QUESTION: We leased a 9 year old, 14.1 HH, Hunter/Jumper, Welsh gelding for our daughter. Apparently the previous owner hated doing flat, she only jumped him, and he soured. My daughter works constantly on flat work, (he always has his ears back doing this) and he has a crabby disposition. The owner at our barn wants to give him a hormone shot (it supposedly lasts a year, and improves disposition) what do you think?

ANSWER: I do not believe in giving hormone shots or any of the other calming/mood altering drugs. That is the easy way out for trainers.

This guy is just plain Ring Sour. He needs a good long rest from the same old routines. The word "Constantly" in your question says it all.

He needs to be pleasure rode for a few weeks out side of the ring. Without continual head set, leg aids and the same thing, over and over and over. Just rode quietly in an outside environment. He also if kept stalled, needs to go live in an outside paddock (at least part of the time) where he can just be a horse, relax when he wants to and exercise himself a bit when he wants to.

Ring Sour horses can steadily get more and more cranky if they never get a break from routine. Once he realizes that getting ridden can be fun and not all work, he can be started SLOWLY back into training. Keeping in mind to not train the same old routine every single day.

Also, he should have a complete vet check, including teeth to rule out a hidden source of low level pain which can cause a horse to become Ring Sour. We just don't know that the way they are shod or that they have joint ailments or that the saddle/girth is pinching them or that their back (spine) is sore or that the bit is bothering bad teeth. All these things have to be ruled out also.

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