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RE: [RC] Dealing w/ a horse that won't pulse down due to excitement - Mcgann, Barbara

Karen,

Time and practice will take care of this problem.  In the meantime, there are a 
few things you can do.  She would actually be better if she goes to the rides 
without her buddy.  If you have to take the buddy, then give in, and go get her 
buddy for the vet check.  Work on the discipline issues, asking her to stand 
still for 1 minute and then bring the buddy up, then for 3 mins and bring the 
buddy up, etc.

Don't let her run around you.  This just gets them worked up even more.  
Practice whoa and STAND.  hold her head, back her, move her hindquarters, then 
her forehand, anything to keep her attention on you.

When all else fails, take your coat off (or a towel or anything) and cover her 
eyes!!  She will fuss a bit about it, but if you insist that she stand there 
and you keep her eyes covered, she will lower her head and give up.  Her pulse 
will drop like a rock!  This is a useful thing if you aren't sure whether your 
horses pulse is staying up because they are hurting or because they are 
excited.  If, when you cover their eyes and they quit fighting, the pulse stays 
up, then you have a problem.  If, you cover their eyes and it drops, then it is 
just the excitement.

Barb McGann


-----Original Message-----
From: ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Karen Casemier
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2004 7:53 AM
To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [RC] Dealing w/ a horse that won't pulse down due to excitement


I did the 25 LD at Wolverine (Michigan) this weekend - my first ride ever 
with my Morgan mare. The ride itself went wonderfully well, better than I 
ever could have expected. She drank like a champ, which she rarely does on 
training rides, my pace was really good (I wanted to get to the vet check in 
2 hours and made it in almost exactly 2 hours), and considering she was 
riding without her regular buddy, did remarkably well, calming down and 
getting to business after the first few miles. I was so thrilled with her.

However, when we got to the finish back at camp, I could not get her to calm 
down. She became a different horse. She was trotting circles around me, 
bucking on the end of the lead line, etc. This was not a metabolic problem, 
but a mental one - she was so overstimulated by all the other horses and 
being back at camp (and probably hearing her buddy call to her) that she 
wouldn't drop below 70. I'm sure you can understand how frustrating it was 
to have such a great ride for my first time, on a tough trail no less, and 
then not get a completion not because of lameness or metabolic issues, but 
simply because she was too wired to reach the pulse critieria. (She did 
pulse down fine at the vet check in the middle of the ride - it took me 
about 10 minutes, but she was at 55 when they took her pulse, and I thought 
that was pretty good for her first time)

Note that we also had an issue at the vet-in. She wouldn't settle down for 
that either, so we had to bring her buddy down to keep her manageable. In 
theory, we could have brought her buddy down for the final check, but to me, 
that would have just been a band-aid - I would still have the exact same 
problem the next time. I don't want to have to bring her buddy to every ride 
just to get her through the vet checks.

I also believe this issue is deeper than simply being attached to a buddy. 
I've only had her act this way one other time before - when I was acting as 
an outrider at a combined training event. Exact same thing - bucking, 
rearing, wouldn't settle down, etc. It has something to do obviously with 
all the other strange horses (although again, she did pulse down fine at the 
check outside of camp).

The only thing I can think of doing, is to start round pen work with her. 
I've been hesitant to do this in the past, because this is very 
*complicated* mare. Methods that work with other horses often don't work 
with her. However, as great as she is on the trail, she will NEVER be an 
endurance horse if she can't settle down for the vet checks. And that would 
break my heart, because it was clear to me that she is capable of a lot more 
than I originally thought as I rode her on Sunday. I'm thinking if I do some 
basic "herd dynamics" type of round pen work that I can hopefully get her to 
focus in on ME when she gets stressed, instead of completely tuning me out 
(which she was very obviously doing - you could see in her eyes that she was 
totally "off" mentally).

If you have any suggestions, especially if you've been through this with a 
horse, please let me know. Except for that final vet check, I was absolutely 
thrilled with how my little mare did (she was a bucking bronc at the start 
of the ride, but I expected that and I do believe that will get better 
simply with experience). This mare and I have been through a lot together, 
and as much as I want to do this sport, it is just as important that I do it 
with HER.

Thanks,

Karen and Mazzie

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Ridecamp is a service of Endurance Net, http://www.endurance.net.
Information, Policy, Disclaimer: http://www.endurance.net/Ridecamp
Subscribe/Unsubscribe http://www.endurance.net/ridecamp/logon.asp

Ride Long and Ride Safe!!

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