Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh the Shame...

I'm the lump off to the left... thanks for checking on me P!
Yeah, yeah, everyone falls off. I know.  And everyone (well most everyone..) gets back on.  And realistically, aside from the obvious medical risk, it's always nice when you don't have too many witnesses when you do fall off, which makes me wonder (slightly) why I would post this.  But really, what's the point of video if not to continuously watch it and get to a point in the (hopefully not too distant) future where I can look back and think "gee, we've come SO FAR."

Just so you don't miss the highlights.... here they are:
First big buck coming out of our rear.. it's obvious that I've already lost my seat and one of my stirrups at this point...
Continuing to buck across the short diagonal.  At this point I have one stirrup, and no reins... dang.
Bailing.  For the record, this is not what an emergency dismount is supposed to look like.  This is a "land-on-your-back-and-you-will-feel-like-a-ragdoll" dismount.
Thank you for all the well wishes and comments yesterday.  Both my body, and my confidence are feeling pretty bruised.

I am however on the up and up, and actually managed to dress myself this morning (yay!) though the bra proved a bit challenging at first.. The Boy is unfortunately dispatched east of the mountains for a job for the week... so he got his nursing in on Monday... but is thankfully not around to witness the tea drinking, advil crunching, peanut butter demolishing tragedy on the couch that I can become... (though I have managed to watch more Keeping up with the Kardashians then I ever thought I would and got oddly hooked on Say Yes to the Dress). 

I must say that my equitation looks like crap.  I understand that perfect eq during bucking fits doesn't top my "things to school in our next lesson" list, but usually I sit down and ride it out a little better.. I'm blaming the Black-Stallion-Rear-Session for my less than stellar grippy-ness.

Anyway, a number of you commented on the fairly large probability that her behavior is stemming from a pain response.  I'm not sure where I sit on that (ha.. sit... ) right now.  Last summer I was CONVINCED that she was in pain, and that was the issues behind the bucking in hand, bucking under saddle, bucking while being ridden, etc..

However, I'm currently less convinced.  She's had full work ups on her back, and more body work/chiro attention than I care to admit.  So far there's nothing that suggests a painful joint of deterioration... What I do know is that she acts like this when she's in heat (though she shouldn't be right now..) and is totally capable of not being sticky (going forward) and also capable of not bucking (at all) when she's distracted and happy.  This tends to happen when other horses are in the ring, or she's fat and warm.

Also, when you smack the twilight out of her, she stands stock still and behaves like an angel.  When the BO had a conversation with her after my fall, she was able to get on, and move forward with no issues... no hesitation, no balking, no bucking.

Additionally, when she is slow to start and gets stuck behind my leg.. its always in the same place.  It always happens on the open side of our circle, closest to the gate.  Always.  And the objection totally dissipates within the first 5 minutes of our ride.

Now... getting her relaxed and swinging through her back is another issue entirely.. but it happens, and she's able to stay in work 6 days a week without getting increasingly sore, or objectionable.  In fact, she tends to get less objectionable.

Which has me currently leaning toward "attitude," but by know means would I bet my life on it.

If it is attitude, then that is another topic entirely.  One for another day, after more thinking and less pain killers in the system.

I am going out to the barn tonight to make her grain boxes and groom the mare up.  I'm still not exactly in what I would call "rideable" condition, but the mare and I should kiss and make up.

But for now, here's the vid.  Not that dramatic, but certainly not comfortable...


  1. Not too many riders would have stayed on during that - I know I wouldn't have. She certainly wanted to get rid of you and to stop working. It looks like in the video that she's going along pretty well, when bam! she gets really upset - I'm certainly no expert but it looks like she's having trouble accepting contact while bending left. It could be something in her mouth, a TMJ issue or an issue in the first few vertebrae of the neck, or it could even be a noseband putting pressure on the facial nerves. The suddenness and violence of the onset does make me think pain - very few horses will expend that much energy to get rid of a rider - this wasn't a spook or even just nerves, she felt she had to dump you. Does she usually carry that degree of muscular tension in her body? Her rump in the very close up shot is almost quivering with tension. I'd also check into feed - if she's getting too many carbs (particular NSCs which you usually won't find rated on the package), that can blow the lid sky-high. The fact that she's sometimes OK and can hold it together if forced to doesn't mean it isn't pain - just be very, very sure it isn't pain before punishing her for the behavior or letting someone else do that. Sometimes these things can be very difficult to figure out.

    Good luck - that's pretty scary and we all feel for you.

  2. Wow, I'm impressed that you stayed on that long... I think I would have been a goner way before that! Especially with the off camera rearing that started all the fun. I'm very glad you weren't hurt worse!

    It's always a challenge to determine why... and I do appreciate that so many people think of pain issues first. I know I do because the last thing I want to do is punish my horse for reacting to pain. I also think that it could definiely be attitude, or even both. Maybe her reluctance to move forward yesterday was a reaction to pain initially and she decided you weren't listening, so she got your attention.

    Or, perhaps she just didn't feel like working and since you were forcing her to, so she got your attention.

    In either case, I hope she doesn't do it again! Feel better soon!

  3. Yeah... very, very good call to bail before you landed on the wall. That would have been bad. I don't think your position was bad, the rear probably got you loose so your seat wasn't as tight, but you were back behind the vertical where you're supposed to be when they're bucking and bouncing around like idiots. But damn girl, that was one serious mare-fit. I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn't have stayed on either.

    Thanks for sharing, because it helps to see exactly what she's doing. I have to tell you, I am totally perplexed and fascinated by your mare. I'm not really sure which side of the fence I'd fall on (pain vs. attitude) if I were you, given everything you've been through with her and all the possibilities you've explored. At this point all I can offer is sympathy -- but I certainly do feel for you and hope that you start getting more consistency from her soon.

  4. Another random thought - is she doing the work she's suited for and wants to do? Some horses just don't like (i.e. hate) doing certain jobs and it takes time to figure out what they like to do. Our Lily loved, loved, loved to jump - anything, no matter how big or scary. She hated flatwork and hated going on the trail. She had an amazing bolt-and-buck that she would deploy when asked to do work she hated. As long as she was doing work she liked, she was delightful and happy. Maybe your mare hates her job.

    Also think about stabling, feed and turnout. Is she getting enough turnout; is her feed appropriate - consider adding B1 if she's getting grain and chromium/magnesium if she isn't, as well as Mare Magic. Does she get to go out with other horses and socialize?

    Think about the whole picture - she's trying to tell you something and you'll have to figure out what it is - not always easy.

  5. Oh god...sweetie please, please don't take this the wrong way but as soon as the music started playing I started LAUGHING uncontrollably because I knew what was coming! Believe me I've been there before! It didn't help that y'all look so nice coming through the diagonal and then, well...I'm so sorry. I laugh at totally inopportune times and this was one of them. Tears, seriously...only b/c I knew you were ok, of course. It's the soothing, spa music that set me off!

    Whew, deep breath...ok. You are a brave, brave woman for posting that, and you just made my night:) I hope this doesn't come off as totally callous and inappropriate. For what it's worth, I think you rode that as well as a human could, for reals.

    Hugs! (lol!)

  6. This is why I want nothing to do with Warmbloods. I've seen and heard about them "exploding" far too many times for me to ever consider owning one.

    The best part is when she sees you on the ground over by the wall, and spooks. Really, mare? My horse once looked at me in surprise as I landed on the ground in front of her after sliding off over her head, and I just looked and her and went "You're an idiot."

    Good riding on your part, though. I'm impressed. I once came off my horse just from a little crow-hop (it was my bad, I was nervous and leaning forward).

  7. Holy shit!! Those were some crazy bucks. I'm shocked you stayed on as long as you did. Good riding! As for the above comment- any horse can explode at any given moment. It has nothing to do with breed. *head shake*

  8. She can sure buck! Good job staying on as long as you did. I'm thinking about Kate's comment re P liking her job. I had a TB once who bucked like that and he dumped me numerous times. I tried everything to make sure he wasn't in pain. In the end, I sold him to a jumping barn. He never bucked there. He loved to jump. Dressage just wasn't his thing. Not that you should sell her but maybe incorporate some jumping into your work and see if she's happier? Just scratching my head here...

  9. Thanks for the encouragement team. always nice to know everyone else would land on the ass too ;)

    I'll post on some of the other thoughts a little later... some good points, and some that I've pondered a bit. Thanks!

  10. Wow! She is athletic! Maybe she wants to be a jumper?

    FWIW, my (now retired) greenbean-turned-rockstar horse had a MAJOR bucking phase at about age 5-6. In retrospect, much of it probably stemmed from the fact that he was very smart, but we were both learning as we went along and so he got frustrated easily and the bucking was how he expressed that. I'm fairly certain his heels went as high as Pia's in this video on a regular basis. I fell off. A lot. And now can ride out most bronc fests on just about anything.

    We addressed some issues with saddle fit (I felt terrible) - but that didn't change much. Then we made sure he got more fun jobs than just flatwork - presto! No more bucking. For him, it really was just boredom/frustration.

    After bombing around little eventing courses for a few years (and continuing to do well enough in low level dressage), I decided we were ready to level up and so needed to get serious about improving our dressage...and the bucking came back - age 8ish. But not for long. After ruling out and pain issues, instructors and I decided he was just being a brat, and instead of letting him get away with it, we just didn't put up with it. Every buck meant judicious use of whip or crop and a very very forward had-gallop until he asked to slow down (then he was made to gallop a little faster for another lap or two). He very quickly figured out that bucking was much harder work than not bucking. We also made sure to keep his routine varied so we didn't run into the boredom issues, but

    I don't know if that is something you've tried, or even whether it would work with Pia, but I just thought I'd share on the off chance that other people's experiences with this issue may shed some light. Best of luck, and come what may, you're going to have a seat like glue from all of this.

  11. Dear GOD!!

    That's all I have to say.

    Yikes girl! I tried Mare worked....for about 2 months. Smart Calm Ultra = Magic.

  12. WOWWWWW! I appreciate the music you set it to...

  13. EEks, yea I would have eaten sand a lot sooner. Pia sure is athletic and I agree, she seemed to have a firm intention of wanting you off for whatever reason; pain or being naughty or scared? Who knows.
    The music you set the video to is funny..although your fall is not. I'm hoping you are OK and nibbling some great meds :)

  14. That's some amazing riding! I can't believe you stayed on for that long!

    And I don't know if it's pain or attitude either. She is trying to tell you something, yes, but what? Not sure.

    Feel better soon!

  15. I have to say, I admire the fortitude of your spirit and your willingness to be so fair-minded in trying to understand Pia. There is that clear moment in the video where she gets pissed, about whatever -- who knows? -- and to me, you are riding her quietly, with beautiful position and gentle hands, not provoking her in the slightest. It's hard for me to see, if it's a pain reaction, to what stimulus. I feel like she just decides. I'm glad you put up the video. For someone like me, who has confidence issues, I can always make it worse in my imagination. Get better soon!


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