Starting Over

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Starting Over

Post by Dorla on Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:04 am

I recently purchased a MFT stallion who is 8 yrs old. He was green broke and then trail ridden some when he was 2 and 3. He's been used for stud and kept stalled for the most part since then because the previous owners had no segregated pasture. I have begun a daily turnout routine and am planning to turn him into a reliable trail mount. He is very tractable and has a great people-friendly demeanor. I may attempt to have him gelded, but am not certain yet because there was a previous failed attempt in June, either the anesthesia was not properly administered by the vet or he is extremely hard to sedate, he went down fighting and never stopped trying to get back up, then suffered a massive hematoma in his neck and chest for three weeks after. So you see my reluctance, I know many people who successfully and peacefully trail ride their stallions and they swear there is no equal for their heart and endurance. My issue is I have reintroduced the saddle, and he has no fear of the saddle or the saddling process, as long as I am the one touching/moving the saddle. I can put it on and off, tighten/loosen the girth etc, pull on it it like I am getting on, wobble it, wiggle it, smack it, with no problem. It appears to fit him well without bridging/pinching. It is a western style Royal King gaited trail saddle with a thin Lamicell waffle pad.The problem comes when he notices that if he moves a certain way, it does too, and that scares him. I took him out of the barn to graze with it on, and he was fine, for a little while, then a fly was bugging him, and he started noticing that when he shuddered at the fly the saddle made a noise, then when he put his head back down his back rounded and the back of the saddle lifted slightly and that startled him, he then proceeded to take off in a circle around me on the leadrope humping up and crow-hopping a bit, well that caused the saddle to squeak and jingle which scared him even worse, I stopped him, he calmed down, then put his head down to eat and repeated the whole process again. He seemed to be becoming more and more agitated so I put him in his stall with it on. He did actually rear up a time or two, before he seemed to decide that as long as he didn't move he was "safe". He stood without moving for two hours, before deciding to take a few steps over to his hay. Again he spooked at the saddle moving with his body when he would turn his head etc. I spent some time coaxing him from window to door to feedbox for bits of grass/treats etc to help him learn to accept the slight noises and movements of the saddle. He was very reluctant to move and would spook at the slightest movement of the saddle. It was as if he accepted me moving it all around, but couldn't accept it moving by itself. Finally after 4 hours he seemed more calm and I brought him out and untacked him while he stood quietly tied. Again he never flinched at the movement of the saddle while I led him up the barn aisle, or while I was wiggling it side to side and while I ungirthed and removed it. A fellow horseperson says I need to put it on him and turn him loose in the arena to "buck it out". What do you think? Thanks.

Dorla
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Re: Starting Over

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:12 am

Hi Dorla. I'm moving this to the behavior section so it gains their attention.
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Re: Starting Over

Post by Got_gait on Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:17 am

Hi Dorla. I had the same problem with using a blanket on my colt for the first time. It would be my opinion also that you need to let him buck it out, specifically because he is agitated about it. You don't ever want to let him get the idea that bucking or bad behavior will get the saddle off of him, so that's specifically what you have to let him do in order to convince himself it doesn't do any good. It's just one of those things he's going to have to resign himself to getting over.

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HELPING "SADDLE " BOY

Post by THOHMAN on Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:03 pm

HI DORIA,

I KNOW THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS CONDITION THE H*** OUT OF THAT SADDLE AND GET IT TO STOP SQUEAKING. I CONCUR WITH YOUR FRIENDS IDEA OF LETTING HIM "BUCK" IT OUT OF HIS SYSTEM. THE END RESULT IS THAT YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO RIDE THE HORSE AND YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO IF HE GOES AFOOL WITH THE SADDLE ON. THIS'LL GET HIM USED TO THE SADDLE AND ITS MOVEMENT. IT SOUNDS TO ME THAT HE HAS ALOT OF PENT -UP ENERGY. WORKING HIM HARD (FOR A WEEK) WILL TAKE THE EDGE OFF. I ENCOUNTER THIS EXACT PROBLEM THIS YEAR AT THE MIDWEST HORSE FAIR. THERE WERE ALOT OF PEOPLE THERE THAT CAN ATEST TO THE FACT. I TOOK A 17 HAND STUD HORSE WHO HAS ONLY BEEN USED FOR BREEDING THAT LAST SEVERAL YEARS. IT ONLY TOOK FIFTEEN MINUTES BEFORE I WAS ABLE TO RIDE HIM ON A RELAXED REIN. AH, THE POWER OF THE ROUND PEN!!! YOU CAN REALLY TEACH A HORSE THAT YOU'RE THE BOSS. PLEASE KEEP ME INFORMED ON YOU PROGRESS WITH THE HORSE.

TOM

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Re: Starting Over

Post by Nancy Faulconer on Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:03 pm

Yes, you are correct in being concerned. If your horse is worried about carrying the saddle, you should not consider riding him.
I agree that desensitization is the best way to proceed. Make sure that you saddle him in a safe area, like a round corral, and allow him to move his feet while wearing the saddle until he realizes that it is not going to hurt him.

This process may need to be repeated every day for a week or more, until he is truly confident that he can carry the saddle without concern.

Please keep us updated on your progress!
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