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Why Horses Lie Down When Ridden
 By Winniefield Park   •   11th Jun 2017   •   992 views   •   0 comments
There are few misbehaviors that are embarrassing as a horse that lies down with you when you ride. Itís actually a pretty common evasion tactic by horses that for whatever reason donít want a rider on their back. Ponies can be pretty slick about this, largely because their innocent little riders donít know how to stop it before it happens. The habit can be dangerous if the rider falls, or canít get their legs out of the way fast enough. This is the way of many clever ponies, But some horses and ponies will have a legitimate reason.



Why Horses Lie Down When Ridden
Itís always tempting to blame a horse for behaving badly whenever it does something we donít want it to do. But, this is rarely the case. Horses arenít really calculating like humans are, so any behavior is probably a response rather than reasoned vindication, even though it doesnít feel that way when it happens. Of course, there are crafty old work dodgers who have evasion down to an art, but thatís because itís a learned habit - something theyíve discovered works when repeated. But sometimes horse lie down while ridden for other reasons.

If your horse suddenly lies down it could be doing so because it is trying to alleviate some pain or discomfort. A horse that is very itchy might be even more so when a saddle is put over top of the irritated skin. Or the weather might have turned hot quickly, and sweat, winter coat and a bit of work added up to a lot of itchy discomfort. The girth may be done up far too tight causing pinching in sensitive areas.

Saddle fit is always a good place to start when troubleshooting behavior problems. Back pain can make a horse do all sorts of things to evade the pressure of a saddle. The horse may have tender withers, either from an injury or poorly fitting saddle, or it may have referred pain because of a problem with its lower limbs. Sore feet, ligament injury and sore muscles might make your horse act out. Because the horse is carrying itself differently to avoid discomfort it can make its back sore. Some people believe that ulcers and tooth pain can cause a horse to act out like this too.

What To Do
So, as with any problem, itís a good idea to start out looking for physical causes. Once youíve determined that your horse is physically comfortable, you might take a look at your riding. If your horse is inclined to be a bit undermotivated, you might have to learn to be more assertive with your aids to move forward. This means you have to pay attention to what your horse is doing and sense when he might be inclined to fold up his legs. Watch carefully for the signs, and apply some not-to-be-ignored cues to keep moving forward. You might even have to tap with a crop to keep your horse marching.

So the solution to this and many other riding problems is to first check the horse and then take a good look at what you might be doing to cause it.
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