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Re: [RC] Cold Backed horse - Barbara McCrary

We have one of these and he's one of the better horses we have ever owned and ridden.

1) Put the saddle on and he gets very nervous
2) Start to install the girth or cinch and he dances around
3) Tighten either too suddenly and he rears, pulls back and throws himself on the ground. Becomes almost catatonic and will not get up until we undo the girth/cinch.

1) Put the saddle on, and talk to him, pet him and walk away for a brief moment.
2) Come back and install the girth/cinch VERY loosely; walk away and fetch helmet, put to one side. (In other words, ignore the horse and let him think about all this.)
3) Come back and take girth/cinch up a notch. Walk away and fetch a carrot. Come back and give him a bite.
4) Take up another notch, maybe better the horse is not tied hard and fast. Be prepared to lead him away for a few feet, then come back to hitching rack. Watch horse constantly for negative or panic reaction . Be prepared to lead him around, as moving seems to allow him to work out his fear.
5) Take up another notch, if possible. Always be prepared to get out of the way if he appears like he might rear and fall down. No sense in getting hurt yourself.
6) Tighten girth (strictly English saddle here) one notch less than you want it to be while riding.
Mount horse from mounting block so as not to pull the saddle overboard.
7) After mounting, our horse is over the issue and it never surfaces again during a ride. We can unsaddle at 1-hour vet check, re-saddle without this problem. Reach down and tighten girth to the last notch. Our horse allows this from our position in the saddle, but might not allow it if we are on the ground.

We have no idea what started this; it occurred for the first time during his initial saddle training. It has stayed with him all these years but has diminished in its intensity, as long as we take a lot of time, are VERY careful, and watch his eyes, ears and body English constantly. We've decided not to bring a trainer in on this because it is a manageable situation. Sometimes, horse trainers seen determined to "solve" and eliminate a problem. We feel this is so deep-seated in this horse that we are willing to work with him to alleviate his anxiety rather than attempt to "train" it out of him. Some people would be determined to show the horse that they can or WILL train it out of him. We're just satisfied to deal with it and not cause the horse more anxiety than he already has. We know once we can get the saddle tight enough to mount from a block, that he will be safe after that. No telling what mayhem we might cause if we tried to "train" it out of him.


----- Original Message ----- From: <rides2far@xxxxxxxx>
To: <ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 3:18 PM
Subject: [RC] Cold Backed horse

I have dealt with cold backed horses before but never really heard a good
physical description of what's going on. Anybody care to explain? When
I've seen them react it seemed almost unintentional on the horse's
part...more of a reflex. She said his breeder lunged him awhile when he
saddled him.



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[RC] Cold Backed horse, rides2far