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#1 Baker Rider

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 09:00 PM

Due to severe Horners Syndrome (which I hope none of your horses ever get) it looks like my days of riding my 7 year old APHA mare with a bit in her mouth are over --or at least it could be many months before (if) her mouth returns to normal and can handle a bit. Not riding her is driving me as crazy as it is her (she loves to be ridden). Prior to her illness, now in its third week, she was ridden 4-5 times a week year round. She has worked cows, trailed in the mountains and generally will do whatever she is asked to do.

She neck reins well and does move left and right just with leg pressure and will stop from a walk with a sit back and whoa with no use of the reins. Problem is that Horners means she has no sense of feel/touch on one side of her neck/face. Therefore I am a bit concerned that she will not move away from rein pressure on that side simply because she can't feel it. Being very eager to ride her I am thinking of using a bosal and am hoping that it will work in lieu of a bit in her mouth given her condition. Any thoughts or advice? I will add that I am a pretty experienced rider and have done some training. This mare was foaled on our place and I did all the training on her. But I am up in years and can't deal with a run a way horse and my old bones probably wouldn't handle getting thrown very well. I am not concerned about her bucking as she never has.

#2 Willy ShoMaker

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 02:49 PM

In all my 30+ yrs. with horses, I have never heard of Horner's Syndrome???? Please explain what it is and where the horse got it! Hope things turn out well. :questionicon:

#3 Cactus Rose

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:31 PM

Have you thought of perhaps a side pull instead.

To start with.

To see just how much control you have overall.

It gives you SOME nose pressure, but allows you better lateral pull on the rein to more easily get the head around.......if you need it.....more so than a bosal.

* * * * * *

I am not a trainer - nor do I play one on TV.

However I have both a bosal and side pull & I think side pull is the way I'd go.

Edited by Cactus Rose, 27 June 2012 - 03:32 PM.

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#4 Baker Rider

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:17 PM

In all my 30+ yrs. with horses, I have never heard of Horner's Syndrome???? Please explain what it is and where the horse got it! Hope things turn out well. :questionicon:

Well I'll tell you what I've learned from multiple vets and a lot of reading over the past few weeks. I've also been a horseman for 40+ years and i hadn't heard of it either. It is injury to or inflamation of a nerve that runs down the side of the neck/face and controls everything from the horses ability to blink, make tears, to chewing feed. It effects one side of the face not both. Causes: tumor, which due to a lack of other symptoms has been pretty much ruled out; infection, most often an infection in the guttoral pouch can put pressure on the nerve. Scoping and lab tests showed no infection though as a precaution the vet had her on anti-biotics for 10 days. injury, which in this case is the most likely. On the day this developed the horse was tied and someone on the ranch right across the road decided it was a good time to test fire his 308 rifle. It startled the horse and she pulled back HARD. The vet says that the rope halter could have pinched that nerve.

Horners syndrome occurs in other animals (dogs and cats) as well. In fact we have a barn cat that had it though at the time we had no clue what it was. Only time will tell how much nerve recovery there will be and nerves re-generate very slowly. Our vet knows of one horse here in the valley that cannot be ridden with a bit because of the mouth distortion that Horners causes and that horse has never "gone back to normal". I see a little improvement after nearly a month in terms of the distortion of the face (caused by the muscles on the "good"side pulling whereas the muscles on the side of the damaged nerve do not. The biggest concern is the eye and I have to put artificial tears in it 3X a day. The mare hates it, fights me on it, but it needs done. She wears a fly mask 24-7 (never did before) to keep gunk out of it but she rubs through it and has a sore just below the eye.

Long drawn out answer. The horse may, in time, recover enough to be ridden in a bit. Right now she wants to be ridden and that's why I'm looking at the bosal (or as the next poster suggests a side pull).

#5 Baker Rider

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:19 PM

Have you thought of perhaps a side pull instead.

To start with.

To see just how much control you have overall.

It gives you SOME nose pressure, but allows you better lateral pull on the rein to more easily get the head around.......if you need it.....more so than a bosal.

* * * * * *

I am not a trainer - nor do I play one on TV.

However I have both a bosal and side pull & I think side pull is the way I'd go.

Thanks--I'll look into a side pull

#6 Cactus Rose

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:46 PM

http://horses.about....a/sidepulls.htm

From article above:

How Does a Side Pull Work?

Steering is usually direct reining , although you can neck rein with a side pull. When the reins are pulled back, pressure is placed on the bridge of the horse's nose. When one rein is pulled to turn, the horse's nose/head is pulled in the direction of the rein. Depending on how they are designed some side pulls may place pressure over the poll or under the jaw. You generally don't ride with as much contact as you might with a bit.



Why Use a Side Pull?

Many trainers start young horses with a side pull. This allows the horse to learn directional signals without placing pressure on a sensitive mouth. Horses that are uncomfortable carrying a bit can respond well to a side pull. Horses with dental problems, malformed jaws or other facial injuries may be more comfortable in a side pull than a bit.



And this is the type of side pull I have. Contrary to what you would think - nothing tightens on the horse's face.

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Edited by Cactus Rose, 27 June 2012 - 04:47 PM.

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#7 Baker Rider

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:52 PM

Thanks--I'm going to see what the local tack shops have and if they don't I'll order on line. I like the leather rather than the rope type. I think a side pull will work with her. Thanks again

#8 Cactus Rose

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:53 PM

Best of luck Mr. Oregon !

Hope your horse eventually makes a full recovery.......
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#9 Baker Rider

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:55 PM

Thank you maam--me too, but if the recovery isn't full I'm thinking I can still ride her....we both miss it.

#10 Smilie

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 02:58 PM

Did some reading, as I also have not heard of Horners
Almost sounds like Bells Palsey in humans. I hope she recovers in time.
My horses don't pull back, but I'm always concerned that should they, a rope halter has too concentrated pressure points, thus only use a rope halter when working on respect issues. I tie with a web halter.
Anyway , that is hindesight, but was just reading an articial on various rope halters, where the author recommended not to tie with them, as they won't break, and can apply some severe pressure.
I agree that a side pull might work better than a bosal, as it has more direct signal. I have no experience with bittless bridles, but that might be another option in your case
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#11 Baker Rider

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 05:09 PM

Good analogy as having had Bells Palsy there are similarities. The biggest concern is that since the effected eye doesn't make tears is that unless you can keep it moist with artificial tears cataracts could develop. My mare fights my putting artificial tears in (3 X per day) big time...but all we can do is try. I have ordered a side pull halter and when it gets here we're going to try it. I AM NOT, God willing, ready to give up on this horse. She's too good not to ride again.

#12 kitten-kat

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:11 AM

I always worry about those issues with Pete, he sets back when he doesn't like something.. There are certain things, I just untie him to do anymore.. but there are still the occasional times he will set back.. I hope your mare heals up fast.. Have you tried just riding in a halter with a oh say an old brow band run over the nose, through the halter rings, and then connect your reins from there.. Instant side pull without the cost.. and if it doesn't work, there is always a rope around the neck and teach her bridless!

yes I am dyslexic, and no i dont have spell check anymore.. sorry..

 

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#13 Baker Rider

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:50 PM

Thanks for the replies. I have a sidepull on order. May be awhile before I can ride with even that as the mare has not shown any signs of improvement. Vets say it could take months

#14 kitten-kat

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:58 PM

Myself at this point I would work on bridless riding, with her face being out of touch, even a side pull might be ineffective if she cant feel it..

yes I am dyslexic, and no i dont have spell check anymore.. sorry..

 

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#15 Trinity

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 03:14 PM

I really like the Clinton Anderson type tie rings or "The Clip" for certain horses. If the pull back, they wont hurt themselves but still remain tied after pulling back and the tension can be adjusted for the horse at hand. I got two of the clips second hand and find I really like them.




An idea for your mare, could you use an eyewash cup to lubricate her eye rather than the drops? She might find this preferable and you can desensitize her to the cup slowly as well and reward her building a bridge to treat her down the road with less fuss.






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#16 Cactus Rose

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 03:14 PM

.........well - you could be right as far as the SP perhaps being ineffective for neck reining KK.

But with a sidepull you still (at least) have the physicality of being able to pull the horse's head around for direction and stopping.

I mean best case scenerio a person might want to strive to be able to direct via the seat and body positioning. But not everyone wants or needs to train to that high a level.

Just sayin'
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#17 Baker Rider

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:07 PM

Thanks again all for input. before the injury (and I have Anderson's Aussie ties and am kicking myself for not using one that day!!) the mare did pretty well with just leg pressure, seat adjustments and verbal. I would like the side pull just as "insurance" so I can pull her around if I have to. Until the eye improves some no riding is possible but I'm hoping that changes soon. The numb mouth we can deal with but the eye is the potential problem

#18 Baker Rider

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 02:54 PM

Here is an update for those who have been following the story of my horse with Horner's Syndrome. Though a horseman for over 40 years i had never heard of this syndrome so it has definitely been a learning process for me---and I am learning new things every day. I offer this update in the event (God forbid) that any readers of it face this challenge in the future.

First, regarding the syndrome itself there seems to be no progress towards recovery but multiple vets have told me it will likely take months, the amount of recovery is impossible to know at this point and to BE PATIENT. Those who know me will tell you that patience and I are pretty much strangers. The biggest concern remains trying to save the sight in the eye on the effected side...more on that in a bit. Since her left lip and the left side of her tongue have no feeling eating is also an issue. She does best on pasture grass and I turn her our for 8 hours a day on it. But, we are about to run out of that option since we cannot irrigate and the temps are getting very warm. So when she's in her large corral she eats hay which I break up into the smallest pieces I can since chewing is not easy for her and she bites her tongue in the process. We are giving her easy to chew and swollow grain supplements as well. The good news is she is not loosing much weight but it is at the expense of a very sore tongue.

The eye needs to be cleaned and two different creams put in it multiple times a day. For three weeks she fought me on that to the point it was dangerous...but I was as careful as I could be since the future of sight in that eye depends on treatment. Well one of my learning points has been to take the "indirect route". Before medicating the eye it needs to be cleaned of all the gunk in the corner. She wears a mask but dust, pollen etc still get in the eye. What works is if I take a hand towel wet with warm water and start at her ear and then gently rub downward across the eye. It takes a few passes with the towel but she tolerates it and it gets the gunk out. As for putting in the meds I now put it on my fingertip and then swipe down gently from the direction of the ear and across the eyelashes. That's all it takes as the ointments will "melt" into the eye. Too soon to tell if her vision will be saved but at least I finally have a safe way to insure she is getting the medication.

Next learning point really made me feel stupid and bad at the same time. Prior to the onset of the syndrome Rain was groomed every day and ridden almost every day. Since she came down with this almost a month ago I have only brushed her a few times a week, picked her hooves every other day and because we have not had flys yet this year I have not been fly spraying. Well today I gave her a thorough grooming prior to riding (more on THAT in a minute) and found that she had quite a few tics. We NEVER have tic problems---well apparently we do this year. So I removed them, sprayed her and will keep doing so daily.

Now for the riding part. As you know, my original post was a question about using a bosal on her and based on input I actually ordered a side pull which will be here next week. Well as I was grooming her today we were standing next to a saddle rack in the barn and she nudged the saddle with her nose and then looked at me. Not riding her has been killing me and I guess she has missed it too. So I decided to saddle her and put the bosal I have (which she has never worn) on her "just to see" Well, long story short she rides absolutely great in a bosal! Prior to the syndrome she was a very dood neck reiner and would stop on a sit back and a whoa. Well nothing has changed. Even on her paralyzed left side of the neck if I lay the rein on it she moves right. She either has some feeling there or it tweaks the bosal enough that she can feel it. That left me with only one concern and that was backing but I had already taught her to back on a verbal que and with my moving my heels forward towards her shoulders.

We had a great ride and I know what it did for my spirits and I think her's as well. Tomorrow I'm going to take her on an easy trail ride and see how she does off our place and in the woods. My $$$ says she will do fine...now if her eye and mouth would just start to show some improvement.

#19 KatyB

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:53 PM

That's wonderful news!!! I'm glad she took to it so well.

I ride all of mine in riding halters. All have transitioned with zero drama. Our pony prefers her bit, so she goes in a snaffle. Two of mine seem not to care either way, and my mare, Jet, has a strong preference for riding bitless. It's my feeling that all horses should go either way, but most people seem afraid to take the plunge and mount up without a bit. I'm sure there is a horse out there somewhere who goes nutso without a bit in her mouth, but I haven't met her so far!

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#20 Cactus Rose

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 09:04 PM

I can hear the tear in your post Mr. Oregon. That is awesome ! Encouraging. Wonderful news.

Well - what the heck - maybe you don't even need the side pull.

But at the end of the day..........one can never have enough tack.

Right?

LOL
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#21 Baker Rider

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 09:08 PM

I can hear the tear in your post Mr. Oregon. That is awesome ! Encouraging. Wonderful news.

Well - what the heck - maybe you don't even need the side pull.

But at the end of the day..........one can never have enough tack.

Right?

LOL

Yep I was one happy guy to get on her again--had my doubts for awhile. It's going to be a long road but it won't hurt her to be ridden. You are right about not having too much tack. I had the bosal from when I trained this horse's younger half brother (both out of one of our broodmares). When the side pull comes in we'll give it a try. If the bosal is enough that's what we'll go with. All the past work on neck reigning, weight shifting and leg pressure is paying off in a way I hadn't predicted.

#22 Baker Rider

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:38 PM

A little update. Vet says the eye is doing better. We still have a ways to go with meds 4 X per day but the mare is gettng better about it as the eye recovers and is less painful. The mouth is about the same with just a subtle hint that it is getting better. The good news is that I am back to riding the mare daily with the bosal. She handles it quite well but when my sidepull arrives this week we'll see how she does with that. In any event PROGRESS! for which I am thankful.

#23 kitten-kat

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 04:17 PM

I am glad you and your riding partner are back together.. nothing better than a happy horse and rider.

yes I am dyslexic, and no i dont have spell check anymore.. sorry..

 

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Please Click On my Baby Dragon Eggs and Baby Dragons so they will grow up big and strong.

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#24 MondaesMom

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 09:46 PM

I'm glad to hear that the bosal is working for now. I had very little to offer in terms of opinion on that because I'm just learning to use a bosal and a hack from an old buckaroo and his wife over here along the big river.

However, my initial thought was that the side pull would work better in terms of a steady response from your mare since the bosal seems to work off a specific point on the face rather than a more flexible glove-like pressure as I would imagine the side pull provides.

I'll be jingling for your mare. My husband had a paint mare he adored, gave her back to our buckaroo friend when my hubby died with instructions that if he found the right person for her to sell her and keep the cash.

He won't sell her. He said Jay was the right man for Gem. They were a really good team.

I know how a really good horse is worth more than most anything. Jay and I both had our best horses. I still have my mud bay and I'm hoping I can afford to keep him once everything settles out.
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#25 Baker Rider

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 09:49 PM

I hope you can keep your horse as well....sidepull should be here tomorrow and i will give it a try. It might bebetter than the bosal but at least I know I can ride her in the bosal so we are good to go.

#26 Cactus Rose

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:26 AM

.............I have two kinds of tears in my eyes right now MM.

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#27 dondie

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:36 PM

While I was reading your post's and everyone's replies. I was praying that you and your good mare Rain would have many years of riding together.
The joy the two of you share when riding and how you know how to read each others actions. Is what all true horsemen and women strive to build with their horses.
Rain is blessed to have your dedication and determination to help her recover.

Although I'm sure that your thinking that your the one who is blessed to have this good mare in your life.
My God continue to heal Rain and give both of you many years of riding down the trail.

Please continue to share Rain's journey through her recovery with us.
God Bless you both,
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#28 Baker Rider

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:44 PM

While I was reading your post's and everyone's replies. I was praying that you and your good mare Rain would have many years of riding together.
The joy the two of you share when riding and how you know how to read each others actions. Is what all true horsemen and women strive to build with their horses.
Rain is blessed to have your dedication and determination to help her recover.

Although I'm sure that your thinking that your the one who is blessed to have this good mare in your life.
My God continue to heal Rain and give both of you many years of riding down the trail.

Please continue to share Rain's journey through her recovery with us.
God Bless you both,
Kat

Kat
Thank you VERY MUCH for your thoughts and prayers. I have been able to ride her daily in the bosal. She actually does better in that than with a side pull. I wound up giving the side pull away. Riding in the bosal is absolutely no different than when she has a modified/easy curb bit in her mouth.

By way of update, so far with 3 X daily medication in her eye (which she now accepts without complaint) we are saving the eye. Vet says he has no idea how long this will take. Some get over Horners Syndrome in 16 weeks (we are just over half way to that point) and some take many times longer than that. Some never fully recover but as long as they respond as Rain does to verbal and leg cues and neck reining she can be ridden even if she never has a bit in her mouth again. Even if she fully recovers I'm giving serious thought to just continuing to ride bitless....but I will reserve judgment until I put her on some cows and see how she does.

I happen to believe that God entrusts animals to us for a lot of good reasons just like he entrusts people to our care. I know that working with Rain and many other horses over many years has made me a lot more patient in dealing with people as well. God Bless
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#29 Flying Stars

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:32 PM

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Love my bosal!

 

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#30 Baker Rider

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  • Location:Baker City Oregon

Posted 30 July 2012 - 02:08 PM

You should! Great looking tack
Jerry