I have an 11-yr. old TB gelding who drops to his knees and tries to roll over on you when you try to get on him to ride. This first time this happened, it was after his teeth were floated and his sheath cleaned. The vet had to drug him quite abit and I held onto him through the "procedures". The next day when I went to ride him was the first time he dropped to his knees trying to roll over on me. It scared the heck out of me. I tried to ride him a week later and he did the same thing. We thought he was mad at me and this was his way of showing it. I didn't try to ride him for several months...just turn him out and lounge him.
Then my brother-in-law and I got brave and tried to ride him again. And...he was just fine!!!
I moved him and my 27 yr. old mare to another barn recently and rode him in the arena. He was fine here, too. Then yesterday, the farrier came out and I held him while he got his shoes. It took about an hour. No big deal. The farrier said his feet wouldn't even be sore. I got him ready to ride in the arena and guess what...he starts to go down on his knees to roll over on me as I try to get on him!!! What is going on? There's no medical problem and I don't understand his behavior. This is a horse that my 14 yr. old daughter used to ride as an English Hunter in horse shows! Do you have any suggestions as to why he's doing this and how I can stop it? Thanks.
Perhaps we can find some clues in this post that may give us an idea what's going on here...
Bear in mind that I have no knowledge about this situation, the horse, or the people involved beyond what I read in this post. But I am very good at solving horse problems. As I have said before, no brag, just fact. But most of the time, it is not rocket science or very involved, it is just standing back and looking at the situation objectively.
The first thing I want to address is the phrase, "There is no medical problem."
Let's look at the phrase up toward the front, "This first time this happened, it was after his teeth were floated and his sheath cleaned. The vet had to drug him quite abit and I held onto him through the "procedures". Underscores are mine for emphasis. In my opinion, this tells me an awful lot.
Here we have a horse that apparently suddenly starts doing something he didn't do before *AFTER* a specific event. Is it possible there is a connection there? I sure think so.
Now what is it? I'm not really sure, but here's what I think.
I don't think this is a rebellion thing, because it is inconsistent in occurance but consistent in performance. He does it "sometimes" but he always apparently does it the same way *when* he does it. Also, I do not believe horses are capable of punishing people for grievances. They merely have reactions to specific occurrances. People are the ones who attach human justification to the actions.
He could have a pinched nerve. He could have knee problems. And even though your farrier says his feet don't hurt, they very well could. The farrier could have inadvertently performed a lameness check on the horse by holding the leg up to work on the hoof, which could have pinched a nerve.
I see horses ALL the time that have been examined "clean" by any number of equine professionals only to discover some very serious problems. Nothing against the pros, they just don't see the same things in their practice I see in mine. I look for different things than they do.
If he collapses quickly, it's almost certainly nerve. If he goes down relatively slowly with sound of any sort, sigh, grunt, groan, it's pain.
It can also be a saddle issue with the saddle pinching a nerve.
I'd find an equine chiropractor to thoroughly examine him. Having a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist looking him over wouldn't hurt. I'd also have an highly experienced saddle technician such as Kellie Sharpe look him over as well.
In the vast majority of cases, when you have a horse who abruptly stops doing something it has willingly done before, it is almost always physical. It make take some doing to find it, but that's my take.
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