dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, March 28, 2016

As the World Turns

Training a young horse is a bit of a soap opera at times- long periods of time where nothing happens and then a ridiculous level of dramatics.

Let me back up a bit. I was reading Annette's blog: http://aspenmeadows.blogspot.ca/2016/03/tex-visits-vet.html. In it she said that her horse responded to the pressure points for ulcers. That got me curious and I did a google search. I found a bunch of information including this video:
As I watched it, I realized that Carmen had a few of those symptom and it might explain the balking in the saddle. I decided to try her on a herbal supplement for her stomach and I added more alfalfa to her diet.

She showed immediate improvement and within 3 days all of her symptoms disappeared- including the balking under saddle. Which brings me to today.

Carmen was good in the barn and in our initial ground work. When I mounted she walked off. Oh-oh. I dismounted and got back on. She stood this time but as soon as I moved walked off. Within 3 minutes she was freaking out about something down the road and I had to get off. I lunged her some more this time making sure that she was truly focussed. When I got on, again, she stood still and we went to work. She was being spooky at the far side of the ring. I was determined that the trolls were not moving back. I worked my butt off trying to get her to focus on me rather then outside the ring.

What happens when she does this is that her attention is completely focussed on outside and she blows off all my aids. I have to get very very firm and then she gets annoyed with me. It is not fun. I am good at staying calm (mostly) with this and just working away.

Then Irish came bolting up the field and she went into full flight mode. I had to quickly dismount before we wrecked. I walked her in hand would not let her bend away or raise up and focus on the the people walking down the road. She was not happy about this but I stayed firm and finally she softened. I got back on again and we went to work. Again.

I refused to stay on the middle circle. We would work there and then I would peel off. I was NOT going to baby her past the areas that she had no issue with the last few weeks. I am NOT buying into that mind set. Instead, we worked on bending in and staying focussed on the aids. I could feel it working. I started a circle where half was in the 'scary' spot. I trotted firmly in the 'safe zone' and her walk in the 'scary zone'. The idea being that the scary area becomes the rest area. Finally she began to blow and relax in that area. I then asked her to canter and we moved forward.

We finished by walking the entire ring. I was okay if she was tense but we were going there. By the time were done we were a hot mess. Instead of the short session I planned on we had been working for 90 minutes. I gave her a massage and she relaxed fully. I was not happy with the change in her. A few things come to mind:

  • spring fever
  • heat (showing no real signs of it yet)
  • the increase alfalfa
  • she feels better in her tummy
I've cut out the the alfalfa and we'll see if that makes a difference. 

Princess Diva


  1. Oh mare! I'm betting it's a combination of all those things. Spring has certainly been a factor in all of our horses' behavior recently.

  2. Mine always get a little crazy in spring--possibly for all the above reasons, but you handled it great.

  3. Lucy has been an absolute nut lately about trolls and God knows what else -- so maybe it does have something to do with spring. You deal with Carmen very well.

  4. I feel you on the baby horse dramatics! Henry is on aloe vera juice for life, he's really ulcer prone.

  5. It's just to keep you on your toes when things start going too well for a while:)

    If you would like some wool for your saddle, get in touch. I'd be happy to share. Do you have any idea what kind of wool works best for flocking and how much is needed?

    1. Thanks. I actually don't. Let me check with my saddle friend.

  6. Ugh, Spring Sillies can be so frustrating. Sounds like you handled it well and have a good grasp on the underlying causes.


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