The last few days I've also noticed that he is being a serious jerk to Tonka and Scout, squealing like a mare, viciously biting at them, and chasing them off at feeding time.
Some things to ponder:
- He's been on our dried out, weedy pasture for several hours a day - maybe causing sore feet, something toxic making him act weird or causing a bellyache or just plain too much energy from the grass?
- I just started a couple new supplements - Remission for foundered/obese horses, and a probiotic. I don't think these could affect him but I also added a handful of alfalfa pellets to his beet pulp to make sure he eats it.
- Saddle fit - his saddle didn't fit. I've tried our others and found one that works better but still don't know how much better. We'll need to ride him in it a bit more before we know. And if it isn't comfortable for John we'll have to find something different.
- Lameness? I don't know if it's just the difference in his short stride compared to Tonka's, but he doesn't feel quite right underneath me, in the front end.
- Mental - he's been forced and cowboyed a lot in his life. When we tried him out his owner put him in a spade bit and yanked him all over the place. I think he's afraid of pain and freaks out when he gets in trouble. So we need to start working on softening and gently showing him that if he behaves everything is nice, and if he doesn't behave we'll help him find the right answer, not punish him. Which will be a lot of work for him and for us.
Do you have any thoughts to add?