"Somehow my horse doesn't really work anymore, is unriding, bucks." - this sentence is heard from many riders whose horses suffer from ulcers. Non-riding is a common symptom among stomach patients.
But why are they so unriding all of a sudden?
If horses are unriding, no longer want to work and seem unwilling, then this usually has a deeper reason and is not simply because the horse just has no desire. The pain caused by stomach problems is transmitted through the nerves at the withers to the brain because the sympathetic innervation of the stomach is located at the vertebrae at the withers.
The resulting increased activity of the autonomic nervous system leads to increased muscle tension, making the horse more sensitive in the area of the withers. In addition, due to stomach pain, the horse takes a relieving posture in which it tenses itself and holds its back. We also know that when we have severe stomach pains: You don't really want to move and walk with your back curved. And so it is with our horses. If the horse holds itself in the back, it does not bulge this under the saddle and becomes as a result of it ever more exciting.
How can I tell that my horse is not riding because of an ulcer?
If your horse is not only unriding, but also shows a defensive behaviour when saddling and harnessing, this is already a quite clear signal. Of course, it could also be the saddlery. It is therefore important to have the saddle checked that it fits. Stomach patients usually express their pain under the saddle by kicking after the rider's leg or hitting their tail at the moment pressure comes through the thigh. They are very exciting, don't like to trot and gallop and willingness to gather suddenly seems to be a foreign word.
How should I work with my horse if it has stomach problems?
If the horse has stomach problems, the training program should generally be reversed first. The extent of the pain caused by stomach ulcer varies greatly, depending of course on the degree of stomach ulcer. In acute phases one should not ride the horse at all, since one does the horse absolutely no favor with it. If you start riding your horse slowly again after an ulcer, you should take some loosening lessons to get the horse loose. First of all it should be important that the horse runs forward and downhill and is satisfied under the saddle again.
More on the topic
On our topic page you will find a lot more information and links on the topic of symptoms and signs of gastric ulcers in horses.