Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Worsening Attitude or Performance Under Saddle

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If this problem seems severe and has come on suddenly.

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If you want to rule out any physical issue being a factor in the behavior.
  • If this is a slowly but consistently worsening problem and you are unsure of the cause.

Excellent performance requires physical conditioning, great training, practice, rider ability, and horse ability.

Declining performance can be caused by subtle changes in rider technique, or changes in feeding or management. In addition, many kinds of physical problems can cause worsening performance, including but not limited to: mouth problems, ill-fitting tack ,lameness due to undiagnosed injury, muscle or neurologic problems, or any undiagnosed low-grade systemic illness.

WHAT TO DO

If a physical cause is ruled out, look to yourself, your own riding technique and others who handle and have handled your horse as both the cause of the problem and the solution. Engage a trainer who can evaluate the behavior. Some vets may have suggestions for managing or resolving this problem from a behavioral standpoint.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet can help you determine whether this behavior is a result of physical pain or illness by assessing general health and ruling out common conditions. They may want to assess your tack and your horse with a rider up. Veterinary assessment of these kinds of problems usually starts with a physical exam. Your vet may want to see the horse being ridden to more fully understand the behavior.

POSSIBLE TREATMENTS or TherapiesTo Lessen or Resolve the Sign

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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