I second the person who said to pony this mare. Once that is going well, why not pony her on the trails? Then transition that into trail rides. Hack her until she relaxes. Forcing her into ring work might be part of why she is so nervous. She needs to re-learn that riding is a fun experience.
She hasn’t had enough training to be hacked on trails. She has just walk and a small amount of trot under saddle. We’ve ground driven her for several weeks. We’re going to try Chill supplement and see if that helps.
I had a gelding who had to be retired due to truly horrible kissing spine. He lunged fine. He was sometimes fine under saddle and sometimes not. It showed up in a bone scan and the Xrays were just terrible. But it couldn’t be diagnosed by lunging.
Also, just FYI, there are trainers who start horses out on the trail and others who take them out almost immediately. It’s a wonderful way to create a confident, forward-moving horse. I can understand not wanting to ride her on the trails right now, but why not pony her?
Also, being turned out all day doesn’t mean that the horse doesn’t have ulcers. It’s less likely but still possible.
Unless you really know what you are doing and/or have experienced help to teach you plus access to or own a suitable, steady eddy horse to Pony from? Ponying is not a solution and is just about impossible for many owners. You can end up with quite a mess on your hands possibly including a loose horse. Maybe two if it really goes south.
Ponying is just not something I am comfortable recommending over the Internet. Nobody should feel bad if they have no place to do it, no other horse to Pony from and no idea how to safely do it or anybody to teach them. If they lack these things, they should seek another way.
IMO, since OPs erratic mare seems to have good ground manners, it’s not a solution for coming apart under saddle with little or no warning. No idea what she’d use as a lead pony, not her other horse the Green 5 year old. borrowing one sound easy on paper, IRL, not so much. And there is a learning curve.
And, yes, I know how to pony. Rarely did it except for one place with youngsters and plenty of room I worked at part time. Generally lacked the steady eddy lead pony and no place but an arena frequently occupied by other riders to do it in. I usually just rode them out of under saddle issues.
I have started a couple hundred horses, and in that history I have had two mares who were unpredictably difficult under saddle. I didn’t own either, they were customer-owned horses. Both customers worked hard to perfect saddle fit and sought primary vet advice and chiro work, but neither delved into it more than that. In my opinion, and I easily could be wrong, it was back pain in both. Due to what, I’ll never know. It was years ago with both, and both continue to have issues, even with other trainers.
I think every trainer has a point where you decide not to push the button. I think that’s okay. We’re allowed to have self-preservation at some point.
I think the robaxin/bute trial is a great idea. I also think you need to think about putting a ceiling on the amount of money/effort/time you’ll put into this. It will get expensive quickly, and if you’re not willing to put money into extensive medical testing, you may (or may not) be throwing your training money away. I get that everyone is not made of money - which is why I think it’s important to put a cap on that amount now, at whatever amount is right for you.
Hey fabulous Coth members,
Here is the update. We’ve put her on 30cc of Chill to see if it helps with her nerves under saddle. She was ridden both on Sunday and today just at a walk with no issues or any tension under saddle. So hopefully (fingers crossed) it will continue to work for the next little bit. I do have two other horses that I could potentially pony her on however she is at the trainers with her sister. I’m heading out there tomorrow to get videos so I’ll see if I can link it on this page for you guys to see them.
Mare has been ridden at a walk 3 times this week with no hysterics both being lead and alone. Hopefully we may have helped her relax enough to be ridden.
No more advice just wishing you well…hope it turns out to be simple ??
I have (sadly) extensive experience with horses and chronic pain. My horse was stoic but just would not go forward and was having serious training issues. Never did anything violent. My friends horse started out great and as time passed just seemed NQR and offered occasional explosive behavior or at the minimum threatened it. Both horses have Kissing Spine. Both have had surgery. My horse is doing fine and my friends is fine too - just on a slower recovery/rehab because she does not ride enough.
If that mare was mine I would have a very thorough vet exam to rule out any sort of chronic pain. Maybe that once the mare has her fit and is then disciplined for it she is too afraid to have another and just sucks it up.
FWIW…although i would always do the very basic checks, i wouldnt be leaping to a chronic pain issue yet.
my 3yo was similar, some days so chilled and some days absolutely wired to the moon leaping and broncing and that was just doing groundwork. I have backed a lot of horses and trained a lot of 3/4/5yo but everything i knew wasnt enough for this horse.
i sent him away to a cowboy, who used a totally different approach and it caused a complete U turn in the horse. He is now the least spooky and most reliable 3yo ive had the pleasure to sit on…got on him in howling wind without lunging last night and he didnt put a foot wrong even when the wind whipped a bunch of loose leaves up and smacked him in the chest with them.
so if at any point she isnt improving, a different trainer might be able to make the breakthrough…nothing wrong with this trainer,but sometimes they just click with a slightly different method.
After having a bad moment, my trainer will get back on and she will be completely fine under saddle and cause no problems.[/QUOTE]
My horse does something like this, and I had a REALLY hard time pinning it down. He is quite sensitive, girthy/cold backed, and can have some HUGE explosions when the girth is tightened or when he is first asked to move under saddle. Once the outburst is over, he’s fine (and easy to ride, willing to work, etc).
As best we’ve been able to figure out, it’s something to do with his foot issues, he’s not 100% sound and the sensitivity seems to increase and get bad when he’s not as comfortable on his feet, and it gets better when he’s had his injections and special shoes and all that. It was to the point where I could tell exactly when to get a round of injections because of how he reacted to saddling/girthing.
I would look into a physical cause but keep in mind it may not be as simple as back/saddle fit, or ulcers.
In my case I’m pretty much resigned to having a retired horse (he’s only 13, but has been out on field board for four years now) and not being able to sell him.
Her third walk with no hysterics: https://www.facebook.com/teresa.thorpe.5/videos/10153163356237093/
Her sister’s first canter under saddle: