Why is my horse being such a little ..... ?!
Equine behavioural issues, back pain - we have all been there, sat on our lovely horses only for our horse to be not so lovely. So whats going on?
I've seen and worked with hundreds of horses and ponies. I have been kicked in the face, bitten, bucked off, horses rearing and falling on top of me. You name it, I have seen it. Despite all of these experiences I can honestly say I have never once met a 'nasty' horse. Never.
I have seen scared horses, I have seen uncomfortable horses, I have seen uneducated horses, I have seen horses that do not have any clue what personal space is, horses with the incorrect tack etc. etc.
When talking about behavioural issues, it is not all bucking, bronking or rearing. We as horse owners and riders should also pick up on the subtle signs our horses give us - teeth grinding, hollowing, flared nostrils, ears back, eyes closed, cold backed, unbalanced or uneven, unhappy being girthed. All of these small indicators can be a sign of discomfort for the horse.
The big things don't appear over night.
You will often find, horses that have severe behavioural issues will have displayed these small signs of discomfort leading up to this big change in behaviour - This is what we are looking for, always.
Back pain - symptoms and signs
Ears back - nostrils flared - back arched or dipped - cold backed - teeth grinding - change in gate, especially canter - closed eyes - unhappy with girth - swishing tail - hollow head carriage - rein snatching
Seeing a horse display one of these subtle signs on the odd occasions does not tend to warrant investigation - we all have bad days!
Seeing a horse display 3 of these signs, 3 times throughout a ridden session would cause concern and needs further investigation - This early detection can prevent further injury and further behavioural issues.
With back problems my first area of investigation is the saddle - does it fit ? has it got enough flocking? is the tree in good condition?
We would look at soft tissue causes - Is there tight fascia? Toxin build up in the muscle? Trigger points or stress points?
We look at signs of inflammation using equine thermal imaging - This will detect areas that could need further investigations such as ultrasound and x-ray.
Discover - Treat - Prevent