Suddenly spooking at jumps....eyesight or something else?

My Boys M&D

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My horse has always been a jumping machine, would very very rarely have a look at anything. He has competed up to BE100 and seen a lot of bright, scary fences. This year though he has become really spooky to jump. He often has a big spook on the last stride or right at the point of takeoff, although he has twice now stopped 3 or 4 strides out. I don't think he's being nasty with it as he will generally always go, just throws an uncomfortable jump.

Once he's jumped a fence once or twice he's generally ok. It's not just fillers and 'scary' things, in my lesson last week he spooked on takeoff at a simple crosspole. My trainer was laughing saying it was like training a 4 year old, I replied with "he's almost 15! He's knows what he's doing!"

I did an event with him a few weeks ago and he stopped at 1 fence in the warmup, a really innocuous oxer, then popped over a portable xc fence no problem, and flew round everything after that.

It's starting to knock my confidence though, and I feel I'm riding defensively, waiting for him to spook. I was already lacking in confidence at the start of this year as a result of a nasty fall so my trusty jumping boy suddenly going like jelly on me isn't helping!

It crossed my mind that it could be sight related? But he's not spooky in any other sense and there are no other 'symptoms' of sight problems I don't think? He's had teeth, physio etc and he's in the best form of his life, and going better than ever (spooking aside).

Any ideas? Could he be picking up on my nerves?
 

racebuddy

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Maybe just a check on his eyes to rule anything sinister out ,
Mine had really painful ear and was very spooky but after few weeks was fine x
 

EASTIE17

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Good idea to get the eyes checked. Had this with a similar jumping machine, it was his back was the issue
 

Michen

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On another note, as a general musing. It’s strange isn’t it that our first port of call is to tick off other things before a vet, when often it inevitably ends in one (I do this too!). But I wonder how much £££ we’d actually save if we simply got a vet involved early on who could (or should) be able to find any discomfort that may seem saddle related (my vet always puts his hands over the entire horse), or checking teeth, etc. By the time you’ve added those things up you may have well got a vet in the first place.

As I say I do this too but in hindsight could have saved myself a fair whack of money if I’d just paid the £100-£150 for a vet check initially before then diving into other things.
 

SEL

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My horse was only popping cross poles when she started to refuse or throw huge bucks on landing. She was young so vets were convinced it was training - but she kicked out in a flexion tests and x rays showed her hocks were awful. I wouldn't assume eyesight but that's easy enough for a vet to check if you have them out for a work up.
 

My Boys M&D

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Thanks all. I'm feeling so rubbish about this as I'm not sure it's in my head and it's my nerves/lack of confidence that is the problem.

He had a v v mild lameness period back end of last year (navicular related - treated and he's 100% sound now) but we x rayed back, neck and hocks to cover all bases and all was fine- vet said he'd pass a 5 stage vetting and that was December.

My physio is a vet physio who is very good and she can't find anything wrong with him, no soreness anywhere and she has usually always found niggles before we resolved this lameness. Everyone just keeps telling me how amazing he looks and he's certainly feeling very well, carrying himself like a bloomin grand national winner and carrying on like he's very pleased with himself. Trainer thinks the spookyness is lack of match practice (he hardly did anything last year) combined with feeling VERY well and a bit cheeky possibly.

If I went back to the vet I don't know where we'd start given he had pretty much a full workup 6 months ago, which is why I was clutching at eyesight?

It honestly feels like when a slightly wobbly amateur gets on a pro horse and the wheels somewhat come off. He jumps beautifully for my trainer, bounces round a 1.15m track for fun. Just spooks at a 70cm jump with me!!
 

Michen

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Thanks all. I'm feeling so rubbish about this as I'm not sure it's in my head and it's my nerves/lack of confidence that is the problem.

He had a v v mild lameness period back end of last year (navicular related - treated and he's 100% sound now) but we x rayed back, neck and hocks to cover all bases and all was fine- vet said he'd pass a 5 stage vetting and that was December.

My physio is a vet physio who is very good and she can't find anything wrong with him, no soreness anywhere and she has usually always found niggles before we resolved this lameness. Everyone just keeps telling me how amazing he looks and he's certainly feeling very well, carrying himself like a bloomin grand national winner and carrying on like he's very pleased with himself. Trainer thinks the spookyness is lack of match practice (he hardly did anything last year) combined with feeling VERY well and a bit cheeky possibly.

If I went back to the vet I don't know where we'd start given he had pretty much a full workup 6 months ago, which is why I was clutching at eyesight?

It honestly feels like when a slightly wobbly amateur gets on a pro horse and the wheels somewhat come off. He jumps beautifully for my trainer, bounces round a 1.15m track for fun. Just spooks at a 70cm jump with me!!
Thinks can change very quickly. I had a horse non positive to flexion and a few months later was, with hock arthiritis diagnosed.

I'm sorry but I can't see any reason why you wouldn't simply get a vet to check, especially with a lameness history. Navicular "treatment" often wears off quickly, especially if steroids. I think the stats I had from the vet several years ago were 80% of horses come sound for up to 6 months with the jabs- if that's what yours had.

Just get a vet out. Horses will often try and tell you subtly, i.e pick up on a bit of doubt within you but not show any issues to a pro who can ride them through their discomfort and quickly block any second guessing.

A vet physio is NOT a vet.
 

SEL

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There's another thread on here about a horse diagnosed with navicular, came sound, now struggling. I am on the navicular FB pages due to mine being diagnosed and many struggle once jumping is re-introduced even if they are sound on trot up
 

Pearlsasinger

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Just get a vet out. Horses will often try and tell you subtly, i.e pick up on a bit of doubt within you but not show any issues to a pro who can ride them through their discomfort and quickly block any second guessing.

.


Or to put it another way, the horse knows you will listen to what he is trying to tell you, while the pro, who is not emotionally involved with him, won't.
 

Michen

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Or to put it another way, the horse knows you will listen to what he is trying to tell you, while the pro, who is not emotionally involved with him, won't.
I don't personally believe horses think like that, but yes that's another way of putting it. My own opinion is that it's more likely that pros are able to "squash" any unwanted behaviour from a horse whether it's mental or physically induced, and that's why they can seemingly shout louder when ridden by their normal rider/owner.

Op, for context, my horse was pinging around 1.10m tracks with his pro rider and in the best form of his life. He had a hugely subtle but very persistant disuniting on a lead, he'd always done it when "wrong" to a fence but it because apparent every single time he jumped off the left lead however small or large the fence. He was found to have a ligament injury. Still jumping like a stag, still taking his rider to fences, still leaving every pole up. Ligament now healed, horse now back to mostly landing correctly 90% of the time unless, as before, wrong to a fence.

Don't ignore things- what's the worst that a vet check can give you other than peace of mind if fine or a starting point if not.
 

My Boys M&D

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I have never said I'm not getting a vet out, just that I don't know where to start. I've just sent a video to my vet of him being trotted up and ridden/jumped and he's happy with him and said he sees little point in another workup based on what I've said, the videos he's seen of the horse and the feedback from the vet physio (they work v closely together) :confused:

I know full well that a vet physio is not a vet.

Thank you to everyone else for your replies.
 

milliepops

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On another note, as a general musing. It’s strange isn’t it that our first port of call is to tick off other things before a vet, when often it inevitably ends in one (I do this too!). But I wonder how much £££ we’d actually save if we simply got a vet involved early on who could (or should) be able to find any discomfort that may seem saddle related (my vet always puts his hands over the entire horse), or checking teeth, etc. By the time you’ve added those things up you may have well got a vet in the first place.

As I say I do this too but in hindsight could have saved myself a fair whack of money if I’d just paid the £100-£150 for a vet check initially before then diving into other things.
i have to agree with this.
I don't really use a saddle fitter these days, and I'm now out of area for the physio i rated really highly before. I am happy with my farrier ;) so if we have any niggles with any of my gang I just pick up phone to the vet without faffing about with other stuff. If I have dental-related concerns I would want the horse sedated for a proper look anyway so again may as well get the vet to do the work. Personally I know my vets are excellent as it's a referral practice so they have a lot of specialists and so I'd rather just crack on with them than chip away at other stuff.
 

Michen

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I have never said I'm not getting a vet out, just that I don't know where to start. I've just sent a video to my vet of him being trotted up and ridden/jumped and he's happy with him and said he sees little point in another workup based on what I've said, the videos he's seen of the horse and the feedback from the vet physio (they work v closely together) :confused:

I know full well that a vet physio is not a vet.

Thank you to everyone else for your replies.
Sorry but get a new vet. One that doesn’t see any benefit in coming out to look at a horse that’s showing a new “thing”, that’s not been seen for 6 months and that’s had a lameness issue is not a vet I’d spend money with.

A simple trot up and look on hard and soft plus flexions is where they can start to see if anything has changed.
 
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