Reason behind laziness?

pixie27

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How many people have had a very backwards, lazy horse that's ended up being that way due to physical issues?

Friend is considering buying an 8yo New Forest. Trouble is, he's really REALLY lazy. As in, will stop and plant on way to be ridden, or he'll go from trot to dead halt. Apparently not much gets him going at all (but is fine to lunge and goes forward-ish).

She's known him for a few years, and he always used be lazy, but never this bad. Had competed up to 85cm ODEs, showing, dressage, fun rides, etc.

Checked him over today and his feet are AWFUL. One is bigger than the other, toe clips are about an inch off centre. Expert friend who came too thinks there might be slight inflammation or something going on in a hock, and he's definitely sore across his back. He was horrendously obese (think 100kg overweight - maybe more), and was borderline starved, so friend also thinks possibility of ulcers or arthritic changes struggling under lots of excess weight.

So, is it likely that with a full work up, better shoeing, physio, chiro, saddler etc., vet checks etc., that the laziness will rectify itself? He's a lovely chap, gorgeous to look at and be around - but as ploddy as he is, I think he'll be more effort than worth. Sounds like he's also been doing a lot of schooling and not much else - so could it be a bit of boredom too?

I don't think she'll go through with the sale, but it's piqued my interest and I'd quite like to know!
 
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PorkChop

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I think it is fair to say that some horses are naturally very laid back.

Then there are the ones that have been schooled incorrectly ie nagging with the leg and not sharp off the leg.

There are alot of horses that appear lazy because there is something wrong, whether that by physically or tack or shoeing, the list goes on.

The key is deciding which it is, but I do think your friend would be sensible to walk away unless she adores him and he is as cheap as chips :)
 

meesha

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If pony was not getting much food and still overweight I would get vet to check for ems (equine metabolic syndrome) simple test. friends pony who was grossly overweight was put on diet but didn't lose weight, tested positive for ems and was on medication for year but is now off it and keeping weight off.
 

Pigeon

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Yes my sister had one who came from an RDA so was quite switched off, and he improved a lot! She was super strict with him though. He went hunting a couple of times which he LOVED and I think gave him a new lease of life haha!

I guess you need to decide if it's worth a gamble - if he's really cheap it might well be - our RDA horse was amazing.
 

pixie27

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Thanks all. Schooling I think is a big part of it. This is without doubt a stupid question, but can he be trained to get sharper/more off the leg?

Thanks Pigeon, sounds quite similar to this situation. YO's first suggestion was to take him hunting! Haha :D

Not sure what price is, but would be surprised if over 500.
 

Kezzabell2

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For me, my horse was being "lazy" and planted in the first instance, to tell me he was in pain and when I thought he was just peeing about he started to tell me in other ways, rearing, kicking out etc! so if the horse is just lazy then I wouldn't necessarily think he's in pain, but if he has other habits then it would be worth investigating further. I.e. how is he when he's tack up? does he mess about then?
 

pixie27

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Sounds like he needs a complete overhaul of the way he's kept, some loving attention from vet and farrier and maybe a break before you worry about making him instantly sharper.

Well yeah, of course. I put that in my post - my original question was whether laziness is a symptom of pain, and if it can be 'cured'. And then asked if it's not too late to change the way he goes via schooling. Don't worry - don't think anyone would be getting on him and expecting miracles for a while.

Poor thing would be getting a holiday and lots of TLC.

Kezzabell2 - not sure what he's like currently with that sort of stuff, but friend hasn't said that he was ever a pain to deal with, and current owners haven't mentioned it. As far as I know, he's just being very backwards, very resistant and very lazy when ridden.
 

milliepops

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I'd say pretty much any horse can become sharper and more in front of the aids with correct and consistent training in and outside of the arena.

My sec d was hugely fat, had terrible feet and other health issues and was really backward thinking. Lots of care and patience and she's now super sensitive and nice to ride (I think!)

She still slams the brakes on occasionally, it's a learned response when she thinks that the work is difficult but those episodes are fewer and fewer.

I wouldn't be worried if the price was right assuming there is sufficient experienced help and nothing showstopping physically. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul though. Sometimes they come round quickly but others take more time.
 

Peregrine Falcon

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Some are just horizontal. My NF is so laid back unless overdosed on hard feed and working hard. It can be done though. :)

A friend has recently purchased a lovely chap, he's been a bit stuffy and reluctant to go forward. Changed saddle and bit, resulting in a happier pony.
 
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pixie27

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Ahh awesome, thanks milliepops - glad to know it's possible! Regardless of his physical issues, sounds like it's almost definitely down to bad riding/schooling too.

PF - weirdly the other two NFs I know are mental! Constantly wired haha. He is very chilled - didn't mind us faffing around in the dark with him at all :D judging from how sore he was in his back/ribs, hopefully it's a case of changing the saddle and freeing him up. Although with this size of his shoulders, I think it'll be easier said than done!

He's a bargain price and there doesn't seem to be anything seriously untoward health wise - just a gamble to see if he does perk up or not.
 

Slightlyconfused

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If pony was not getting much food and still overweight I would get vet to check for ems (equine metabolic syndrome) simple test. friends pony who was grossly overweight was put on diet but didn't lose weight, tested positive for ems and was on medication for year but is now off it and keeping weight off.

This.

My boy was always hard to keep motivated and when he got lami we tested and he was positive for ems and the metformin helped get and keep the weight off anf he had shed loads more energy
 

FfionWinnie

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Laziness can definitely be a sign of both pain and illness. You may have noticed me banging on about PSSM one massive symptom of that is percieved laziness/ napping and vague lamenesses and muscle pain. There are others of course and other reasons for "laziness" other than them just being laid back. If he used to be different I would be concerned it was an underlying issue rather than a schooling issue. If it's a schooling issue a decent rider should be able to make an educated guess either way really.

That said I'd probably give him a punt if he was really cheap but then I like fixing things! Trouble is the ones you cannot fix. You'll then be stuck with it or have to make an unpalatable decision.
 

Equi

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Me. He's a calm chap anyway but when he gets going he's a wonderful power house. What he's just been diagnosed won't stop him being forward he just has a few things he can't do anymore namely circling or right corners on the right rein. It's not something that's making him lazy, he's not lazy, he's just a calm well schooled 16yo.
 

horselover2

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Hi felt i had to reply to this as i have had a lovely nf for 6 years who i love to bits but who is very lazy,doesnt want to work etc and i have tried everything under the sun to get him more forward and off the leg...he just reverts back at every opportunity to be slow/lazy again...he now is lame which has has rumbled on a few weeks and is not right generally,my gut feeling has always been something wasnt right with him and i have tried everything to find out what,but after bone scans,loads of lameness work ups,nerve blocks etc plus saddle fitters,physios,all sorts i am at the stage now where i have been told to retire him... he is not that old, 13 and also has cushings,on a low level of medication for that..so i do believe that there are many reasons for laziness,he has been like it since day 1 and is the same now.
just wanted to let you know my experience as never had a horse(pony) quite like this before and thought that management could change him,ie feeding,workload etc but cant get him fitter as he just wont push himself.love him to bits though and gutted how things have turned out.
 

Annagain

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My share horse is quite a laid back character but will do what is asked of him. A couple of times now he's gone through lethargic patches and they normally get followed pretty quickly by a periods of lameness. I'd give any horse who is lazier than usual the benefit of the doubt.
 

Goldenstar

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He looked not right behind has a sore back and his feet are a mess and needs to lose 100 kilos .
There's no way anyone can tell if he would be keener to work if some invested a shed load of money and time into getting him into shape .
What is it about this pony that means your friend is interested in it because there's lots of horses out there without all these if and buts and maybes .
The first thing your friend need to do is have a five stage vetting done it she's really interested .
Because that's the best chance you have of not ending up with an expensive unrideable money pit .
 

stencilface

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Sounds like he has issues that if fixed would make him much more comfortable. Trot to halt specifically would make me suspect it.

My horse has always been laid back, unless he gets excited then he can be very springy! Last few years he's had a few issues that needed working out and I think we're getting back to a fit horse. He's still laid back, but I can see that he's more comfortable working and more forwards now, if I don't work him forwards and correctly he's lame. Nothing wrong with a laid back horse though!
 

pixie27

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Thanks all - definitely a lot to think about there. I always wondered about EMS or PMMS. He was apparently tested for EMS when younger but came back negative - sorry for my ignorance but is it something that they're born with (and would have therefore shown up), or can it just occur? I'm assuming he wasn't tested for PMMS.

Definitely nothing wrong with a laid back horse! He's one I wouldn't mind taking hunting or on fun rides, without taking life insurance out first :D

Saddle doesn't appear to fit in any way, shape or form so I have a feeling that's likely to be a big reason behind not going forwards?

And sorry GS, to clarify, when friend knew him he was drastically overweight but seems to be in better condition now.

She's going back for a ride soon and hopefully get a proper idea of how he's feeling.
 

Booboos

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My horse was lazy and nappy for years for no obvious physical reason despite numerous vet exams. Turns out he has PSSM.

Why is your friend so keen on this horse? Sounds like a money pit either way and there is a good chance that whatever is causing his problems cannot be cured. I would never knowingly buy another PSSM horse - nothing but heart ache.
 

stencilface

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My sisters horse starting to stop at fences, did so for a couple of years before she got the saddle looked at. New saddle, and he was much happier going forwards. If your friend can try him bareback that might be an idea if the saddle is truly naff.
 

pixie27

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D'oh! Too many acronyms for me :D :p

So, if he'd already been tested for PSSM and EMS, and they were negative, are they likely to reappear as he gets older? Friend thinks he was tested as a 4/5yr old.

Apparently every year has just always gone flat for a few months (always the same time - end of summer/autmny time).

She's off for a ride this eve, will see if she'll get on bareback! Thanks all for your help - much appreciated. Going to be a tricky decision either way I think.
 

SEL

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I doubt he's been tested for PSSM - its chronically under recognised IMO. Pretty uncommon in British natives, but sadly not unheard of.

I would re-test for EMS as well.
 

pixie27

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I doubt he's been tested for PSSM - its chronically under recognised IMO. Pretty uncommon in British natives, but sadly not unheard of.

I would re-test for EMS as well.

There is a DNA test for the first variant of PSSM, but he would have needed a biopsy to test for the second one - not the kind of thing you forget having done!

Blimey, no ok that's definitely one you'd remember!

Forgive my ignorance on this - can you test for EMS/PSSM before buying? Is it something you could ask a vet to do, even though it's not your horse?
 

FfionWinnie

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D'oh! Too many acronyms for me :D :p

So, if he'd already been tested for PSSM and EMS, and they were negative, are they likely to reappear as he gets older? Friend thinks he was tested as a 4/5yr old.

Apparently every year has just always gone flat for a few months (always the same time - end of summer/autmny time).

She's off for a ride this eve, will see if she'll get on bareback! Thanks all for your help - much appreciated. Going to be a tricky decision either way I think.

PSSM is a genetic disorder and they either have it or they haven't however there are several types and only one type can be done by hair sample. The other muscle myopathies need a muscle biopsy (expensive) to diagnose.

You could have bloods taken and see if his CK and AST levels are raised. However not being raised wouldn't mean he was definitely clear just that if they were you would know there was likely to be an issue.
 

Carlosmum

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PSSM is a genetic disorder and they either have it or they haven't however there are several types and only one type can be done by hair sample. The other muscle myopathies need a muscle biopsy (expensive) to diagnose.

You could have bloods taken and see if his CK and AST levels are raised. However not being raised wouldn't mean he was definitely clear just that if they were you would know there was likely to be an issue.

Well you learn something every day. I had my old boy tested for Cushings at 14/15 because of laminitis problems, results came back negative but I am fairly confident he had EMS. I have his nephew ( on the dam side) who at 9 had his first laminitis episode this year. I now feel a conversion with the vet coming on!

Both ponies were/are New Forest, the current one is just as the OP described. Backward thinking, prone to napping or totally explosive. He has always been this way ( since a yearling) last year he had a full vet check and nothing was found. Some of his issues I believe are his wonky rider and possibly saddle. So addressing both issues are now on my to do list. Back check booked, then new saddle then lunge lessons for me! May be, just maybe something will help!
 

FfionWinnie

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EMS isn't the same thing as PSSM tho.

Really I wish anyone with a backwards horse which has good days and bad days would invest £30 with animal genetics for a PSSM type 1 test. It's just a plucked tail hair sample you can take yourself and send in. If that is negative then next time the bet is out get them to check the horses enzymes - CK and AST are the ones to ascertain if there could be a muscle myopathy. Eventually we will have a hair test for type 2. Otherwise it's a muscle biopsy but that is not cheap. Changing the horse's diet onto ultra low sugar and starch is also a good plan. It won't hurt.

My horse has PSSM 1. She is pretty much completely normal on the diet but she is completely unable to tolerate a saddle issue which other horses might ignore.
 
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