Help! Slamming on the breaks after a jump..

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10 January 2014
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I have a gorgeous, 16.3 warmblood gelding, 7 years and just coming out of newcomers. He's highly talented, extremely powerful and sometimes dangerously unpredictable..
The last few times he has been out either competing or at clinics (with other horses), he has developed a seriously nasty habit of slamming on the breaks 1/2 strides from landing AFTER a fence.
Due to the height/propulsion of the jump, it is impossible to stay on when he does this, resulting in many painful falls (within the last month)..
The consistent pattern of events are the following:
always an oxer towards end of arena (not continuing to another fence ahead)
Mostly landing on right rein,
over 95 cm
other horses present

we have tried altering the pace (trot/slow canter/more pace), but to little effect.
his feed is cut down to a minimum for winter, no nothing overheating is in his diet.

most of the forums I have read and research all involve refusals before the fence, so I don't think this is relevant ..

any advice/similar experiences please share !

He's a fantastic horse otherwise, so I hope we can get through this!
 

Doormouse

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Could it be pain related? Does he only do it in company?

It seems unusual and if it is a new habit could he be uncomfortable somewhere and the extra stretch over an oxer be the reason?

Sorry, probably not much help but my gut reaction would be to check for pain somewhere.
 
Joined
10 January 2014
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Hmmm my gut too..
He does only throw this party trick in company, and is fine in the ring...
But I agree.. This is worth a check up nonetheless ..

I'll let you know if we discover anything via the vet...


Meanwhile..I will dig my back protector out!

Thanks for your response :)
 

Darremi

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If he is not uncomfortable in his body then it might be that he is napping. Have you tried doing jumps on s tight circle so that he has something to think about immediately after the fence?

Or else try a pony club kick on landing like your life depends on it?!
 

Firewell

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I have the opposite problem, it can take me the length of an arena to pull my horse up after a fence :p.
Is it a spacial awareness issue with your boy? If it's a bigger oxer towards the end of an arena he may throw a bigger jump because he is careful and then worry that he can't pull himself up in time before the end? Almost like spooking away from the end of the arena? Is he stiffer on the right rein? Would he find it harder to turn on the right? With other horses being present maybe that encourages him to give extra effort over the fence and therefore exaggerate the stop? My horse always jumps bigger when others are watching, wether that's because the presence of other horses makes it more exciting or he likes to show off I don't know.
Has anything happened to him landing on the right, has he tripped recently or worried himself somehow?
I think you are going to have to try and get in his head in regards to this issue as it is an odd one, for some reason he is lacking the confidence to carry on after the jump in these circumstances? Either that or it is a pain response.
Good luck figuring it out :).
 

ElleJS

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I had a young horse that did this same trick once. 2 strides after slammed brakes head between knees... First thought pain related but never did it in ring or on own only in company but we did all the normal vet, teeth saddle checks anyway. It wasn't pain related it was being nappy in an unconventional way! He eventually just grew out of it after I got after him a bit more! My advice would be to put a neck strap on and put a couple of fingers underneath when in scenarios he may do it & for when you land after the fence. Also someone on the ground with a lunge line who can gently send him forward once the breaks have been applied. Worked with mine anyway. Good luck!
 

kassieg

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Does he have his wolf teeth?
If he does get them checked or if you dont know get them checked :)
My old mare started being really stuffy after a fence & started to not want to jump so obviously we checked back to no avail then tried teeth turned out she had a wolf tooth, meaning that when she jumped her bit caught on the wolf tooth on landing & obviously caused quite a lot of pain
 

timetoride

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Mine (also 7yo 16.3 wb) did this but being such a ladylike horse always very gradually came to a stop over 3-4 shorter strides to not chuck me off (did very little jumping with her as got her investigated as soon as it started- the problem got worse the more work she did). Turned out it was bad OCD in her stifles, hips and something wrong with her hind fetlock too, making it impossible to work without pain :( Not saying yours definitely does have something wrong with him, but seeing as he does it at clinics too so unlikely to be ring nerves, I would also get him checked out. Or a saddle imbalance maybe? Once you know it is not pain you can deal with the problem without any bits of doubt in your mind whether you are doing the right thing jumping him. Also agree with the neck strap and good luck :)
 

glamourpuss

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Wow that's a tricky one!
My gut says its pain related, something twinges him over the fence & it's an abrupt 'ouch that hurt!' Reaction.
But the specificity of when it occurs makes me wonder if there's something else going on.....
Sorry I can't help but I would be interested in hearing what you find out :)
 

ElleJS

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Meant to add earlier that the other reason the one I had did it was that he as over jumping and it slightly worried him. He had so much power behind. (SJ bred wb) but couldn't contain it. With my trainer we loose jumped him over some combinations ending with big oxers so he could figure out his own power and scope It worked. Never did it again.
 
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10 January 2014
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What does he do if you send him down a jumping lane on his own? Tried a different jockey?
So - we loose jumped him this weekend and all went very well (no napping)
However, to get his confidence up - the jumps were relatively small for him
This week - I'm going to do the same but over some bigger combos with Oxers - and lets see what happens

Xrays booked with vet - and waiting for back to recover before I use the neck strap method!

Watch this space - I will report back with findings
 
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10 January 2014
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So, here lies the problem..
After a full vet examination, including an ultra scan - we have discovered a major imbalance in his sacroilliac joint (raised on the right side) - resulting in some relatively serious ligament damage..

Even though he "appears" sound (trotting up, flexion tests and on the lunge), my vet (Tony Warr) noticed a marked shortness/lameness when ridden (especially on the right rein - where the problem happened).
So rest, anti inflams, laser treatment, long reining - and perhaps some physio in a couple of weeks.
Lots of flat work coming - and no jumping for a while..
He was brought on very quickly as a youngster due to his ability (and came from a jumping stud) - before I bought him as a 6 yo he already had 300 BSJA winnings and was jumping foxhunter. It could be that doing too much too young has affected his pelvis alignment - and within the last year I have had him, although we have developed him slowly, it has grown from a niggle to a more routed problem.
Not 100% sure if this was the COMPLETE cause for the napping behaviour (it could have be learned due to the pain he had been experiencing over a period of time - almost an anticipation of "this is going to hurt"...)
But without a doubt, he has been in discomfort, and is very inbalanced as result..
At least we can now properly treat him - and set him straight. Its also a relief to know that this problem is treatable ;-)
Thanks everyone for your valuable feedback - all of your comments were a real help!

:)
 

Cheiro1

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11 October 2008
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I am sorry to hear he has something wrong with him, but I am glad you have a way forward now.

He is lucky to have an owner who cared enough to investigate and not just put it down to naughtiness :)
 
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