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SillyFilly27

Excitement In The Tb!

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Hi there!

I really need some help with my TB. I am working with a trainer, but I really want to explore other options and strategies. Here's what's been going on.

Lately my 14y TB gelding has been a total nut. I had been making some real progress with him up until about a month ago. We could w/t/c quietly in both directions, and he was fairly quiet over most fences (depending on the course). Overall, I had been really pleased with his progress.

For the last few weeks, after we trot both directions, circles, serpentines, etc., I ask for the canter. His left lead is to die for, beautifully quiet, he's practically loping. I ask for the lead change and he takes off on the right. He digs his hind in, streches out, grabs the bit and runs. Once this happens, I can not get anything out of the rest of my ride. He is mentally gone for the rest of the ride. Circles do nothing for him, I put him on a circle and it makes it worse. I change direction and serpentine and he practically falls over himself as I try to achieve the bend to change the direction. I do lots of transitions but it's nearly impossible to get him to just quiet down enough to stop fighting my cues. He cranks his head up and starts tossing his mouth around- I have never experienced behavior like this before. I ride very much through my leg and seat and use very little hand. One "trainer" at the barn is always telling me I need to ride him on the buckle of my reins. I keep contact with him and everytime I've let him drop to the buckle he gets super nervous and his head pops up, he counter bends, and it's just ugly.

I had the chiropractor out Wednesday since I thought maybe he was just ready for his adjustment, and he did note some soreness in his hocks and stifles, but that it may have just been because his back and pelvis were pretty out of whack and that he may get better after being worked on. Now I'm thinking that might be what's going on. But would stifle/hock pain be causing this dramatic of a behavior change? I plan on having my Vet out this week just to be safe...

FYI- he never raced, nor was he ever in race training.

Anyone have any ideas?? Help!

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We haven't yet mastered the flying, so it's just a simple lead change. I like to try to "get his mind off" cantering once I come down off the left lead, we'll trot or walk a few more laps before I ask for the right. Maybe that's getting him worked up because he knows it coming?

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Do you always do left lead first and then right?

Although his behavior and past performance tends to say pain not training, however if you don't get the pain under control soon it will become a training issue. My TB gelding has a hock thats fusing and before I knew that we were working on Flying Changes, he hated it and would explode quite regularly when asked to change...it's not his nature so I knew something was up...it didn't matter how many times I killed him for acting out he just kept doing it and so when I learned his hock was fusing the light bulb came on and I realized he was desparately trying to tell me he HURT!!!!!!!!!!! He's fine for everything else and until his hock is fully fused we don't do lead changes. So it sounds like he's acting our from pain, get your vet or chiro out and then address the behavior after knowing he isn't in pain anymore.

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Since this is new behavior, my gut says something's bothering him, and yes, arthritic changes in the back end (especially something like a fusing hock, like Desert Lane mentioned) could have a lot to do with it. More info, though, might be helpful.

Does he do this every time he picks up the right lead? What if you mix up the routine and ask for a right lead first? Or canter early in the session instead of after all the trotting stuff? How is he outside of the ring, does he do this on trail rides or hacks, or just in the ring?

Also, how long have you had him? Since you got him, did you change the feed he was on, or his turnout schedule, or anything else about his day-to-day experience? Teeth done recently? Any recent lyme titers taken? (around here, that's a basic early go-to for horses that show behavioral changes especially under saddle that don't seem to correlate strongly to anything 'easy' to figure out, like saddle fit, etc).

Edited by goldentoes

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He's done this everytime he's picked up the right lead in the last...3 weeks maybe? I have tried doing right lead first, and the same thing happens, he takes off and grabs the bit. Won't come back to the left then either. This happens in the arena, trail, and our open grass field. It's the worse in the indoor arena, probably because it's not as wide, tighter turns. I could try cantering earlier, I just like to give a thorough warm up since he has some mild arthritis.

His feed has been the same for the last 4 months, only difference is he is on grass overnight now since June (although it's dry summer grass, and he generally just hides in the trees after a few hours!). His teeth were just done in April. I haven't done any Lyme titers lately, I don't know how prevalent that is in my area. Biggest "change" I've had is that he hasn't had his Adequan in a few months because it's been on backorder through my vet. I'm thinking that might be the culprit here.

My Vet is coming out tomorrow morning to take a look, hopefully it's something that has an easy fix!

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Arthitis...no Adequan in the last few months...certainly all points to a pain issue. I would stop cantering this horse until you can get him back on the Adequan...that way you don't turn a pain problem into a training/habit problem.

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Yep, sounds very related to the arthritis to me.

I would keep it to light work, if he's amenable. You do want to keep them moving around, but I would keep it to stuff he's relaxed about (long walks if he's into that) till you get everything ironed back out with his adequan and another vet visit (maybe check the hocks and see if there's any fusion or something else happening that might be new).

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