Loosing hope with Section D

Suzie94

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So I had a nasty fall yesterday and for the first time since owning my mare.. I’m actually considering selling her as I just don’t think she’s good for my confidence. And certainly isn’t what I was sold. But I adore her and she’s so sweet natured and lovely 90% of the time. I’ve had her just over a year now.

When I bought her I was told she was perfect but just a big baby with traffic and things like that but that’s because she’s still green. I was told she’s never bolted or tried to get someone off but she’s been mainly used for hacking so isn’t very fit in the school. Which was fine with me! I just wanted something I could bring on and enjoy but be safe on.
She’s now brilliant in traffic and will walk past anything with a bit of encouragement. She hacks out alone with just my partner on foot as I’m not brave enough to take her completely alone knowing how she can occasionally be…
last year she went through a stage of bucking and bronking in the school when she didn’t want to do something. Especially if I asked her to canter. I got her checked by the vet, had her teeth done and got her a new saddle fitted. We then moved yard and she became a lot calmer with 24 hr turn out and hadn’t had one of those silly moments for a while! However I hadn’t done much cantering as I mainly just hack and lunge as I don’t have a sand school where I am now. Yesterday I was on a hack with my friend and we went to try just a short canter in a straight line down a track. Just planned on doing a few strides then go back into trot. She was so calm and relaxed so I wasn’t expecting her to completely loose it when I asked for canter. She instantly tried to overtake the other horse where there wasn’t room and when I tried to slow her down she proceeded to buck and buck and threw me off. Very meaningfully. And I’m very sore today. She didn’t run off. Once I was off she just stopped and ate. Despite being in a lot of pain I got back on and walked her home. But I was so upset. I wanted a horse that I could just enjoy and go for hacks on, have a canter threw a field and occasionally school and just be safe. I’m not asking a lot! My friend said all section Ds are the same and no one could pay her to get on one. Which made me think even more.. have I made a mistake? What should I do next? :(
 

milliepops

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all section Ds are not the same and I don't think bucking like that is normal. that said they can be sensitive and feed off the rider's emotions/nerves and so aside from everything else she is probably aware that you don't have a great deal of confidence in her.

How old is she now? what did the vet check last year? Is she now up to date with things like dental treatment and saddle fitting?
 

WispyBec

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I do feel for you, if you feel that the horse isn’t right for you and is diminishing your confidence you should move her on. This is provided she has good health and that this behaviour is not pain related.

Have you had the physio/Chiro out to look at her back?

All horses can be difficult - not just Welsh Section D’s. I absolutely hate that Welsh D’s get this terrible reputation, don’t get me wrong, mine is sensitive, strong willed and knows his own mind but you either love it or hate it!

That being said, he takes his confidence from his rider - perhaps your horse can sense that your not confident and knows she will get out of doing what your asking if she acts out?
 
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Hi, have you had the physio/chiropractor check her back? How long ago did you have her new saddle fitted? (as it may not fit anymore)

You said last year she went through a stage of bucking and broncing - what time of year was that? was it around the same time of year? There is a chance that she may have acted like this in canter with so much energy just because the spring grass is here.

Is your mare currently in season? They can sometimes act up due to hormones

Hope you are okay after your fall!
 

Peglo

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Sorry your having trouble with your horse. I would like to say she maybe didn’t like being behind another horse and wanted to be upfront or she is feeing fresh as you’ve not done much cantering recently but I agree with milliepops that it doesn’t seem like normal behaviour. What was she like after you got back on? Did she settle ok?
 

PapaverFollis

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I'm sorry you had a fall. It is a horrible feeling. Cantering in company is Very Exciting and some horses just react very strongly to being held back. My Welsh type lad is an angel to canter alone but did have a bucking fit when asked to canter behind my mare last year. 🙄 Nothing wrong with him physically, he was fine to canter alone, just being a pillock wanting to be in front.

Trust me he very much got threatened with being sold at that moment. Dingbat horse. We persevere though because of his angelic qualities and his big, handsome face. 😍🙄🙃

I'm lucky because when I feel a bit lacking in confidence or I'm worried about what the horse might do I can put my husband on the horse instead. 😝 If you don't have a willing husband it might be an idea to pay a professional to take her out for a hack and canter by herself to check how she responds without the excitement of company.

Basically it is up to you whether to continue or not. I don't think one incident in a very exciting situation means that there's anything wrong or that the relationship with the horse is hopeless. It does sound like there might be a slight mis-match with your confidence but only you can really determine that.
 

Cheeky Chestnut

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Another who says all Ds aren’t the same. My four yr old D is a star and is already hacking out by himself. He has cheeky moments but any horse can have those. My old boy had them and he was well past the age of knowing better.

I would be getting things investigated and get an instructor to come work with you.
 

Suzie94

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No she’s not in season and I was actually feeling confident on her. She hasn’t put a foot wrong in about 6 months which is why I’d thought I’d try a canter again! I was shocked she reacted the way she did.
Saddle was last checked and fitted about 2 months ago.
she canters fine on the lunge line with and without a saddle on so I think she just gets sassy and doesn’t want me to tell her to do something she doesn’t want to do! She really enjoys a hack and is very forward so it’s not laziness either.
Physio is probably a good idea. At least then I can 100% rule out pain. My saddle fitter, riding instructor and vet all said it doesn’t seem like pain though. I showed them what she does and they all separately said that she was just being a little shit. I have a few friends with lovely section Ds which is one of the reasons I picked her to begin with. And I don’t mind her being a bit nervous as I’m confident she won’t nap or bolt away from traffic or anything like that.
it’s just she suddenly decides ‘nope don’t want to!’. I could just persevere and keep trying it again so she knows she can’t get away with it but I’m to old to be falling off regularly now!!
 

char3479

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We have a Sec D x Arab. Mostly Sec D. I'm used to TBs but the Sec D is far, far more sensitive than my TBs. We've been through similar issues. It's always something pain related with ours. E.g. he put on a bit of weight and started bucking and dropping his shoulder. Had saddle checked by a v reputable saddler who couldn't find an issue. Pony lost weight and is now fine = saddle was a bit too tight. It can be something very tiny with our chap and frankly it's exhausting. But he's such a sweetie, it's worth it. Also, try a bit fitter if you haven't. Good luck.
 

Suzie94

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I'm sorry you had a fall. It is a horrible feeling. Cantering in company is Very Exciting and some horses just react very strongly to being held back. My Welsh type lad is an angel to canter alone but did have a bucking fit when asked to canter behind my mare last year. 🙄 Nothing wrong with him physically, he was fine to canter alone, just being a pillock wanting to be in front.

Trust me he very much got threatened with being sold at that moment. Dingbat horse. We persevere though because of his angelic qualities and his big, handsome face. 😍🙄🙃

I'm lucky because when I feel a bit lacking in confidence or I'm worried about what the horse might do I can put my husband on the horse instead. 😝 If you don't have a willing husband it might be an idea to pay a professional to take her out for a hack and canter by herself to check how she responds without the excitement of company.

Basically it is up to you whether to continue or not. I don't think one incident in a very exciting situation means that there's anything wrong or that the relationship with the horse is hopeless. It does sound like there might be a slight mis-match with your confidence but only you can really determine that.
thank you for that :) that’s reassuring.
it could well have just been that she wanted to lead the canter. I plan to take her out this weekend and try a solo canter… maybe I’ll put some glue on the saddle haha!
I do have a friend who’s very confident with troublesome horses so if that fails.. I’ll stick her on! I do love her and it would break my heart to sell her but I’m not as gutsy as I was when I was younger as it hurts a lot more to fall off now! The more she behaves the more my confidence grows. But a set back like this has just left me really disheartened
 

Suzie94

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Sorry your having trouble with your horse. I would like to say she maybe didn’t like being behind another horse and wanted to be upfront or she is feeing fresh as you’ve not done much cantering recently but I agree with milliepops that it doesn’t seem like normal behaviour. What was she like after you got back on? Did she settle ok?
Thank you. Yes that’s possible. yep she was back to calm when I got back on and walked home. As if nothing had happened.
 

Hormonal Filly

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As others have said, they definitely aren’t all the same. My Welsh D I sold last year as a happy hack would of been perfect. I sold him as I wanted something with a bit of ‘va-va-voom’ and he was happy in the slow lane. He would happily canter steady with no reins across a open field, but he could be snorty to handle. I then know another one that’s a fizzy fruit loop, but mine was always the polar opposite. I took him hunting for the first time with 200+ horses and he was a little stronger, but didn’t fizz up once.

Having read what you’ve said about her being different each day could be mare ‘hormonal’ related even if she isn’t in season. I’ve got my first mare now and shocked how many different moods she can have..
 

k1994

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My section d went through a bucking faze about a year after I got her (no issues what so ever checked by vet was just testing me and being cheeky) had a bad fall and lost all my confidence. Slowly been rebuilding it over the last few years, a lot of groundwork and general bonding and many many days spent just being with her. Now she’s an absolute dream to ride/takes complete care of me/we’ve got a very strong bond. Im not too experienced as she is my first Welsh, but what I’ve found since owning her is they are very clever, cheeky, opinionated and full of character, and I do feel they may take longer to bond and connect with, I am so glad I stuck with her as the bond I have with her now just feels amazing.

Obviously they are all different! I can’t tell you the amount of times I left the yard in tears after she bolted off/wouldn’t catch/took the micky with me during the first year of owning her. Some days she would be great and others she just did not listen/was too interested in everything else/felt she just couldn’t be bothered with me and didn’t want to work with me (And she was 14 when I got her!) My advice would be to try and power through (as long as it’s safe to do so) they really can be the sweetest funniest goof balls, and once you get that bond they really are loyal and try their hardest to please you! I never did anything too special with her, we did a lot of in hand walks when my confidence was at its lowest and feel that really helped us both, we both had so much fun exploring, eventually I’d start walking her in tack and getting on during our walks and slowly just building things up. Sounds silly but also did a lot of sitting in the field with her, for so long she wouldn’t even lift her head and stayed with her friends, now leaves her friends to come graze beside me, defiantly all the little things I think helped us bond!

(At least that’s my experience with mine, obviously if things don’t improve/you’re really not enjoying things there’s no shame in finding one you gel better with)
 

Suzie94

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My section d went through a bucking faze about a year after I got her (no issues what so ever checked by vet was just testing me and being cheeky) had a bad fall and lost all my confidence. Slowly been rebuilding it over the last few years, a lot of groundwork and general bonding and many many days spent just being with her. Now she’s an absolute dream to ride/takes complete care of me/we’ve got a very strong bond. Im not too experienced as she is my first Welsh, but what I’ve found since owning her is they are very clever, cheeky, opinionated and full of character, and I do feel they may take longer to bond and connect with, I am so glad I stuck with her as the bond I have with her now just feels amazing.

Obviously they are all different! I can’t tell you the amount of times I left the yard in tears after she bolted off/wouldn’t catch/took the micky with me during the first year of owning her. Some days she would be great and others she just did not listen/was too interested in everything else/felt she just couldn’t be bothered with me and didn’t want to work with me (And she was 14 when I got her!) My advice would be to try and power through (as long as it’s safe to do so) they really can be the sweetest funniest goof balls, and once you get that bond they really are loyal and try their hardest to please you! I never did anything too special with her, we did a lot of in hand walks when my confidence was at its lowest and feel that really helped us both, we both had so much fun exploring, eventually I’d start walking her in tack and getting on during our walks and slowly just building things up. Sounds silly but also did a lot of sitting in the field with her, for so long she wouldn’t even lift her head and stayed with her friends, now leaves her friends to come graze beside me, defiantly all the little things I think helped us bond!

(At least that’s my experience with mine, obviously if things don’t improve/you’re really not enjoying things there’s no shame in finding one you gel better with)
Thank you. That’s lovely :) Yes we do have a good bond and she will follow me around without a lead rope or anything in the field or school. She’s a darling on the ground and listens to my voice commands alone in the lunge line. I have to be brave for her as she won’t walk past that scary thing in the hedge if I think it’s scary to! She feeds off my energy a lot. But we were both so relaxed when I asked for the canter which is why I’m just so upset at her for doing that to me. I’ll take your advice and keep going though. See if I can find my trust in her again. I’m hoping it was just the fact she hadn’t cantered with another horse like that in ages and got over excited. But it wasn’t an excitement buck.. it was a get the F off me buck :(
 

Suzie94

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Was this the first canter you had had on her in 6 months?
on a hack with another horse yes. Iv cantered in the school briefly (not asking her for too much). So I would say it was her being over excited but i know her excited little buck. This was about 5 massive bucks and a spin and drop of the shoulder to get me off.
 

palo1

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I think Welsh D's get a poor press tbh - they really are not all difficult but they are a more sensitive breed (generally speaking). They are also intelligent, powerful and historically bred and used for quite hard work so sometimes their energy levels can be hard to manage. There can be a range of things that can result in bucking too - pain/discomfort somewhere, frustration, excitement or even confusion about what is required from the aids given. If she is a good girl generally then I imagine that there is a minor 'problem' that causes the bucking, rather than genuine naughtiness. If she is really good on the lunge then that suggests physically, without a rider she is comfortable and willing in that situation so you might consider checking the saddle fit with the rider, checking her behaviour etc with a rider on the lunge (which is quite hard work for a horse so might help to illuminate some problems). If she has issues ridden on the lunge it would be worth checking the saddle fit again. If that is all good then perhaps see how she feels about cantering when out hacking if she is in front, in the middle or behind. You could ask an experienced friend to help with that if you don't fancy it. If cantering with a rider is a problem more widely (on the lunge and out hacking) it would be worth getting a vet to look over her for muscular issues.

If you feel your confidence is an issue then you could ask for some instruction on your horse or consider that you might want a more confidence-giving horse at this point; at least for hacking out and having fun with. That doesn't mean this horse isn't right for you but that you might want and need other things at this point.
 

eahotson

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To be honest I am one of those people who normally say that if the horse doesn't suit then sell and buy another but in this case I am not so sure.You said that she was very green when you bought her and I think you have mainly hacked out on your own with just your husband on the ground for company? Is that right?
It may be that she simply had no idea how to behave in company and indeed may have been greener than you thought.Get a GOOD instructor out to watch you ride and maybe hack her out in company for you a few times.She or he can explain life to your horse and then help you to do the same both out hacking and in the school.The bucking in canter in the school may simply be because she is umbalanced.Again a good instructor can advise.
 

Tarragon

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having read through all the replies, I am another one who feels that all is not lost. I think that the combination of getting an experienced trainer to work on you as a partnership in the school and perhaps someone else with more confidence to take her out hacking in company to get a feel for her reaction would be what I would suggest. It sounds like you are building up a sound working relationship with her, and it is worth investing in getting it to the next stage.
 

MagicMelon

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IMO Welsh D's are more sensitive than many people think. Mine was quite emotional, he'd have the odd temper tantrum and I literally thought of him like a toddler. He'd never bronc me off though or "lose it" and was safe as houses yet firey with it. I think they're very choosy over their owners/riders - some they gel with, some they dont and they make it very clear. I think they definately can take advantage if they sense you arent 100% confident. I think you'd need to really work on your confidence in him and getting a good relationship on the ground too. My Welsh D was pretty horrid to me for the first year I had him, then he decided to accept and respect me and we had an amazing bond - so much that although he was the hardest horse Ive had (on the ground) I still regret selling him the most.
 

Fransurrey

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You said yourself you don't do much cantering, so to do it in company and behind could be very exciting to any horse. I do find Welsh breeds sensitive, but I think this could have happened with my cob when he was younger! I would definitely try for a canter solo and also with your horse in front.
 

Hormonal Filly

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on a hack with another horse yes. Iv cantered in the school briefly (not asking her for too much). So I would say it was her being over excited but i know her excited little buck. This was about 5 massive bucks and a spin and drop of the shoulder to get me off.
It still sounds like excitement to me. She’s probably a sensitive Welsh mare too and doesn’t sound a ploddy cob.

How often do you canter in the school? If not a lot, she was probably so excited to canter especially on a hack with another horse she just couldn’t contain herself.

If you have the confidence try and canter her regularly in the school, will she hack alone and have a little canter? I always find mine are more laid back on their own more than in company. Could be worth going out for a short canter on your own (and expecting the bucks) to get your confidence back up. :)
 

Ratface

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I rode my Arabian whiz-merchant out with a friend who had a Welsh Sec D gelding as her first horse. She was nervous and Sec D took the p***. We swopped horses. Whiz became a perfect dobbin, as did, eventually, Sec D. I'm a fairly confident rider, and have calm and reasonable strategies with horses who can be difficult. Perhaps, as others have suggested, some targeted support from a professional will help. I do hope so.
Good luck.
 

PurBee

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Great suggestions given already for you to consider - all i can add is maybe get your bit checked by a prof. bit fitter? On another thread recently a member mentioned a huge difference in their horse by changing size of bit.
Im not knowledgeable on bits at all, so if you want to query this aspect, worth asking other members here if your bit choice sounds suitable, aswell as get it looked at by a bit fitter. Thought it worth a mention as it can be a matter of a horse responding well or being difficult at times.

As you were in canter and she wanted to overtake and plough ahead, i presume you used firmer rein pressure than normal walk/trot riding to pull her back from over-taking, and the fight/bucks started…this has me wondering if the bit during very firm pressure causes her to meltdown, hence her insistence to firmly mean to get you off. Bucking is one method a horse has to distract the rider to try to get reins loosened.
This has me also considering if her teeth are okay or there’s some hidden mouth pain for her to react so demonstrably to firm bit pressure.

Also the fact that she stopped immediately after your fall, means she wasnt only interested in letting off steam due to not cantering much, though the excitement of it sounds like a factor. I’ve ridden one of those and they tank off over the horizon before youve managed to pick yourself up!
It sounds like she really wanted you off, but it wasnt so she could tear ahead, there seems to be an extra cause.

It points to her hating strong bit pressure, as youve stated all other riding/lunging has gone well without any problems.
I’d focus therefore on bit and mouth checks and perhaps neck checks by a physio.
All this is on the assumption prior to her bucking you used a lot stronger than normal rein/bit pressure.

My welshD x arab mare is more sensitive than the arab gelding. It took a long time for her to truly trust me. Once they give trust and show they like you its amazing, and despite my mare being capable of rare fruity behaviour, she respects my space and keeps me safe. Only when pushed truly outside comfort zone via pain or extreme new ‘situation’ will she be ‘blind flight’ behaviour to get it to ‘stop’ - but i’m speculating as i havent experienced that with her on her back, just on the ground…but the tough situations ive had with her she’s always been mindful of me/keeping me safe, once trust was established.
It sounds like your mare hit that ‘make it stop’ mindset and disregarded training/trust momentarily, and once the problem stopped, she stopped.

She sounds like she’s trusting of you, so this episode is an intriguing event, but i can understand your confidence has been knocked. She sounds lovely so try to be forgiving of her - im always musing how animals are easily forgiving of us when we mess up unknowingly - never hold a grudge over just 1 thing - carry on as if nothing happened - if only we humans could too! So, for the moment, see it as a one-off that it is, considering all the fun youve had so far together, and investigate potential pain points in her, with help from others. At her age is great for hacking fun as you’re wanting. My mare prefers trotting forever, with occasional cantering bursts, and she’s 19.
If a horse is truly hard to trust, or give trust to the rider, unpredictable, with no hope of gaining it, there’s normally issues from the start and they never let-up no matter what approach is taken. She’s been great for a year, and this is the first issue experienced - my mare was difficult, for various understandable reasons, when i first got her, but we improved together over time. Youve got a diamond of a D, if from the start she was relatively easy to work with.

If youve always felt she’s ‘too forward’ for your preferences, despite lunge/training going well, then you could consider selling anyway - but if this 1 incident has you for the first time re-considering her suitability, i would investigate mouth/teeth/neck/back/saddle pain potentials before making the call.
 

YorkshireLady

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I think any horse would find cantering on a hack for the first time in 6 months a little exciting, some may give a little reaction - some bigger. I think I would potentially try to build up the canter work and perhaps also try her infront the next time you are with someone? see if that is better?

you might also want to work in school first canter etc then go on a hack?
 

dorsetladette

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Can you get a professional to ride her out a few times and explain you want to be able to canter and enjoy your hacks. They will know what to work on. Then they can come out with you a few times and give you guidance when you need it.
a few lessons in the school would probably help your confidence as well.

Taking a look at diet may help you as well. There are a few different things that some D's (most natives tbh) just don't do well on, especially when mixed with spring grass. Alpha, Soy, etc
 

Glitterandrainbows

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Have you tried her at the front ? My Welsh d when I was younger always had to canter at the front a experienced rider rode her and tried stopping her from going in front and she got her off she had never had me off but I always let her go in front to canter
 
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