Sideways spooking/shoulder dropping

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A disheartened post this afternoon, my cob has developed a very good 180 spin with added shoulder drop which is getting me and anyone else who rides him off. He doesn’t do it all of the time and tends to be in new places. I’ve not ridden him for a couple of months due to a couple of things but I’ve kept him in light work doing in hand walks, poles and lunging and my friend has started riding him once a week. We took him this morning to an arena hire for a change of scene and my friend came off twice in the space of 5 mins just walking around. He wasn’t meandering she was making him work but there is always a trigger (first time a car went through a puddle and the second time the horses in the next field were galloping around) but they are almost impossible to sit. Understandably she doesn’t want to ride him again for a bit so I rode him back home and he was fine just felt full of energy which is not a bad thing he just seems to be using it in the wrong way. He doesn’t do it at home or out hacking, just seems to be in new places (he has been in this arena 4 times in total, he decked me last time as well when a horse spooked him). He’s not the anxious, spooky type really, you can chuck a tarp over him etc but for some reason this seems to be his thing.

Don’t think it’s pain related, he’s fine otherwise just if something sets him off that’s his thing and it’s becoming worrying as I want to take him out for shows in the summer and have visions of us just getting decked at every opportunity!

Sorry for the rambling post but is there anything I can do to try and help this? I know when they are coming as can feel him change so try and distract him by doing a circle or a transition but just seem to be failing! He’s been to a few new places this year (beach, farm ride, dressage) and 50% he’s fine and the other 50% he can be a knob!
 

Teajack

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I think you need to get someone on him that can sit the spin/drop and work him hard! He has learnt that this is a nice easy way out of work, and unfortunately until someone can ride it out of him he will keep doing it!
I rode a pony who did the shoulder drop/spin thing then cantered back home. When I learned to sit it (almost certainly couldn't nowadays!) he never did it with me again, but still did it to other riders if it worked with them. One of those leather loops that fasten on the front saddle D's might be useful for staying on?
 
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Yes I agree I’ve managed to sit to it once and then he didn’t bother for the rest of the session but sadly can’t seem to sit to them recently, he managed to get my instructor off before Christmas but think she might be my best chance! It’s just annoying how inconsistent he is with it which is making me dread taking him anywhere!
 
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I rode a pony who did the shoulder drop/spin thing then cantered back home. When I learned to sit it (almost certainly couldn't nowadays!) he never did it with me again, but still did it to other riders if it worked with them. One of those leather loops that fasten on the front saddle D's might be useful for staying on?
Exactly what is happening if you can sit to the first one or two then he doesn’t bother. I always get back on and make him work but it’s only a matter of time before I’m off again haha! I think a strap might help, at least it might make me feel more confident anyway, it’s not like it hurts when I come off it just makes me feel like I can’t ride!
 

JFTD-WS

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A good saddle definitely helps - a stock or western saddle would be ideal, but I find having a decent forward cut jumping saddle with knee blocks makes a big difference too. One of mine is the devil for this move - once you learn to sit it, it's nothing more than an annoyance, but when they can get you off, they'll keep at it. Some you can threaten out of it with whip placement and a bit of well timed growling, but sometimes you just have to ride it out - I'm not sure there's any real trick to it, just leg forwards, shoulders back (not pretty, just secure!).
 

buddylove

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If he always spins/drops in the same direction I would be tempted to carry a schooling whip on that side and when you feel him revving up for his party piece waggle the whip in his eye line and a good strong "get on you bugger" might make him think twice? I have often found a whip carried in front of the saddle makes more of an impact on a nappy so and so, good luck 😊
 
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Sadly no access to another saddle but I know that isn’t helping as I have a vsd with basically no knee roll but I might ask my saddler for bigger blocks to see if that helps!

Yes just thinking about all the times I’ve been ditched and he has always stopped and spun anti clockwise or shoots left so his right shoulder is the one that disappears so that’s a good idea as I always carry my whip in my right hand due to habit and him falling out through the shoulder generally. Will definitely carry in my left hand! This is the signature move in screen shots - the excuse was the letter A had moved! God bless horsey friends who know to keep on filming! 5DAF98E8-56BE-4E62-AE16-8344812B6A3B.jpeg 5DAF98E8-56BE-4E62-AE16-8344812B6A3B.jpeg 6C654374-0CE2-4BFC-A706-EC9F91DCE48F.jpeg 76000FDA-27F0-4640-82C9-25F7E78909A5.jpeg
 

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You have to ride the horse in front of you. Instructors are all very well in teaching one to ride a good horse correctly ,but in my experience ,completely pants when it comes to an artful dogger. The result of the pictures you showed (Bravely) was entirely predictable . I have a good friend (no names ,no pack drill) who is the best rider I have ever met (sorry Mark Todd you are in second place).She has a young horse who gets her every time exactly the same way. You absolutely need to keep your core , your center of gravity slightly behind the norm . You tipped forward in the pictures (as did my friend ) the result was the same ,eating dust. And dont think that having slightly shorter stirrups is bad riding . Bad riding is falling off. Do what it takes to stay on the tonker. I am sure he is otherwise entirely lovable (being a colored horse)
 

ILuvCowparsely

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A disheartened post this afternoon, my cob has developed a very good 180 spin with added shoulder drop which is getting me and anyone else who rides him off. He doesn’t do it all of the time and tends to be in new places. I’ve not ridden him for a couple of months due to a couple of things but I’ve kept him in light work doing in hand walks, poles and lunging and my friend has started riding him once a week. We took him this morning to an arena hire for a change of scene and my friend came off twice in the space of 5 mins just walking around. He wasn’t meandering she was making him work but there is always a trigger (first time a car went through a puddle and the second time the horses in the next field were galloping around) but they are almost impossible to sit. Understandably she doesn’t want to ride him again for a bit so I rode him back home and he was fine just felt full of energy which is not a bad thing he just seems to be using it in the wrong way. He doesn’t do it at home or out hacking, just seems to be in new places (he has been in this arena 4 times in total, he decked me last time as well when a horse spooked him). He’s not the anxious, spooky type really, you can chuck a tarp over him etc but for some reason this seems to be his thing.

Don’t think it’s pain related, he’s fine otherwise just if something sets him off that’s his thing and it’s becoming worrying as I want to take him out for shows in the summer and have visions of us just getting decked at every opportunity!

Sorry for the rambling post but is there anything I can do to try and help this? I know when they are coming as can feel him change so try and distract him by doing a circle or a transition but just seem to be failing! He’s been to a few new places this year (beach, farm ride, dressage) and 50% he’s fine and the other 50% he can be a knob!
My mare shoulder drops and it is because she is not engaging her hind quaters on a ride and I have to get her walking forward more so her shoulder comes through and she works through it. hard to describe what she does and what we are doing to correct her. The spinning is no fun, and my livery just sent one back because it span 180 many times and got her off and her trainer who I might add broke her hip and still recovering on crutches, mare has issues which would be to costly to go through so mare sent back to own, as it was on loan. She was going to use a fulmer snaffle with keepers and market harborough but never go to use them.



Have you checked the usual teeth back saddle etc?? Maybe try a different bit like a fulmer snaffle which aids turning but you must use the keepers to get the full effect. I have used it many times on horses like this and it can help with the turning issue pictures of both
https://www.thehorsebitshop.co.uk/product.php?xProd=271 https://www.thehorsebitshop.co.uk/product.php?xProd=274&jssCart=36b4857b0f82a194a8d8376220656916
Personally I think the full cheek is pointless, where as the Fulmer you have the slightly bend top parts which a designed to put the opposite side of the cheeks when you pull the rein so helps turning when you have the keepers on. That is one of the differences between the Fulmer and the full cheek
 
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JFTD-WS

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The result of the pictures you showed (Bravely) was entirely predictable . I have a good friend (no names ,no pack drill) who is the best rider I have ever met (sorry Mark Todd you are in second place).She has a young horse who gets her every time exactly the same way. You absolutely need to keep your core , your center of gravity slightly behind the norm . You tipped forward in the pictures (as did my friend ) the result was the same ,eating dust.
Absolutely - the lower leg should be in front of your shoulder - keep your weight back so he can't just plop you over the shoulder!
 

Shay

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We see these a lot on pony club! Little monsters. It you can sit it he'll stop - which you know of course. Bob is right you were slightly over his shoulder at from the first startle giving him the option to dump. Just in case - do get your saddle checked. It is possible that as the rider's weight comes forward out of balance the saddle digs in one side or the other precipitating the spin. Lots of core strength, a slightly defensive seat at all times, a really stable lower leg. If you can stop him tipping you forward you have the best chance of sitting it. I'm not a fan of using straps etc to hang on (although better than the mouth) simply becuase if you hang on as you come off you'll injure your shoulder or elbow.
 

scats

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I think you’re going to have to adopt safety seat for a while. Forget what you’ve been told about shoulder, hip, heel alignment and get your bum back in the saddle and your legs in front of you.

Keep slightly behind the movement at the moment, so the horse is a little in front of you. Get a neck strap on it to grab if you do get caught out and need an anchor.
 

Red-1

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My last horse had a wicked spin, but most of the time he worked beautifully. When we changed saddle to one he liked the spinning stopped. I did not school him out of it, it simply ceased to happen. I think the saddle can be a minor irritation if it is nearly right, but not right, which makes them on hyper alert to stuff.
 

emfen1305

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Thanks all, he’s regularly checked (paranoia from my last horse won’t go away) but I will get the saddle checked for when he comes back into proper work, I have had some ongoing issues with it lifting at the back and being tight at the front so could be that but wonder why he only does it when we are in new places, he has never done it at home. I might see if I can try some different saddles on him but it’s a shame because the one I have is brand new and made to fit him! Hopefully she can just adjust it!

If it’s not that then it sounds like it’s my position that’s not helping, which I know because I do tip forward! So I’ll definitely do some work on that!
 

JFTD-WS

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If it lifts at the back, it could definitely affect him enough to cause this sort of move - and sometimes horses will only react to physical triggers when they're a bit stressed (they can "cope" elsewhere).

But either way, having sorted the saddle, you want your heels down, your lower leg in front of you, on the girth like an anchor, and your shoulders back - it's not dressage-y, or "correct", but it's a heck of a lot harder to ditch you if you're sitting up.
 

Britestar

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I had one that did this. I learnt to sit them, and although she continued to do it, it was very half hearted.
One day, someone offered to ride her as I was really busy. She dropped her within 5 minutes. From that day on, it seemed to become her mission to get anyone and everyone off.
I sold her - with full disclosure.
 

emfen1305

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I think reading everyone’s comments has made me realise the saddle is the cause or definitely a contributing factor which has created the habit, thinking back on all of the times he’s done it, it’s been all in a short space of time, say all the same week it’s been when I’ve had said fitting doubts so hoping it is that simple! Which is also annoying as this saddle has been adjusted that much that I might need to think about getting another!
 

ihatework

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A couple of things that might help stay in the plate,

Gel out saddle cover & an RS-Tor.

If he is being fed, stop it.
Up his workload.

And if you are sure it is just cheeky behaviour then I’d be inclined to give him a bollocking if he doesn’t pack it in sharpish.
 
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my old horse developed this when he was 5-some horses are more reactive to sound than sight (he wasnt afraid of anything he could see). It could be the saddle but when they learn something like this (and it could as easily be a buck or nappy half rear) then they fall back on it when stressed. Agree that you have to learn to ride it-its not fun and I do sympathise. Mine did grow out of it though!

ride defensively as JFTD suggests-heels down, sit back, lower leg in front (look at some dealers riding in adverts!), get a sticky gel seat saver/knee blocks and an RS Tor (agreeing with IHW,I've found the RS Tor is better than a neck strap for thios type of manouvre), I used to keep my hands a little wide and a litle high (mine could drop you in either direction) and anything that gives you a bit more confidence such as a BP.
 

emfen1305

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Thanks MoC and ihw - I had never heard of a RS Tor before, I just googled it, it looks great, does it really work? To be honest he is so quick with it that I don't think a neck strap would help unless I rode holding onto it constantly, so it looks like the RS Tor would be better.. I am guessing it would only work if I properly anchored myself though so still need to work on that. Yes think it is a sound thing, he has managed to do it 6 times so far (3 with me, 2 with my friend and 1 with my instructor). Sometimes he will chuck in a rodeo if he's excited but that's less common now and annoyingly I can sit to those because he is moving forward, it is this stupid slam on then spin that gets me off.

I have invested in some riding tights with the sticky pads on the bums and legs for when I can get back on and I have booked a Chiropractor to come out and have a look to definitely make sure it isn't pain related before I start growling at him. The saddle fitter has also been booked and have asked her to bring some different saddles as well as adjust mine but think he is using it as an excuse so I think I need to pull my brave pants up and get on with it!
 

gunnergundog

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Check the saddle and then if no improvement if he was mine he would be living out 24x7 on grass, fresh air and water. He would have the legs lunged off him before I got on and I would ride him with his nose buried between his legs. This may sound counter-intuitive but to whip around the horse needs to bring his head up so the deeper he is the harder this is for him and the more time you have to react. You need to keep him up to the bridle of course and focus on keeping him straight and even, but I found this easier to do with a very sharp little madam than if I rode her in a more correct outline. Yes, some may call it rollkur, but you know what? If a horse is nice to me, I am nice back, if it is vile to me and generally rude I have no qualms about letting it see the error of its ways until such time as realisation dawns and then I become a nice guy again. Also, I have used draw reins in the past in such circumstance to assist with keeping the nose down so that all I had to focus on was riding the horse forwards up to the contact. Probably not very PC suggestions in this day and age, but they work and in my book my safety/that of the jockey comes first.

As others have suggested, think old fashioned hunting seat rather than pretty dressage seat. A forward cut jumping saddle with big knee rolls will help no end. Can you borrow one short term perhaps?

Also, consider getting a local dealer/nagsman/pro to ride him a few times to break the habit before you get back on.
 
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My pony did this with his loaner at a show this weekend... her and her instructor have been working on a more forward rhythm in the canter which he had down to a tee, but between the second and third fence (like the third was still round a corner, not even in sight) he decided he's pop his head in, stop and drop shoulder to come back to the gate. The girl laughed, gave him a hug said good boy (to the disgust of lots of people there) and said - 'Well I'm just glad he isn't boring!'

Time to learn to sit behind that forwardness!

Moral of the story - everything is a lesson, look at it that way and it's never as bad as it first feels :)
 

emfen1305

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Check the saddle and then if no improvement if he was mine he would be living out 24x7 on grass, fresh air and water. He would have the legs lunged off him before I got on and I would ride him with his nose buried between his legs. This may sound counter-intuitive but to whip around the horse needs to bring his head up so the deeper he is the harder this is for him and the more time you have to react. You need to keep him up to the bridle of course and focus on keeping him straight and even, but I found this easier to do with a very sharp little madam than if I rode her in a more correct outline. Yes, some may call it rollkur, but you know what? If a horse is nice to me, I am nice back, if it is vile to me and generally rude I have no qualms about letting it see the error of its ways until such time as realisation dawns and then I become a nice guy again. Also, I have used draw reins in the past in such circumstance to assist with keeping the nose down so that all I had to focus on was riding the horse forwards up to the contact. Probably not very PC suggestions in this day and age, but they work and in my book my safety/that of the jockey comes first.

As others have suggested, think old fashioned hunting seat rather than pretty dressage seat. A forward cut jumping saddle with big knee rolls will help no end. Can you borrow one short term perhaps?

Also, consider getting a local dealer/nagsman/pro to ride him a few times to break the habit before you get back on.
There's some things here I can do (riding with more of a contact, lunging before I get on, riding more defensively) and things I cant (living out 24x7 - we don't have the land though he has daily turnout). Just to stress he has only ever done this when we have been out (once hacking, once at the beach and 4 times at a different yard) and doesn't do it at all at home so just need to come up with a coping strategy for new places, I think just generally sitting back and getting after him sounds like the general consensus. Luckily it doesn't hurt it is just unnerving which then perpetuates the cycle of me not riding confidently when I get back on so he does it again!
 
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There's some things here I can do (riding with more of a contact, lunging before I get on, riding more defensively) and things I cant (living out 24x7 - we don't have the land though he has daily turnout). Just to stress he has only ever done this when we have been out (once hacking, once at the beach and 4 times at a different yard) and doesn't do it at all at home so just need to come up with a coping strategy for new places, I think just generally sitting back and getting after him sounds like the general consensus. Luckily it doesn't hurt it is just unnerving which then perpetuates the cycle of me not riding confidently when I get back on so he does it again!
if he's ok at home then do some work without stirrups and some in two point to secure your lower leg :)
 
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