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Are unrideable horses really unrideable or do they have other problems?

Tanja Dietz


3 Min. Lesezeit

Unrideable horses frequently cause stress. Stress for the horse itself, for the rider and - at worst - for other horses and riders in the vicinity. But why is a horse unrideable? There are horses that are easier to ride and those that are not. In the same vein, there are horses that are natural jumpers and those that have less of a talent for jumping or movement. In contrast to the potential, for instance, the rideability is frequently easy to influence; and often there are reasons why a basically easy horse may suddenly or with time become unrideable. These causes may include an ill-fitting saddle, a wrong bit, or back blockades. Gastric ulcers may be another cause of riding problems.

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Many owners of horses suffering from acute gastric ulcers or those that have suffered from such gastric ulcers in the past will find that the horse is particularly sensitive in the back and saddle area and, with the rider on its back, is increasingly lashing about with its tail or fighting the rider’s leg. When saddling up or tightening the girth, gastric patients are often very sensitive.

If the horse, for instance, collects, gallops, or jumps when tightening the girth, the stomach will increasingly contract, the stomach content will ‘splash’ upward, causing the gastric acid to get to the gastric mucosa in the glandless upper region of the stomach. If this has been damaged before by a gastric ulcer, it will be particularly painful for the horse when the gastric acid reaches this area.


As a reaction to this pain, the horse will kick towards the saddle area when saddling up or tightening the girth; and the horse will often tend to snap sideways.Typical signs when riding include a stiff horse whose kidney area in particular fails to loosen up and which basically stiffens up with each movement. If the pain is large enough, the horse may tend to buck or try to kick the rider’s leg.


Thus, horses with a sensitive stomach in particular should have the girth tightened slowly and carefully. In this case it is preferable to tighten the girth more often instead of all at once, to not overdo the training, and to react to even the slightest pain symptoms when riding.


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