I have posted before about bringing my OTTB out hunting and have really appreciated all the good advice and encouragement from the group. Here is where we are now: After a year in 3rd flight we moved to 2nd. The first year he incrementally moved up from jigging the whole day to walking most of the time. When the other horses trotted he canters but he’s never been racy or tried to run off. Standing at checks can still be problematic but mostly we circle at a walk not a trot and he stands a good bit of the time. We’ve had 2 rides in 2nd flight and they were great. We had lessons in the summer and they were also good-nice jumping, no refusing. I can tell he likes them. On the way to the hunt he is still nervous-shaking, sweating, but much better once we are there. He had been so keyed up the first year I had to tack him up at home-I had several instances where I almost didn’t get the tack on he was so jumpy.
He has always been an odd little horse-for example letting other folk in the group trot off while he was staring at a car driving on he field road a mile away. BUT his pasture is 30 feet from a train track and he’s never been bothered by trains zooming by.
So, at a lesson yesterday, he’d not been ridden in 4 days, but since I’m a 9-5er that’s not unusual, never been an issue, he came off the trailer looking around and sweaty but I figured he thought he was hunting. He was at the kennels where we go on hound exercise, which he likes and is generally calm about, and where we have lessons, and sometimes he’s been shod. He focused on some dump trucks about a mile away. I tacked him in the barn and he seemed a bit up but not awful.
The trainer, who is also first whipper in, got on and he just would not focus at all. He refused to walk for the whole lesson. His head was stuck in the air. He kept looking across the fields at where the dump trucks had been-after a bit they’d moved off. You could tell he was paying no attention at all to where he was but was entirely focused on the stuff a mile away. She was finally able to get a few steps of walk-sort of a Paso Fino like gait. I got on and finally got maybe 3 steps. She got back on and tried again, no better. So we quit. It had been maybe close to an hour. No fussing with him just quiet riding. He was acting so odd that I thought maybe he was having an aneurism.
He was still so wound up that when I took him to the barn to untack it was almost impossible. He was fidgeting, staring all around, slinging his head, pouring sweat, trembling. The trainer gave him a shot of sedative, iv, and I put him back in the trailer. He seemed calm enough. My deal is that I help with some chores and I did for about 1 ½ hours. When I went back he was still trembling a bit but not sweating-still staring across the way where the trucks had been. I put his rug on and we went home. When I got back he seemed pretty normal.
The trainer said I should think of getting rid of him. She said I wasn’t getting any younger, humph! but true. She said there would be a young 3 day eventer who couldn’t afford a made horse and who would deal with this weirdness in exchange for a good jumper. She said she was not saying don’t get on him, but I didn’t need to have to put up with this.
I don’t need to add that I am heartbroken. I have put so much energy and time into this horse. The plus is that he never did anything bad-no bucking, bolting, rearing, the minus is that it was just so weird. And as I told her, he’s acted this way when I was hunting last year. But yall it really was so strange. And I do not want to get hurt. What do you think?