Horseproblems Australia
Post Office Box Victor Harbor
SA. 5211
(61) 0885521418






John O'Leary
© 2006





By the way...what was he saying? 300 answers on FaceBook needed many Hints!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hi Folks. During my Career as a Problem Horse Trainer 25,000 or so Horses have told me the following, which I would like to pass onto you.

  • Horses can read your mind 100% of the time

  • There are no naughty horses, only dumb Trainers

  • Buck Jumping Horses don't want to be.

  • Horses only want to try until they are not heard.

  • So called 'naughty horses' are only communicating with you in an effort to make you listen.

  • Horses that Buck or Rear have only graduated to screaming through not being heard prior

  • Horses know if you care. They also know if you REALLY CARE.

  • Horses all want to please, until they are mistreated or confused.

  • Horses know if you genuinely have their interests at Heart

  • Horses know if you have a genuine respect for them

  • and depending upon your ranking amongst all of those points, will the Horse decide how to score you and react accordingly towards you

You may remember the Movie 'City Slickers' where Billy Chrystal and the others kept asking Jack Pallance "How did you do that?" and throughout the Movie, he kept answering them "The 'One Thing'" ......well I never thought I would get it but thankfully, I have and I did because I 'Listened to the Horses"


These Days, my Wife and I have been taken even further by Horses and it is truly magical. I can therefore pass onto you the following also:

  • That Horses understand what we are saying

  • Horses know if we 'truly care' or only pay lip service to the words......and now, at least once per Week.....

  • That Horses will Role Play their Pain whilst we speak upon their behalf and in their support.

Your Life with Horses will be eternally enriched if you take on board some of what I have just said. Read my Lips Folks!!



Here is a documented account of why it pays for you to "Listen to Your Horses" and to do the hard Yards for your Vets.

Hi John

I have some good news for you and some bad news for me.  After a year of many vets failing to diagnose my mare’s problems, I came across your website (from googling head tossing I think) and saw a youtube clip that made a light go on for me.  I thought - “THAT looks like what Charlie does!”

I went back to the vets and told them that I thought my horse had sacroiliac pain and they did what they needed to do, nerve blocking the other joints to rule them out and then focusing on SI.  After two very long, large needles into the area we had our answer.

I could tell you so much more about the journey getting there and I will do if you think it would be useful for your page.  What the constant wild diagnostic goose chases we went on taught me is – nobody knows your horse better than you.  a vet cannot get the full picture with a short or even extended consult at times as you tend to forget ALL the details (and the details are often contradictory or confusing).  This was especially the case for my mare as she showed no lameness for a long time.  Eventually, I sent my vet an email prior to my final appointment (I have copied it below for you and removed any references to the vets names).  By the time I wrote this email it was around 12 months of problems…. so the detailed instructions on Charlie’s behaviour only eventuated after much trial and tribulation.

My lesson on this is – never expect somebody to find the answers for you (even those far more qualified than you and you are paying a LOT of money too).  You need to be thorough and keep a diary of all the signs.  Educate yourself and get involved in helping find the answers!  It’s a joint effort sometimes.  If I’d kept a diary sooner we might have had a diagnosis sooner.

Thanks again for the wonderful educational website you have put together and thank goodness somebody took the time to write it as I might still be scratching my head!! Unfortunately, googling ‘bad behaviour’ does not return the diagnosis as it can be anything from a tooth ache to a ill fitting saddle.  However your site was a major breakthrough for all concerned (especially poor Charlie).

Thanks again


 an Letter to the Vet then......

Hi xxx
What has happened since we last met.

·         Took Charlie home post hock injection

·         Worked her for further 10 days

·         Her behaviour got much WORSE not better

·         Safely, I think we can rule out that hock!

·         Then, we put her on bute (10ml twice a day for 2 days, then 5ml twice a day each day after)

·         She was a completely changed horse.  After months of not even being able to canter around the arena, we went straight back to shoulder in, traverse, counter canter, etc.

·         Tried a lower dose of bute (5ml a day) and behaviour returned.

·         Note, I started keeping a diary on her behaviour and worked out she was in season every week!  Pretty much has been in season all of October

·         My coach suggested she might be spring heating, but I wanted to check anything more potentially sinister (such as a teratoma or something along those lines)

·         So I took her to xxxx to scan her ovaries.   Nothing showed up.

A recap of Charlie’s signs is below….
Charlie’s signs include:
·         Usually ok to work in walk and trot

·         NOT ok in canter.  This includes swinging her quarters in, throwing her head up, backing away, going sideways.  Sometimes (but not always) she disunites in canter.

·         When in pain, cannot get left canter lead.

·         When in pain, rushes in right canter.

·         Has always been on forehand

·         Has always had bit/contact issues

[on bute, all the above signs disappeared and she was more uphill, more together (stepping through, more collected) and much better in contact]

Other signs:
·         Can sometimes stand in wash bays with hind legs out wide behind her

·         The other day she did not like her tail being washed (would raise hind legs).  This is a new thing.  Perhaps the extra weight of her wet tail causing more discomfort?

·         Chronic tail swisher

·         Under-developed hind quarters (compared to shoulders)

·         She pushes me off to the right hand side while riding (I thought that was my bad habit until I rode another horse and it did not happen)

What we’ve ruled out:
·         Ulcers

·         Teeth

·         Temperament

·         mare tendencies (I’m 90% sure on this)

·         hock

For reasons above, I suspect it may be her back (and perhaps hard for xxxx (equine chiro) to diagnose as she did not see Charlie under saddle …. which is when it hurts her).  
I’m not sure if you can watch this video, but the horse 5 minutes in (fast forward to that point) is worse than Charlie but certainly very similar in terms of behaviour  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5TdgH5XNTk&feature=player_embedded <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5TdgH5XNTk&amp;feature=player_embedded>  
What I do suspect (only from reading google so feel free to roll your eyes me being a google vet
J)…. But I’ve read that sacroiliac pain results in a lot of the same behavioural things as Charlie is showing.
What I would like to do is first get your thoughts on where to start.  Then, if I can bring her to xxxxx a few days before any procedures, then she can settle in and not be so ‘amped’ when I ride her.  I need her calm so I can ride her properly and you can see what is going on.  If I ride her for you first, make sure she’s displaying signs as per usual, then we start injecting (wherever you recommend) until we have our answer.  I ride again, we see if it works.  What do you think?  Very much open to other ideas from you also.
Sorry for the long winded email but I think it’s the first time I’ve had a really cohesive look at all the elements and they may or may not be important to you - but at least they are there if you deem them significant.
Thanks so much xxxxx, look forward to your recommendations.




7 HOURS AND FEATURING 27 HORSES CRYING OUT FOR HELP. An in depth look at what not to buy and why, what Horses are pre-disposed to unsoundness and why.

If you ever consider Buying a Performance Horse, watch this Production and it may save you Thousands!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Do you know that horses talk? They do but not necessarily with their voice. The important stuff they try to tell us Humans is via their body language, moods, subtle faces and most of all, evasions.

Not many people do 'listen to their horses' because I watch them all day long and every day. Probably 100,000 by now. Sad really as they have missed out on such an important thing in their life with horses.

What is more sad is the detrimental affect that not 'listening to horses' has on the poor horses. It generally always causes negative results to the horse, gets them hurt, adds discomfort to their lives, injures them and even can take their lives......and yet we love them so much.

Of course it is not our fault as no education system teaches such things and such systems are therefore responsible for most of what I have been explaining. So that is why Horsemen sometimes attempt to pass on some knowledge of such things before they go to the 'big Round Pen in the Sky', perhaps as a legacy to horses.

So rather than go on and get emotional, I will simply relate some instances of horses attempting to communicate to owners who haven't listened and some that do. You can then have a think about this article and take what you like out of it. If one horse has an improved life from it, I am a happy Man:

  • There was a Standard Bred horse being ridden around on an adjoining property. Hooning by a Man in a 'Slim Dusty Hat' For weeks. The horse was uneasy about being saddled. Some time later I had to take the horse to the abattoirs. A piece of steel had cut through between two vertebrae.

  • Horses that suddenly don't want to go into a float are often telling you that the driver stinks.

  • A perfect rugging horse starts walking off at rugging time. It is often telling you that it is too hot in that selection of rugs.

  • A horse shows irritation about being rugged. The type of rug is causing static electricity throughout the day and night.

  • A young horse here recently, followed me up and down the fence a lot. It was telling me it wanted to be broken in and have fun like the others on the place.

  • The horse that kicks up and bounces on the back legs during flying changes or has trouble doing walk pirouettes or canter pirouettes is telling you it has stifle problems.

  • A horse that objects violently to having it's head put down and round and starts swishing the tail aggressively can be telling you that it has sacroiliac problems

  • The horse that tilts it's head whilst being ridden or lunged is often telling you it has teeth problems and even if they were done recently like one by a Vet here last week, that the job was appalling.

  • A horse that can't balance on the back legs for shoeing or snatches the front legs can have anything from arthritis to rear and problems, pulled shoulder muscles and the like.

  • A horse here recently would not enter the arena and changed personality drastically. Cause? Sacroiliac problems.

  • A horse starts leaving it's hay all of a sudden. Mice, chooks in haystack of Farmer, mould????

  • My own horse, got poisoned in his water trough and nearly died, killing the kangaroos and the pigeons. Would not drink from a trough again.

  • Worried about Men? Guess why?

  • Mrs. HP jumps off a problem horse because she dropped her whip. The horse scooted sideways violently, telling her that the previous owner used to get off to bash him.

  • The so called Breaker opens his mouth like he is at the Dentist when first presented with a bit. He tells us that he has worn a bridle plenty and the owner is a liar.

  • The unbroken horse goes into a frame when lunged. It tells us that it has been lunged with side reins on and plenty.

and the list could go on.


If you want to know more, email me for the free 145 Page E-Book


Mail: horseproblems@horseproblems.com.au