After successfully braving the horrors of a baling twine around his girth (day 3, crow hopping, running backwards) and a saddle during vet examination (day 3, crow hopping, running backwards) Jimmy had progressed through longeing with a rope around his girth and wearing a bareback pad without any reactions. Now that he was so comfortable with pressure around the girth, it was time to put a saddle to the test. Jimmy looked quite handsome with Yank’s Western saddle and was unworried until…

Handsome Jimmy Dean under Saddle
Handsome Jimmy Dean under Saddle

Well, it wasn’t all that dramatic. He trotted over the ground pole with the saddle a few rounds. I retightened the cinch three times, then we went on to canter on the longe line. (We remember, that Jimmy’s patella locks up so that his stifle locks and he is forced to take a little ‘hop’ to unlock it while cantering, especially on the left lead.) Dr. Ketover confirmed that this a problem that’s likely to disappear with increasing fitness, but right now Jimmy is still battling the locking stifle. When this happens, and it only happens in the canter, Jimmy is fine without a saddle and ‘resets’ his leg without a worry. With saddle: different story. Jimmy gets anxious when his patella locks and starts crow hopping. We went through this a few times and other than nudging him to go on I did not show any particular reaction to his crow hopping. Soon he became assured that there was nothing to worry about and we ended on a very good note, after Jimmy had shown some spunky, energetic forward movement without crow hopping.

Here excerpts from a brief interview I conducted with Jimmy right after the longing session:

SR: “Jimmy Dean, can you comment on your odd reactions to your locking patella when you are wearing a saddle? You don’t do this when you don’t wear a saddle. What’s the reason?”
JD: “Well, I don’t quite remember the details, but it seems to have happened quite a while ago. Every time I wore a saddle, some dude was sitting in it. And every time I wore the saddle and some dude was sitting in it, I felt a stinging pain in my sides whenever my hind leg locked up. Almost as if someone was kicking me with something sharp. I also heard yelling and unrepeatable words. This happened quite a few times and – since I wasn’t born yesterday – I figured it’s not safe to be wearing that saddle.  But today – to be honest – it wasn’t that bad. I expected the stinging and yelling, as usual, but nothing happened. If that stays like that, I guess wearing that saddle isn’t all that bad. But I gotta go now. My sweetie is waiting for me across the street…”

[This is a fictional interview. Please don’t draw conclusions in regard to my mental state. Thank you.]

Stay tuned for Jimmy Dean’s next adventure: [topic is top secret, it will be surprising and suspenseful]

Jimmy Dean is just another bay QH gelding. He is 6 years old, his original AQHA name is something really hard to remember, has no particular markings, is an easy keeper with good feet and a sweet disposition. Jimmy has only one problem: he tends to buck when saddled.  His owners were so kind to surrender him to St. Francis horse rescue.  I am fostering Jimmy for a few months to see if we cannot figure out what exactly is the matter with him. This blog will keep track of the activities and solutions attempted to uncover the mystery that is Jimmy Dean’s bucking problem.

Day 1

After having spent a nice night on the pasture with his new buddy Yankee, eating juicy grass and drinking from the creek, Jimmy took a nice cold shower, ate a supplement snack and trotted/cantered in the round pen. He moves a bit odd, almost as if his hind end wants to go faster than the front end. Jimmy is very obedient and wants to please. There is never a lack of ‘moms’ at our barn and so he was showered with love. Not hard to do with such a little charmer. Did some light palpation and found heat in his upper left shoulder. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Jimmy is a sweetheart...
Jimmy is a sweetheart...