Getting a clear assessment of Buddy under saddle...

This teenaged bay Arabian gelding is in rehabilitation. Watch his progress as he goes through eye surgery, gains weight and returns to his original beauty!

Getting a clear assessment of Buddy under saddle...

Postby Juliane on Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:50 pm

Buddy is more than ready for a new home, but I have been holding back from advertising him locally because I have wanted to be sure I knew exactly what his skills were and were not under saddle. I have ridden him a total of 4 times. The first time was before his enucleation surgery. He was calm and quiet, if a little too quiet due to the pain he was in?! The second time I rode him was for about 100 feet bareback on the way to the barn - not really much of an assessment. The third time I rode him, he was spooky and jumpy, and bucked when free lunged with the saddle on.

To date, I have only walked Buddy and have been very quiet and reassuring with him. I have not pushed him. Tonight, I saddled him up (from his right side, so he could see me) and then took him down to the covered arena on my street. He was great to be tacked up, with no spooking issues and let me tighten the girth without issue.

He did not buck when I free lunged him in the arena and was fine when I mounted up. However, he did stiffen up when I stepped into the stirrup. I proceeded to ride him around, doing circles and figure 8's. He was very good, but seemed very, very nervous when I tried to push him forward into a trot.

I do not get the feeling that he is 'unbroke' or 'green'. Instead, my thoughts are that he's reacting out of belief that he is going to be beat if he doesn't do as I ask. He is also very defensive of his mouth. He is not easy to bridle and evades the bit. He is very light in the mouth, but if you pull too hard on the reins, he will toss his head. If you are light in your requests, he is very willing.

So, at this point, I feel like his history is that he's been ridden hard (and possibly abused) by an inexperienced rider. I think that he will blossom with a few quiet, confidence-building, reassuring type rides.

Tomorrow, rain or shine, I am going out on a quickie trail ride with Jen. I am eager to see how Buddy will do, but am fairly certain he will be fine. Once I finally get a good grasp on his riding skills, I can advertise him for adoption and hopefully place him asap! :)

Here's a quick video clip of me trying to get him to trot under saddle tonight - I did ultimately get him to trot a few strides, but he was pretty nervous: http://www.serenitytraining.com/blogima ... 3-8-07.wmv

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Postby ponygril68 on Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:22 am

i wonder if he was worried about stepping on your dog? he seemed to hesitate everytime he walked towards him/her.
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Postby Altanera on Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:44 am

O he is cute. To me it looks like he is testing you to see if he can scare you out of making him do what you want him too. I fully see bully and not scared but thats just me. I have a horse in for retraining and he test ever new rider on him by a) spooking at nothing then if they past that test and he still does not feel like being ridden he will try to scare you, but its all for show. He is really not going to do anything. The other night I pulled him out to ride him during feeding time and he did not want to good for a ride. He kept trying to scare me by doing his hyper trot and strong canter, but I know him and just pushed him through it and in the end I got a listening horse. I am not scared of him and his tatics do not work or me nor have they ever, but he really was trying. Some horses are too smart for their own good.

I think Buddy is very smart. Being an Arab that is not surprising. I am glad you did get some trot out of him. I bet it will come easier next time. :wink:
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Postby RockinCircleC on Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:45 am

I don't think the dog was an issue. He just looked perplexed by the requests. From what I saw he doesn't look afraid (but keep in mind I wasn't physically there). Keep at it and get that change of gait and I think you'll be fine.
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Postby seahorse on Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:12 am

I agree he does not seem afraid- just not confident enough to move forward....maybe he was worried about the dog but I could not really tell from the video. My gut reaction says it is a trust/confidence issue. Dally is so trusting of humans that he would go over a cliff on his blind side if you asked......I think you are dead on that Buddy just has not had enough consistantly reliable humans in his life and he will resolve quickly. It might help to put other quiet riders on him so he begins to see that in his "new" life people are trustworthy. It is interesting though that he will longe at faster gaits. Maybe have your ground person put a long line on him with you on him and I would probably have Roper wait outside the arena once just to see if it made a difference- it does not seem like it would but you never know.
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Postby cat_67 on Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:20 am

I'd try him in the bitless bridle, see if it makes a difference. That could be the perfect choice if his mouth has been abused. He just looks confused/untrusting to me...I don't think he is being naughty though it's a dark video and hard to tell.
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Postby seahorse on Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:56 am

When we first took him Tina shared that he lost his eye because he was a "head flipper" and his owner laid him down on top of some farm equipment :roll: So it makes sense he is protective of his mouth....lord knows what bit the had on him or if his mouth hurt and they just did not take the time to rule out pain as a cause of the head flipping. So there is a history of abuse( not that you cannot lay a horse down responsibly) and also of potential mouth pain. Who knows how bad his teeth are......be aware that if he has sharp outside edges and ulcers on his cheeks a hackamore or bitless squeezing can be every bit as painful as a bit in his mouth. Or maybe it is not his mouth at all :D I love playing "detective" with these guys! On another note he sure looks pretty under saddle and you look pretty happy up on him even when you are sorting through his issues.....you have better find him a home quick- I know your soft spot for arabs! :shock:
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Postby Altanera on Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:19 am

I was wondering about his teeth as well...I bet they need done if they have not been already. My horse acts like he has been abused in the mouth if even needs to be done in the slightest. My vet is always like anyother horse I would not bother, but we know how sensitive he is. And he goes in a happy mouth snaffle. Sensitive TBs.
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Postby veltaw on Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:39 pm

It may be a combination of several factors, not least his past handling of course. The dog may not have been the whole issue but it probably didn't help. He may have lived in a previous environment where dogs gave chase once he started to move out. In that case the dog moving into his blind spot might make him uneasy to go faster than a walk. I would try him again on a sunny day with plenty of light (good luck :wink: ) and no distractions. Maybe a bitless bridle too, as someone above suggested. He seems like a love though! With consistent and careful riding I'm sure he'll turn out great.
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Postby Sandilf on Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:49 pm

I would probably leave the dog out of the arena while you are trying to work with Buddy. He is probably a distraction. I know when we are working with the horses in the round pen, if my dog gets in there, the horses minds are off of doing what they are supposed to and on the dog and where he is and what he is doing.

He sure looks good. What a beautiful horse! You are doing great with him! :wink:
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Postby Juliane on Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:27 pm

LOL Yep, Roper is a pain in the bootie! She just will not stay out of the way! I will have to put her in the crate the next time I go to the arena.

On a good note, I just got back from a long trail ride with Jen. Buddy was a PERFECT angel. I rode him in a snaffle bit and there was no head tossing at all. I believe he does need his teeth floated, but at $300, I'm going to have to wait a bit. I have been unemployed for the past 2 weeks, though start a new job on Monday, so hopefully I can get his teeth done asap (if he's not placed before then).

Anyways, I'll post shortly with pics, but Buddy did fine today. We walked and trotted and he was perfect. I'm sure it was just an insecurity thing last night, or just a fluke.

And Chelsea, you're right - he needs a new home SOON. I'm falling in love with him! I'll take him to drill practice on Sunday and try to pawn him off on someone. I think there are a couple girls looking for horses :P
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Postby AgilityGal on Fri Mar 09, 2007 3:47 pm

Roper is way too funny. He just keeps following. . .even though you're only going in circles! Think that's got to be way too confusing! Buddy probably doesn't get going in circles either. I had a horse like that once.
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Postby schwung on Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:21 pm

Juliane - bring Buddy up here and have Hannah do him. I think she charged us less than $100 for Whiskey including sedation.
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Postby Juliane on Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:00 pm

Oh wow! That's cheap! Ok, when will she be at your place next?
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Postby schwung on Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:12 pm

I don't have anything scheduled at the moment, but everyone here is due for shots and teeth checks and I believe she is running a special on spring shots this month as well. Do you want me to see if I can schedule something (preferably a Saturday)?
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