Nappy horse - at wits end!

B&J

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Everything has been checked back, teeth etc. He had been out of work for a couple of years with last owner; just eating himself into an early grave. Since coming to me he’s lost a bit of weight but still very big including fat pockets on his bum etc so desperately need to exercise him before it goes too far.

We decided to bring him back into work gently by hacking out in walk so that the strain wasn’t too much for him. The first couple of rides in company he napped a couple of times on the bridlepath but didn’t take too much to get him going again.

Then we had a bad hack where he napped constantly, spooked at a few things too (very unusual for him and hasn’t spooked since, he's a gawker but not a spooker) but after that ride he has developed napping leaving the yard. He bronced albeit tiny, had a buck, spun but after a minute gave up and plodded out with the others

I took on a sharer who is a confident rider in the hope that maybe it was just my nerves but nope, he’s even worse with her yet they get on great on the ground. Her first hack saw a few naps but again he eventually gave up and followed the other horse and 2 people on the ground.

After that we decided she would take him in the school for a session of light flatwork in walk to try and get him listening – well – leaving the stables to go the 50 yards to the school was the end of the world, we went from a normal plant to out and out buck, bronc, walking backwards at speed, spinning on the spot, he backed into a parked car – thankfully no damage to horse or car and owner was there – phew!, he’s also backed down a ditch, he just doesn’t care what he’s backing into.

Does anyone have any ideas or is it for a professional to work with him?
 

brucethegypsycob

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Hi. Well done you for taking on this pony and helping him to get fit again.
Two years is a fair old time to have just been out munching on grass ect. If I were you I'd tKe pony right back to basics to restart. Either I'd do it or I would send to a professional for a couple of weeks to restart. So, reintroduce long reining and lots of groundwork, walks in hand . Give pony a chance to readjust to having a job to do with it's new owner/rider. The nappy behaviour is probably more to do with not being sure what is going on rather than anything sinister. With time this can be overcome. But don't be afraid to ask for help sooner rather than later. Good luck and have fun.
 

Goldenstar

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I would not be long reining a stroppy nappy horse that bucks unless you are very experienced and if you do never go out and about alone .
If I where you I would do some research about what work he did before you got him .
Why was he out of work ? Are you dealing with a longstanding issue ?
If he where here we would get him hacking being led from another horse we would do this with me leading the naughty one from one horse and my groom riding shot gun to do whatever is needed to help.
When we had the horse doing three or four simple rides round and about happily we would reintroduce the rider and see where we were .
However do not think just because you have not found any pain there is non in these types of horses a check from a good equine vet is called for and letting the vet see or see a video of the napping is a big help.
 

B&J

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Thanks for your replies, he is 17, he was out of work as his owner had a heart attack, unfortunately it led on to neither horses being looked after, we took on this cob and his other horse; a retired elderly tb who was in terrible shape, early this year. Both have had check ups from our vets on arrival and a month later, had teeth done and he was cleared to ride, maybe a back specialist might be an idea just in case though?

We couldn’t try him out when we viewed him as he was in a state (overgrown hooves, rain scald, mudfever etc) so it was a case of take them just to get them out of the situation they were in and take it each day at a time and deal with the inevitable surprises but I couldn’t leave them there however silly financially that choice was.

The owner was clueless to their care, no hard feed in the depths of winter apart from the odd scoop of sugar beet for the TB, to the point I had to cut the rug and headcollar off the TB the day they arrived, the TB had worn them without being taken off since September, the rug wasn’t waterproof and his back was horrendous, luckily the cob faired better being naked, the rain scald and mudfever is fully healed, hooves now good and full set of shoes.

The only information I have is that he was a professional driving horse in a city before he was sold to the guy I got him from. He mentioned that he occasionally turned round if he saw something he didn’t like but would turn back round and a complete novice ride – to be fair he does turn back round eventually but none of the rest of it was said. I’m not a novice rider but certainly not advanced or anything, he isn’t my first horse but I have lost a bit of confidence. I can’t find the 1st owner as it was over 10 years ago and he was only passported in 2004 so no previous owner details or breeding listed.

My best guess is that he is used to getting his own way, his manners on the ground are great now but he had to be reminded of those very early on. He hasn’t been schooled in the last 10 years and is a happy hacker which is great for me apart from the napping.

We hack in a loop and vary the routes but once he knows he is on the way home he is the perfect model horse, doesn’t get strong, goes in front or behind, perfect breaks, only a gentle squeeze to trot (haven’t cantered yet and only tiny bursts of trot due to weight) – my perfect ideal horse…. It’s just the way out that is the problem.

Unfortunately I haven’t got access to another horse to ride, my husband has a horse but she’s too small for me and he is a complete novice so wouldn’t be able to lead Jack. There are other horses and riders at the yard capable but I don’t think they want to get involved really which is fair enough.
 

STRIKER

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He is a horse so he will do anything that he doesnt normally do. 2 years is a long time being out of work so give him a chance. If twas mine and i couldnt get him forward with my legs and a tap of the whip, i would get off and lead him, then get back on, he will come round.

But if he is still doing it in the same place a week from today, get that whip out with your legs against him and use it, cos thats taking the pee, ofcourse dont do like some folk the reins are so short because they are so scared so they are telling horse to stop, but at the same time using their legs to make it go forward, no wonder why its confused.
 
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fuzzle

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Striker think that is a very good post!!! also may i suggest that after long reining him, lunge him before you ride him just get him a little tired before you take him on a hack then he is less lightly to play up with you, good luck and please keep us all posted how you get on with him xxx
 

B&J

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I've tried lunging but he doesn't bend too well and has a good ol' huff about it, eventually he does settle into it a bit though, I thought about free schooling but he is an absolute tank and not sure the school fences would stay in place if he doesn't turn the corners :-/

I've booked the vet for Tuesday to give him a full check up again, he has been checked before and got the all clear but just in I thought I'd best be on the safe side.

He has what looks like cellulite on his bum, an apple-bottom and fat rolls across his sides where he is getting so big now so the situation for exercise is pretty urgent now, diet can't do it all unfortunately and I can't keep him in as he gets stiff so turn out at night at the moment. Nightmare!
 

Clodagh

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Definately get him a muzzle. He may have a touch of lami which is making him resistant to move. A greenguard muzzle means he can be out as much as you like him to be but not eat too much.
 

B&J

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I've tried but he gets anything on his head off in an hour, can't leave fly masks or headcollars on either, if it doesn't come off rolling then he rubs it against trees and fences :-(
 
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