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Re: Horse "shut down"

Tamara Putman wrote:

> Help!  I've been gradually conditioning Wildfire for his first 25.  We've
> been going along rather nicely until last night.  I headed off down the road
> and after about 30 minutes of alternating walks and canters, he just shut
> down and didn't want to do any more.  He cantered when I asked <SNIP>
>  Tonight I lunged him and he was still sluggish at a trot, not wanting to move
> at his
> normal paces.

How much training are you doing and how often?  Are you able to vary the riding
routine?  Is the horse possibly tired and bored with it all?  Most folks I know
who are just starting (me included) worked the horse far too hard and they both
got burned out.  My poor mare was worked 15-20 miles 5+ days a week for her
first 50 "way back when" - when that was the schedule that was recommended by my
mentors.  I feared ever finishing in time she was so sluggish on our "standard"
route.  When we went to the ride, we FLEW!  We started breaking up trail riding
with driving, side saddle, jumping, western pleasure & reining, and a little
dressage.  It certainly kept her interest!  If the horse isn't thrilled to see
me come get them in the field to "go do something", I know it is time to back
off and just groom that day, or offer treats & leave, or handgraze a lush spot,

Have you had the vet out to check blood work - CBC?  Does he have a low grade
infection/cold that is making him feel puny?  If he doesn't perk up in a few
days with some rest, I'd consider asking the vet out, just to be sure.

Good luck getting ready for your first ride.  In my experience, the horse is
usually more fit than the rider!  Rocket always trots away in the field w/ his
tail up.  I hobble to the house & pop Advil.

Linda Flemmer

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