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Old 08-08-2010, 06:00 AM   #1
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Saddles/and still not likeing walking on gravel

Ok, I mentioned before having problems re: saddle on Riley.

The saddle I used for 4 years, was pinching, gf came over with her saddles and different pads. We found a combo that worked. I figured once he got back into shape the saddle that worked for four years would work again.

NOW that combo isn't working. I've read and watched videos on saddle fit and placement. As far as I can tell, my saddle meets the criteria, 3 fingers above withers (without pad). Can run hand under pad and saddle on his shoulders. He sends mixed signals. Since the trainer's he's been a bit cinchy, I always did slow, several steps. He (didn't yank) but basically did it in two.

So, when I get on he moves off, he didn't before. yesterday after messing around for about an hour he moved off while I was trying to mount. (Hasn't done that in months) that could be "enough already." He nips at the girth when I go to tighten it and at me. He breaks out into a jog everytime I start him moving forward.

I won't go by head tossing, he has always head tossed. Yet every time a saddle goes on he gets a stiffie. Which shows pleasure. He lunges, he leads, etc no fuss no muss.

Add to that he still doesn't want to walk on gravel, however, he does not limp or stumble since the shoes went on, he will take a couple of tentative steps, then walks on fine. Is he expecting it to hurt?

This is very very frustrating, now that I am eager to ride,....... Because I don't know if he is in discomfort, I stop. So, because I am unsure of him being in discomfort I stop, now I don't know if he does it because he doesn't want to be ridden. (almost 5 weeks off because of heat and sore feet). I mean the combo I have been using, wasn't a problem before. But, he has gained some weight.

Heck, there is a good chance I am not putting the saddle on right.
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:58 AM   #2
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Pictures would be very helpful in a case like this.
he may have figured out how to behave to get off work. this seems to happen alot when a horse has been laid off for some time. There was a thread about faking lameness not to long ago.
A lot of people tighten the cinch too much, that could be his problem. he might have also learned that if he nips at you, he doesn't get saddled.
You say that he lunges with no problem, so I would probley take my cue from that and go ride him, it migh be something you just have to work through.
As far as the head tossing goes, he might need a chriro treatment. I've seen that cure head tossers. Something about a joint at the base of the skull out (maybe from halter pulling), and they have a cronic headache. Worth checking out anyway.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:01 AM   #3
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I'd have a chiropractor out to check out his spine. As for the biting and being girthy, sounds to me like the trainer didn't know what he was doing if he's causing MORE issues than when he left for the trainers. It'll just take time and you slowly getting him back to the way he was (by slowly cinching up the girth, and making him stand at the block to mount.)

I sure hate that the trainer caused more issues than he left with. :/

But Like I said i'd have someone out to check his back, make sure nothing is out of align.... and it might be a referred pain, which means is stemmed from a different part of the body, but shows up where your seeing the problem.

Good luck and keep us updated!
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:09 AM   #4
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No, No, no, I don't believe the trainer caused issues. Riley was/is standing to be mounted. Until yesterday, but it is one of the signs of saddle fit.

The trainer, just did the cinch up, then tighten it again in the arena. He didn't yank it completely. He just did in two steps what I would do in like 3 or 4.

I'll try to find camera (again) take pics without saddle, and again with saddle.

If anybody can do that thingy Mark does, marking on the pics, that would be great.

Nipping at me does not deter the saddle going on. The constantly breaking into the jog, is what is detering me. I make a few attempts, if it continues, I put it down to discomfort. I consider it a plus though, that he doesn't blow up, kick, buck or anything else if it is discomfort.

I do believe it is either I am doing something wrong re: saddle or he doesn't want to be ridden. He was high withered as a youngster, when he matured and filled out he wasn't, now he has still underweight, his withers very prominant and back is bonier. He was a couch for bareback, now he isn't. His feed is increased, we were going up hills, he has gained weight and although still prominant, not like they were before. *note* he was never ribby (which is what Iwent by) but his topline suffered.

Last edited by dreamcleaner; 08-08-2010 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:23 AM   #5
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He's had plenty of time to settle in back home again and may be testing you. If he starts walking off, turn his head slightly in a bend. Face the saddle and take hold of the front of the saddle with your left hand so you can cause the bend. Place your right hand on the cantle. Left your leg as tho you are going to mount. (don't even try in this position). He'll start walking off but in a circle, except he's also moving laterally which is harder for him. Yet you are in a position to walk forward and follow him. That's why you hold on to the saddle. I promise you he'll quit after a few circles. Let him straighten his head, rub his neck, then bend his head and repeat the exercise. Usually doing this twice works but he may need a third time. His reward is your letting him straighten his head when he stands. By holding on to the saddle it keeps your rein hand steady and you are out of kicking range.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:34 AM   #6
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I'd have a chiropractor out to check out his spine. As for the biting and being girthy, sounds to me like the trainer didn't know what he was doing if he's causing MORE issues than when he left for the trainers. It'll just take time and you slowly getting him back to the way he was (by slowly cinching up the girth, and making him stand at the block to mount.)

I sure hate that the trainer caused more issues than he left with. :/

But Like I said i'd have someone out to check his back, make sure nothing is out of align.... and it might be a referred pain, which means is stemmed from a different part of the body, but shows up where your seeing the problem.

Good luck and keep us updated!
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:53 AM   #7
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Can not judge without a picture of the saddle without a pad from front to back and from back to front and both sides.

or perhaps a short video of what he does,
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:39 AM   #8
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First let me say I would not forego a vet check. But if that checks ok, I agree with testing you. Honestly, I've had one horse in my life who stood for mounting and that is the one I have now. All the others would start moving at some point in the process and a good portion of horses owned by others that I know also don't stand perfectly still. One thing is a lot of us get on and go or make a few adjustments that just take seconds and off we go. So it's good to mount and then just stand there for a bit letting them relax before moving off.

I've even ridden with really solidly broke horses who USUALLY stand still who once in a while will move off and their owners get off, turn the head and make them relax and givem then remount and if the horse moves same procedure. They keep doing it until they get a standing mount and then they stand there.

As to ouchy on gravel, there are horses who don't like gravel period. I had a front shod horse who always "tiptoed" on gravel or walked on the side of the path if he could get off the gravel. We even put pads on at one point and he still just plain didn't like gravel or deep rocky areas. Didn't limp specifically, but you could feel him "walking softly". Actually in the long run I think the pads became a problem because he wasn't getting the toughening of walking in the pasture - we pulled them since they weren't really making a huge difference on gravel and that was the only surface he had issue with.

Dixie has front boots which completely cover the entire bottom of the hoof with a THICK solid sheet of hard rubber and she doesn't care for gravel. She'll walk on it when there's no option, but if there's a grassy bank on the side she'll choose that. But it's not really a soundness issue because riding with others today she was jogging/trotting and some weird gait on gravel by her own choice and not taking a bad step.

Heck I don't like walking on deep gravel because it just doesn't feel solid under my foot - your foot can roll and turn ankles etc and with me it's not a pain thing, it's just I don't like the uneven somewhat unstable feel of it.

I'm of the opinion that all horses are better off not walking on gravel a LOT even with tough feet. It's just not a "friendly surface".

Last edited by dixiesmom; 08-08-2010 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:59 AM   #9
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It's not deep gravel, I live in the boons, unless I want to ride on two lane highway, dirt roads is what I've got.
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:00 AM   #10
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Can you ride in the ditch? I know you have to cross the approach but let him go slower over the gravel bits? Sorry if that's a stupid question, that works in rural Alberta but I haven't spent much time in rural Ontario.

As for the walking off/being cinchy I also think he's testing you. After you cinch do you pull his front feet forward to make sure his wrinkles in his armpits aren't getting pinched? (Sorry I know that's not the technical term but I believe it helps Pepper, though I think I could beat Pepper with a 2X4 and she'd pretend it didn't hurt).
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:08 AM   #11
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I think some video of what your horse is doing is a good idea. Also pics of his feet and a video of him being trotted lungeing or on a straight line without a saddle.

I am getting a feeling that your horse being sore, and now cinchey is more than tightening the grith too fast and being tender footed.
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