Spooky, jumpy cob

Slrobo

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Joined
12 December 2018
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16
Hi I've had my cob now 3 months, shes a pretty safe, sane, sensible chunk of a mare, had been used mainly for hacking alone from what I was told. I have been walking her in hand, leading my son out with her and hacking alone and with another cob on the odd occasion. We had a new saddle professionally fitted and I've stripped her bridal back to a micklem with a loose ring snaffle (she had a bevel bit and market harborough reins) I'm feeding her a scoop of chaff and a moody mare supplement and have added 25ml of flax oil for joints and her coat. A bag of horsehage and she gets turn out for around 6 hours. I tried hi form supplement but she wont eat it and will leave her whole dinner.

She has become very jumpy, nappy and spooky when hacking out, she spun round with me last week and when I kicked her on to go forward she backed back into the road and wouldn't go forward, I jumped offer her as it was a main road with cars, i lead her up and down the road and then home, I thought maybe it was because she was in heat so gave her some time off but yesterday when leading my son round, where she would normally look after him she spooked and jumped, luckily I caught him so he didn't fall off her. What could be the reason for this, shes been like this for a few weeks now? Her feet are okay, shes not lame, she lunges well, great to handle ect..
 

be positive

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9 July 2011
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She is getting very little time out in the field, mine are all out 24/7 now and getting no additional hay or feed because there is enough grass growing, it may be that she is simply feeling fresh, over fed, underworked and in the stable too much of the time, unless she looks poor I would cut out the feed, give ad lib hay when she is in, soaked if possible, instead of haylage, turn out more ideally not on too much good grass and increase the work.

If she came with the bevel and market harborough I would suspect she can be a bit sharper at times which is why they were used, spring grass can have an effect on some and a magnesium supplement can help settle them down but usually more work, not less, is the best solution.
 

MissTyc

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25 June 2010
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2,376
Cobs are frequently grass reactive & in particular they are known for binging if turnout is limited. Is there any way she can stay for for longer, ideally 24/7? And then, work, work, work. Cobs are work horses; they thrive on it! Walking mine in hand is like flying a kite at this time of year, but once on board, he behaves. Brain exercises i.e. schooling exercises as well as endurance work.

I have also had very good success with https://calmhealthyhorsesuk.ecwid.com/#!/For-Horses-on-Grass-&-Grass-Affected-Horses/c/20373889 to balance grass-reactive cobs on the nutritional level.
 

MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

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16 February 2009
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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
Agree with poster(s) above: don't forget that she could well be coming into season too.....

Don't know whether you're "new" to cobs, but basically they can live on air - and thrive! I wonder if the Horsehage is way too rich for her, if you can get it, try some of last year's hay as it won't be so rich. Also - I don't know whether you are in a yard with restricted grazing or not - but I'd be turning out 24/7 now. My two have been out without rugs OR hay all winter, and have thrived.

Just wondering where you ride? Do you ride in a circular route? Or do you go out and back the same way? Coz going out and back the same way is a sure-fire way of producing a nappy horse! I've only ever had to do it with one of mine once or twice even, and by god I had a nappy little git the next time out! Circular routes are best, if you can.

Does your mare have a field-companion? Or if she does, has she pair-bonded with it? Coz this might be a reason for the nappy-ness; I bought a mare last autumn, she was fine to take the other horse in the field out up until relatively recently, but now she's gone all broody and is starting to stress when the other horse is out of sight! Unfortunately, with mares, and especially at this time of the year, they do seem to get a bit daft!

Something you could do is to work on some groundwork with your mare; leading her around the yard, picking up feet, making her turn away from your hand, backwards, forwards etc etc. Just handling her basically. If you find she gets titty about it then get a Halti or Pressure halter which should soon remind her of her manners, kindly of course. Then (put a bridle on for this) take her out on the road, in hand, leading her, just to get her away from the yard but respecting you as Herd Leader and being confident and happy with you. I feel she would benefit from this.

Also, you may need to re-consider what bit she rides in; if she's had a bevel and market harborough, then gone back to a snaffle, she may well not be happy with that. When I changed my old boy back to a snaffle after being in a French Link Rugby Pelham, he just fell out in front and went as flat as a pancake! Correct bitting makes such a difference, especially with cobs who naturally tend to go on the forehand and/or be heavy in hand. Just a suggestion, but it might be worth getting hold of the "Bit Fit" lady to see when she's in your area, she has some very good reviews at sorting bitting issues and a professional standing back to look at a problem is a huge help, I find.
 

Slrobo

New Member
Joined
12 December 2018
Messages
16
Agree with poster(s) above: don't forget that she could well be coming into season too.....

Don't know whether you're "new" to cobs, but basically they can live on air - and thrive! I wonder if the Horsehage is way too rich for her, if you can get it, try some of last year's hay as it won't be so rich. Also - I don't know whether you are in a yard with restricted grazing or not - but I'd be turning out 24/7 now. My two have been out without rugs OR hay all winter, and have thrived.

Just wondering where you ride? Do you ride in a circular route? Or do you go out and back the same way? Coz going out and back the same way is a sure-fire way of producing a nappy horse! I've only ever had to do it with one of mine once or twice even, and by god I had a nappy little git the next time out! Circular routes are best, if you can.

Does your mare have a field-companion? Or if she does, has she pair-bonded with it? Coz this might be a reason for the nappy-ness; I bought a mare last autumn, she was fine to take the other horse in the field out up until relatively recently, but now she's gone all broody and is starting to stress when the other horse is out of sight! Unfortunately, with mares, and especially at this time of the year, they do seem to get a bit daft!

Something you could do is to work on some groundwork with your mare; leading her around the yard, picking up feet, making her turn away from your hand, backwards, forwards etc etc. Just handling her basically. If you find she gets titty about it then get a Halti or Pressure halter which should soon remind her of her manners, kindly of course. Then (put a bridle on for this) take her out on the road, in hand, leading her, just to get her away from the yard but respecting you as Herd Leader and being confident and happy with you. I feel she would benefit from this.

Also, you may need to re-consider what bit she rides in; if she's had a bevel and market harborough, then gone back to a snaffle, she may well not be happy with that. When I changed my old boy back to a snaffle after being in a French Link Rugby Pelham, he just fell out in front and went as flat as a pancake! Correct bitting makes such a difference, especially with cobs who naturally tend to go on the forehand and/or be heavy in hand. Just a suggestion, but it might be worth getting hold of the "Bit Fit" lady to see when she's in your area, she has some very good reviews at sorting bitting issues and a professional standing back to look at a problem is a huge help, I find.
Hi, thanks for your reply, shes in a field on her own, its 10 acres I cant leave her out 24/7 but as the lighter nights are drawing in she stays out longer, I do alot of inhand work with her, we have a nice circular route out of our farm round the village and in the back lane, normally I do something every other day and have even started schooling/flat work with an instructor every other week to build my confidence and build her balance as shes never been schooled before.

I know cobs live on fresh air, the chaff is a token gesture so I can get the moody mare supplement down her (it's a handful) sometimes she will leave it and also the hay she gets half a bag now shes out longer and she has even left some of that. Some days I give her our silage we made if its dry but if its damp or mouldy I give the horsehage (high fibre).

As for her bit, she's sold last October the lady who sold her had her for her 16yr old daughter they had her in a loose ring (they also kept her stables alot as she only has 0.5acres) the lady who bought her did everything in a market harborough and bevel as she said it increased topline. I rode her in a bevel and found she kept dropping her head and she is very sensitive round her head, since changing to the micklem and loose ring I found she didn't do it unless she was itchy. As for hacking out I try and do loops where I can, i do believe the last time we rode her she had just come into season and the reason i gave her a few days grace but she should have been finished yesterday, she has never spooked inhand before I'm a really confident handler (more so than rider if you get me)
 

Shay

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17 August 2008
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6,191
Are you keeping her alone? Horses are really herd animals - she will need company. She could be becoming increasingly stressed alone and this is just now beginning to show.
 

Pearlsasinger

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20 February 2009
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22,630
Location
W. Yorks
I would find her a companion, split the 10 acres into smaller paddocks which can be rotated, leave her out 24/7 or at least 12 hrs per day and stop feeding her anything except hay. I would also get a 2nd opinion on the saddle fit.
 

Leo Walker

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19 July 2013
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Northampton
Even if shes not completely alone being out alone on 10 acres will mean shes out of sight of other horses a lot of the time. Mine is a lovely, sweet kind pony and would cope on her own for a while, then she would react like this, slowly becoming more and more distressed.
 

splashgirl45

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6 March 2010
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suffolk
mine had been used to,living in a herd of 12 then she had to be in an individual field with horses either side, and was very spooky and hyper, i moved her to a diferent yard and she was in a field with another horse and was immediately much more settled. i think some horse need to be in the same field as others...
 
Joined
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Looking at the older posts, the horse is kept at a cattle farm so I suspect that the grass is rich, fertilised grass!

I also will add my name to the list that says being on her own (with no other horses) could be contributing to her behaviour.
 

mule

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27 October 2016
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3,653
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Ireland
I'd take her off the supplement and see does it make a difference. They often have unexpected side effects.
Just change one thing at a time. If you change a couple of things at once and the problem goes away you won't know what caused the problem.
 
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