View Full Version : Can't sedate and hackamore

Sep. 8, 2009, 04:09 PM
The main question I have is:

Are hackamores allowed in dressage tests? I know they wouldn't be in high levels, but I wondered if it was allowed in lower levels.

This gelding I bought 6 weeks ago can not be sedated in a traditional manner. He needs his teeth done pretty bad, but when the vet came out to work on him, this quiet, honest gelding turned into a monster, rearing up at the suggestion of a needle stick. He about killed my vet, and my vet tried twitching and an ear twist and he reared through that. My vet then decided he'd buy an air gun and just dart him, and so that's the route for now we're going to go, but it'll be a few weeks before he's done. In the mean time, the gelding is going well in a hackamore, and I wondered what the rules were.

Sep. 8, 2009, 04:16 PM
If your gelding can't be stuck with a needle for sedating, how does he get his vaccinations and Coggins drawn?

I have a horse that would freak out at needles until we learned that we could distract him sufficently with a bowl full of sliced up carrots. Just kept shoving them in his mouth until the injections were done and he was fine. He's now 33 and doesn't blink an eye at needles.

Sorry, don't know the answer to the hackamore question.

Sep. 8, 2009, 04:35 PM
The answer is no. Hackamores are not allowed.

If you spoke to the judge in advance they might allow you to ride the test as a practice (with comments) but no official score. Maybe.

Sep. 8, 2009, 04:52 PM
I don't know how it was done before...I've only had him 6 weeks or so. He's getting his vaccinations and all that done when we do his teeth, and we're planning on darting him. This is obviously a problem as what if he gets injured and needs to be sedated? Dart gun might not be an option.

Anyway, thanks for the answer. I was mostly just curious. I've never shown and not sure I ever will.

Sep. 8, 2009, 05:01 PM
I know of people who have retrained horses with this problem - though I don't recall how they did it. I'd suggest in such an extreme case it's worth an effort, for safety's sake. Maybe someone here has done it?

Sep. 8, 2009, 05:02 PM
If his teeth hurt, I would not ride him, even with a hackamore. It can still hurt his teeth.

Sep. 8, 2009, 05:10 PM
A horse at my barn is a PITA about needles. How our vet gets him sedated, vax etc. is by putting the needles in his shirt pocket, then picking up his hoof, kind of high and awkward (like a shoer would do) and the sticking him in the chest while he's down there. The horse never sees the needle and seems to not even realize he has been stuck. Maybe something to try, if you haven't already.

Sep. 8, 2009, 05:14 PM
I was thinking about that - changing the way it's done - because my older mare will be a freak-out pig about a needle if she gets the "OMG here it comes" act (vet creeps up suspiciously, starts prodding her neck to find the spot, I'm holding her halter real tight...YAH!) vs. if vet just strolls in and sticks her while we are randomly chatting about something/pretending to examine the floor/etc., without the "prep" ritual.

Horses can tell a mile away if you have a nefarious plan.

Sep. 8, 2009, 05:19 PM
If his teeth hurt, I would not ride him, even with a hackamore. It can still hurt his teeth.

I've thought of that, and paid really close attention to any bad behavior (because it hurts) and he seems to still go quietly, happily in the hackamore. He actually went just fine in a snaffle when I test rode him and one time after. He clearly needs his teeth done because he's really quite thin. However, I really don't think the hackamore is painful. He's too quiet.

Sep. 8, 2009, 05:51 PM
Here's one way to try and retrain -- Stand at horses shoulder. Hold out hand with carrot/treat so that horse turns his head toward you (thus making the muscles on the side of his neck nearest you less braced). Slightly pinch or poke neck and give carrot. Progress to pressing a hoofpick or even toothpick in neck before giving carrot. If vet wipes with alcohol before injecting, do this also. Practice every day. Ask vet to give a few carrots this way before doing the deed.

Sep. 8, 2009, 09:01 PM
The horse can be sedated by giving an oral dose of sedative.
Even if you don't achieve sedation deep enough for whatever procedure is needed, you can usually take enough edge off that you can then get an IV injection done safely.

Sure easier and less risky than a dart gun...

Sep. 8, 2009, 11:02 PM
If my vet suggested a dart gun I would get a better vet.

Dart gun??? No way. Try an oral sedative first.

Sep. 9, 2009, 08:05 AM
Hackamores are not allowed in dressage shows.

Is your horse free standing while sedation shot is given or in stocks?
I agree with other posters if a dart gun was an option than get another vet.

Also has this horse been dewormed lately as well? Could be thin due to parasites as well as teeth issues.

I use an equine dentist, that is also a vet, specializing in dentistry, that has mobile stocks. Horse is confined but secure. less chance of injury for all involved.

Sep. 9, 2009, 08:19 AM
Hackamores are NOT permitted for dressage, at any level.

For the past several years, there have been rule change proposals to permit "bitless bridles", and they are rejected every time.

Sep. 9, 2009, 08:33 AM
You might be able to get prior permission from the ground jury at a small schooling show to ride H.C (hors concors, or without being judged) in a hackamore.

We have threatened dart guns with our wild premarin foals but have found that enough time and training will often get them through.

Sep. 9, 2009, 09:23 AM
I think that if your vet is ear twisting (!! ...have fun clipping...) and suggesting a dart gun rather than, oh I don't know, having you give a couple tabs of ace with a handful of sweet feed when he is 20 minutes out then it is time to get a new vet.

Ear twisting is seriously no bueno.

Sep. 9, 2009, 09:31 AM
Having known, and watched vets safely draw blood for pre race testing on highly resistant about to race that day TB's, I suggest you may need a new vet.

And Ghazzu's answer- giving the sedative orally will also work.

And possibly a schooling show would allow you to ride in a hackamore but why rush out to show unless you've got his whole act together?

Sep. 9, 2009, 10:00 AM
at any rated / recognized show in the US, even if you ride HC, you must comply with the rules. a schooling show might permit but the judge will likely take into consideration when giving scores ( if that is important to you)

and I agree about the questionable vet work. An oral dose of ace tablets or liquid can help take the edge off. Sounds like the horse has learned to fear the vet and ear twisting certainly is a practice that reinforces this.

Sep. 9, 2009, 10:05 AM
Your vet needs a new line of work. Maybe Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom :cool:

Get a new vet and worry about bridling him later. that vet's a doofus.

Sep. 9, 2009, 11:40 AM
As a schooling show manager, I have had people request to ride in a hackamore. I checked with the judge, and, in most cases, the judge was OK with it.

But you can't count on it.

Sep. 9, 2009, 11:55 AM
There are ways to get a horse to accept shots. Sounds like your horse has been spoiled for quite some time about it.

When you say can't be sedated in the tradition manner- this means that he wont let you give a shot? I've worked witha vet clinic for a while and there are several ways. One is if your vet is experienced with really handling horses (some aren't) it might be better for the owner to leave. I see A LOT of times, horses are so bad when their "parents" are around, but if its just us, we can go right in and do the procedure without the horse being a pig.

But from my own personal horse life, there are ways to train a horse to accept the shot. One is the horse knows when a shot is coming because you rub alcohol on their neck, I bet if you took a gauze and started doing that to Mr. Horse on his vein he would freak out. So practice that, and reward him with a treat when he is calm and accept the rubbing.

Then another thing you can do is teach him to bend his neck in and down when you pinch the skin. sometimes I just use my hands, or if I want to be more 'realistic" I will take a paper clip and and just poke until he releases- RATHER than throw his head up and dance around.

Just remember, horses learn through repetition, and the only repetition this horse has gotten is when you go to give a shot, he acts up. So why should he stop doing that now? You have to have him repeat the positive behavior- and you can do that with 'mock' shot training. If you want more help, feel free to om me.

Sep. 9, 2009, 02:13 PM
I have 2 paints here from different backgrounds...both are tough to sedate but prefer the female vet over the male...so she can get the job done, slowly, but gets it done. She does an IM one first then works on getting an IV one in if needed.

Only one blacksmith has won their hearts and he again, did his job very slowly...they now stand for him no problem.

Sep. 9, 2009, 04:16 PM
One of my mares is needle phobic - as others have suggested, we use food (bribery) and stocks when sticking a needle in her. Makes a world of difference. I have another mare who came to me needle phobic, but she is quite good now - treats helped her overcome that auto-reaction. As for oral sedation - before you use Ace, do ask prior owners if they've used it successfully. It doesn't work on all horses, and can actually be counterproductive - some horses become hyper alert and hyper reactive on Ace.

Sep. 9, 2009, 04:59 PM
As for oral sedation - before you use Ace, do ask prior owners if they've used it successfully. It doesn't work on all horses, and can actually be counterproductive - some horses become hyper alert and hyper reactive on Ace.

True, but acepromazine isn't the only option.
Many injectable sedatives will have an effect whan administered orally.

Cielo Azure
Sep. 9, 2009, 05:14 PM
umm...TROLL ALERT!!!

What vet doesn't know how to oral sedate or give an IM shot before the horse knows what hit them? Come on...think about it.

Note that this is OPs 12th post on COTH.

Edited: The person may be real but the story about the vet...one 100% fishy.