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Old 05-21-2005, 02:50 PM
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Love4Pits Love4Pits is offline
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Default Friend has a Problem Draft Horse.........

One of my bestfriends Lindsay has 3 horses two QH's and a rescued Boulonnais cross of some sort named Old John . He can be ridden and is a sweet boy and is gelded. Lindsay has three young children and lately Old John has ben acting out. Lindsay was riding him about 3 months ago working with John when he decided he wanted to forget all his former training and take of at a Canter. It shocker because it take alot to get Old John to trot. He would stop and they were riding on trails and he wasent responding at all. She said when she would try and pull back on the reins he would jerk his head and just about yank the reins right out her hands! This is not the worse part she tried once more to pull him back and he gave her three sharp bucks. Lindsay is great with horses and i have never seen her fall but he tossed her a good three feet she is guessing. He then went on his way.

I asked her is he may have possibly been uncomfortable maybe the bit was in weird of his girth was twisted but she said she though of that too and she checked it once she caught old John and she said it all looked normal. They have owned Old John for 8 years (he is 18 years old) and have never EVER been a problem before. Their children have been on him (usually riding with Lindsay or Jack her husband) its a bit scary for her. She gave him a few days to cool off from the trail ride as he is not ridden everyday to begin with. This entire time he has been moody with all humans lol. Nipping at the kids head butting and just being a regular terror.

Her husband decided to get on him the next time he was to be ridden as Jack is a big strong guy and figured he could control Old John easier. This time John did'nt buck, or canter, or anything like that. She did say he tried to bite Jack numeral times while tacking him up. But John simply would'nt move Lindsay said they tried everything nudging him to REALLY nudgig him with Jakcs feet, voice commands, Lindsay came out with a lead to try and lead Old John around and he would'nt move just tried to bite her and flattened his ears back. They did after that call the vet thinking maybe he was in pain. The put some time and money into to come out with the conclusion that he is perfectly healthy and just weird.

She is here right now visiting and I decided it would be a good idea to ask any of you other fellow horse owners ideas or thoughts would be on the problem. Any advice would be great as well. Its crazy Old John went from a big marshmellow of a horse to a big boulder of a horse with an anger problem. Im not his owner i can't say how or why this would happened he is a well taken care of horse. I don't know I just know she is frustrated and upset. Like I said this horse is a rescue actually on his way to the butcher and she really doesent even want to Consider finding a new home for him to her this is no way at all that is going to happen.
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Old 05-23-2005, 04:24 AM
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Gustav Gustav is offline
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Hmmmm! Tricky one! Could it be the saddle? Does it fit well? Have they had it checked out recently?
Biting is normally a sign of discomfort!! Maybe the saddle has a broken tree? They do change shape as they get older so that could be a real possibility!
Could be a virtebrae (sp) out of line! Would need to get a horse chiropractor/massuse to check that one out!
Could even be something as simple as the change in weather!! They are funny moody ol' souls at times!!
I would if they haven't already get a horse dentist to see him, and perhaps x rays of the feet to check for navicular as he is getting to that age!!
Are they sure it's not Laminitis?!!
Just going through the options in my head!! Thinking out loud in word form!! lol!
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Old 05-24-2005, 10:20 PM
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I will run all that by her not sure if they checked that or not.
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:35 PM
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Hmm...something medical was my first thought as well. How often do they work Old John from the ground in a round pen? A good ground-work "refresher course" can do wonders for behavior once you're back up in the saddle. I recommend the books and videos of Clinton Anderson (the "Down Under Horsemanship" guy). His website is here: http://www.downunderhorsemanship.com/ I'd dig around through his stuff for hints.
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Old 07-22-2005, 12:51 PM
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If he is 18 years old and a rescue I would think back problems. Draft horses don't have strong backs for riding as there breed intent was to wrok in the fields, pulling logs, that sort of thing. They are made to pull, so I would check on the back also try just riding bareback. Maybe the saddle is uncomforatable, and his back could be changing as he ages. Sometimes they gat a sway back and it is not always noticeable but it can make the saddle hurt. If he doesn't like the tack up process and was never a problem before I would eliminate all mediacl issues first. Then think maybe he has learned a new trick and put bridle on first and hold opposite rein tighter so he can't bite you when tacking up. He'll give up trying because it doesn't work. Also when done tacking pick up each front leg one at a time and pull forward, this will eliminate any wrinkled skin under the girth. Sometimes it can be very small wrinkles and it can cause pain.
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Old 07-22-2005, 01:49 PM
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I agree that it's probably pain some where though obviously not noticeable...Is he shod? Maybe his feet are tender or he needs a trim
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Old 07-22-2005, 01:55 PM
yuckaduck
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If it was feet problems then he probably would refuse to go not break out runnung or cantering. Look to back or neck problems first.
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Old 07-23-2005, 12:47 AM
wildwings811 wildwings811 is offline
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I also agree that he is probably in pain how about the saddle after all he is a draft horse and he may need a bigger tree to fit him right probably a really wide one this could be causing him back pain ecspecially if they are riding him more often than usual
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Old 07-23-2005, 12:54 AM
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I agree with everyone else and I'd just like to mention that if he takes off again don't just yank on the reins. Instead have him move into smaller and smaller circles until he slows down. It's much harder to buck when you are doing that plus you aren't being so hard on his mouth.
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Old 07-24-2005, 12:12 PM
yuckaduck
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Careful how small if he is older this may cause pain in knees or legs in general. It is true very hard to run or buck when doing small circles. We use to have an Arabian who didn't know the word whoa so to stop her we would have to reach forward and grab her bridle at the cheek strap and pull her head right to our knee. Picture this, if she didn't stop she would have fallen. We thought this was just great galloping out of control do the road. Boy were we young and stupid. Now whoa is a must know word. There are all kinds of little tricks but becareful to find the one that matches your horse. A draft horse will have problems circling tightly however nice big swooping circles keeping the forward momentum up might help. Can't buck if moving forward either. I don't mean to say Saje is wrong, she is not, but I just think it may be rather didfficult with the size of horse we are talking about. But I agree 100% yanking on the mouth is not good. Ask your friend exactly what he is doing? Does he go nicely at first then break out or is it from the start? Some horses learn rather quickly that if they are sick of the ride they can scare you into putting them back in the field. Been there! Doesn't work now but when I was young oh boy. They learn what works and what doesn't.
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