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Reactive: Lesson Recap 3/13

Well this was an interesting lesson. I heard ahead of time that Katai had been doing A LOT of bucking during turnout but normally if anything that means that she's quiet under saddle because she's worked off her excess energy.

Pretty accurate
When I pulled her in that seemed to be the case. Other than some head tossing in the crossties (which isn't really that unusual) she was quiet and acting normal. She was a little tender about having the saddle put on and I diagnosed that she was in heat which normally makes her a little sensitive under saddle.

I got her into the arena, tightened up her girth, went to get on and all hell broke loose. She bucked her shoulders straight up the second I was on her back, lurched back and then forward almost onto her knees as her front legs buckled. L had had her back turned for the first part of this and both of our first thoughts were to get her moving. I turned her to get her going and this time before she even took a step she flailed up and I almost thought she was going to go over backwards. Instead she jumped forward again and almost went down. At that point L was loudly telling me to get off. I wasn't even quite sure how to manage that but did a pretty good emergency dismount as L headed out of the arena for a lunge line.

As soon as I was off her back Katai got quieter and waited patiently for the lunge line. Then once on the lunge there weren't any more fireworks.

L and I talked while I lunged her and L said that Kata's face was a mix of pain and fear when she reacted like that. Her first thought was naughty pony and that I needed to cowboy her through it but then she saw Katai's face. She's pretty sure that the saddle with my weight on it put too much weight on Katai's sensitive (since she continued to show us that she was in raging heat) ovaries. We could tell as I was lunging her that her whole right hip and just in front if it were extremely tight and she wasn't using her right leg like normal. She almost seemed to be trying to swing it out instead of forward. L thinks, and I would agree, that she didn't even know what to do or what she was doing. I could tell that she was flailing her body and it almost felt like she was just trying to stay on her feet.

Poor baby :-(

After she had lunged for a while in both directions and seemed to be softening up a little L palpated her back right over her ovaries and she was quite reactive on both sides but on the right her leg would get trembly and almost buckle just with L pushing on her.

Vegan cheesecake to celebrate surviving this one
It was a scary thing. I've never felt her out of control like that and the second time it happened I honestly thought she was going to go over or down. I was shaking pretty bad after I climbed off but after talking it through with L I'm feeling better. We are having CRAZY weather this spring and the vets have been busy in our area with an unusual number of horses with colic, pneumonia, and various other illnesses since they just can't seem to figure out how to handle the crazy temperature swings. L thinks that that along with this likely being the first real heat of the season just made her abnormally sore. Her recommendation to me is to lunge for the next few days and not climb on her again until she's not sore to palpation.

This is the first time I've ever been scared of my pony and it's not a good feeling. I also feel really bad for her because I clearly hurt her and that doesn't feel good either. Hopefully in a few days she'll be good as new and this was a fluke thing that won't happen again.


  1. That sounds terrifying! Don't beat yourself up over it. It had to happen once so you knew what would happen, and now you'll know what to look for in the future. I'm glad your trainer was there too.

    1. Good point, now I know more what to look for and can hopefully avoid this next time. I'm so glad she was there, if she hadn't seen Katai's expression I think I would still think that Katai had just been naughty.

  2. I'm glad you listened to her and you could find the real reason for her behaviour. Don't blame yourself. At least you know for the future!!

    1. Me too! Yes, definitely I'll know what to look for next time.

  3. Poor you! Bridget bucked me off recently, I suspect for similar reasons. You win for being smart enough to read the situation and dismounting safely!
    I hope Katai is feeling better soon and you have some wonderful rides to make up for today!

    1. It was really scary, I haven't felt that kind of flaily feeling from her since she was a green baby. I hope so as well and I'm hoping that I can use our lunging in the meantime to get her acclimated with the outdoor again ;-)

  4. Oh poor Katai! I know all about those killer cramps... I would probably try and buck off a rider, too! Hopefully her cycles get less dramatic as the season goes on.

    1. I know right!?! After I posted the picture of that cheesecake I realized that she needed it more than I did ;-)

  5. Basically how I feel when I get crampy, too, Katai! Poor girl. Hopefully she starts feeling better soon.

    1. Me too!! I wish I could have brought her to my house for a couch, blanket, and some Disney movies and ice cream. That always makes me feel better :-)


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