Horse rearing and flipping over!

Hi I have a 15 year old French Trotteur who I saved from 'the meat man'. He was 11 when I bought him and very malnourished, quiet and needed a lot of TLC. I eventually brought him back to health and after quite a serious illness, where he needed injections twic a day, he gradually got better and I was able to ride him on gentle hacks, and he was great!! Since then, he has gone from strength to strength and because of my age, I decided to ride him in a western saddle, them being so comfortable and all!! We could ride past tractors, combines etc;, and he was perfect, occasionally he would try it on, and decide he did'nt want to go forward but nothing I could not handle. Unfortunately recently, he has been rearing up in the field and last night reared twice and flipped right over. Last week when I rode him I felt that he wanted to go up but my trainer kept on telling me to ride forward and eventually he calmed down, although he has now developed the habit of shaking his head which can be very off putting!!

I really would be very grateful for any help that anyone can offer. I have changed his bit to a copper snaffle. His teeth and back have all been checked. All I want is to hack out, not asking for much really! Any suggestions?? And why would he suddenly rear up in the field? HELP!! Thank you xx

That is so beautiful - Thank you x

Rosemary,my heart goes out to you.Here is a poem for you called "I'm still here"

Friend,please don't mourn for me,I'm still here,though you don't see me.

I'm right by your side each night and day,and within your heart I long to stay.

My body is gone but I'm always near,I'm everything you feel,see or hear.

My spirit is free,but I'll never depart as long as you keep me alive in your heart.

I'll never wander out of your sight,I'm the brightest star on a summer night.

I'll never be beyond your reach,I'm the the warm moist sand when you're at the beach.

I'm the colourful leaves when autumn's around,and the pure white snow that blankets the ground.

I'm the beautiful flowers of which you're so fond,the cool clear water in a quiet pond.

I'm the first bright blossom you'll see in the spring,the first warm raindrop that april will bring.

I'm the the first ray of light when the sun starts to shine and you'll see that the face in the moon is mine.

When you start thinking there's no one to love you,you can talk to me through the sky above.

I'll whisper my answer through the leaves on the trees,and you'll feel my presence in the soft summer breeze.

I'm the hot salty tears that flow when you weep, and the beautiful dreams that come when you sleep.

I'm the smile you see on a baby's face,Just look for me,friend,I'm every place.

I am so sorry for your loss, it is very traumatic. I am sure his last few years with you were good, so hang on to that while you get through this difficult time.

just a note to say thanks to you all. Unfortunately KADUM was diagnosed with meningitis/stroke and the b......... vet finally came out yesterday to put him to sleep. He had deteriorated over the weeks; been given soo many drugs and a transfusion but he went downhill very fast. Sunday he could hardly stand up and fell through a very strong electric fence! We phoned the vet but they said he would be much better by Monday!!!! On hindsight we should have said no! come out now............ Monday morning we phoned the vet and the receptionist said she would get the vet to phone back; We did not hear a word from him........... My daughter phoned again mid morning as he had collapsed in the field. Was told the vet would phone back........................ Eventually we had to ring again and demand to speak to the Vet who said he would come at 2pm! My daughter said no you need to come now; I was absolutely beside myself! He eventually turned up at 1.45 and did the deed. I was completely inconsolable.............. He told my daughter he would arrange for Kadum to be taken away. This morning Sarah phone SIRAM and they had no knowledge of the vet ringing; Hopefully, they will collect him tomorrow.

He was my friend/confident and was always there to listen to me when I was feeling down. He never judged me and when we rode out together he would do his utmost to keep me safe. I feel so lost without him, he was only 14 but being a trotter had obviously had a very hard life. RIP Kadum and thank you for allowing me to be part of your life xxxxx

Hi Thanks everyone for your genuine concerns. Sorry I have not been able to reply before but I 'not we' as my OH keeps pointing out, changed phone providers and its been a complete nightmare and is still ongoing!!!

I have just had Kadum's teeth and back done but really need to bring him home now (he is at my daughters where we were staying). Hopefully this will be accomplished this week and then I will seriously start getting him back into training/work........

Thank you all again xx

Hi, well done on saving him. Just a suggestion - could it be that his teeth need filing. I had a horse that did this and that was what sorted him out. Hope it helps.

Oh dear....colic is awful. I'm hoping he's feeling better now and it wasn't too serious?

How is his stress level? have you noticed he is jumpier than usual/less relaxed?
is there maybe something worrying him at night that you don't know about (animals/people?)

you don't say if he has company or not (anything changed there?) or whether he is living out 24/7 or stabled and what about weather conditions currently? Is he home with you or stabled somewhere/ who handles him on a daily basis?

If there seems to be no physical cause then perhaps there is a physcological factor at play. Shaking his head when ridden could be an indication of irritation and him trying to tell you something.

It may also be he is lacking in something mineral or vitamin wise and this is affecting his behaviour as would a change in grazing/season?

I hope you can figure it out and he can be 100% again....

Thanks for your reply Annette. His enviroment and feed have not changed so I do not know what triggered his rearing up. Tonight I had to call the vet, who has just left, as he developed colic which is a first since I bought him 4 years ago.

I've had his teeth, tack and back checked so I know he is ok in all those departments.

Unfortunately I have not been able to ride him as much as i would have liked and maybe this has something to do with his behaviour!!

When you say "rearing up in the field" is this on his own? If so what has changed in his environment/feed or what seems to be the the trigger to this?

If he has fallen over backwards it's possible he has put something out of alignment (vetebrae wise) and this could also be in the poll area which would give him reason to shake his head. Head shaking....check teeth (vets not always too helpful so equine dentist if you have access to one) or poll and in turn tm joint could possibly be causing pain.

If he is only doing this when ridden, check your saddle fit, could try walking quietly bareback and see if you have the same issue.

Often when something is out of alignment it shows up somewhere else once it has been a chronic injury for some time that he has been compensating for.

Sounds to me like pain rather than behaviour, but if he has changed herd company or feed you may need to look at that too.

Equine chiro or body stress release or similar that you have access to would be a good place to start.....