I received this email last night:
Jaime, my horse has turned into a different "person." We can't ride him. He is bolting at every little thing, really galloping across the arena. I was in tears the other day I just had to get off. My trainer got on him and made him behave. I got back on. I am no longer scared of falling off, I have stuck to him like glue, ridden him round and round. Today, he was really naughty and the other rider commented on what a great extended trot he has....ironic, his trot is amazing when he is about to bolt. Ii think the issue is adjustment and that indoor is one of those white canvas things. Bums me out because everyone just thinks he is a naughty horse. One of the working students is going to be riding him in lessons for jumping and that should help. My horse is out almost every day but the fields are so muddy and now icey that they cant move around much. I really enjoy your blog. Thanks!
I did contact this person last night to get some background and permission to post the email. She was all for it and hopes people will chime in with answers or suggestions. Basically, this person was at a boarding stable for a couple years and the horse was doing really well. The family was able to ride around, the kids could get on bareback and have fun, they had even gone to some schooling shows and would travel to the location they are now at for lessons. They moved the horse and it was fine for a couple weeks. This has been going on ever since.
My feeling is that a horse that was behaving normally for a long time that is now spooking and bolting is trying to express pain or discomfort. I suggested she rule out ulcers and back pain. I questioned the food and it sounds similar to what he was eating at the original facility. Turnout is similar, just different horses. The horse was already familiar with the facility so it was not a completely new change. She also says the horse is on "high alert" all the time, whether in the stall, cross-ties or trying to work. I also suggested trying to ride the horse at the old place to see if he settles down and is comfortable enough to work. If he's good, then consider other housing options. Anyone have thoughts? Please share!!