Losing confidence and need help!!

Gemz66

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11 May 2018
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Hiya

I’m hoping to get some advise because I am slowly losing my confidence and unsure what to do :(

I have brought my first pony after having children and finally being in a position to, previously had part loans and helped friends out in exchange for riding along with taking lessons, he is a welsh section D 14.2 gelding, I knew he had been out of work for a year or so but had previously done dressage, beach rides, hacked alone etc and was told he was just needing to be brought back into work, he has stayed at his field (I have taken it over along with him from previous owner) so he is still with the herd he has always known and the only real change is ownership. Previous owner didn’t do much with him during the time she had him really i have since found out, he was more of a field ornament imo.

The first time I ever tried to get him out of the field for a groom he played me up bucking and rearing and bolting back down the lane to the field, ended up next time taking him up with his field mate and he was a lot better, eventually built up to getting out for a ride but I have never felt ‘safe’ on him, recently when we take him into the paddock to be tacked up he will stand for a little while and then becomes impatient pawing the ground, he breaks away and proceeds to charge around the paddock throwing bucks and rearing/tossing his head, when he’s calmed down I will re-tie him on and carry on tacking him up so he knows it won’t wash (heart in mouth whole time) I get on and he will be ‘ok’ he is very stubborn and not happy going certain routes, today I felt very uncomfortable with his behaviour so got off him whilst out, I would rather walk him from the ground than risk injury, one of the girls from our yard who is a lot braver than me wanted to get on and push him through it, he was ok for about a mile, when we came to the main road (usually fine on this road) he started to play up, I was on her horse, I told her to get down but before she had a chance he started rearing and bucking and threw her off before charging down the main road at full speed (there was 4 of us out) I jumped straight down and handed the reins to her and went after mine, I thought he was going to run back to our field which was near but he must of thought oh shit I’m on my own and came charging back to us and I managed to steady him and grab his reins, my husband was lead reining our daughter so I took over that and he walked my horse back, the whole time he was biting at my husband and kicking out at him (he is bitey) when we got into the paddock he continued throwing bucks and being a general knob and it took 3 of us to safely return him to the field

Dentist has been out, teeth are fine, I have a saddle fitter coming to check his back and all tack (although all the same as he had before) and I am going to cut his feed back but I am at a loss what to do if his tack is ok, He is starting to really scare me and I’m losing my confidence big time, I know the people who had him from foal so messaged them tonight, she said he was grumpy and tbh a bit to much horse for her and this is why she sold him on, previous owner swears he’s never done anything like that before and that it must be his tack....

I just want a nice horse I can go for a safe plod on and have found myself owning a horse that scares me and one I don’t trust, he tries to bite a lot and head barge me out of the way, his manners are terrible and when I try to do ground work with him he puts on the same show as he does when we tack up to go out, I don’t want to give up on him but don’t know what to do 😩😩😩😩
 

YorksG

Over the hill and far awa
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Why is he been given hard feed and what feed are you giving him? I would stop giving him anything other than forage and get his saddle checked, if he has not been worked and given hard feed he may well have changed shape.
 

Gemz66

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11 May 2018
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Why is he been given hard feed and what feed are you giving him? I would stop giving him anything other than forage and get his saddle checked, if he has not been worked and given hard feed he may well have changed shape.
I had been sticking to what the previous owner advised to give him over winter but have looked into it this evening and think too much feed could be playing a big part in all this, he’s had calm and condition with some nuts and chaff but is only in light work, I’m stripping him right back to just a small offering of nuts with his supplements (garlic/mint) and if he’s lucky some carrots, right now the way I feel he can poke the carrots up his bum 😬😆 only joking but he is going to be having bare minimum, saddle fitter is coming this week so I’m really hoping these 2 things will help 🙏
 

Shay

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You might benefit from some professional help too. Sec D's are clever and often stubborn creatures. he's had the life of reily living in a field and now some human wants him to come out and do work? Absolutely tack / back / teeth - and I bet his tack does need re-fitting. But a lot of the behaviour sounds more temprement than pain. An Idolo soft tie can help with the pulling back when tied - they can't get way before you can stop them so it might make that bit safer. But a calm professional on the ground to establish safe boundaries will help with your confidence.
 

Gemz66

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11 May 2018
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You might benefit from some professional help too. Sec D's are clever and often stubborn creatures. he's had the life of reily living in a field and now some human wants him to come out and do work? Absolutely tack / back / teeth - and I bet his tack does need re-fitting. But a lot of the behaviour sounds more temprement than pain. An Idolo soft tie can help with the pulling back when tied - they can't get way before you can stop them so it might make that bit safer. But a calm professional on the ground to establish safe boundaries will help with your confidence.
Thanks for your reply, I think you may be right, I don’t think the feed has helped but I have had him since March 2018 and through summer he was just on hay and was still the same, it has got worse but he’s always been like it, he is very temperamental and grumpy, the couple who had him from foal said the Gwenllan side of his breeding was very hot, I’m worried I’ve taken on more than I can chew 😩😔
 

Gemz66

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11 May 2018
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You might benefit from some professional help too. Sec D's are clever and often stubborn creatures. he's had the life of reily living in a field and now some human wants him to come out and do work? Absolutely tack / back / teeth - and I bet his tack does need re-fitting. But a lot of the behaviour sounds more temprement than pain. An Idolo soft tie can help with the pulling back when tied - they can't get way before you can stop them so it might make that bit safer. But a calm professional on the ground to establish safe boundaries will help with your confidence.
Will also look into the idolo tie 👌
 

J_sarahd

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17 August 2017
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215
It sounds basic, but I found with my old Welsh sec D that doing groundwork was priceless. Make him respect you. Welshies can be extremely stubborn and bolshy if they’re not put in their place. I once spent a good 20 minutes getting my old welshie to just stand at the mounting block respectfully and not dance around. Just work slowly and try and develop a relationship with him.

I do believe though that tack and feed will be contributing. Again, my old welshie calmed down slightly when he got a better fitting saddle and got off calm and condition!
 

be positive

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I had been sticking to what the previous owner advised to give him over winter but have looked into it this evening and think too much feed could be playing a big part in all this, he’s had calm and condition with some nuts and chaff but is only in light work, I’m stripping him right back to just a small offering of nuts with his supplements (garlic/mint) and if he’s lucky some carrots, right now the way I feel he can poke the carrots up his bum 😬😆 only joking but he is going to be having bare minimum, saddle fitter is coming this week so I’m really hoping these 2 things will help 🙏
Why is he on garlic and mint, they are not doing anything for him and the garlic may be contributing to his grumpiness if it is upsetting his tummy which is can do, cut out all his feed and see if that helps, so many issues are caused by overfeeding and or feeding the wrong things.
 
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Sorry to hear about your situation. He sounds quite a troubled horse, even in as much as he has not had consistent calm education, or even any education at all for some time. You are absolutely right to get off and walk, always put your own safety first. In fact, I wouldn't even be thinking of trying to ride this horse, and I've rescued and rehabilitated feral /dangerous horses for 30 years. He is clearly displaying unsafe behaviour, and the root issues need to be thoroughly explored and all his behaviour systematically counter conditioned from the ground, for his sake and yours.


Has he had a recent head to tail vet check? Things like his sight being checked, a full check up to rule out any pain related issues and a blood profile would be the first things I would do ( I was a Vet Nurse for 23 years and behavioural problems can tend to be evidence of veterinary issues that are far from obvious, sadly). If he gets the all clear then he is simply behaving as his temperament and previous experiences, or rather lack of them, denotes. That doesn't mean things can't improve beyond recognition, but it will take months of daily, consistent Positive Reinforcement Training from a very experienced trainer to help him be able to learn how to behave safely around humans.

I , and all Science Based Equine Behaviourists and Trainers don't use force with any horses...we don't need to show them who is boss/chase them round in circles with lunge whips/use tack/ or any of the old fashioned methods. Old fashioned methods do work, but using punishment , in the unthinking ways most do, even in small ways,means horses comply through low level fear when Positive Reinforcement Trainers help them to co operate willingly. This isn't my opinion, it's proven scientific research.

I strongly encourage you to research Positive Reinforcement , there is a book called Humane, Science Based Horse Training by Alize Veillard Muckenstrum that is a good introduction to it, also anything by Hertha James or Shawna Korrasch will help you understand how horses actually learn.

However, as much as all horse people should learn how horses actually learn, and be able to help horses using Positive Reinforcement, this horse is not advisable for a novice to try to work with without Qualified Behaviourist help. He is over threshold in his behaviour even when you try to take him from his field ...this is an obvious symptom of separation anxiety at the very least. He may have a 'hot' temperament, but none of this is his fault, he is simply being a horse in the environment he's in that the humans before you have provided. He's been labelled grumpy, temperamental and hot, no wonder he's behaving exactly like that. None of this is your fault, although it's common for novices to find themselves overhorsed due to lack of experience, you've done the right thing in keeping yourself safe and realising you're not safe around him. I really feel sorry for him, I've seen so many horses like this simply due to people, even people who have been around horses a long time, not understanding scientifically how horses learn and horses become extremely reactive when they have not been provided with humane, force free comprehensive foundations of what humans expect from them.

Depending where you are geographically, there are many excellent Trainers who can help you and this horse start from scratch and start to see a much happier , much nicer to be around horse within days.....ridden work can take some time but the main thing hopefully is to have a safe, happy horse you can develop a fantastic relationship with...the only other humane option would be to try to place him with experienced Positive Reinforcement R+ rehabilitator or rescue. Pm me if you would like any more information, please stay safe.
 

Gemz66

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11 May 2018
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Why is he on garlic and mint, they are not doing anything for him and the garlic may be contributing to his grumpiness if it is upsetting his tummy which is can do, cut out all his feed and see if that helps, so many issues are caused by overfeeding and or feeding the wrong things.
Thank you, I’ve cut it all out and just giving him a scoops of nuts
 

Gemz66

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Sorry but this would have raised massive warning flags for me. My advice would have been walk away and it is still is
The way he was ‘sold’ was as if he had been out of work through owners choice and just needed bringing back into work and getting him back out and regularly riding, I don’t feel I can walk away, I feel I need to do my best by him and give him a shot, don’t get me wrong if it doesn’t work out I will have to consider we are not right for each other but I can’t just wash my hands straight away I’d rather try and work to fix it first, saddle fitter out tomorrow and I have a trainer (gone for a male purposely) out on Friday.

He’s 10 so hopefully he’s got that same time left in him yet, I signed up with the thought I would have him forever so I’m thinking even if it takes 1-2 years to mend this and work together to form a good relationship it would be worth it for the 8-9 good ones we could have riding together, he’s previously done dressage and beach riding so I know he has it in him he’s just lost himself and someone needs to help him find it and invest the time and energy, I want to try but safety will be my main priority.
 

meleeka

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He’s been in the field for a year and not been asked to leave his mates in all that time so I’m sure there’s an issue with separation anxiety there. He’s also learnt that he can use his strength to his advantage, so partly brattish behaviour and partly insecurity. He also probably very unfit so finding ridden work more difficult than he did previously. You are doing the right things, getting him checked physically and employing the services of a trainer. Please dont entertain anyone who wants to use violence. A horse like this will just meet fire with fire and in my experience you can’t bully a Welsh.

I would take the pressure off yourself and don’t rush to ride him. Getting him happy to come out of the field seems a reasonable goal at the moment. Good luck and do update us.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I had been sticking to what the previous owner advised to give him over winter but have looked into it this evening and think too much feed could be playing a big part in all this, he’s had calm and condition with some nuts and chaff but is only in light work, I’m stripping him right back to just a small offering of nuts with his supplements (garlic/mint) and if he’s lucky some carrots, right now the way I feel he can poke the carrots up his bum 😬😆 only joking but he is going to be having bare minimum, saddle fitter is coming this week so I’m really hoping these 2 things will help 🙏

Cut out the garlic, as that can upset the gut flora and cause ulcers and don't give carrots, as they can be heating. that might sound like overkill but you really do need to strip this horse's feed right back to basics.
As above, also cut back your expectations of what you expect him to do at this stage. He can't be fit , so work on getting him out of the field, give a very small (grassnuts) feed and straight back building up in small steps to doing more with him being out of the field for longer. You will get there but it takes time.
 
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The way he was ‘sold’ was as if he had been out of work through owners choice and just needed bringing back into work and getting him back out and regularly riding, I don’t feel I can walk away, I feel I need to do my best by him and give him a shot, don’t get me wrong if it doesn’t work out I will have to consider we are not right for each other but I can’t just wash my hands straight away I’d rather try and work to fix it first, saddle fitter out tomorrow and I have a trainer (gone for a male purposely) out on Friday.

He’s 10 so hopefully he’s got that same time left in him yet, I signed up with the thought I would have him forever so I’m thinking even if it takes 1-2 years to mend this and work together to form a good relationship it would be worth it for the 8-9 good ones we could have riding together, he’s previously done dressage and beach riding so I know he has it in him he’s just lost himself and someone needs to help him find it and invest the time and energy, I want to try but safety will be my main priority.

You said in your original post that you wanted a nice safe plod and you have got something that scares you. You also said that a previous owner sold him as he was a grumpy handful, if I read it correctly. You could spend two heartbreaking dangerous years on something that is never what you want. You didn't cause his problems and you don't have to sort them!

Nice safe plods rarely get left in a field doing nothing for a year which is why this would have made me suspicious. Did you ride him or see him being ridden before you bought him? Was he vetted?
 

oldie48

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"I just want a nice horse I can go for a safe plod on and have found myself owning a horse that scares me and one I don’t trust, he tries to bite a lot and head barge me out of the way, his manners are terrible and when I try to do ground work with him he puts on the same show as he does when we tack up to go out, I don’t want to give up on him but don’t know what to do 😩😩😩😩"
Sometimes things don't work out and the brave and sensible thing is to find a way out and move on. It takes courage but you have children and tbh I think your safety is the most important thing to consider. Sell him on, at a loss, probably, to someone who has the experience to sort him out and find a nice safe horse to enjoy.






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Totally agree with Oldie48. Also, you will have to make sure that your daughter is never near this horse as it could kill her. This is probably not the relaxing family hobby your had in mind.
 

Cortez

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Oh dear, you are having a hard time of it aren't you? Welcome to the world of the unsuitable horse. While there are things that you can do - cut out ALL hard feed for a start, and get an experienced person (i.e. a professional, and not a fluffy one at that) to help you - I would agree with Oldie that you are best to sell this horse and look for one suitable for a novice.
 

Shay

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OP - my heart is breaking for you as I read this. The posters are absolutely right I'm afraid - you would be better to walk away. But I do absolutely accept that it isn't as easy as that and sometimes that advice, especially if a bit blunt, is really hard to hear. You do need to walk your own path with this lad - but just hold in mind that it is absolutely OK to call time. Horses are expensive and potentially dangerous. It costs just as much to keep a good one as a difficult one. Try not to let your heart rule your head any more than you have to. Calling time doesn't mean you are a bad person, or an inexperienced person or anything negative. It means you have the strength and courage to recognize that what you had wanted is not going to happen and to take steps to mke it right. Particularly for your daughter. You do her no good if you are injured (Says the mother who broke her back in a fall when her daughter was 3..)
 

JFTD-WS

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Thank you, I’ve cut it all out and just giving him a scoops of nuts
Why? Seriously, why on earth would you give this horse a scoop of nuts when it's in next to no work, and is an unmanageable devil already?

Oh dear, you are having a hard time of it aren't you? Welcome to the world of the unsuitable horse. While there are things that you can do - cut out ALL hard feed for a start, and get an experienced person (i.e. a professional, and not a fluffy one at that) to help you - I would agree with Oldie that you are best to sell this horse and look for one suitable for a novice.
This. You say you could work at your "relationship" for 1 or 2 years and still have lots of years left to have a good time with the horse - but equally this horse could seriously injure you (or worse, your daughter) in that same period. If you don't have the skillset to deal with a horse's behaviour, you NEED to get in professional help - that is the best, and kindest thing you can do for the horse. Get a good, sensible (not violent, not overly soft) professional to come in and assess the horse's behaviour. Seriously consider selling - via a professional, or as a cheap project (with full disclosure of his issues) - if the professional who assesses the horse doesn't think the issues can be fixed easily and quickly.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Stop the nuts, the pony really doesn't need them and you have no idea what the constituents are.

As others say, if you don't see a significant improvement by cutting out feed (and it can happen, I've seen it), you need to get sensible professional help. take the advice of the professional and if they think you should sell on , do. This doesn't sound like the horse you thought you bought.
 

amymay

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Did you ride him prior to buying?
Do you have the option of moving to a livery yard where you can get some help and support and also the use of a school?

Was he sold as being good in traffic?
 

tristar

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cut out all hard food,, lunge every morning, loose lunge and jump the afternoon then ride for at least an hour five days a week, but only in the arena, walk out in hand if you feel he can do so safely,

too easy a life, not enough work, but be kind when you do ride him, and not too demanding, you can school in walk, but firm, i find a lot welshy ponies are errr challenging.

have you checked the teeth and saddle, if not do, then get on and give him something to think about immediately and mean it, do not drift around thinking what he might do, get on and think what you want him to do and ride the school movements.
 

Gemz66

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11 May 2018
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Thank you everyone for your replies, I had the saddle fitter out who found no problems with tack but did find some stiffness in his back, she suggested his behaviour being so extreme could be pain related and advised to get a physio she knows out to access, she came today and it is looking likely he has KS and is in pain, next stop vets for xrays....thank god for insurance, not feeling great today at all 😭
 

Gemz66

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You said in your original post that you wanted a nice safe plod and you have got something that scares you. You also said that a previous owner sold him as he was a grumpy handful, if I read it correctly. You could spend two heartbreaking dangerous years on something that is never what you want. You didn't cause his problems and you don't have to sort them!

Nice safe plods rarely get left in a field doing nothing for a year which is why this would have made me suspicious. Did you ride him or see him being ridden before you bought him? Was he vetted?
Previous owner developed arthritis and was unable to ride him due to her own poor health, she put him out on full loan as she had to give up horse
 

ycbm

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Thank you everyone for your replies, I had the saddle fitter out who found no problems with tack but did find some stiffness in his back, she suggested his behaviour being so extreme could be pain related and advised to get a physio she knows out to access, she came today and it is looking likely he has KS and is in pain, next stop vets for xrays....thank god for insurance, not feeling great today at all 😭

Please don't run up a big bill in the expectation that the insurance will pay out. It is very likely from the history that the insurance company will refuse to pay on the grounds that the horse had a pre existing condition when you bought him.
 

Gemz66

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Please don't run up a big bill in the expectation that the insurance will pay out. It is very likely from the history that the insurance company will refuse to pay on the grounds that the horse had a pre existing condition when you bought him.
Oh god do you think? I’m going to have to call them to find out where I stand, what a mess 😭😭
 

Gemz66

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I’m so gutted, the vet came out to do his jabs in October a month before I paid for him and he said he seemed in good health so I didn’t bother getting him fully vetted prior to purchase, I wish I’d known this physio beforehand I would have got her out, the saddler did say she was extremely good and could pick up things Vet’s didn’t which is why I went for her first before a vet check with all this going on but still kicking myself!!
 
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