View Full Version : Help with my OTTB!

Jan. 13, 2010, 12:40 AM
My ottb has been absolutely crazy for about a month now, at first i thought it was the weather but its been going on for too long now i think. He had been great!! Never did anything stupid! But lately hes been trying to buck me off, take off bolting, spin sideways, anything he can.... and then he gets VERY nervous! He starts shaking and getting so worried! Ive tried lunging and he does the same thing, gets VERY worried and starts freaking out. After a lunge/ride when were walking back to the barn he will start to act up again, rearing, spinning, ect. He has not had anything traumatic happen (that i know of) and ive had my vet look him over and he flexed him and did a whole lameness exam and nothing looked off. I feel like his brain has done a complete 360 and hes back to how he was RIGHT when he first got off the track (he had 8 months turn out before he started work and has been in work for about 7 months now). Any suggestions??

Jan. 13, 2010, 01:47 AM
Have your saddle checked out.
The tree could be broken.

Jan. 13, 2010, 01:55 AM
ditto about the saddle. Did you talk to your vet about ulcers? My OTTB was similar, a little fried brain at times, and we narrowed it down to ulcers. With treatment she improved significantly.

hope you get some other good guidance here, hope your boy settles down soon.

Jan. 13, 2010, 02:00 AM

Feed/supplement change? Jet went nuts on Glanzen3. Was jumping out of his skin. Took him off it and he was normal in about 5 days.

Static electricity? Are you using a quarter sheet?


Jan. 13, 2010, 03:17 AM
Have his teeth checked maybe?

I knew a horse that started doing things such as your has been doing and he had half a tooth (other half chipped off) that would touch the bit on and off. It must have been painful because it drove this horse wild.

Jan. 13, 2010, 08:12 AM
Check into EPM, too. Can see some severe behavioral changes with that, too.

Jan. 13, 2010, 08:23 AM
Has anything else changed since he came back into work? Is he getting less turn out? Did he move to a new barn? Also, how old is he?

Finally, this sounds crazy, but can he see other horses when he is in his stall?

I agree that it could be ulcers. My horse with similar issues improved somewhat when I put him on TractGuard. For mine, I think the behavior issues were a combination of too much grain, serious stress relating to his environment, possible tooth related pain (he was just turning four and had teeth coming in), and an undiagnosed suspensory injury.
Of course, the suspensory injury, once diagnosed put a stop to the training for now. I do think he has improved dramatically on the ground since we started addressing all of the issues mentioned above.

I guess the gist of this is that I don't have an answer for you, but I encourage you to sit down and take a very honest look at life from your horse's perspective. Doing so and making some life changes for him may be the ticket.

Jan. 13, 2010, 08:32 AM
Do you change his workout? Does he get a variety in his activities?

My experience with TBs in general is that they do better with lots of variety in their routine. I don't just work in the arena. We do trail rides, hacks, etc. Of course I provide this caveat that I am an eventer so my horses also do dressage, XC and stadium jumping as part of their training routine anyway.

The key is that there are times where I let the horse just be a horse and go HAVE FUN with them. Not everyday is work or turnout.

The other issue is simply the more you lounge the better fit the horse gets and a fit TB can be like loading a shotgun when you put the saddle on.

Jan. 13, 2010, 08:51 AM
Lots of things to look at:

1. Change in turnout? New herdmates?
2. What's his diet consisting of? Made any changes recently?
3. Teeth checked?
4. Saddle fit?
5. Has the vet checked his eyes for vision changes, or for ulcers?
6. Has your riding routine changed?
7. Is the weather where you are fluctuating a lot?

Best of luck!

Jan. 13, 2010, 10:17 AM
Food allergies? Too many carbs?
Remove any MSM from the diet. Can re-introduce...
Does he try to touch or look at any parts of his body, which might indicate that that area is uncomfortable?

Jan. 13, 2010, 10:22 AM
Lots of things to look at:

1. Change in turnout? New herdmates?
2. What's his diet consisting of? Made any changes recently?
3. Teeth checked?
4. Saddle fit?
5. Has the vet checked his eyes for vision changes, or for ulcers?
6. Has your riding routine changed?
7. Is the weather where you are fluctuating a lot?

Best of luck!

I agree with these!

Jan. 13, 2010, 10:34 AM
8 months turnout (body looses conditioning) 7 months work (body gains conditioning, reshapes from racing form) is pleanty of reason to look at saddle fit and back soreness as possible issues.

I would also add a re-evaulation of his feed to the list. If you were working on putting weight on him post-track and have succeeded, he may be getting too much energy out of his current feeds and it's time to evaulate some low energy slow burn fuels such as high fat high fiber.

Jan. 13, 2010, 10:37 AM
And if the horse has been in work a while and this is just totally uncharacteristic... you may want to look into things like Lyme and EPM, in addition to saddle issues.

Also check his vision.

Jan. 13, 2010, 01:32 PM
Definitly check for Lymes and EPM....

I have a friend whose OTTB is the same way. They decided to just let him be a horse in field for some time now. Several friends have suggested they do a Lymes test, but they have not. He was at the point that he bucked off the girl, spooked at things that were never an issue. Somedays he was fine, other days he was off the wall and you couldn't even pet him. I wish they would run the test to at least rule out Lymes but so far, they choose not to...

I would advise blood work to start with your horse.

Jan. 13, 2010, 02:29 PM
I have thought about EPM ive had 2 other horses get this and they acted a little like this, but they tripped A LOT which was usually a first sign of it. He doesnt trip, he just gets sooo worked up! Hes got 2 months of ulcer guard last summer and is still on a digestive/ulcer prevention smartpak supplement. I should check for Lymes he was in Massachusetts this past summer and I know its easy to get from the ticks up there. I have thought about my saddle, but i tried ridding him in a different saddle a couple times and nothing changed, he does kick out a lot (which my old horse with stomach problems used to do). I hope i can narrow it down soon! I miss my "old" horse!

Jan. 13, 2010, 02:35 PM
hunterrider, do you have a trainer, and has your trainer ridden him recently?

Jan. 13, 2010, 02:55 PM
I agree with everything posted here so far...

My gelding rebels if we do an activity more than two working days in a row, so I certainly agree with the "variety" in work theory.

Also, one thing I didn't see mentioned yet - is it possible that he has been progressing a little "too fast" for his mind to handle? I doubt that's the case since you sound like you genuinely care about your horse. I only wanted to mention it because I knew a horse who acted like that, and it was because he was being pushed too hard. So, just another thing to consider.

Unfortunately, there are so many things that can cause that type of behavior, it can be tough to pin-point. Best of luck to you!

Jan. 13, 2010, 02:56 PM
When my old OTTB developed EPM, the freaking out came before the stumbling/balance problems. It was intermittent, not on a regular basis, though. Just saying it doesn't actually present the same way each time.

I nth checking into diet changes in particular, if the vet has ruled out physical causes, and other changes to his routine recently.

Jan. 13, 2010, 09:37 PM
It sounds like you're doing a good job looking at things from the medical perspective. This idea is a bit out there, but:

If he is his normal self during his downtime? If he is edgy around you now, not just as regards to saddling or work, is there something different about you this last month?

Some horses pick funny things to worry about or dislike, and a track horse may have had dealings with some humans he did NOT like.:eek: I've worked with TB sales horses that were particular about particular perfumes, certain hair colors, and just "significant to them" smells that you or I don't consider. :confused: My guess is they just hold negative associations...

It's a random shot in the dark, but it's possible the fear/nervousness could be about a change in your everyday appearance. Of course, a month is a long time to not get over that...

Jan. 13, 2010, 10:13 PM
My TB went haywire for no apparent reason about a year ago. I couldn't figure it out for about a month until the BO told me that she discovered her well-meaning husband put a round bale of straight alfalfa out in his field. He was eating it 24/7 and was seriously loco, but went back to normal within about a week of removing the bale. I'm telling this story to encourage you to look into all possible reasons, whether they seem likely causes or not. A change in hay had never occurred to me.

Jan. 13, 2010, 10:56 PM
Could it just be that it's cold and he feels squirrly... and when he's naughty he's afraid he's going to get punished?

Jan. 14, 2010, 12:20 AM
hunterrider, do you have a trainer, and has your trainer ridden him recently?

My trainer is 2 hours away, im at a local barn near school. Unfortunately I havent been able to get down to my trainers yet, but im actually in the middle of trying to find him a ride down there as soon as I can and have him spend about a month there.

Jan. 14, 2010, 12:24 AM
And he was actually MUCH better today! I lunged him in a neck stretcher and he worked great on the lunge, so i decided to get on him, he was "up" but nothing like he had been. We were actually able to trot around the ring twice each direction without him freaking out. Ive been almost trying to "start over" with him and take it slow and I think its starting to pay off (Oh and it was warmer today! which could have helped) Hopefully he will keep progressing, and im going to plan on sending him to my trainer for about a month and hopefully that will pay off as well!
Thanks for all the replys and hopefully its something attitude related rather then something along the lines of EPM & Lime Disease.

Jan. 17, 2010, 05:46 PM
I have the same issue with my 6 y/o TB every winter. He's simply bored and hot from going from being turned out all summer back to being cooped up in his stall.

If you've already had a vet check him out with no findings, look for a way to get him some turnout. Our fields are shut all winter long because of mud, but I find if I boot my guy up and turn him out in the arena he can run, buck, explore, and generally get out all his jollies without taking it out on me! I try to get him out in the arena for a couple of hours a week and it does him a world of good.