Canter & Candor

Canter and Candor; an honest account of an amateur equestrian and her life with an OTTB

Baby Horse Bravado


First off, happy new year everyone! I’ll get a post up later with some resolutions and updated goals and all that jazz.

As C is building muscle, he’s becoming increasingly confident, bordering on cocky. No, wait, really cocky. On Tuesday we had an excellent dressage lesson. He was lifting through his body, pushing with power from behind, accepting contact, the whole nine yards. I have never felt more in tune with him than in that lesson– T commented on how we really looked like a team, and how he’s made me a much better rider (which is very true). I left the lesson feeling absolutely elated, confident, and incredibly proud of my increasingly intelligent, adjustable, and responsive baby horse.

sunset pic

And the cooldown walk at sunset wasn’t too shabby either

And then Wednesday morning rolled around. He was pretty naughty, which I chalked up to something new I was trying with a saddle, so I cut the ride short to preserve some of that happiness from the day prior. And yesterday? He was a nightmare.


C says “pbbbttthh, mom, sucks to be you”

Usually his naughtiness is in the form of little behaviors like booty bumps, little kicks out, nothing unbearable and definitely nothing that could unseat me (I’m pretty sticky). This one I got on and the second I asked for a trot he was not having it. The little behaviors started earlier than usual, since they typically start once we do canter work– and I can kind of understand little expressions of frustration, as when I ask him to develop newer muscles it’s difficult for him. But this was pretty unacceptable, and only got worse when I asked for canter. Since I’d prefer not to be riding a nutcase baby for a jump lesson, we threw him on the longe for a bit. Baby horse turned into a bronco, and T told me when she rode him a few days ago she had to longe him for quite a while before he simmered down and stopped rearing/bucking/kicking.

Once we brought him in, I hopped on again, ran through a one stride ground pole to crossrail line, and he lost all that glorious brain I was so proud of. He grabbed the bit and went. I was taken a little by surprise because while we’ve had to ‘reinstall’ his brakes a few times, he’s not usually at that degree of misbehavior. We tried a few things– lots of transitions, and not allowing him to jump (as the jump is the reward for behaving) until he settled back, but just when things would start to calm down he’d get rushy and unbalanced again.

T said, if he has the energy to be running off with you, he has the energy to longe again. So back on the line he went. She palpated his back a little and noticed he was sore (likely from A. being a douche on the longe line, B. because of the new saddle fit thing I tried Wednesday, and C. from the solid work we did Tuesday) so we sent him off to let him stretch out a little. Stretch he did! He actually had his nose so close to the ground stretching out his back muscles that he kicked himself in the face. It was all well and good until I brought him in to switch directions and noticed…



Hives. HIVES. All over his back where T had palpated him.

We’re not talking a spot here and there, like his whole back was rippling with hives. T and I were stumped. She went through a mental list of things she’d had on her hands and couldn’t think of a thing that would’ve caused a reaction. And trust me– these hives weren’t there when I first sent him out on the longe the second time around, and only appeared when I brought him in.

Naturally the lesson was well-cancelled by this point, but could it get weirder? I went in, washed off the hive-y area, put some liniment on, tossed bute in his grain and spent the evening puzzling over what the heck could’ve happened.

I’m also praying the naughty was brought on by the soreness and not C just being a jackass. What he was doing… well, I don’t mind misbehaviors and I can sit through most of them, but he wasn’t responding to downward transitions through seat, so I had to get very handsy with him. It was incredibly unpleasant for all parties, and I kind of hope he learns from this one experience so neither of us have to repeat it. All over a very blah day.

But! If I blot the last two days from memory, I feel better.


Saddle?! Maybe?!

Also, I may have found a saddle that fits– see above?! What?? Obviously I need to jump in it before I make a decision (hence the attempted/failed jump lesson) but keep your fingers crossed for me! The flaps aren’t as forward as I tend to prefer, buuuut… if it fits (the horse), I sits.

— M


16 thoughts on “Baby Horse Bravado

  1. Oh poor boy. Getting hives can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful for them. Hopefully he gets over them fast!


    • We just are mystified, because when I sent him out on the longe he was hive-free! They didn’t seem to bother him though, I did touch and rinse them off with no reaction (and he doesn’t tend towards stoic) so I’m hoping it was just a temporary reaction to something on T’s hands!


      • Yeah. Hives can be so strange. My other guy broke out once, seemingly just from internal stress or something (?) from spending the night at another barn before going down to a clinic with me. He was a mess and had Benadryl for 3 days.


      • Ah, horses, always full of surprises… If the hives are still there today that may be the route I take too! 😦 I just have no idea what could’ve caused it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Perks of baby horse ownership. I haven’t worked Annie as consistently as you do bc of life and her being a really late baby but she does have moments where she gets a wild hair and is kind of “explosive”. I try not to be a hero and lunge if she hasn’t been worked consistently to blow off steam but it still happens here and there and honestly I chalk it up to baby horse frustration most of the time. They don’t know how to use their bodies and we ask them to do hard things – even simple exercises may be making them work harder than we think!

    The hives are weird with how fast they showed up. Annie had a few weeks where she had hives on and off and it wasn’t fun. Hope hku figure out the culprit.

    And hope the saddle works out!


    • Oh, when was Annie foaled? C was right on time (mostly) just a couple weeks past Jan 1. Definitely, I’d rather longe than have both him and me get more and more frustrated… and I think he worked so hard on Tuesday with using his own body that he was throwing a bit of a tantrum about me asking him to do it again! Thanks for the well wishes!


  3. So weird about the hives! I’m the same with saddles–if it fits the horse, I’ll make it fit me! Hopefully you like to jump in it.


    • Isn’t it? We thought maybe it was the dog she’d been holding (a foster) but can’t think of anything else out of the ordinary! BM suggested it might’ve already been on the surface of his skin and the palpating might have rubbed it in? Anyway, after trying 8 saddles in the barn and having none fit him, he’s absolutely the priority in terms of fit! I’ll suffer with my knees over the flaps, haha!


  4. Ugh hives are a pain! 😦


  5. Pingback: 2016 Resolutions and Goals | Canter & Candor

  6. The hives are so odd! I hope they were gone the next day!!

    It took me a very, very long time to find the right saddle (working on a blog post about that journey). I wound up getting one custom fit from Stubben (who I now work for) because I was so frustrated trying to buy a used one. I couldn’t find one that fit both me and Shady. When I finally sat in the one, I was in heaven and so was she! I’ve obviously learned quit a bit since then so I’m happy to help you if you have any questions! I still ride in mine, almost 6 years later, and it still fits both of us beautifully, even after Shady’s pregnancy 🙂


    • Awwh I actually did have Stubben out but since C is so young and I’m so poor a custom saddle just wasn’t in the stars for us. I love love loved the newer Portos Nova though, one of the best saddles I’ve sat in!!


      • Happy early birthday C!! Yes, you definitely should wait till he is older and fully grown 🙂 I understand the finances too, I thought I would be getting a new monoflap this year (and only because I work for the company could I afford it sooner) but it looks like Indy will be eating my saddle budget with upcoming OCD surgery 😦



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