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[RC] Hard-to-catch-horse all of a sudden. Why? - Christina Schiro

When I purchased my current 13 yo Arab Gelding in Feb '05, he was very hard to catch in the pasture. The woman I bought him from had the same problem. It would take me a 1/2 hour-45 minutes sometimes and multiple people. After several weeks of dealing with this, my friend Kellye where I board my horse at suggested I separate him from his pasture mates and put him in a 3/4 acre pasture by himself. They only time he had contact with humans was during feeding time when he had to come up to the gate and get the food that Kellye or I had. After several days of doing this, I put him back out with the rest of the horses, and from then on he would either stay still while I went right up to him and put his halter on, or he would walk towards me and meet me half-way. I should note 90% of the time I carried a treat with me and let him know I had it but not give it to him until the halter was on.
So basically 10 months, no problems.
Well, a couple weeks ago, I went out one night to pull him out of the pasture. He walked up to me like normal, but as soon as I lifted my arm to put the leadrope around his neck, he took off at a gallop and make circles around the 3 acre pasture, then would stop to look at me. I tried every trick I knew, but it took me 45 minutes to catch him. A lot of times he would let me get within a couple inches from him and take off at a gallop. I tried turning my back to him, and making noises which would peak his interest. He would come up behind me, and I would stand up and turn around, but then he would take off again. Somehow, I caught him. Kellye and other gal came out to see why it sounded like a stamped out there and I told them what happened, but I didn't know why it happened. The general consensus was "He was just having fun". I was going to ride him, but at this point it was getting really late, so instead I brushed him and put on the new turnout sheet I bought for him.
Well, the same deal has been happening everytime I try and catch him. At this point, I'm stilling thinking: 1) He is just really energentic because he's the most fit he's been in the year I've had him, 2) He's playing games with me (do horses play games with humans?), or 3) He's laughing at me because he's decided I am no longer the "herd leader". So I thought I would go back to putting him in the pasture by himself routine. I mentioned this to Kellye but she thinks he's doing this because he's hurting and doesn't want to be ridden. That really didn't occur to me because he looks like he is having SOO much fun galloping around with his tail flagged and getting the other horses to join him. When I first had this problem a year ago, he acted differently, like he Really didn't want to get caught, and like he was almost a little frightened.
Some things I should bring up. I ride in a treeless Barefoot Cheyenne saddle and use a Skito pad and sometime a Equipedic Pad. About a month ago, he got two round bare spots (where the hair was extremely short but there is No broken skin, redness, or noticiable tenderness) one inch on either side of his spine where the back of the saddle would be. It wasn't gradual, more like one day it wasn't there, one day it was. I had ridden in my Equipedic Pad that day, so I switched to only using my Skito pad, which has a much softer, fluffier underside. The spots haven't gone away but they haven't gotten better. I did a 25 mile AERC ride last weekend, and the vet didn't say anything about any tenderness/soreness or even the bare spots themselves. I think that if he was having pain, he would show it, because he has acted very spazzy and uncontrollable on two occaisions: one is I borrowed a friend's saddle and then I realized it was pinching his shoulder very bad. The other time he acted very spazzy and sweating right away. I had the Chiropractor/Bioscan lady come out and he was out in several places. After that visit, he acted normal. I have had the Chiropractor come out a week or two before each of my 3 competitions I have done in the past year to make to make sure he's all in alignment before the big day.
Any thoughts??