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Horse Lays Down On Rider...

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She writes...

We recently purchased a very badly misrepresented horse and found to our disappointment that she has a very bad habit of lying down and rolling on the rider, in your opinion can this be corrected? Please help!!!!!!!!!!!

Since I don't have all the information I don't know what the situation really is but it's possible that she didn't do that with the previous owner.

Whether it's horses, dogs or cats I usually don't put a lot of stock in what the animal was like before we crossed paths. When I traveled around doing clinics clinic hosts would often want to tell me the history of the horses before I arrived so that I would be prepared and I wouldn't be surprised. I'd tell them what the horse did made no difference to me. Whatever I was presented with when I arrived I'd work with. I didn't pre-screen horses. Pay your money, you got what you needed. If your horse made me look bad, so be it.

So many people told me things about their horses that I couldn't find any indication of.

Animals are in the now creatures. Change the now, you can often change the behavior. We had an Australian Shepherd dog who spent his first few days with us cowering in an empty room of the house peering terrified out the door in case someone would head toward him. In no time he was one of the family and you couldn't get the sucker to move short of a winch. It never occurs to him to hide no matter what.

I said that to say I don't worry too much about previous behavior whether good or bad. We have bought a number of horses sight unseen and only a couple of them we should have passed on. But that was also in my "cowboy" days before I learned there was a better way of dealing with horses than the "I'm gonna ride ride even if it kills us both" way.

The very first thing I think of when I hear of horses doing this is ill-fitting tack. Ill fitting tack ***can*** apply nerve pressure that will put a horse down, sometimes abruptly, sometimes gradually.

I have had well behaved horses sag when I tightened the girth over the years and so far it has always been equipment pressing just right (well, actually, pressing wrong).

Probably the most amazing was the horse who would sag to the ground while drinking on the trail. Turns out the breast collar was pressing on his carotid artery cutting off the blood flow to his brain when he lowered his head to drink. As soon as he was flat out on the ground the blood flow would resume and up he'd get.

I'd have to dig a little deeper to see if I could get an idea of how and why she does this. For instance, does she do this when ridden bareback? When does she do it - going up hill, downhill after so many minutes, with a particular rider?

In order to deal with this one needs to have as much information available as possible.

Can this horse be saved? At the moment, I don't see why not.

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