A pouty post from me - but I'm so depressed about this...

Angelbones

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Hi everyone,

Please indulge my pouty and sulky mood, I know I probably need a good slap but I do feel really down about this. So the story so far:

After nursing my last horse through 2 years of lameness workups etc he finally went to horsey heaven on 1 July. I didn't think I had it in my to take on anything else at that time, and I was due to start college (mature student 46 :eek: ) in Sept. However, daughter was in need of a new ride so we went horsey shopping like you do.. Found a horse relatively locally, he was vaguely known via farrier, had proven record doing pc teams with 12-16 yr old girl, was so nice he was almost dull, and was probably exactly what I needed rather than wanted, but would do mum/daughter share so he was 5 stage vetted and he sailed through. The vet said he was the nicest horse he had vetted in months, and the soundest, and that he would buy him without a doubt for his daughter to BE or his wife to hunt. He's 16h1, age 11, Appaloosa. So deal done.

He came to us on 7 Sept. He looked a bit like he'd had a tough season out competing and his coat looked a bit dull, but then they'd had no grass really - being the end of the summer etc. I put him on Alfa A oil, and Top spec comprehensive balancer which is the same as my others who all do well on it and I've never had a horse before who changed due to feeding up / down / change of feed.

Anyway, he was a total poppet, easy to do, easy to have on the yard, easy to turn out etc. We hacked him out - superstar, non spooky, walked out well etc. He was taken solo around a strange farm; superstar, non spooky, cantered calmly etc. He was lovely in the school, gave his all. So good so far.

Then he started to become a bit twitchy on the yard, nervy when tacking up, no concentration in the school, still good to hack out but a bit looky. Daughter jumped him in the school briefly after a hack and he was a bit bouncy after the jump (I wasn't there but was told).

Then the day came when I thought I'd take him in the school and do some pole work, and a baby grid. Trot poles went ok, then the little raised pole. Progressed to canter pole and 2ft jump. He stayed steady going in and over (had leg on as he needed it) then landed and bronked. Came around again, landed then head up, tossing it, tried to leg it but got him back within a few strides, came around again - fine over the jump then bronked for England. I went through all the 'is it how I'm riding? Get off his back / sit the jump / leg on / leg off / soft hands / hold him more' stuff but it didn't change anything.

I then took him in the field to try some xc fences and he did the plunging forward bronking thing before the jump. He stopped when I said no and then we did it calmly then he did the bucking bronking afterwards. I walked him off then called it a day.

So, process of deduction. I know his teeth are up to date, passed vetting with flying colours, saddle fitter been and done, his workload hasn't changed since previous home so decided must be food - quantity rather than quality but must be more volume than he's been on so perhaps he's just feeling better than he has in a while?

So it's now been 9 days since new diet - he's now on just grass and ad lib hay when in. We do have a lot of grass at the mo but his field isn't overly covered and I've put some sheep in it.

Today he went in the school, his concentration was better and he wasn't looky. We put a pole on the ground between two wings, walked over it fine. Then trotted over it - small bronk. Then cantered over it - massive explosion all relatively on the spot on landing. He whacked the rider in the face, then ducked out under her, then bucked etc.

So now I'm feeling v low about it. I just want my nice plod horse back - I want to do hacking, sponsored rides etc, the odd bit of sj or xc but at the mo I don't want to get on him other than to hack and I'm worried that'll go wrong too. So I'm pouting and sulking because I haven't got what I thought I'd got and I don't know how to get him back. How long could it take to get the foody high out of his system? What else can I do? I am happy to call the back lady if he's still fizzy in a week or so but doubt that is his problem.

So as I said, sorry for brat post. Can anyone offer me any consolation or ideas please?

I've got some wine here but as I don't normally drink I'll probably have half of it spare shortly, I can freeze and post :)
 

Lolo

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Lots of horses seem to be going through a slightly whappy phase atm, I think new grass/ richer grass is coming through and the temp has dropped and they're just feeling a bit fresh now. Maybe speak to his old owners and ask for some advice? They'll most likely gladly offer it, and they know him a lot better than you. It might be he needs quite a high volume of work to stay really grounded... We say Reg is anyone's ride, even at full fitness but if he wasn't worked 6/7 days a week he'd probably have a lot more loony tunes moments!
 

Spottyappy

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I am so sorry to hear if your experience. I do not have much advice, but
Did you have bloods taken at the vetting?
Did you purchase the saddle you tried him in,or have you brought a new one?
 

el_Snowflakes

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In your position, the questins i would ask myself are.....;
are you able to find out what he was fed in his previous home and switch back to that gradually? also, ditto what was said above about your saddle....are you using a new one? and if hes put on a bit of weight could it be pinching? Is he feeling good after being movd to better grazing? is his fitness increasing? If all of the above is ok, I would persevere with him. They all have a settling in period where they will take the mick!

good luck, hope he reverts back to his former self soon!
 

Tickles

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Sounds as though something (back, feet,...) is hurting a little all the time and more so on landing to me. Sorry.

Good luck.
 

Angelbones

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Thanks folks, I did have bloods taken but have put off jumping on that one as surely it can't be anything sinister etc etc, just want to try everything else first. I'm not new to this horsey business and try all avenues to sort issues out, but life is hectic at the mo and I just feel blindsided by this.

I have been in touch with previous owners. They said he hadn't done anything like that before and call me naive but I do believe them - he just can't have been like that and been ridden by a small 12 year old - until she was 16 - and done all he did and been kept for 4 years. They were really lovely people, and they offered to come straight down to see him but with him being so spacey it didn't seem a good idea so we said we'd wait a fortnight and take him off all feed and see what he's like. They agreed that could sort it and have agreed to come down after that if needs be. We said we'd video the next episode but unfortunately we missed it today. I said earlier that my farrier knew the horse - he actually horse sat / house sat for them several times and his first comment was he was surprised they had sold him as he meant everything to them and was a superstar for the teen rider but that she was going away to college so it made sense.

Re the saddle. He came with one - fab and comfy but not a great fit. My saddler (qualified, reputable etc) said not to use it obviously and he now had a newly fitted one. The first time the horse misbehaved he was in his old saddle, and with me it was in the new saddle so I have discounted that as being a factor.

He was ridden 5-6 times a week in his last home - but by the teen around school etc so could have been jump on, do a sj circuit or two, get off, quick trot around the block. I don't think they had time for long sessions but he was competition fit. We also do 5-6 times a week, nothing strenuous but we do have mega hills so that could be making him stronger. He does look better and has filled out a bit.

You know what? After the hell with my last horse, issues with several others, losing a couple and heart breaking sale of another, I really feel depleted. I just wanted an ordinary Joe horse to do ordinary stuff with and to be my last horse. I've never thrown in the towel on one before, but today I stood by his box and cried and thought I wish I'd never set eyes on him. I'm an awful person :-(
 

YorksG

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Did he jump much before you got him? If not that may be part of the problem.
My current ridden Appy (have a three year old filly as well) cannot tolerate alfalfa at all, or carrots, makes her as mad as a wasp, it usually wears off in about three days, the youngster will never get to find out! We also make sure ours have access to salt licks, the change of grazing may have altered the mineral balance for your lad. Hope it all sorts out.
 

Slightly Foxed

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Is it just the poles that are sending him loopy?

Sorry, I haven't read terribly thoroughly, but if he has issues with jumps and you just want a hack, avoid the poles?
 

Wheels

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I wouldn't rule out saddle fit, I wouldn't rule out anything actually until its been re-checked. Maybe neither saddle fits 100%

Can you get a second opinion?
 

Angelbones

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Thanks Slightly Foxed. He was competing at 3ft when we bought him, he's done loads of sj and xc etc, and he jumped beautifully when we viewed him and they said we could take him to the xc centre but we didn't go. I'll probably mainly hack but I did want to do some low level xc if the right horse helped get me back up there, and I wanted to hunt him but all low key stuff. If I had moved the goal posts and was throwing something new at him I'd understand it, and leave it, but he was a pro at it only a month ago. I'd hoped daughter would move onto him and he seemed the perfect step up for her but she won't get on him now.

Is it just the poles that are sending him loopy?

Sorry, I haven't read terribly thoroughly, but if he has issues with jumps and you just want a hack, avoid the poles?
YorksG - he's only a half handful of Hifi molasses free now, to keep him happy at feed time, but I'll cut the alfalfa out and see how it goes. Thanks for that.
 

Slightly Foxed

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Sorry, just read your last post and I feel for you. I've had a **** time over the past year or so purchasing first a loony (I'm not naive btw, long story) and then a gorgeous lad with a temperament and ability to die for, passed a 5 stage vetting and went disastrously lame six weeks after sitting on him.

I do feel for you, I feel like giving up and taking up knitting after xxxxyears in the game.
 

FestiveFuzz

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Have you had a physio out to check his back? If he was ridden in the old saddle prior to you getting the new one it could be that he has some residual soreness that's been exacerbated by jumping.

Good luck and hope you get to the bottom of it all soon x
 

Angelbones

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Hi GG2B
I haven't had physio out yet - will do this if the feed change doesn't kick in after a week or so more. I briefed the vet prior to vetting to double check his back and vet said he took extra time and he couldn't find anything at all out of the ordinary. The horse shows no wincing upon grooming or fingers down his back and he moves beautifully under saddle on the flat. My thinking on the saddle is that if he was used to the old saddle which wasn't a good fit then the new saddle will be sitting differently and that could effect him, but he did do the silly bronking in the old saddle as well so I'm hoping he's just feeling a bit too good right now. If he's still 'high' in a fortnight and the previous owners have been I'll get the saddle fit rechecked and the physio out.

Have you had a physio out to check his back? If he was ridden in the old saddle prior to you getting the new one it could be that he has some residual soreness that's been exacerbated by jumping.

Good luck and hope you get to the bottom of it all soon x
 

Turks

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I feel for you too.
If you have access to any old and current video of him in work study it for clues.
What bit / other tack is he in? Any changes like spurs, noseband etc?
Could it be that you have held him too tightly into the fences and he feels restricted and panics?
Have you lost balance and accidentally caught him in the mouth?
I'm playing amateur horse psychology a bit here but I think we need to earn they're trust and it may be that he feels that he's got no other leader so is looking out for all the spooks for himself now.
I'd go for a good instructor.
I'd also lunge first just to take edge off.
Any chance that anyone suitable could ride him? Be very careful about who and telling them the full story first.
Lots of this will be egg-sucking I'm sure but just in case...
Look into Magnesium levels too re calmer.
I too would think there is an answer in there somewhere but I fully appreciate how hard it is to be objective and constructive when you're in the middle of tough times. All the best...
 

hoggedmane

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My mare came back from loan like this - as soon as she tensed up about something she went into buck mode (she had not been a bronc type bucker before she went on loan). The loanee told me she was aggressive and dangerous. Had her back done and straight away she went back to my gentle giant.

I would get back checked first.
 

chestnut cob

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OK, the ideas I can come up with...

How old and tall is your daughter? Maybe he is too much horse for her so he's getting away with things - just because he was a poppet in the last home doesn't mean he will have clicked with you/ daughter, and he might have learnt quickly to take the mick out of her.
Does your daughter ride him when you aren't around? not meaning to be offensive at all, just trying to think of everything, can you be sure he is being ridden consistently and sympathetically by your daughter when you aren't there? Is she letting friends ride him who maybe aren't riding so kindly, so maybe he's expecting something bad to happen? (just ideas, not insinuations BTW!)
Regarding feed, it seems like you switched him very quickly to a super-high protein feed from practically nothing. My horse is very sensitive to feed and I have to be really careful. When he's wound up (from feed or something else), it can be v difficult to calm him down. Maybe yours is like mine - with a teenage girl on who might be a bit nervous, it would all go wrong very quickly.
Also, there might just be a reason the horse was on the lean side, esp at the end of summer. Mine was kept lean for the first 12 months or so that I had him, because he was simply too difficult to ride on lots of feed and grass. Plus, we're currently having a flush of grass and it's still growing like mad, so maybe he's getting too much grass.
Saddles... just because the saddle fits doesn't mean the horse likes it. Maybe try some others just to be sure. And get a good physio out to check him over, again something to rule out.
If he was jumping 3ft and competing regularly, and you're jumping him over poles and tiny x poles (I think that's what you said), could he simply be bored and getting rude with it?

I would be tempted to get the previous rider on board and see what she thinks. I'd cut out all hard feed and restrict his grass too, in case it's that. And I would get the bloods checked.
 

Goldenstar

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Check saddle again
Get vet to check back and use hoof testers on the heels especially if he's had a change of farrier.
The saddle would be my best guess.
 

Spottyappy

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I am also thinking the saddle is contributing to, if not the cause of the issue.
Have commented in threads previously about so called saddle fitters not being able to fit them,.
However, do see how the feed change goes.
Given the fact you are sure the past history of the horse is accurate, get diet changed, time to get out of system, and then I would get physio to look a those, especially the back, and maybe see if you can borrow a slightly shorter saddle, and something like a lighter one, wintec for instance, too.
 

Angelbones

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OK, the ideas I can come up with...

How old and tall is your daughter? Maybe he is too much horse for her so he's getting away with things - just because he was a poppet in the last home doesn't mean he will have clicked with you/ daughter, and he might have learnt quickly to take the mick out of her.
Does your daughter ride him when you aren't around? not meaning to be offensive at all, just trying to think of everything, can you be sure he is being ridden consistently and sympathetically by your daughter when you aren't there? Is she letting friends ride him who maybe aren't riding so kindly, so maybe he's expecting something bad to happen? (just ideas, not insinuations BTW!)
Regarding feed, it seems like you switched him very quickly to a super-high protein feed from practically nothing. My horse is very sensitive to feed and I have to be really careful. When he's wound up (from feed or something else), it can be v difficult to calm him down. Maybe yours is like mine - with a teenage girl on who might be a bit nervous, it would all go wrong very quickly.
Also, there might just be a reason the horse was on the lean side, esp at the end of summer. Mine was kept lean for the first 12 months or so that I had him, because he was simply too difficult to ride on lots of feed and grass. Plus, we're currently having a flush of grass and it's still growing like mad, so maybe he's getting too much grass.
Saddles... just because the saddle fits doesn't mean the horse likes it. Maybe try some others just to be sure. And get a good physio out to check him over, again something to rule out.
If he was jumping 3ft and competing regularly, and you're jumping him over poles and tiny x poles (I think that's what you said), could he simply be bored and getting rude with it?

I would be tempted to get the previous rider on board and see what she thinks. I'd cut out all hard feed and restrict his grass too, in case it's that. And I would get the bloods checked.
Hi CC, all good points but I'll give a bit more detail to clarify. My daughter is 14, 5ft 7, and she has moved from a 16.1 TB ex racer as he's lame. She has only ridden him the once - hack then on into the school, with our groom there. There aren't any other kids around as it's our own yard. The only other person who rides him other than myself is my groom, who is ultra experienced and a cracking rider, used to bringing on young TBs, and reschooling ex racers. I'm not always there but when I am I've never once seen anything I'd worry about in the way he is handled / ridden. He hasn't tried to take the mick in any other way apart from over the jumps.

I think your point about him not liking the new saddle is very fair, and I'll have to look into this.

As with the small jumps, yes I did wonder if he just wanted to get stuck in. It was the first time I had jumped him, and only the second time he'd been jumped whilst with us so was starting small. He did start at 2ft when we trialled him and he was cool.

I definitely feel the grass is an issue - never had this much around by October before - and although his field isn't too bad and has another horse in there, and now some sheep, I'm going to have to reduce his turnout. I've stuck a couple of others in the starvation paddock to eat that down and then he'll go in there. I keep coming back to the feed issue, and that's what I'm hanging my hat on, but I don't know realistically long to wait to see a difference. As for being lean, yes again a valid point. I saw some pics of him doing working hunter when he had a bit more on him but that doesn't mean much.

So I have several things to look into but as we all know it can hard to see the wood for the trees so I have to do one thing, then move onto the other so I can determine which one, if any, is making a difference for the better / worse. These things are barely ever a quick fix, as many of us know :-(

Is there a time limit of blood testing - anyone know?

Thanks CC for you input :)
 

chestnut cob

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It might be worth trying a calmer - I feed mine straight magox which I do feel helps. My YO really rates Equifeast though never tried it myself.
I had a bucker years ago. Had everything checked, there was nothing wrong with him (he is still going strong age 17 with the people I sold him to, who knew full well his "quirk"), he could just be a real little git! If you didn't have him all the time, he'd bronc. Or if he simply felt like it. Still does it now sometimes, according to the people who have him.

How long have you had him? I don't know about blood test time limits but if your daughter has only ridden him once then it doesn't sound like you've had him long.
How big was the yard he came from? Might be he is used to a much bigger or smaller yard so finding it hard to settle.
Lunge him before you ride, see if some of the fight goes away?

Hopefully if you can reduce his grass and feed, that will help. That's the limit of my ideas though, really do hope you get this sorted and can enjoy him :)
 

honetpot

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I had a TB who needed the lightest possible contact ridden, we are no expert riders, it was my daughters first horse and he was a gem but you had to ride him with practically no contact and very loose shoulders. We had a sharers who was a very nice neat rider but was just to stiff for him. He had never bucked once with us but he stood in the school and bucked her off if I had not seen it happen I would not have believed it, I later found out when he was shown he would turn round and bite the ride judge if he didn't like them.
I think everyone suggestions are good ones, but I do think if he grew up with a young rider her confidence with him would make her confidant and less constrictive in her riding. Or it may be a case of long days and little dinners.
 

Wagtail

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Try jumping him on the lunge with and without the saddle. That may rule out saddle/rider. It could be pain, or it could be behavioural. My mare used to buck after a jump if she hadn't jumped for a while. but it was usually only once.
 

YorksG

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The ridden Appy would go nuts on only a handful of alfalfa, normally forward going, if a little spooky, turned into nappy, rocking horse (front end up then back end!) beyond stupid and dangerous on the road, when I am normally quite happy to hack her out on a local A road alone. Having had a tbx in the past, who was intolerant of allsorts, the first thing we do if a new horse has an issue, is look at the food.
 

whizzer

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Alfalfa,along with numerous other feeds!,sends my horse absolutlely barmy. If he reacting to a feed it takes about a week for him to get to full silly-ness levels but I find it takes about 3-4 days once off a feed to return to normal. I'd think if it is the feed he should settle fairly quickly once off it .
 

Rose Folly

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Only a gut feeling, and it may be wrong by all the horsey manuals. I'd take him off the good feed, and just give him some apples/carrot, grass chop if you feel you want to give him something. I'd forget the school. Take him out each day on LONG hacks, like 8-10 miles if you have the time for it - not necessarily bucketing about on grass, but steady 'hound work', plenty of trotting up and down hills, with streams to cross, gates to undo, places to negotiate. Keep him busy and stop him second-guessing you. I think you may have just geared him up a bit too quickly, and he may also be totally bored with schooling.

One of my liveries has just done this with her horse, in somewhat similar circumstances, and it has worked wonders.
 

Doublethyme

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Nothing major to add except my sympathies, keeping horses can be soul destroying at times. My only contribution is that my kind, well behaved youngster who i backed myself so know well,turned into the buzziest bratling overnight few weeks ago when the grass suddenly flushed through. She became jittery, disagreeable and when ridden felt like she was going to explode. I have now muzzled her during the day for a week and have my horse back.
 

Miss L Toe

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I would ask the former owners to come over right now and see how they get on with him, I know it is difficult but tbh I would have avoided calling someone naive unless they made a rather obvious statement. They saw you ride when you bought it, so if they had serious reservations they had the chance to to tell you if yu were not good enough. And as for bloodtests, well they are usually for lameness rather than back issues [i may be wrong]. you should talk to your vet really.
 

Miss L Toe

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I give my boy a nice massage two or three times a week, he likes the attention, I use a massage gadget [a bit like a body brush with rubber knobbly bits] and also the flat of my hand to feel for stiff muscles.
If you run one hand down both sides of the spine, light but firm watch his ears, if you find a pain spot she will tell you.
 
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