat leaps drops his shoulder and as you can guess see you later jockey.We managed to get someone to come and ride him and he was just the same ,so we still can't sort it.
Anymore suggestions,we are really stuck on this one!
3rd Mar 2002, 12:23 AM
I think I'd definitely work from the ground (as already suggested). Look into TTeam its a fantastic method, there are touches, sort of like massage, that relax and help to change the horses natural reaction, teach the horse to think and react in a different way.
The inhand work is also geared towards teaching the horse to learn how to be aware of itself, and learn to think about its reactions instead going straight into flight mode. There are countless exercises to do, just plain inhand work, cone work, pole work, lateral lunging, long lining. Its great for creating a bond, teaching body language and verbal aids.
I'd also work on getting him obedient on the lunge, start in walk, doing halt and walk on - don't push it at first as soon as you get an obedient response, give loads of praise and call it a day.
With his riding career, being the age he is, I think it will be difficult to rule out pain, even if he has been passed as ok. Rider carrying muscles, especially if he has a dipped back will tire quickly, and ridden into a strong bit will encourage a desparate reaction. I love the loose ring, french link, no nut cracker action and not easy to lean on, with kind hands.
Another thing I would try is bute, sometimes all the appropriate checks are not enough - its a shame horses can't talk. But you may find a short course of bute will pin-point that the horse has pain somewhere that is relieved by bute but not easily picked up with normal checks.
Good luck with him, hope you find an answer, keep us posted.
16th Mar 2002, 04:46 AM
I'm not a very experienced horse person, but just a beginner.
If u use a hackamore, the horse cannot get his tongue over the bit. Just an idea
19th Mar 2002, 03:30 PM
We have decided to give him afew months out.Hopefully the break might to them both some good and start again in the summer,when he is off hard feed and hopefully be slightly dopier in the sunshine! Thanks so much for all your imput into this thread i'm most greatful!
26th Mar 2002, 03:14 AM
I have recently started studying natural horsemanship with a local trainer and am also going through the Parelli method. One of the things they focus on is being able to ask the horse to yield his neck to slight pressure. After the ground work is successful, you ask the horse (using only one rein) to yield his neck the whole way around to your leg. This is essence stops one side of the body (you may get some circles, but with steady gentle pressure, even those will stop). As long as you stop one side of the horse, the other side will have to stop too.
The Parelli method teaches riding with no bit and only 1 rein until you are successful. From there you go to 2 reins and no bit. After you are very successful with that, you add the snaffle bit. He never encourages the use of anything more than the snaffle. I'm not sure if you or your friend are interested in the time investment it takes to adopt this approach, but I might at least focus on the neck bend as an emergency stop technique. This would allow you to soften the bit without the fear of being run away with.
Hope it helps,
26th Mar 2002, 12:01 PM
I got a rescue horse with a reputation for being unstoppable last June. People had been very hard on her mouth and whenever you took up any contact she got faster. I found a few things helped; firstly getting her push-button at stopping when I say 'stand' - from the ground, then from walk, trot etc. Once that was OK I started using my reins again and slowly introduced a slow down aid from the reins. I still tend to use my voice most as it is probably nicer for both of us, and is very effective.
I changed her bit to a very mild one, and everyone waited for me to die :-) However, the strong bit she was in did no good anyway, and she is much more responsive to something she is comfortable in.
The other thing that really helped was clicker training. She has now learned that when I click my tongue it means I'm going to give her a treat for being good. If she is getting strong on a hack, a click of the tongue works in an emergency - she will stop dead and look for a treat!
Obviously, this won't help if there is real pain/fear involved, but for me it gives me confidence that I have brakes and stops me from pulling on her!
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