Ok so hang with me here, this is gonna be long!
and I’ll try and anticipate the questions I’ll get. Thanks In advance for reading this, I’m a pretty good horse person but this has be stumped and concerned.
Ottb (well not raced but had race training) gelding, 10 years old. Has not been sat on since he was 5 or so, at a rescue. (yeah it doesn’t sound good huh?) he has been a pasture ornament but one with extensive handling and ground work until my friend bought him (for free no worries) he was a mess physically, but has had a lot of chiropractic and massage done and is doing much better. He’s sound and can flex his neck, bend, stretch, etc. no previous major injuries, so it came time to get a saddle on him and start working him. The first time I bellied him (I am a more advanced rider than my friend and have brought my own ottb along well so I offered) he skittered and gave a small buck, it was clear he needed more work before riding. He got more Chiro and joint supplements and pain relief and ground work. Fast forward he’s been saddled extensively, (several times a week for 4 months) no problem. Lunges great. Has had a ton of desensitizing, like this boy will let you lay a tarp on him, walk through water, have ropes sling all over him, you name it. And I don’t think he’s faking it, he’ll get a little unsure but work through it and then the next time it’s old news.
Ive sat on him several times, he doesn’t really know leg pressure so we have been working on asking him to go forward on a lunge line while giving him a small bump with the leg so he starts to put them together. Done this a few times been going ok.
then today… normal warm up tack up check for chiropractic issues, tack fit, etc. my friend warmed him up on the lunge line then I got on. He stands at the mounting block, doesn’t seem concerned about being mounted (his eye will show it) so we walk on the lunge line and he goes forward, occasionally stops or turns to the middle but my friend tells him to walk on it gives a little flick of the whip and he walks on (he’s good with voice cues so we use those while adding leg) but then one time she asks him to go forward he breaks into an almost trot. No problem except apparently me jostling slightly (or something) set him off. He bucks, skitters, leaps, bucks again, rears, leaps, bucks, all while my friend is pulling him in on the lunge line. I realize I’m not going to stay on so I bail, I roll / jump off when I feel the time is right ish, only scraped my hand, until I sense he’s behind me and he runs me over… still while my friend is trying to stop him on the lunge line mind you. He stepped on my lower back which was my main concern, I jumped up out of sheer adrenaline and starting walking to well, make sure I could.
sooo… what the heck(or you know)??? Here’s everything I can think of:
I did not “kick” him or do anything that would have really startled him or hurt him (remember horse has had all sorts of things all over him, he’s pretty desensitized)
my friend did not “whip” him or do anything with the lunge whip she hasn’t done before
This was not a “I don’t like that” or “ouch” buck. I can sit a buck and even excuse it (someimes) Once I got off one horse that needs spurs onto another that really doesn’t and she gave a tiny buck like uh ouch, and I was like omg so sorry my fault I forgot to take them off.
This is was an explosion, plain and simple. I was coming off, the end. That’s bad enough but to run over me, either on purpose or on accident… bad. The one time I’ve fallen off my ottb in 5 years she jumped in the air and to the side in a rather fancy dressage move normally not capable of her to avoid stepping on me. The only time I’ve had a horse flip on me(no fault of her own) she was about to get up and squish me under her (shod) hooves, and I kept telling her whoa and she held herself in an awkward position to avoid stepping on me until someone dragged me out from under her.
Pain? He’s had a lot of pain management but admittedly is cold backed, doesn’t have muscle built up, etc. but why not react when I sit down on him?
Kissing spine? Vet and Chiro haven’t noticed any signs but something to rule out.
Saddle fit? He’s a hard to fit high whithered boy but in my opinion the saddle fits pretty well. Again why not react all the other times he’s been saddled then?
It was not a spook.
Is he green? Yes, very. He’s had very few rides but we were not asking him anything new
does he have a mental deficiency? Likely. But he’s had a ton of ground work and trusts his human… what else can be done for that?
He was not in a bit or bridle, just a rope halter I wasn’t even touching
I think he needs a professional trainer. At the very least. Just want to know if others have experienced something random and explosive like this and what were the causes or steps taken? I’m truly at a loss.
I will not get on this horse again. At least not for a long while after a reason for behavior is given or resolved. My friend is heartbroken because she loves him and has done so much for him but this is not ok…
any and and all thoughts welcome, thanks so much!