I recently purchased a 7yo gelding from Arizona. He was refusing the first can for his previous owner and it was not a secret. She was very honest with me. When I went to try him he was perfect. He is wicked fast and would be one of the greats if we can get through this barrel issue. I need to note that every thing under the sun has been checked (twice) on this gelding for pain. He has had x-rays (multiple sets), teeth have been done twice and checked again, chiropractor, massage therapy, bone scans, blood tests, injections to try to eliminate problems, hocks and stifles checked repeatedly, He has been treated for ulcers (even though he was not testing positive for them), he is on magnesium (to include magnesium baths), and clay, and adiquan, two separate farriers, multiple vet checks (flexion tests on and on) a full thermal body scan, he has been scoped to check for bleeding, and yes even an animal communicator. I have tried to bute him and or give him previcox to see if he was in pain maybe he would run better on a pain killer, we have ran to the left barrel first, we have used every bit under the sun, different saddle pads, you name it I/we have tried it. Nothing is working. I am desperate. Please send suggestions.
In the practice pen he runs like a million bucks. Turns beautify, never hesitates, or refuses the barrel. He rides like a dream. He has been given entire seasons off (6-7 months at a time). He has not had his legs ran off. IF I take him into the first can at a very very slow canter, and stay right in the middle of him, and use two hands he will turn the first can and then take off like a rocket and finish the rest of the pattern. If I let him pick his own speed to the first can, he blows up.
Here is my thought. It seems to me he has learned that if he throws a fit at the first can he gets immediate relief (with his previous owner they were running (attempting) in rodeos that would fine you if you schooled your horse during a race), so she had to get out of the arena immediately after his temper tantrum. It seems to me that he knows when it is competition and he has learned that if he has a fit, he gets to leave the arena and sit at the trailer. All pressure is taken off of him as soon as he misbehaves. He is smart enough to know that in the practice pen he can not get away with it, only during a competitive run. Like a kid in the grocery store, they know they can misbehave because there is an audience and mom wont spank them in front of people (unless you had my mom).
How do I fix this, if I can not school on him in the practice pen. He is an angel in the practice pen. This also shows that he is not in pain. He turns all three cans tight and snappy during practice. Also - I do need to add that I do give him omeprazole paste before we run (just to make sure he does not have an upset stomach and to calm him).
Has anyone else had this issue, and fixed it? I am obviously willing to do anything to try and fix this issue. I am a barrel racer and I do not have the ability to keep horses that are not productive. I board in a facility and for one horse it is a $550.00 bill just for board alone. I want to fix this and give him his forever home. He is amazing, and beautiful and so very talented, I just have to fix this first barrel. Thank you in advance for any helpful ideas you might have.