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  1. #1

    Default Help - Schooling issues

    Hi all,

    This may be a long post but I would really appreciate some help and advice.

    I have a rising 7 Appaloosa x Warmblood gelding. He has been back in work for about 9 months after being diagnosed with Degenerative disease of the coffin joint and has been bought back slowly following vet and physio advice. In the last 2 weeks I have had saddle, back and teeth checked and trotted him for the vet to ensure he is still sound - all okay.

    He is turned out during the day on okay fields, has 3(ish) sections of hay over night and his feed is just less than 1/2 stubbs scoop fast fibre split between breakfast and dinner with veg!

    My problem:

    He was working absolutely beautifully in the school and we were just beginning to re-introduce cantering and hacking. He is still very unbalanced with canter transitions, which is fine and we were working on this and he is absolutely fine to hack. The last 4 times i have taken him into the school he is completely refusing to trot. He will reluctantly walk around the school but the second I ask for trot he stops dead and refuses to move forward. He doesn't buck or rear but cow kicks. My method with him has always been to ask using the smallest possible aid, if no response a bigger aid (kick) and if still no response a back up with the whip (have tried a crop and a schooling whip)! He will literally either completely ignore me or cow kick... that is his response. It makes no odds whether there are poles out or anything. It's beginning to frustrate me. I spoke to my trainer about the issue and her response was "He's just bored of the school, hack him". Now, I understand this and get that he may well be bored of the school, but he is definitely worse if I have hacked him recently so I don't think that is going to solve our issues.

    I'm entered into a dressage competition this coming monday... and obviously currently this is not going to go well in this situation.

    Any constructive advice would be muchly appreciated.

    TIA x

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help - Schooling issues

    I don't really believe horses get bored in the way we do, it is not as if they are being schooled for hours each day and the work should have plenty of variety within it to occupy their brains, to me the cow kicking is a sign that something is causing him discomfort and that needs looking into, it can be a sign of ulcers, his history and restricted turnout time/ limited hay rations would make me look at his management first, a few tweaks could be all that he needs to get over it otherwise scoping and treating if ulcers show.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help - Schooling issues

    Yes, I'm afraid I would have to agree with BP that I would look for a physical cause too - I think it's easy to point to a physical issue quickly when often it really IS a schooling problem, but this does sound like an extreme reaction when you are really asking very little. Sorry to hear he's already been in the wars, but I'd give him the benefit of the doubt in this case.

    I also agree that I don't think horses find school work boring - I think we let them switch off to it and then call it boredom when in fact they are just not responsive, usually happens when the rider doesn't have a constructive plan etc. But it doesn't sound like this is the problem here.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help - Schooling issues

    Thank you both for getting back to me.

    I do indeed always give him the benefit of the doubt as I do believe horses aren't just naughty for the sake of it. This is why I have had his back, saddle and teeth checked. My physio (back lady) has said that she thinks the saddle needs reflocking and said to get a gel pad until I can have this done as currently it is uneven. She said to not ride without a gel pad. My saddler cannot come back out until 26th August So, I bought the gel pad and tried him, but he was the same. Could this be the reason?

    I would agree with the ulcer situation but he's never been in the situation where these could be caused... well not that I'm aware of. He always has enough hay... normally leaves a little bit in his net so i know he has plenty. Also, doesn't show any of the other symptoms or behaviour associated with them, but I do want him right so he will have whatever checks etc necessary... he is my pride and joy.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: Help - Schooling issues

    Sometimes a gel pad helps a saddle fit issue, sometimes it doesn't - it depends what's wrong and how far off the fit is.

    If you get on him bareback, does he do the same thing? That might give you a clue.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help - Schooling issues

    Could it be that he doesn't like trotting on the surface due to his coffin joint issue?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help - Schooling issues

    well that would be the thing in the back of my mind too, faracat - worth asking the vet who saw him recently, OP?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help - Schooling issues

    Faracat and milliepops I hadn't thought of that... definitely worth giving him a ring or getting him out to check him over again...still under insurance for joint at the mo. He lunges fine on the surface and when he does trot with me on his back he is sound.

    Smja I have never ridden him bareback lol, but worth a go 5o see what he does.

    Also, might be worth mentioning he accepts my aids fine when we are out hacking and strides out in trot...haven't been brave enough to canter out yet lol x

    Edited to add:: our school isn't the best surface wise so is a possibility.

    Thank u all x
    Last edited by krichardson87; 17-07-17 at 03:17 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Help - Schooling issues

    Quote Originally Posted by smja View Post
    Sometimes a gel pad helps a saddle fit issue, sometimes it doesn't - it depends what's wrong and how far off the fit is.

    If you get on him bareback, does he do the same thing? That might give you a clue.

    Re: the fit is fine... it's the flocking causing uneven pressure on the muscle on his back...he is super sensitive x


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