First off, THANK YOU to all of you beautiful & majestic unicorns for your tips and suggestions for what I should do with the Lilly situation. I think my POA is to get a blood panel and a fecal test, add beet pulp, and begin blanketing her and see where we can go from there. Thank you all again!
Now, the rest of this post might be lengthy and wordy, BUT I also have plenty of pics [and mostly happy ending]. Terrible quality, video stills, very grainy and mostly blurry, but still...pics! I took them myself with my iphone propped on a barrel. #flawless
|Prefect angle for photography -_-|
Words cannot express the level of fuckery I experienced with my darling animal, but I will try my best.
For new readers, and others alike, I've had some serious issues this winter regarding Bacard's spooking and rideabilty. I've tried and thought of almost everything that could be wrong or of use in our situation. Everything. Yes, that includes teeth and eye exams, etc. Sans scoping for ulcers, everything. The damndest thing is he was FINE in summer/fall and I didnt change a thing.
So yesterday. I decide to try a fleece girth cover, last minute, to see if that would help. B is SUPER sensitive [makes clipping a real joy] and flinches on almost every inch of his lower body even when being brushed. Don't even think about asking for a change in gait, or lateral work, with more than 3lbs of pressure on his sides. So why not try and see if this makes him more comfortable.
Anyways. He was bad. From the get-go he was snorting and making a fuss. You know, the wound-like-a-rubber-band feeling beneath you?
|yes, like this|
The last few rides, if I distracted him with transitions or lateral work, he would simmer down and only pop a few rears here and there. (Still not acceptable by any means). What broke the camels back was, after 15 minutes of his shit, me just wanting him to WALK in a normal fashion and he refused and just jigged. So I asked for a halt, patted him when he stood for .8 seconds, and the instant my hand touched his neck he reared, twisted, landed, bucked, bolted and crow hopped until the cows came home. I have no idea how I stayed on. I had to one rein stop him for fear of losing my life, but that only made matters worse and it was probably a good 17 crow hops later before he stopped.
|This is tame, actually|
So what did I do?
Like a fucking baby.
Bawled my eyes out for at least 8 minutes. No joke.
I was SO done. So frustrated. I've NEVER owned a horse that was so intent on killing me, or himself, and or just being a complete ass for no reason. I've never had a horse shiver at my touch. I've never been afraid to ask for a trot. I've never had to worry about possibly flipping over backwards in the next 4 seconds. NEVER had this much trouble with any animal, ever.
Why couldn't I do this? Why was B so impossible? WHAT was I doing wrong?
And you know what?
While I was sobbing, I dropped the reins, hung limp like a sack of potatoes and just sat there. B continued to walk around, but I noticed after a few blurry minutes that he wasnt jigging. Wasn't exploding. Wasn't flying sideways or backwards or upwards.
Then it hit me. I had been going with what I knew because my methods were tried and true with all of the animals I've ridden and horses I've owned. Even the Thoroughbreds. But B isn't every other TB. No no, he's a Sensitive Sally, Prickly Prince.
I should've put it all together.
He was definitely abused. So he's already sensitive to quick movements and heavy hands. He also raced, so his has a mildly stunted brain in the ways of learning. I've done my best to be gentle and kind. But he still always twitches when I girth him up (slowly) and if I use "too heavy" of a leg aid he lets me know. Same with hands. But we managed fine for months. He was perfect. We understood each other.
And then winter arrived.
It got really cold, and I shaved him.
Cue Winter Willies. Which include random spooks. Not a problem in most horses and manageable. But when you have a Prickly Prince, half-halts are apparently fuel for the fire.
|An ass thats ready to bolt|
Basically, I CREATED a monster.
What I can piece together is that his initial spooking was just winter willies. But he could not tolerate the sudden pressure of a half-halt and THAT created anxiety and he spooked/misbehaved more often. Rearing, one way to escape pressure, or fear of pressure, bolting, another. The more he bolted and reared and spooked, the more I would have to half halt to try cease such behavior. In turn, he began to associate the field, me on his back and riding in general as a terrible bad thing. But when you have a sensitive sally, anything is too much & I just never put it together.
So, after feeling terrible for creating this problem, I decided to test a theory.
1lb pressure on the reins, sitting the trot and little tiny baby half halts (or total releases) on inside rein whenever I felt him getting "wound up". By 1lb, I MEAN 1lb. Like, I tried to imagine that the reins were feathers and I would crush them if I gripped or pulled "too hard".
And motherfuck, it worked.
|That vest is not flattering|
I KNEW he wasn't like most horses and didn't like much pressure anywhere, but I did not correlate ME correcting HIS behavior (as it should be) as the issue.
He didn't spook once while I rode him like this. He got a little apprehensive, but when I did not react to it, he relaxed instantly. What the shit Bacardi.
|Note the very loose inside rein|
|Gratuitous Levi shot doing dressage|
|So much more relaxed & willing with loose reins|
Also, should probably do more work in the dressage tack, but his shenanigans were getting so ridiculous/dangeours I felt more secure in the jump tack.
One last thing I've been noticing and not putting it together...
Happens after every sweaty ride.
What the fuck.
Is he allergic to his own SWEAT?
What else horse, like come on. Could this be another reason his skin is so sensitive? Allergies?
Anyways, fingers crossed for a *hopefully* relaxed ride tomorrow. Thank you all for hopefully making it through this post.