I need help. Completely defeated.

The fire-breathing dragon needs to be tamed.

Instead of getting better, he gets worse.

Please help.

Seriously though, Subi is getting more unpredictable as the days go on. He’s generally pretty good in the mornings and pretty terrible at night. So I guess he is predictable but I can’t seem to fix it beyond that. We were better a month ago… [He’s fine in his stall. He eats, sleeps (evidence is the bedding found all over him including inside his ears), and looks generally relaxed in the morning)

Daylight used to make a difference, not now. Hard ground sometimes makes a difference, but not always. Mushy soft ground (most of the time) makes things worse.

If I do work in hand, it doesn’t necessarily make a difference in how he behaves. He’s spooky and reactive.

Generally though, if I do in hand work on the driveway before tossing him in his stall, he’s great for that. We don’t spook on the driveway even though the driveway is dark and shadowy. Unfortunately, we have to get TO the driveway in order to work there.

img_9594

Icy, slushy mess

Last night he got away from me for the first time. Not my finest moment, but I just could not hold on (it was slippery — freezing rain on top of snow made for pretty awful conditions) and he spooked at my husband and reared and I slipped and… I tried to hold on, but he got caught up in the rope and ultimately, I lost my grip. I caught him a second later, but… I’m ashamed that I lost control. I sort of kept him in check the rest of the way, but his brain was lost. Batt was screaming (seriously? Idiot horse didn’t help the situation) but we made it the rest of the way unscathed.

I need to spend a few hours just leading back and forth. Except, when we’re leading just to lead, he seems to know the difference???? We’re planning to install another gate so we can walk through the wood, but we need to cut up a fallen tree first. This will provide a darker path, but a flatter path too… I’ll take a spooking horse on flat surfaces over one on a hill any day.

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Prime…mush.

Anyway, I need help. I’m about to give up. While I don’t mean it, I feel completely defeated.

14 thoughts on “I need help. Completely defeated.

  1. ugh i’m sorry 😦 a lot of our farm’s horses are being complete nutters with this crazy roller coaster weather too. they all want to RUN, but then they can’t bc of the ground. ugh. are you using a stud chain or rope halter or anything to lead him? might improve the overall safety of the situation?

    • Stud chain. I was using a rope halter, but I feel more in control with the chain. But, I do swap to the rope halter here and there to change things up.

      I think he wants to run too and has an insane amount of pent of energy. The ground is just mush and mud or frozen solid and dangerous. I’m sure that’s part of it. If things ever improve, I might start lightly lunging to give him an extra outlet (I don’t trust his hind end stability or I’d try and ride).

  2. Ugh no advice but you know i suffer from the ‘idiot’ syndrome of winter too. Mine goes from zero to 10 in five seconds (faster if a Pig is seen LOL). I hope you figure out something as I know you worry about him falling or hurting himself while being an idiot.
    I am so lucky to be home working so I can get my guys up in the daytime otherwise i might be dead. LOL

  3. Sorry this weather has been so awful. Is there an indoor arena you could trailer him to and let him run a bit then work on some ground work and lunging? H’Appy just about bowled the hubby over last night coming in for dinner. This non stop rain is driving them all insane with so much energy and no outlet for it. I’m contacting a local indoor arena to see if I can trailer in this weekend and work him.

    • It’s an idea, but I’m hesitant for many reasons. One being that he hasn’t been on a trailer in… 6.5 years. And I won’t be able to turn loose in the indoor. With children around, it’s just not a stress-free solution but rather a potentially dangerous one. I’m not willing to put him in. He doesn’t travel well (he did when in a routine back when he showed regularly).

      I also need trailer tires and that’s not happening right now. I have a spare, but I have that for emergencies.

  4. I’m so sorry! Even my normally super safe Bridget just about ran me over twice last week. I think it’s just the weather, plus the longer days have them anticipating spring. If you feel like there might be more to it, you could have a vet out – there are a few things that can make them spooky/agitated (vision issues, mineral imbalances off the top of my head) I hope he settles down soon.

    • Thanks. It helps to hear the safe horses being stupid. Seriously. Lol. I know it could be that, but the vision thing is interesting. That’s been in the back of my mind, especially as the reactions are worse when it’s dark and the footing is worse… I have to have the vet out in March to do his teeth and I’ll talk to her then. It’s hard not to internalize and take it all personally.

  5. Yeah Whisper goes a bit nuts now in the winter unfortunately, so it isn’t just your guy. My guess is to let him run as well. But if Whisper and Amber are being reactive and I can’t let them run, I do two things. Since both Amber and Whisper aren’t completely sound, I do a bit of groundwork (moving hind end and shoulders) or showmanship (right turn/spin on the haunches, backing, trotting with me, halting, walking off, and then mixing all of that) very methodically and calmly as if I have all the time in the world and couldn’t care less about having to do that. I have to repeat this a lot more with Whisper than Amber, but it’s a thought of “if you want to move your feet that’s totally okay; let’s move the feet” but then I’m focusing that energy by controlling where the feet move. When they pause, lots of pets and praise. It’s really helped Whisper, and after about a week she understood the drill. Now, if she gets upset and I start doing this, it takes hardly any time for her to come back. I have no idea if this helps, but I hope I have at least a little!

    • I do some of that (backing, turns on the forehand — mastered those in less than a week, halting), but finding a place to do so it’s easy when you’re drowning in mud. We always do something (except for last night when I was super done) when he’s a mess leading, on the driveway, and sometimes in the morning before turnout. I try to do a little in the field before bringing him in, but it’s hard on uneven ground in the dark. I’ll keep trying though. Work his brain and his feet, right? If he acts stupid walking, I always try and change something up. We halt, back, or turn. I try and redirect the energy even if it means it takes longer.

  6. The weather across the country is making all the horses morons. It’s very frustrating and I’m sorry you are going through this but you’re doing what I would do (stud chain, ground work etc)

  7. Ugh. I can hear your frustration. Have you tried the ulcer meds? Another idea,that you might not like, is to give a small dose of Ace. Just enough to keep the edge off until the weather improves and you can work where it’s not dangerous. I would stick with the chain even for the times you don’t need it.

    More, likely useless advice, is to spend time making him step 1 step, stop, back 1 right from the beginning. Like in his stall. It sets a tone from the beginning of ‘hey, listen to me’. I do that with Carmen often and it helps her to focus on me, not everything around her.

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