Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I've been pondering Cisco a lot lately. I don't know why he suddenly decided he would not follow Tonka down the trail the other day. I do know that I shouldn't have gotten on him with a combative attitude, saying, '"Dammit you're going to do what you're told!"

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.
But mainly I think the answer is probably something physical, since he's been good more often than bad in the past. I'm going to keep him off pasture and separate him from the boys, get real serious about getting rid of tansy (common tansy, not the more deadly tansy ragwort), and start working with him often in a better fitting saddle. By working I mean soft and slow work at home, not immediately taking him out on the trail and expecting him to be soft. But he's going to have to go back out on the trail at some point.

Do you have any thoughts to add?

4 comments:

Linda said...

I'm with you that it's something recent. What does the weed you're talking about look like? It's not like little green tomatoes, is it? I think that was nightshade. We have that crap around here. I hate it. Anyway, it seems, with the snapping at the other horses, something is wrong physically. And that would rule out saddle fit since he's in the pasture without one. Have you heard any news about Lea?

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

It's not nightshade. It's tall and leafy with a bunch of compact yellow flowers, and it has a real strong smell. The more I think about it, the more I think that weed has caused some weird behavior around here. It is mildly toxic, and I think it's a mycotoxin, which I'm seeing information about causing irritability and spookiness.

I haven't heard an update on how Lea is doing. I was thinking I'd call her cell phone later. I don't want to bug her while they're doing testing this morning.

Linda said...

This is a bad time of year for them grazing. I'm going to throw a round bale of Timothy in there as soon as it gets delivered....hopefully in the next couple of days. Right now, it seems like they'll eat anything green!! Good luck. I think you're onto something with that culprit.

Kate said...

Sounds like something physical - either something that hurts or something he ate that makes him feel icky. I think you're on the right track(s).