Help WOLF TEETH Behavior problem.

UPDATE: seller came to visit horse at new barn, horse tried to get seller off for 10 ish minutes than gave up and just started trotting casually and calmly. seller offered to take horse back to old barn for training. Went to visit horse at sellers barn and behavior had stopped completely. Now wondering why?

Hi need help and advice. Just recently purchased a 3 year old friesian mare who is only about two months under saddle. I am a college student and was planning to bring her along with full time help from a professional rider. I had a tight budget and wanted to learn how to train a young horse myself while I am still relatively young as I may possibly want to be a trainer some day. I was looking for a sweet easygoing horse, green was okay but dangerous not. The seller said she had never put a foot wrong. And when I tried the mare two times, I was able to walk trot her, she was an angel, brave and kind. However, the second we moved her to my barn I board out (only about two weeks from the last time I saw her) she started acting rather scary undersaddle (bucking and rearing trying to get rider off). She has only been with us for four days and only my trainer has ridden her twice so far (not me). We have lunged her and prepped her ( was great and relaxed on lunge) and the second my trainer gets on she tries to dump her, can’t even walk a circle on a loose rein. My trainer has sucessfully brought along and broke multiple young horses and is an FEI dressage rider. I contacted the seller, and the seller claims she has never done this before and believes this could be due to caps and wolf teeth pain. As apparently, she started throwing her head recently before she came. Still, I am confused on how this sweet sweet girl could change in such a short time period. I am getting her teeth done ASAP to see if that is the problem. But I am unsure if the teeth would result in such a fast negative change especially when I tried her two weeks ago and she was fine. ANY ADVICE or similar situation experience would be appreciated. I don’t want to part with her but I can’t risk me and my trainers safety either. Also, she is a dressage horse in dressage training programs.

Possibly. Are you riding her in the same bit/bridle you tried her with? Do you know if she has her wolf teeth still? They would have come in a while ago, and if her bit was lower in her mouth before and now it’s higher she could be feeling something.

What about the saddle?

Also she is 3. She doesn’t know much, she may have been thrown into heat with the move, and she’s had 2 months under saddle. That’s really not a lot, but I would be concerned that her first reaction to a rider now is to get rid of it.

Did you draw blood to check for drugs at the PPE? One would hate to think that, but it does happen.


She still has her wolf teeth in. The vet at the PPE said that she needs caps fixed, that they were falling off. She does have a different bridle and saddle. She has a flash bridle which is different than she had before. The first saddle my own saddle (adjustable custom) didn’t seem to fit her amazing so we are getting it adjusted soon. We tried a different saddle in the barn (stubben) that seemed to fit better the second time but my trainer still got dumped off.

I scheduled her teeth for wednesday and the seller is going to come get back on her at my barn because my trainer and I are scared of getting thrown off.

We took blood and thats a good suggestion to double check.

Are you riding with a bridle or a halter? I always start mine in a side pull.

I don’t think wolf teeth would cause a reaction like you describe. Kissing spines or back pain perhaps?

But most likely this is a training issue. Mare is okay with her old owner but not okay with strangers getting on her.

Also I would try adding a weighted back pack. I always take old textbooks, fill the back pack and tie it to a western saddle. See how she handles weight without a person. She could be reactive to the riders leg. Not a bad idea to take some rubber boots, fill with sand or rocks, tie those on as well… I’ve done this with my Paso who freaks at leg pressure… He’s much better now.

This is a matter of figuring out what is triggering the behavior - the riders weight, legs, or the bridle. Have you ground driven or long lined the horse to see if it’s the bridle causing pain?

I spend a long time, leaning over the horse and pretend mounting, before I ever commit to getting on. I want a horse that is completely comfortable with me clambering up there. I often just put weight on and reward with cookies. My Paso was beaten severely before I got him. One of the first things he learned was to stand still for mounting. Once you got up there, and put leg on, then he would take off like the devil was chasing him. He’s come a long way since then.

This is something you should never rush. i can understand being scared, which is why I’m saying you don’t need to be getting on at this point. Go back a step, get some cookies and reward the horse for standing still while you pretend to mount.

Do be careful about wolf teeth removal - don’t let anyone take a hammer to remove them! Yes some dentists do that. I’ve seen it. No sedation either and the horse fought like crazy. The person deserved a kick in the head if you ask me. This was done by a university of all places.

I’d be curious about the saddle fit. Bucking doesn’t immediately signal mouth pain to me. I’d get rid of the flash, at least for now, though. If her mouth or jaw hurts, a flash is going to be agony. In fact, I’d probably try to ride without a bit for a while, or if you opt for a bit go with a Nathe or a Duo (soft, pliable plastic).

It will be interesting to see what happens when the previous owner comes to see her/ride her. Try to pick her brain about how the horse was managed and worked.

It may be that she’s just young, doesn’t know much, and is way out of her comfort zone. If she’s working well on the lunge, I’d do short sessions of that for a while, coupled with ground work on a lead–walking patterns, stepping over ground poles, etc. Lots of praise.

After a couple of weeks of that, I’d add getting on and getting off a couple of times, and then finishing the session. Do that over a few days, then try some walking around for a couple of minutes.

Anyway, you get the idea. Going really slowly and just acting as though this horse knows nothing is probably your best strategy. Good luck.


My first thought was drugs.

”‹”‹”‹”‹My second (more likely) thought is the horse has higher standards for saddle fit than your trainer does.

I have a horse who has the nerves behind his shoulders close enough to the skin that they can be pinched between his shoulder blades and the saddle. If the saddle is too close to the pinch point he will buck me off if I ignore his warnings - which were very subtle and very fast in the beginning. If I move the saddle back a half centimetre he is happy, willing and enthusiastic about what we’re doing today.

I have learned his warnings and he has learned to trust me to get off and fix it. More than once I wasn’t sure if he was going to stop long enough to let me dismount. The more times I ride without issue, the less worries he has, but if he actually gets to bucking he will be anxious about moving off the block for a few days.

I tell you this not because I think your saddle is positioned wrong but to illustrate how a tiny thing wrong with saddle fit that would not bother many horses can be a huge issue for another. A horse barely started may not have the tolerance for strangers with odd aids (to her - your body will position the aids differently from the previous owner) and an uncomfortable or painful saddle. The horse gets the final say on saddle fit - which is going to be harder since you don’t know her yet.


Flash Noseband on a 3 year old?! I’d get back to very basic tack.


How does she react on long lines with reins attached to bit? Running the long lines through a higher hole on the surcingle can mimic rider’s approximate rein aid and pressure. That should help you determine if it’s a teeth issue or something else. Typically if there is a problem coming from young horses’ changing mouths, I can feel/see it on the lunge or long lines.
Is she in the same bit she was in before? Bit inspected thoroughly for any sharp or worn pieces that could cause discomfort? Lastly, Possible to get a saddle fitter out for her?

edit- I have absolutely seen caps, hooks etc cause dramatic reactions in otherwise easy going youngsters. Whenever I get a young or new horse in, dentist apt and saddle fitting are first priority.

All horses should have their teeth looked at and floated, and wolf teeth removed before the bridle goes on for the first time. Failure to do this indicates a poor job of breaking, and “amateur” breaking job, which may well show up in different ways over time. By putting a flash on her, you are putting pressure on sharp teeth, pushing them into the sides of her cheeks. Substantial pain, and substantial discomfort for her. Yes, it may well be the teeth that are the root of your problems. However, since this has now happened, it is a part of her history now. You will have to undo the damage done, regain her trust and positive attitude that has been already lost. Get the teeth done, and go back and re-break her, look for holes in her training.

A horse with bad molar points and problematical wolf teeth will flip itself over due to pressure from a halter on the side of the face. The reactions can be as devastating as this from this issue. Keep this in mind.

If your young horse needs dental care and still has it’s wolf teeth, it is best to not try to ride it until these issues are taken care of. If your “coach” does not know this, you need a new coach. Good luck.

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Besides the above, many young horses work great at home but the wheels fall off the first time they ever leave the security of the home barn and familiar surroundings. If the owner is willing to come out to ride horse and see what’s going on, it’s more likely just a green in a new place issue, not drugs. More a Sign that they haven’t mastered their lessons yet and need to go back. And get those teeth fixed before putting a bit in her mouth.