Barrels, Bucks, and Bad Behavior.

I have a 9 year old mare, she was broke at 5, started on cutting from a facility in Oklahoma when she was 6, and sold at 7 because of her hatred for men (I’m thinking that she didn’t like their methods of training and such and blew up on them). I bought her right after she turned 7 and she was pretty much green. She knew her basics but nothing special. I let her fill out and grow into herself a bit more (she was a very late bloomer) and by the time she was 8 she finished growing. The first three months I had her she was a bit dangerous and unpredictable so I spent the majority of my time using the Clinton Anderson method with her which she seemed to respond very well to.

Anyways, she’s been on the barrel/pole pattern for about 2 or 3 years now and I’ve hauled her everywhere in Missouri and some in Kansas and Oklahoma. We mainly rodeo, family and high school rodeos. She runs 2D/3D on barrels and 1D on poles. But it hasn’t been an abundance of rodeos and jackpots…her life has been pretty mild and not too stressful. This past year we moved for the 2nd time and I gave her a 3 month break after fall had ended so she could recuperate and she just isn’t coming back well at all.

EVERYTHING that could go wrong, has gone wrong. I’ve known for a little bit about her hocks but at the time I didn’t have the money or a source of transportation to get her to the vet and get injections. But anyways, she’s ran twice since October, and is getting worked about 2 times a week…not too stressful, right?? Well my well mannered, no buck no bite mare has turned into a hell horse for me. She stops and rears randomly, bucks when I ask her to lope, feels dangerous no matter what I do. She’s reared 4 times with me, each time getting a little higher. It’s so scary and I’m afraid she’s going to fall over backwards. As for bucking…well she bucks each time I lope her and after 45 minutes of warm ups she’ll buck the whole time I run her.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “why are you running her if she’s hurting?” Well we thought we had subsided the problem by giving her a bit of bute, chiropracting her, and getting her worked on with the pulse theray machine. Plus I bought Back On Track hock boots for her.

Here’s what I know: Chiropractor said her ribs, hips, and poll were out of place. Makes sense, so I got her popped. Then he said her teeth needed done, which it’s about time so I understand, and then he said that her hocks definitely needed injections at this point. Her stomach is causing issues probably because of bute and stress also… (What a hot mess)

My question to you is how can I help her stay calm and out of pain until the last week on January when she gets her injections and teeth done? I’m planning on just not riding her but her energy level will be through and roof and I don’t want to lunge her because of the stress on the hocks.

Questions, tips, concerns??? I’d really like opinions on everything that I’ve said! Thanks!!

I suggest simply turning her out each day, preferably with plenty of room to move around. No riding, no longing.

If it’s possible, I would let her LIVE out. Movement is good for all kinds of arthritis.

[QUOTE=Melissa.Van Doren;7964576]
I suggest simply turning her out each day, preferably with plenty of room to move around. No riding, no longing.

If it’s possible, I would let her LIVE out. Movement is good for all kinds of arthritis.[/QUOTE]

She lives out in a 4 acre pasture with 4 other horses!:slight_smile:

In addition to the other suggestions and what you already have planned, omeprazole and some easy groundwork working on getting her to respect you again. If she can be out in a pasture 24/7, she can do easy groundwork.

Throw her outside and forget about her. She needs a break. If she lives outside, she will self regulate exercise. Take her off all grain. If you want to feed her something, give her couple of cups of alfalfa pellets (dry if they are the soft ones, wet if they are hard. Try crushing it with a hoof pick.)

Turn her out and leave her out until she’s feeling better.

I’d definitely start treating for ulcers no matter what you do. But I wonder if you are missing something else that is hurting her? Sore hocks may be only one issue. Did your vet do a thorough lameness evaluation - front to back?

If she’s living out 24/7 - I doubt it’s excess “energy” that is making her rear and be angry. It’s something else…ulcers, pain, fear? I agree that she needs time off – no lunging for sure! But maybe ground work.

I have a mare recovering from a torn patellar ligament. She’s been “turned out” now for 5 months after IRAP treatment. We’ll re-evaluate her in a month or so, then hopefully get up to walking under saddle in March/April (since it’s winter here it’s easy to wait). Some injuries just take a lot more time to heal than others. Patience is important.

I will echo those who say to give her some time off. Also, perhaps she is having some painful issues with her ovaries? There have been quite a few threads on here regarding pain-related behavioral issues in which the mare was ultimately found to have swelling or cystic ovaries. If you have exhausted other possibilities like ulcers/lameness, it might be worth checking out. Good luck!

Check the saddle. Check where you are positioning it. If it is up on the shoulder blades, it will be causing her pain there and at the back of the bar tips because putting the saddle on the shoulder blades tips it up, causing more pressure on the back. Some body workers feel that bad saddle fit affects the back muscles and the muscles to the hind legs, causing them to move differently and eventually causing hock and suspensory issues. The behavioral issues you are seeing are more commonly associated with pain in the loin area from the back of the saddle than the front. It’s worth checking for sure.

Until you can get her in for a complete lameness evaluation by a good vet, throw her out in the pasture and leave her alone.

Keep in mind that when you finally do get her treated, she is going to remember the pain and you’ll likely have some behavioral problems to work through.

Have you had her checked for lyme?. Quite a few horses where I board had various symptoms. My own horse started kicking the farrier and trying to bite me. Another stopped going forward and another started to buck. It may be worth checking out.