Could feed be turning him loopy ?

G

Guest

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I've had my horse for 6 months and previous owners said he was always the lazy type, a bit nappy and stubborn since he's been in a riding school for a few years too. I'd been really struggling with his energy and stamina while trying to jump him, he runs out of steam so quickly. So tried Saracens Releve feed (he needs cereal free for a skin allergy) since March this year, and combined with spring grass, his behaviour is just getting worse. He's napping out hacking, bucking, spooking really badly, and just generally being very fresh. He was so naughty at a lesson I took him to on grass too. Everything has been checked too, so I'm wondering whether his feed could have caused it? I wasn't even giving him the recommended amount for his height and workload. Could it still cause this awful behaviour?

Thanks
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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It could well be, or it could just be the spring grass, or the combo of the two o_O sorry that's not much help, but its pretty common for horses to get a bit full of themselves this time of year but its worth assessing what he is being fed for sure :)
 
G

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It could well be, or it could just be the spring grass, or the combo of the two o_O sorry that's not much help, but its pretty common for horses to get a bit full of themselves this time of year but its worth assessing what he is being fed for sure :)
Thank you but would just the spring grass be turning him like this? His previous owner had him over summer too and she said he was lazy and I've seen videos of him too- he's a different horse with me.

Thank you for replying.
 

Lissie

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Jan 18, 2016
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Did he come straight from the riding school? Feed really affects one of my horses, he can't have much at all.

Is he a healthy weight? How much are you working him? I'd take him off the feed personally, up his work and have some lessons. An instructor should be able to help teach you how to deal with his behaviour.
 

KP nut

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Dec 22, 2008
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Well a fit horse should not run out of steam, even if only on forage, and an unfit one will run out of steam no matter what you feed him. So you need to separate feed requirements from fitness and schooling. 'Laziness' in a generally fit horse is usually a schooling issue - you need to get him in front of your leg. Feed can help pep them up a little, but as you have seen, it can also send ponies very silly. And generally unneeded food leads to the problems you are describing: spooking and napping. NOT responsive and working hard with power and impulsion. I'm afraid that only comes with hard work not a bucket of feed.

Napping and laziness in an ex RS pony may well just be a schooling issue and the feed may be making that worse by giving him too much energy that he doesn't need. I would cut out all hard feed completely, and work on transitions till they are sharp and he is listening to your leg. Then build up his fitness so he can stay forward even with faster work and jumping.
 
G

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Did he come straight from the riding school? Feed really affects one of my horses, he can't have much at all.

Is he a healthy weight? How much are you working him? I'd take him off the feed personally, up his work and have some lessons. An instructor should be able to help teach you how to deal with his behaviour.
No he went to a dealer for a year and another lady for 3 months so he has been passed around a lot.
He's a healthy weight, he gets worked 6 days a week - either hacking for maybe 1-1.5 hours or schooling sessions about 40 mins nothing really hard, and a half hour jumping session per week. My instructor gives me lessons every week and hacks out with me too.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Well a fit horse should not run out of steam, even if only on forage, and an unfit one will run out of steam no matter what you feed him. So you need to separate feed requirements from fitness and schooling. 'Laziness' in a generally fit horse is usually a schooling issue - you need to get him in front of your leg. Feed can help pep them up a little, but as you have seen, it can also send ponies very silly. And generally unneeded food leads to the problems you are describing: spooking and napping. NOT responsive and working hard with power and impulsion. I'm afraid that only comes with hard work not a bucket of feed.

Napping and laziness in an ex RS pony may well just be a schooling issue and the feed may be making that worse by giving him too much energy that he doesn't need. I would cut out all hard feed completely, and work on transitions till they are sharp and he is listening to your leg. Then build up his fitness so he can stay forward even with faster work and jumping.
I agree and think he is lazy in the school, but he is nappy and stubborn when I try and push him on even with spurs, and he bucks if you tickle him with the schooling whip on his bum. Definitely think he needs a lot of schooling exercises to stop him being lazy.
I will cut out all feed and see if he improves.

Thank you
 

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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It's hard without seeing the pony, but most 'gerrof' bucks by lazy ponies when flicked to move forward are evasions. Ie ways of avoiding work rather than fear reactions to the whip. Your RI should be able to advise.

Are you confident enough to ride forward even if he bucks? If you tickle him with a schooling whip and he bucks (and it's an evasion) and then you back off, he will just buck every time as it is an effective strategy for him. Whereas if you respond to a buck with even more leg/stick and insist on a change of pace, however long it takes him to give it to you, then eventually he will just go first time of asking as it's a damn sight easier for him! So squeeze, kick, smack, smack again, and again etc etc etc no matter what he does to evade, until he goes forward at the pace you want. Then reward, release and start all over again. And again. Offer a 'good deal' first every time (ie a squeeze) but be prepared to then do what it takes to get the change you want. And release/reward as soon as you get that change. Eventually the pony will take the good deal.....
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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I agree and think he is lazy in the school, but he is nappy and stubborn when I try and push him on even with spurs, and he bucks if you tickle him with the schooling whip on his bum. Definitely think he needs a lot of schooling exercises to stop him being lazy.
I will cut out all feed and see if he improves.

Thank you
Spurs are for refining your aids with an already thinking forwards horse not to wake up something lazy Imo.
Mine is not naturally forwards and needs reminding. She gets given time to warm up.
But she isn't fed a thing bar the grass in the field.
 
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Lollykay

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What does "everything has been checked" mean?

Has he had blood drawn for cushings? Insulin Resistance? Either of those two issues, or both, will cause. Horse to quickly run out of steam. His misbehavior may be generated by not being able to perform.

Has he had a blood chemistry panel and a CBC to eliminate other issues?

If he has had blood drawn and everything has been eliminated in that regard, I Would then be sure he is not having pain issues. That could also include saddle fit.

After that, I Would look at behavioral issues and be sure I wasn't the one adding to them.
 

SeeingSpots

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would just the spring grass be turning him like this?

Yes plus you have only had him 6 months, it could be a mixture of him adjusting, testing you, spring grass. If you have had checks done and are sure he's not got a medical condition or is in pain, I would get some lessons, lots of lessons and on the ground as well as in the saddle. Once they respect you on the ground fully, you can work towards respect under saddle.

It is worth getting a vet to check him over incase there is an underlying issue like @Lollykay said that could be causing the problems.

Sounds like he is just testing the boundaries and taking the mick tbh.

I agree. Sounds exactly like my pony at the beginning!!
 
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