Advice please - Why would he tense in trot out hacking? So Fed Up.....

smallgirl

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26 August 2005
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162
I am at the end of my tether with this so please can anyone else help me......

I am having problems with my horse, he is relaxed walking out on a hack stretching long and low, when I pick up into trot his head shoots up, he spooks at evertything, he blocks through his neck and his trot is very slilted and backwards feeling, he is not relaxed at all.

He is fine to school in a field on his own or in company, he is fine to trot uphill in a field, he is fine to canter in a field.

I have tried a bungee both running form his saddle to bit to poll and also from between legs, to bit to poll and there is no difference at all in trot, he just leans on it with his head held high and tense again.

I have tried a loose contact, fixed hands, leg yield, shoulder in, transitions, anything I can think of to get his concentration back.

I am getting the dentist for his teeth so that might be the problem, but surely it would have come up when I was schooling him in the field in trot?

I have tried danilon in case it is his feet as he had an abcess over the winter, but no difference.

I will be changing his chaff from alfa a oil to hi fi or hi fi lite.

I am considering a calmer and am considering getting the physio out, his tack is fine.

He has been doing this for quite a long time now (months) can anyone give me some advice, either theirhorse does this or how i can change it?
 

lamlyn2012

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17 November 2008
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I really would get your horse checked by a vet who should want to see him trotted up on a soft and hard surface. Low grade lameness may not show up unless on a hard surface. Have you trotted him up in hand or lunged on a hard surface to see if the problem arises without a rider? I know it's not good to do too much on a hard surface but if you take a horse to a veterinary hospital this is what they will do. I've been there! Presumably you've had back and saddle checked by a properly qualified person. There are alot of cowboys out there.
 

elizabethshaw

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19 February 2009
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sounds as though it could possibly be a conditioned response - he may associate a faster gait when out hacking with excitement, going fast etc. If that is the case, he needs to learn that trotting isn't going to be go go go. I think if it were me, I would quietly ask him to trot without tensing and then after 4 or 5 strides of trot, ask him to walk again, until he has relaxed. I would completely ignore the head coming up and his overreaction and just be calm and still, when he has calmed ask him to pick up the trot again and keep doing this until he eventually can go from walk to trot again without over reacting. You can also intersperse this with a few rein backs, so he's not thinking 'go go go' and also some direct and indirect bends, smallish circles where you are really asking him to bend the head and neck and hindquarters, quite hard work, and you should feel him relax afetr each small session of this when you ask him to go forward again. Keep one step ahead of him, but do keep calm throughout, - it's my guess that because you are anticipating his energetic reaction, you are possibly getting yourself ready to deal with it, and maybe geting a bit tense, which is going to fuel his own behaviour. I'm sure you will be able to get on top of this, just be consistent and quiet - even laugh to yourself when he does it, so he gets your stillness, quietness and confidence, and can start to rely on it. Good luck.
 

smallgirl

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26 August 2005
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162
Hi

Thanks for the replies

Red Adair - he relaxes as soon as he comes back to walk.

mal - I have trotted him in hand and he is fine on the hard surface. I have the vet coming out for his jabs so could get him to check him all over while he is there, but it really needs someone to ride him to feel what is happening if that makes sense.

heidichocs - I can try that, thats sounds like a good plan and a way that may work for him as if you argue all hell breaks loose in his head.

Thanks so much guys, I'll try anything as I just want him to relax, so any adivce will be taken on board.
 

teddyt

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21 January 2009
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My first thought is that its a pain/discomfort response. I would start from scratch and one by one rule out teeth, feet, bit, rider, saddle and pain. If all this came up negative then i would get an instructor to help with training him to go with a better head carriage in a gradual progressive programme to show him how you want him to go, instead of how he has learnt to go.
 

smallgirl

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26 August 2005
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162
Hi Teddyt - thats exactly how I am playing it, a process of elimination, sometimes I just wish he could speak....
 

fatpiggy

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1 December 2006
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My horse used to anticipate a good gallop as soon as we went faster than walk. If I did rising trot she went into overdrive trot so I always had to do sitting trot. It took a good year before we could have a fairly civilized hack, and if we came across another horse it all went to pot again.
 

Pearlsasinger

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20 February 2009
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Does he do this with another rider? Can you watch while some-one else rides to see if you can see any clues? Does he do this in sitting/rising trot ot both? Does it matter which diagonal you are on?
Loads of questions and no answers, I know but some of the answers might shed some light on the problem. What happens in canter?
 

smallgirl

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26 August 2005
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162
fatpiggy - he's fine in fields so i don't think he is anticipating going faster, he is maybe anticipating the change of pace and his bad reaction to it.

Pearlsasinger - He does this with someone else riding him, doesn't matter which diagonal, he is no better is sitting trot. Hei s lovely in canter, Thanks for the questions...sonewhere there is a reason fro his behaviour, its just thinking of what it is thats the problem.

This morning I rode him on a very loose contact in the field to remind him that trot can be nice and relaxed, and guess what....he was lovely, so I think there is an element of me in the equasion as I was really happy just for him to swing along in a lovely long and low outline, schooling on the flat and trotting uphill.

Also have got the dentist booked in, so in the meantime I will avoid trotting on a hack, just in the field until his teeth are done to try to take the pressure off both of us, I have also taken his flash off and loosened his noseband off so there is no pressure there either.

Maybe a little light at the end of the tunnel?........
 
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