Any Advice on a Real Dilemma?
I have a beautiful 9 yr old 17.2hh Registered Oldenburg Gelding. He is perfect in every way….. except one. Let me start by saying that I bought him from a Grand Prix barn and they told me they were selling him because his rider was too inexperienced for him. That he test her constantly and ride fine and then throw her. He is trained to the T’s in Dressage and has a lifetime membership with the USDF. I figured that he just probably needed a change of pace… probably worked too hard and started too fast. So I thought he’d make a magnificent hunter/jumper. I took him for a test drive and he rode like a dream… bought him took him home and let him settle in. Took him for his first ride and knew why they had problems… He was still increadibly well trained but had issues with the corners of the arena. They told me he did every now and then but said to just push him through it with crop and spurs and not to let him get away with anything… yah.. OK… Did that and barely touched him with my spurs and he went off like a bronc! (They told me he “Never” bucked but OMG can that boy get air crow hopping!) I tried to move him forward out of it but the crafty little guy decided to crowhop forwards and slam his front feet when comming down and jar the hell out of my back…. I’m not going to say it didn’t hurt, I seriously think he gave me whiplash! Then he tried to bolt on me so I spun him in a circle… not a great choice… as it seems he has been spun as a punishment before and he was a pro at it. We spun at mock 10 for 5 minutes until I couldn’t take much more and he wasn’t even tired or dizzy. I have to say I was puzzled. So I changed tackticts and took off my spurs and dropped the crop and walked him loose rein around the arena a few times to end the session. This type of behaviour continued throughout every riding session but didn’t start until about half an hour of riding. (I know your thinking its his back or tack or muscle or teeth…etc bothering him but it isn’t . I purchased him with a vet check (that came with a full body x – ray, blood work,) that covered the full nine yards) So I gave him 6 months off to get his head straight. Maybe thinking he might just need some time to just be a horse after probably being started too fast and worked too hard most of his life. Then I decided to change things up and have my friend come in and give him a try. (My friend rides western and has 40+ yrs experience) And of course just to make me look like a lier he rode like a dream and my friend told me he was such a joy to ride and even though he wasn’t the type of horse he normally goes for (being a western rider) loved the horse. Of course then I took him out the next day I didn’t have a dream ride. I was STUMPED! Now it was a question of my horse either not liking women (as his only owners had been women) or not liking the english discipline. I was praying it was neither as I was dying to bond with him and make a great team so I wasn’t going to give up on him EVER. And in case you were wondering I rode him indoors and out. So… He rode wonderful for my husband who has a broken back, shattered anckle and hands (a gift from 40+ yrs of breaking and training) and he just loves him too… I love him but just can’t have a good ride with him. Now… here’s the kicker my husband has ridden him a couple of times and never had a problem.. even asking him english cues that I instructed him to ask in a western saddle.. LOL that looked funny! But No Problems! I then tacked him up english and asked my husband to take him for another spin and he had issues within the first 15 minutes. Changed the saddle and No Problems… I have had problems with my back (scoliosis) as well and haven’t been able to get back up on him since my husbands ride but I’ve got a good idea that he might associate the english saddle with dissiplinary action, displeasure and too much stress and bad memmories. It can’t be that the saddle hurts him as I’ve checked every possible tack problem and he has no physical problems. My question is : How do I get him to accept the english saddle without him knowing its on him ?? any suggestions would be appreciated. I use a poassa saddle pad with a wither/back fleece half pad (tons of cussion). Lunging him only worsens the problem as you can tell they’ve also done that when you go to lunge him he does it on his own without asking and thinks he’s done a good thing when he’s finished! I did find out later from a friend of mine that worked for the barn I got him from that they drug all their horses with “Ace” before they ride them or sell them. Apparently they can’t ride a horse that isn’t drugged and perfectly behaved ALL the time! Thanks for taking the time to read my long, detailed question!
Just to add to Laughings response… its not that he doesn’t like the english discipline. Like I said before he will ride beautifully english but in a western saddle… and I have tried lots of praise with no results as I am no where near a heavy handed rider. And as I said before lounging him doesn’t work because you get off go to lounge and he does it himself! Goes mock 10 round and round until you ask him to stop even if he’s absolutely exhausted.. like he thinks its what he’s supposed to do as its been done so many times before… i don’t even have to get the lounge whip… he just goes and goes and goes.. perfect circle too. (both directions). There are not so nice ways to correct his problem and I know they will work but I want to exhaust all possible options before it comes to that as he is such a nice loving horse and isn’t doing it to be bad, just seems like he needs a new approach as I’ve had him for 2+ yrs now.
In response to burdfour (sorry if I spelt it wrong) He was sold with a complete body x-ray and has no pain issues as my husband is a good 230lbs of muscle in comparrison to my 100. He has no issues with my husband riding unless he puts on an english saddle… and its not even schooling him just a nice leisure ride and still the same reaction (Even with western Professional Choice pad and my fleece pad to make sure he doesn’t feel the differnce of how the weight is dispursed in an english saddle.. its like he just knows? He’s more uptight and tense in the english than the western and then starts his antics within the first 30 minutes of riding no matter what your doing… I don’t want to give up on him as he has such amaising movement and possibility as a hunter/jumper… and I don’t really think anyone would want a 17.2hh, $ 75,000.00 western horse! I just want to bring him to see that not all english riders use brute force and demand perfection “ALL” the time you know?