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View Full Version : Friesian Stomach issues in our sport, in general



karin o
Jan. 22, 2011, 10:40 AM
My Friesian in training has stomach and colic disturbances. One of my students told me that of the many Friesian horses they had, many had similar problems. Can this be true ? Can you all enlighten me or send me to a site where I can research and understand. Many thanks, Karin Offield

btw, I love my Friesian !!!

mypaintwattie
Jan. 22, 2011, 12:19 PM
Nothing specific, but out of 4 friesians at our barn 1 just spent nearly a month in the hospital dealing with hindgut ulcers. The owner does not want to feed any alfalfa now that the horse is home, claiming that she has read that friesians should not eat alfalfa. Horse is better but not 100%.

Equibrit
Jan. 22, 2011, 02:07 PM
http://www.legacyfriesians.com/aboutfriesians.html
Page down to "About owning a Friesian"


http://friesian-crazy.tripod.com/health/FCsarppublish.pdf
A Survey of the Health Issues of Friesian Horses.

opel
Jan. 22, 2011, 02:15 PM
I have known two others with ulcer issues. Same thing, the owner thought alfalfa caused it--though I thought usually alfalfa helps with ulcers. Both horses were very colic-prone.

yaya
Jan. 22, 2011, 03:28 PM
Hmmm. My Friesian will be 20 this year, and has never had a colic problem requiring anything more than one dose of Banamine.

Individual variations, I guess.

BetterOffRed
Jan. 22, 2011, 08:26 PM
A friend of mine has a friesian and was concerned about his loose stools. She ended up putting him on Succeed and she has felt that he has improved.

happyhorsegirl
Jan. 22, 2011, 08:30 PM
Lost my 'heart Friesian' to gastric colic/impaction several years ago. Damn horse was so stoic no one noticed anything amiss until the situation was critical. Multiple misdiagnoses by vet didn't help the situation either.

Never had any digestive issues prior to that (or lameness issues for that matter).

mickeydoodle
Jan. 22, 2011, 11:15 PM
hmm, seen the opposite at our barn- multiple F's in and out for training over the past 5 years, no colic nor stomach, nor hindgut problems. F's outside for about 12 hours per day, sometimes muzzled due to richness of grass and fat horses

fatwhitepony
Jan. 23, 2011, 10:07 AM
Knock on wood, I breed Friesians and have a coming 16 year old stallion and two mares (out of five I originally had, sold the others). Not one case of colic, stomach upset, stool issues, nothing!

But I do know other people with Friesians they have lost to colic or otherwise. One of our boarders recently lost one to some 'issue' she did not really disclose at her home stable. The horse had colic surgery a few months prior, but that wasn't what did the horse in. Poor thing.

Megaladon
Jan. 23, 2011, 11:23 AM
hmm, seen the opposite at our barn- multiple F's in and out for training over the past 5 years, no colic nor stomach, nor hindgut problems. F's outside for about 12 hours per day, sometimes muzzled due to richness of grass and fat horses
^^
I think this is important for the Friesian. Continual grazing on good, moist grass. I have seen a couple colic, however, I feel their diet/climate was to blame. Dry grass, dry coastal hay, dry concentrates, and then hot weather was too much for them--but that's just my conclusion from my experience. I really feel that moisture in their diet is extremely important.

Good luck to you.

Carol O
Jan. 23, 2011, 11:42 AM
Hi Karin! My Friesain filly is coming 6, and is coming along well! The belly has not been an issue, however, I found my girl cannot tolerate the higher fat feeds (which are so much in vogue now). She gets loose stools on anything that is higher fat. I have her on goos grass hay and Omolene 100 and oats, making a 50/50 mix of the two. I asked a question about this on the Horse Care Forum, however, and it seemed it was not a common issue for the breed.

xQHDQ
Jan. 23, 2011, 08:29 PM
^^
I think this is important for the Friesian. Continual grazing on good, moist grass. I have seen a couple colic, however, I feel their diet/climate was to blame. Dry grass, dry coastal hay, dry concentrates, and then hot weather was too much for them--but that's just my conclusion from my experience. I really feel that moisture in their diet is extremely important.

Good luck to you.

My Friesian cross drinks a lot of water. More than other horses on our farm. Maybe that has something to do with it????

thatmoody
Jan. 23, 2011, 08:48 PM
My friesian also drinks a lot of water. He has had colic surgery, as well (when he was 5, and hernia surgery, too, both long before I got him. I would classify him as healthy now, but he hasn't always been. I micro manage his feed and make sure he has a lot of turnout, though. That seems to help. He does have anhydrosis and PSSM, so perhaps my classification of "healthy" is a misnomer, but I suppose I don't really feel like he's UNHEALTHY, either. To me, that would be out of work, and he's not.

Daatje
Jan. 24, 2011, 01:25 PM
Another one knocking on wood, but I have had my Friesian mare for 10 years now and all has been quiet on the digestive front.

A couple of things to consider. I've been told ulcers are common, especially in the Friesians shipped overseas. (maybe stress from quarantine/flying/new diet/water/etc) My mare was born here.

My mare lives outside 24/7. She is on TC Lo Starch, TC 30% (a vitamin supplement) and beet pulp shreds all soaked together in a sloppy soup.

Her hay is whatever is seasonally available, from local spring first cutting grass to Canadian Tim/grass that's trucked in.

This Friesian foxhunts, so she's working quite hard from May to August fitting up for hunting and then even harder August to November, chasing the hounds.

I think the soupy feed, relaxed lifestyle and 24/7 turnout are good for any horse.

I know all too many people that have lost these great horses to colic though. I think some of them are predisposed to it.....

Donella
Jan. 24, 2011, 01:30 PM
I don't know. We have two (one is five and the other 8 an have owned both most of their lives) and I have never had a vet bill on either (knock on wood).

At the same time, I think management plays a much bigger role than breed. Most horses are not managed to prevent ulcers, colic ect. Horses are designed to eat basically 24/7.

MysticOakRanch
Jan. 24, 2011, 02:07 PM
I don't know either - have heard they have a higher incidence of torsion colic, but I've got two purebreds and several crosses, two friends who are small breeders who always have at least 2 or 3, and know a few other owners, and so far, KNOCK ON WOOD, they've been healthy and sound. In my band of horses, the only semi-serious colic I've dealt with has been one of my Warmblood mares, and that was a one time, six years ago event. I do believe turnout at the very least is necessary - not just for Friesians but more most horses. Of my friends, the only two who have dealt with serious colic was one Hanoverian (who has had surgery twice now) and a Dutch WB who had two surgeries, then subsequently died because the owner decided twice was enough:( So, that is a pretty limited population, but I don't think of it is a major problem with the breed. I do think some horses (irregardless of breed) are more prone to colic - hence the two horses who had multiple colics.

At UC Davis, they tell me the one breed they see with surgical colic more then ANY other is Arabians.

Having said all that - my horses are on grass pasture, grass hay, and my working stallion gets dry COB. No rich alfalfa...

Melyni
Jan. 24, 2011, 02:59 PM
that colics and impactions are usually management related and tend to run in barns, regardless of breed.

If a barn or farm is having problems with multiple horses colicing or having loose stools, it's time to check the management.

Karin, PM me if you need specific suggestions on what to do in your particular case.

YMMV.
MW

karin o
Jan. 27, 2011, 05:55 PM
Thanks everyone for sharing your Friesian stories and heading me in directions not available to me, public and PM. I have been warned. Our 11 year old Friesian lives all day outside in the winter, eating grassy hay, and it feels to me that he is more of a one or two person horse, as he is still being trained to ride from being a driving horse. He is super sensitive and from here forward I will handle him more carefully because of these stories. Thank you for responding. Karin Offield

nobleheartfriesians
Jan. 27, 2011, 06:29 PM
have a friesian stallion...4 years..colicked last week...it was awful and he was stumbling aroudn literally with a weird 104.5 degree fever as well...gave banamine and bute, cold hose....next day he was fine..it was really bizaare.

ViewParadise
Jan. 28, 2011, 02:05 PM
When I added our latest horse to our insurance, I found that a couple of companies charge more for Arabs and Friesians than other breeds. Mine does not and so I stayed with them. I'm sorry but I don't remember what the names of the other companies were, this was about 3 years ago when we bought our last horse. But it is interesting that some insurance companies consider them to be a higher medical risk. When I asked mine why they didn't charge more, they said that there are no stats that prove that Arabs or Fries actually are 'sicker' than other breeds. Buuut.... there are some insurance companies who seem to think so..

suzy
Jan. 28, 2011, 02:56 PM
A couple of things to consider. I've been told ulcers are common, especially in the Friesians shipped overseas. (maybe stress from quarantine/flying/new diet/water/etc) My mare was born here.



This is what crossed my mind when reading the thread. I would be interested to know how many of the horses with ulcers/colic were imported rather than domestic.

karin o
Feb. 9, 2011, 04:37 PM
THANKS FOR THE belly info...how about some info on the training issues with Friesians...I had a COTH thread earlier about my Friesian Puzzle....and now that many months have passed I am still having some riding problems, going from the driving animal to the ridden horse.
=====================
I have done massive amounts of trail riding, that has helped
I have used blinders, that has helped
I have ridden drill with him as the left and right wheel, that is interesting.
I have gone very slowly, building his learning curve as I would a 4-5 year old. He is 12.
He is mostly voice trained now.
He stands at the mounting block and that took 11 months to solidify.
He has stallion like characteristics in his stall.

Any stories to relate to ?


Back to other's query above ...this horse was imported. When he colics it is very brief, always better the next day. He receives the best of care. The day prior to his recent colic I had a girlfriend on him and there was some difficulty and head tossing, so the stress of that could have caused an issue. I am very careful with him now. I LOVE MY FRIESIAN !!

Donella
Feb. 9, 2011, 04:41 PM
What kind of training issues are you having with him? They are different, thats forsure.

karin o
Feb. 9, 2011, 05:16 PM
but he learns easily, is sensitive, but very cranky, especially to the right. I feel he may have been the left wheel in driving. He is a looker, but that is not too bothersome, I guess I am always surprised that when I come home from a trip I really have to restart...although its better and better. Its like he's cranky until i let him stride right out, i scratch his neck and all is right in the world. His small circles are better and better. Do they have really long term memory? The way he acted today was similar to the first week I started him in April...as though someone had beat him up while trying to liken a piaffe. All I am doing is asking for a trot. I must sit the trot before posting because he has his ears so laid back its like he is trying to look me in the eye and say....do you really want to ride me...why ?

Megaladon
Feb. 9, 2011, 05:24 PM
THANKS FOR THE belly info...how about some info on the training issues with Friesians...I had a COTH thread earlier about my Friesian Puzzle....and now that many months have passed I am still having some riding problems, going from the driving animal to the ridden horse.
=====================
I have done massive amounts of trail riding, that has helped
I have used blinders, that has helped
I have ridden drill with him as the left and right wheel, that is interesting.
I have gone very slowly, building his learning curve as I would a 4-5 year old. He is 12.
He is mostly voice trained now.
He stands at the mounting block and that took 11 months to solidify.
He has stallion like characteristics in his stall.

Any stories to relate to ?


Back to other's query above ...this horse was imported. When he colics it is very brief, always better the next day. He receives the best of care. The day prior to his recent colic I had a girlfriend on him and there was some difficulty and head tossing, so the stress of that could have caused an issue. I am very careful with him now. I LOVE MY FRIESIAN !!

Have you looked into ulcers? I do know that there's a little niche market in importing trained Friesian geldings that were stallions prior to being shipped (less amount of quarantine time). Was your horse a stallion before being shipped over? Maybe that could explain the stall behaviors. Either that other health issues. Perhaps have a vet do bloodwork--maybe there is more than meets the eye. :confused:

Good luck and well wishes. :)

karin o
Feb. 17, 2011, 04:33 PM
when ever I begin to work him he has some major head flipping, never any consistent reasoning but lots of errant movement. Is this a Friesian evasion....has anyone else experienced this as a training phase... ? Thanks for any insight, K

MysticOakRanch
Feb. 17, 2011, 05:42 PM
when ever I begin to work him he has some major head flipping, never any consistent reasoning but lots of errant movement. Is this a Friesian evasion....has anyone else experienced this as a training phase... ? Thanks for any insight, K

Do you work with a trainer? I ride a Friesian who is quite steady and good in the connection. Generally I think of lots of head movement as an issue with connection (it may be a rider issue), not a problem specific to any breed.

I also think it is hard to have one horse of a specific breed and try to guess if that horse's problems are a breed problem versus just THAT horse's problems (totally irrelevant to the breed). One thing I have noticed about many of the Baroque breeds - they tend to be very intelligent. So they can learn behavior - good or bad - very quickly. They also tend to be pretty forgiving personalities, which does make them attractive to less experienced horse people (as an example, look up "dancing horses" on youtube and see how forgiving they can be!).

netg
Feb. 17, 2011, 05:58 PM
I think with a higher head set, the head flip (and possibly attempt to get reins flipped over head) can be an easier trick than getting behind the bit for a horse who doesn't want to accept contact.


My mom's Friesian-x flipped her head quite a bit when we first got her (completely unfit and needing some basics.) She got over it pretty quickly for the most part, but I am thinking about a running martingale for trail riding, when she can revert to nincompoop status, just to avoid possible black eyes/injuries.

Miss Dior
Feb. 17, 2011, 06:52 PM
Hi Karen. We have a Friesian breeding farm, but are now more of a mix 70 per cent WB to 30% Friesians. Love them and they are great. But 2 recent issues have come up that I will share with you. First, my 5 year old stallion is very zippy to begin with. Young, fit and powerful. We have a master trainer from Germany who is very experienced, and he refers to him as the happiest horse he ever met!!! Because he is playful and not mean , but can be a rocket! That head straight up in the air evasion can be disconcerting. And it is important to understand that every single one we have ever had can BOLT. It is like their favorite thing ever. Fortunately they aren't going very far or fast. We like to joke around that we would love to find the person that started this amateur user friendly myth. It is very counterintuitive to actually lengthen the reins to get their head down and get them round and thru with their back swinging. But that's another story. We have never had colic issues with them. However a WB at our barn came in about 6 weeks ago. He had episodes of colic in the past, but was now lying down and colicy 2x per week. Banamine cured. Feed/hay all changed. Still the same. Occasionally he needed rehydrating because he wouldn't drink. The last time we insisted he had to be scoped. No it wasn't ulcers, but bots in the stomach lining. Quite painful according to vet. Enter the Panacur power pack for a slower kill off. Hitting with a big dose could have caused colic too. After this then ivermectin. We put him on Suceed as well as a nibblenet. Those are the smal hole hay feeders. Do not get the 2 in holes for a large horse. That's too small. Go bigger. Pulled him off grain for a bit. Worked like magic. No more colic. But he had not been in our stable long enough to be dewormed on our rotation program. So note to self, all new horses get a power pack. EXCEPT my Friesian stallion. Being very diligent, I dewormed him with Panacur about 5 days early because we were going to a show. That was the med to use for that rotation. At the show he was crazy spooky. Seemed ok in stall but not good in the indoor. Outside fine. At the wash stall, under the bright lights, we noticed one eye a bit cloudy. Called vet, treat as if an ulcer since may have scratched during shipping. It ws not. He had uveitis. Probably for a while but the fenbendazole caused an acute attack. We had no idea. Dewormer can, if the uveitis is caused by bacterial or parasites, cause a kill of these bugs. And the endotoxins from the organisims dying can cause the uveitis to flare. So now every spring and fall with immunizations , ALL of my horses will get an opthalmic exam. We get our eyes checked annually, I guess my horse needs to as well. I have no idea if Friesians are prone to this or not. But I have now known 3. Worth looking into. He has lost some vision in the eye, but still has quite a bit. We would have never know if the dewormer hadn't caused a flare up. So 2 things worth checking. During even the acute episode, he was behaving perfectly normal at home in training as well as out on trails. Good luck

cuatx55
Feb. 17, 2011, 08:14 PM
Hi Karen,

So nice to have you on here. Thanks for all you do for the sport of dressage and for sharing your "real life" experiences.

I don't have a fresian, so I'll leave it at that.

dudders
Feb. 18, 2011, 03:51 PM
I remember a Dutch veterinary report on an esophageal issue in Friesians a couple years ago; one of the signs was mild colic.

Here's the article: http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=14134

Excerpts:

"Megaesophagus, a chronic dilation of the esophagus in conjunction with a lack of normal tone or strength, appears to occur at an atypically high rate in Friesian horses, according to a report in the proceedings from the 10th International Congress of the World Equine Veterinary Association.

"Boerma and Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan recorded 45 cases of megaesophagus ... of these patients, 41 were Friesians. The researchers also noted a familial predisposition among affected horses, suggesting the condition might be hereditary.

"Clinical signs of megaesophagus include loss of appetite, muscle wasting, salivation, and mild colic. Further, horses with megaesophagus are prone to esophageal obstruction (choke)."

Don't know how this popped in my head when I read the question, but hope it's helpful!

Edited to add the link to the actual vet report: http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/weva/2008/shortcom2/19.pdf?LA=1

karin o
Feb. 18, 2011, 04:29 PM
todays ride was better, its friday so each day of the week it gets better, I like to give him off the sunday , monday, but perhaps i won't this week. Today I did my walk work and avoided the scary end of the arena, which helped his head flipping, he was quite steady on/in my hand. I began the sitting trot only 2-4 steps a time, which helps him it seems - he seems constantly surprised/shocked if i post early in the trot. Staying astride his back longer seems to help. As i was going back and forth thru the upward and downward transitions, my leg which i would call a guarding leg, on but not much pressure, but more than none at all, was closed against him and he kicked out and up like a colt ridden the first time --- and this is why it seems like it could be a sore belly/gut issue...BUT then i keep working him around the cones, starting shoulder ins, leg yields and now months later in these movements, having the leg next to him and proactive leg that can bump him, press him - actually does not faze him at all, he goes sideways like i want him to. Finally into his posting trot and it was his best work to date. Haunches in is still a mystery for him, but the old turn on the haunches makes those big hind feet move where I want them - `i just finished reading Medoc - the best book ever, and training this guy is like training an elephant. You do it with love. The whip or stern education just does not feel correct in this case . I believe he has been abused, but you never know...maybe the wool is over my eyes. I am taking the long route because he appears to be emotionally fragile. Any other stories about Friesians like these ?

Cowgirl
Feb. 18, 2011, 06:02 PM
Hi Karin,

I have personally known two friesian geldings belonging to friends who have had chronic ulcer problems. Both of them felt it was a trait of the breed. Neither fed alfalfa because these imported friesians tend to have a problem with alfalfa processing (elevated BUN creatinine levels) which manifested as increased urine output and was monitored with regular blood testing. One of these horses also had a tendency to anhidrosis, which I understand is also a problem in the breed. What both of these people did is some sort of daily supplementation, either herbal or with Succeed. One of them was successful with giving slippery elm bark powder, about a tablespoon, with each feeding. She also liked the anti-ulcer cookies made by TheraCell/Biostar called Tum-Ease: http://www.biostareq.com/formulas She would give him those cookies while she was grooming him before a riding session.

and a big YES on doing a panacur powerpac...bots can leave tiny ulcers in the tummy lining. But if you do a powerpac, try to follow it up with some sort of gastric reconditioning--Forco and slippery elm or something like that.

powerhouse
Feb. 18, 2011, 07:14 PM
I too have one who is emotionally fragile. Anything new in the training is met with what we call "locomotive breathing". We have to proceed very slowly and carefully. The last time he was pushed in a clinic it took him almost a month to recover his usual sunny disposition. He does not act out but does seem to internalize his worries. With new things we find it works best to introduce them in small bites. Eventually he realizes that he can do it and then we can move on. He is also a looker and a master of the full Friesian alert. But he usually doesn't do much beyond the looking and maybe a side step or two.

About the stomach issue, there was one colic which was caused by ulcers. But we think the ulcers were a result of a major change in his turnout situation. There hasn't been a repeat because any lifestyle changes are now accompanied by Ulcergard! He also get soaked alfalfa cubes and beet pulp as well as a stomach supplement.

Having said all of those things he is more engaged with people than any horse I have ever met and I just love him to pieces.

MysticOakRanch
Feb. 19, 2011, 10:41 AM
I wonder if this is something related to importing the horses - such a major change in food, environment, the stress of importing (which can cause ulcers)? I know so many people who have Friesians and have no problems (myself included), that it makes me wonder if there is a different common thread then "being a Friesian"? I own two purebreds, have a 3rd PB living here, and have many crosses, and they are extremely hardy, easy horses. But the closest to import I've done is bring one in from Canada;)

Several I know of are easy to ride, teaching their absolute beginner riders the basics, even trucking them around at shows. So when I read your experiences, it just isn't the horses I know, and makes me think there is another factor to consider. We also joke about how they are born broke - not at all spooky. So again, very different then the horses I know and love. The only issues we deal with are heat related - they tend to feel the heat more then some other breeds, and it gets HOT here in the Summer - once we start working them hard (collection, 3rd level and higher work), they do feel that heat - we (those of us riding them for serious mid and upper level performance) tend to be more careful, ride earlier in the day, do less warm up at shows, cool down carefully, use electrolytes, etc on the hot days.

I really wish someone would do a study on importing horses and what it does to them - and I wonder if some breeds are more susceptible to the stress of importing and the total change in their environment (food, immunities, weather, etc).

jdeboer01
Feb. 19, 2011, 10:53 AM
but he learns easily, is sensitive, but very cranky, especially to the right. I feel he may have been the left wheel in driving. He is a looker, but that is not too bothersome, I guess I am always surprised that when I come home from a trip I really have to restart...although its better and better. Its like he's cranky until i let him stride right out, i scratch his neck and all is right in the world. His small circles are better and better. Do they have really long term memory? The way he acted today was similar to the first week I started him in April...as though someone had beat him up while trying to liken a piaffe. All I am doing is asking for a trot. I must sit the trot before posting because he has his ears so laid back its like he is trying to look me in the eye and say....do you really want to ride me...why ?

Just curious. What's your horse's pedigree? I'm finding out that, despite a blanket reputation of being "people oriented", there are some approved Friesian stallions that tend to throw "difficult" offspring.

friesian4me
Feb. 19, 2011, 03:26 PM
My Friesian has a tendency to partial choke which looks like colic; won't eat, laying down etc. The only reason why I know it is choke is if I open his lips, some pooling saliva will come out. It is always remedied with banamine within 30 minutes. I have to feed him out of one of those hay bags with very small holes. Takes him forever to eat his hay but it keeps him from choking. Also his one pound of grain is made soupy. (lives outside 24/7)

As far as training, he was dead quiet when I backed him. Hard to even get him to trot, my husband used to chase us with a lunge whip! That was 3 years ago and I found that working outside in a field, trail really helps with the forward button. He has that wonderful Friesian personality so it is hard to fault him but he just doesn't have enough spark to be an FEI horse. He never gets angry or resistant but can be a little spooky. I love him to pieces!
I have a blog for my Friesian www.nickandjody.blogspot.com

karin o
Feb. 19, 2011, 06:01 PM
He is by Fetse 349 ( by Feitse 293 and Ordina B. ) and Diny Van L. ( by Melle and Wopke ). ````

WE WILL BE DOING BLOOD WORK THIS WEEK. I AM NOW SUFFICIENTLY CONCERNED THAT HIS LEARNING CURVE IS NOT IN THE NORMAL FRIESIAN MANNER AND THAT HIS BEHAVIOR ISSUES ARE PHYSICAL AND NOT MENTAL. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR TIME YOU PUT INTO THIS THREAD. WE WILL BE LOOKING INTO THIS IDEA OF "CHOKE" AS WELL. THAT IS INTERESTING, BECAUSE HIS MULTIPLE COLICS ARE VERY MILD BUT I DO NOT HAVE THE INFO ABOUT THE INCREASE OF SALIVA. HE LIVES OUTDOORS 12 HRS A DAY, WE FEED EASY HAY AND HE HAS A STRESS FREE LIFE, EXCEPT FOR ME :-)
I WILL POST A VIDEO SOON ON YOU TUBE SO I CAN SHOW OFF THIS AMAZING ANIMAL - :-))

jdeboer01
Feb. 19, 2011, 07:12 PM
He is by Fetse 349 ( by Feitse 293 and Ordina B. ) and Diny Van L. ( by Melle and Wopke ). ````

WE WILL BE DOING BLOOD WORK THIS WEEK. I AM NOW SUFFICIENTLY CONCERNED THAT HIS LEARNING CURVE IS NOT IN THE NORMAL FRIESIAN MANNER AND THAT HIS BEHAVIOR ISSUES ARE PHYSICAL AND NOT MENTAL. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR TIME YOU PUT INTO THIS THREAD. WE WILL BE LOOKING INTO THIS IDEA OF "CHOKE" AS WELL. THAT IS INTERESTING, BECAUSE HIS MULTIPLE COLICS ARE VERY MILD BUT I DO NOT HAVE THE INFO ABOUT THE INCREASE OF SALIVA. HE LIVES OUTDOORS 12 HRS A DAY, WE FEED EASY HAY AND HE HAS A STRESS FREE LIFE, EXCEPT FOR ME :-)
I WILL POST A VIDEO SOON ON YOU TUBE SO I CAN SHOW OFF THIS AMAZING ANIMAL - :-))

Hi Karin,
Those bloodlines don't make me think possible "behavioral" either.

As far as having the tests done, it is certainly the right thing to do! Many Friesians just tend to be "delicate", or often NQR. Oftentimes the bloodwork will identify the issue, but correcting it can be evasive.

Dr. Siebren Boerma in the NL sees hundreds of Friesians every year, and probably knows more about their "quirks" than anyone else in the world. (his practice is halfway between Leeuwaarden and Drachten) He is one of the authors of this report regarding Megaesophagus in Friesians:

http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/weva/2008/shortcom2/19.pdf?LA=1

I would highly recommend contacting him if you or your vet would like the feedback. If it's a "Friesian issue", he's seen it. He does speak English. ;)
http://www.paardenkliniekgarijp.nl/

Good luck! :)

Judy

Elegante E
Feb. 19, 2011, 07:38 PM
Have friend who is training a Friesian who sounds similar to yours in his lack of learning curve. Says some days she gets on and feels like he could be at second level in a week, next ride he doesn't know how to canter. The horse sounds mentally deficient. Which could be the case. This one is on the hotter side and a bully. Just like any breed, there are differences in the bloodlines. Have another friend who purchased an imported Friesian who's super hot and stubborn. Was a carriage horse so changing to a riding horse was really hard for him. He was also a stallion just before import (as someone else mentioned). [just for fairness, also know and have worked with a stallion who is just a peach. He's also sensitive emotionally but well behaved and fun to ride and train].

With the head tossing, baroque horses tend to have soft mouths and don't take the bit as strongly as other breeds, esp WBs. Takes longer to build up contact. And be sure you allow them to bascule when walking and cantering. Also they need to stretch forward and down so they don't hollow their backs.

The colic problem is frightening. The stallion I bred to died of colic while doing a demo at an expo. I think it was stress related as he hated applause and crowds. He was a lovely guy. Very sad.

Getting a vet check is never a waste, IMO. At least if you come up with nothing, you can breath easier.

Miss Dior
Feb. 20, 2011, 10:16 AM
A great person to talk to would be Sabine Schut-Kery. She would love to speak with you, and no one knows about training the breed better than her. She was the trainer at the farm we bought for years and really understands them and respects their personalities too. Info on her website. Good luck!

Friesiancatrider
Feb. 20, 2011, 04:43 PM
Hi all: I found this forum while doing some research on my Friesian gelding. It is great to see similar stories from all regarding the "learning curve". My guy is from Fetse 349 and they say that Fetse foals are either forward moving or not. I definitely have the latter and he is ALOT of work but worth every minute.

We had lots of stories to tell at the Stallion Show in Leeuwarden last month and I actually got to see his father Fetse. It was a wonderful show but the differences in the bloodlines are vast. Our 3 years together has had so many ups and downs but I really do love him. By the way, Friesians do bolt, are stubborn and are way beyond intelligent. I would not want it any other way though.

Regarding health issues, my Friese was an import from Holland within Europe (I am an Expat living overseas) and unfortunately he was mis-diagnosed as having allergies. I caution all that if your Friesians have any watery eyes/eye discharge, Please Please Please have it checked and double checked by a vet. My 7 year old Friesian has bi-lateral uveitis and just had the Cyclosporine Implant put in one eye and a vitrectomy in the other. The prognosis is good (my gelding actually moves his head so that you can place the medical drops in his eyes - it is simply amazing in that he knows we are trying to help him and was the absolute favorite of the staff at the hospital) but we have a long way to go and it is not easy starting to ride again after 2.5 months being off.

Trail riding is fine but the hall/indoor is a disaster (he absolutely hates it and it is such a fight). Some days he is great and we do so much and then the next is "what is a canter". I know that we need to take it slow now since having a partially blind horse is a totally different type of riding. I have to be extra careful with him since he is even more prone to spookiness (his one dangerous vice is a Capriole while leading/riding and we cannot figure out why he is doing this - beautiful display of power and I wish I could have it done on command) but we are doing fine considering the circumstances.

So, that is my long contribution to this thread. I know that the theory is also that Friesians are prone to colic and one owner started a health survey on one of the forums. FYI, my guy has a sensitive stomach and we always watch him for signs of colic especially with the use of Atropine eye drops which cause it. It is a breed problem. I look forward to reading more replies.

MysticOakRanch
Feb. 21, 2011, 10:35 AM
By the way, Friesians do bolt, are stubborn and are way beyond intelligent. I would not want it any other way though.



I think all horses can bolt, buck, spin, etc - they are horses after all. Maybe part of the problem is the myth that they are all totally bombproof? I don't think there are ANY bombproof horses (maybe a 35 year old that is too creaky to do anything except walk?). I have just found they are easier, quieter, less inclined to be scary then many other sport horse breeds. Interestingly, the two stallions I own (one is purebred, the other a half-Friesian) don't have a bit of stubborn in them. But they are really, really smart - almost non-horse-like at times.

I do hear there are certain bloodlines that are hot and are tough, and I do believe they are more sensitive then people realize - their stoic nature may mean they internalize until overwhelmed? Whereas the many Warmbloods will let you know right away - too much, back off?

Miss Dior points out - Sabine has good insight on training the Baroque types - Friesians and Andalusians! She's a wonderful clinician too. The Iron Springs people can probably also offer insights - many years ago, I called and talked to their breeding manager about the personalities of the stallions - she was really open about them!

WILLOW&CAL
Feb. 21, 2011, 11:09 AM
I have a 10 year old Friesian gelding out of an imp. Dutch stallion (i'm in South Africa). He was gelded late in his life and retained a lot of his stallion qualities. He was left in a paddock to do nothing for 4 years and so had no idea what canter was and was terribly unfit. He's never had any digestive upsets or issue up until now (knock on wood) but here in SA they are prone to billiary so I take temp. often and check his gums/eye membranes if I see even a tiny sign of 'lethargy'. In my limited experience with him I'd made several mistakes: I pushed him too hard, rode on too short a rein and believed him to be 'dull' to the leg/forward cues. Only recently, having moved barns, did I find out what the first gear problem was. I second and third, that they are extremely sensitive. They are generally expected to have big movement esp. at the trot so I as a novice rode him in an lengthened trot thinking it was his 'working' gait. I had to learn to help him find his rhythm, ride at his pace for a while so that he could show me his comfort level. Once we established that, I could ask for a more lengthened trot and ask him for more and more each time. They don't generally have a work ethic like WB's and THB's. They learn fast but they put things together slowly. They tend to be considered the 'slow' kids of the horse world but once the experience of the lesson proves positive-their learning curve accelerates and they remember their lessons months later after having not practiced something. I also find my horse very sensitive to the seat and weight aids. They use their necks as avoidance mechanism to get out of bending so I was advised by my trainer to spend months working long and low and flexion exercises from Jane Savoie helped a lot as well. I may not have a very sensitive, quick study and we may not be very far on the training scale, but the journey has been very rewarding and we take joy in every movement learned.
I've not experienced too many Friesians in SA having gut issues. Ours have full day turnout and we don't feed commercial food at all. We feed a nutritionist-recommended blend with ad-lib grasses (per seasonal availability). In summer they get electrolytes in the water, which we have to change often throughout the day as they don't drink anything even slightly dirty. Anyway, that is just my experience :)

karin o
Feb. 21, 2011, 05:26 PM
I keep reading and rereading the posts i wrote and thought it would be interesting to combine the 2 threads. Here is the link..
http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=262862&highlight=Friesian+puzzle

Have I missed any advise for the vet to consider here? The vet will be coming soon.

Do the blood panel...
I have been advised to check for :
HIND GUT ISSUES
Cryptorchidism
Billiary
Megaesophagus in Friesians:
Elevated BUN creatinine levels which manifested as increased urine output and was monitored with regular blood testing.
A tendency to Anhidrosis,
Giving a daily supplementation, either herbal or with Succeed. One of them was successful with giving slippery elm bark powder, about a tablespoon, with each feeding. She also liked the anti-ulcer cookies made by TheraCell/Biostar called Tum-Ease: http://www.biostareq.com/formulas

Horses with a megaoesophagus do not always develop oesophageal obstruction, and
may show other signs such as loss of appetite, wasting, salivation and mild colic.
Megaoesophagus can be diagnosed endoscopically and by using contrast radiography.
Endoscopic diagnosis is quick and cheap: not only is the dilatation visible but also retrograde
reflux of feed material and an abnormal structure of the lining mucosa can be immediately
appreciated. Ingestion of beet pulp is by far the commonest cause of primary oesophageal
obstruction in equine practice. However, in the Friesian horses presented here the cause of
the obstruction was not only beet pulp but also grass, hay or silage. Treatment is therefore
often more difficult as these feed material are more difficult to flush out and there is a
consequent increase in more serious complications.

Vet in Nl. specializing in Friesians http://www.paardenkliniekgarijp.nl/
Dr. Siebren Boerma in the NL sees hundreds of Friesians every year, and probably knows more about their "quirks" than anyone else in the world.

Partial choke which looks like colic; won't eat, laying down etc. The only reason why I know it is choke is if I open his lips, some pooling saliva will come out. It is always remedied with banamine within 30 minutes. I have to feed him out of one of those hay bags with very small holes. Takes him forever to eat his hay but it keeps him from choking. Also his one pound of grain is made soupy.

One of them was successful with giving slippery elm bark powder, about a tablespoon, with each feeding. She also liked the anti-ulcer cookies made by TheraCell/Biostar called Tum-Ease: http://www.biostareq.com/formulas

...bots can leave tiny ulcers in the tummy lining. But if you do a powerpac, try to follow it up with some sort of gastric reconditioning--Forco and slippery elm or something like that. (THE BOTS WERE DISCOVERED AFTER DOING A SCOPING ) Watch out for worming causing eye issues. Problematic.

GET A nibblenet. Those are the small hole hay feeders. Do not get the 2 in holes for a large horse. That's too small. Go bigger. Pulled him off grain for a bit. Worked like magic. No more colic.

In summer they get electrolytes in the water, which we have to change often throughout the day as they don't drink anything even slightly dirty.


He does have anhydrosis and PSSM, so perhaps my classification of "healthy" is a misnomer, but I suppose I don't really feel like he's UNHEALTHY, either. To me, that would be out of work, and he's not.

Find out about 'torsion colic'

Friesians are more susceptible to Typhilitis - an inflammation
of the cecum.

Two, there is a genetic disorder alled DSLD or Degenerative Suspensory
Ligament Desmitis that affects some Friesians. Very little research is
available about it. (Thank gosh i recognize the words suspensory ligament...cause unless the SL is in the gut or the head...this is NOT my problem...but an interesting comment none the less.

With electrolyte and a gastric supplement (probiotics, a few other things). the horse suddenly became very ill, and by the time we got him to the clinic He died of a gastric rupture, and the necropsy showed the perforation at the site of a single ulcer, in an otherwise pristine stomach.

Check out white line disease and a series of liver problems.

I think the horse industry should ask for Watson. imho

Friesiancatrider
Feb. 21, 2011, 05:43 PM
@Willow&Cal very interesting post especially regarding the training. So true...
@MysticOakRanch Of course Friesians bolt but you'd be surprised at the selling technique used with these horses. I've heard over and over again that they are so calm to ride, gentle, etc. Sorry, but no way do I agree with this entirely... It took my 4 year old over 1 year to calm down after he was gelded and he will still let out the occasional squeal and rodeo buck even now (yes, we do longe weekly). He is definitely not for a beginner rider and I know how he is since I bought him green. The eye problems came later but his temperment was set (absolute sweetheart on the ground following me everywhere but challenging in the saddle). I have also ridden Friesians with bold movements and my guy who is more compact and Baroque. Put 2 Friesians side by side on an outride (regardless of size) and you will see what we call "Friesian Power". Yes, they are an amazing and absolutely wonderful breed. Now if we can only find out what is the problem with the stomach and the eyes...

jdeboer01
Feb. 21, 2011, 08:48 PM
Yes, they are an amazing and absolutely wonderful breed. Now if we can only find out what is the problem with the stomach and the eyes...

And all the other pesky problems too -- current known ones, and "newer" emerging ones.

In all likelihood, most of the health issues are a sign of inbreeding depression. These types of things eventually crop up in any closed studbook -- whether dogs, cows, or horses. The best way to minimalize genetically caused problems is to (GASP!!) introduce new blood into the studbook. Sadly, however, it seems that "the powers that be" prefer the notion of an "untainted" pedigree over producing horses that are healthier and better suited to sport.

I find it to be quite sad. :no:

Miss Dior
Feb. 21, 2011, 09:01 PM
It does sound like a large check list. But there are common themes. Scope him,both airway and gastric. Bloodwork never hurts. Fecal count. Eye exam. Deworm him after eyes are cleared and fecal counts are back. Routine lameness exam should tell you he is sound. All else behavior wise, call Sabine! I agree they need some improvement sires. Good luck.

jdeboer01
Feb. 26, 2011, 07:41 PM
Karin -- any updates? How did it go with the vet?

Got any pics of this lovely boy? :)

Judy

karin o
Mar. 3, 2011, 09:14 AM
So I spent last week longlining and driving, lunging and working on the voice commands and low and behold he offered the canter willingly in both directions. He has been too out of shape to canter IMHO. His head flipping and twitching stopped, as well. Therefore several issues are more apparent....The random and erratic head and neck tossing may not a physical issue unless the weight of a rider does something to him. In the past he has been very steady from time to time ...perhaps its attached to the learning curve he is experiencing at different times. When the blood panel comes back I will begin other diagnostics.

Riding him this week he is much improved, he learned to move his haunches in and out, he is quite supple in the neck and I taught him that with cones on the ground...he seemed to like that a lot. That's the update for this week....I will collect some photos, k

karin o
Mar. 18, 2011, 05:32 PM
Ok, so I have some news.... my Freisian needs antioxidants. Although his E and selenium were normal, his muscle enzyme is high. So he is on MSM, an inexpensive fix. His protein is low so she recommended 1 lb a day of Grow and Win to supplement his diet. He is now 2 weeks into his new program.

2nd change I made was that I am now the only rider. I used him from time to time to teach with but we have decided to look at this situation as a "one person horse" issue for the time being.

Next change. His riding is much improved already. After an email exchange with Expert Sabine, I have added the canter to his routine. During his 2 weeks of longlining and his offering the canter in both directions...I felt he was ready and muscularly advanced to handle this new gait safely. As I mentioned in a post prior, it took me from April 2010 til January to successfully mount him in a dead standstill at the mounting block. Quick learner, slow processor ? So each day now I add the canter to his immense delight, he still will kick out a bit at my leg on his belly but it feels more like "baby" reaction than sore belly reaction. He is actually quite light on his feet and will hold the canter for at least 2 arena rounds...good boy !

On Sunday I have a student coming from 2 hours away for a lesson and she has watched his journey so I am excited to show him off and maybe we can video tape him....

So, if you have any info on Friesians with similar blood work testing results, I am all ears !

*0*

Benito21
Mar. 21, 2011, 09:15 AM
I currently have 2 friesians in training at my barn and train 2 that truck in 3 days per week. One of the friesians at my farm has anhidrosis and colics frequently. Let me just say now ( before people make assumptions...) that all of my horses receive free choice quality hay, are turned out for most of the day and are fed low grain diets. His colics are severe enough to send him to the clinic for a few days...never surgery...thank god. He has done this off and on for 6 years. Scoped several times...treated for mild ulcers once. Another of my friesians has chronic diarrhea. ( not cool with a huge friesian tail) One of the friesians that trucks in has had a quite a few colics over the past few years. He had one last week that was diagnosed as a gastric impaction and operated on last week. Thanks to my FANTASTIC vet FAIRFIELD EQUINE he is doing good now. About a year and a half ago one of my clients had a friesian who just died. He was 10 years old, extremely well cared for. She had just fed lunch and he came up with his head looking terrified like he couldn't breathe, ran backwards through the barn, flipped over backwards and died right there in front of her. The vet thought maybe an aneursym. Coincidence maybe...but I won't have any clients buying friesians to soon.
On a training note....I too do not think of these horses as amateur friendly. I would like to slap whoever came up with that rumor. I am lucky to have a few specimens of the breed who are put together nicely for dressage and enjoy riding them ,however, I have one who likes to bolt and one who had a nasty spook/spin/bolt when he came to me. (not anymore..;). They are in general very stubborn horses who need an educated hand and are not for the amateur working with out a trainer.

Miss Dior
Mar. 21, 2011, 07:29 PM
Well stated. Lots of skill, lots of problems, lots of patience. Seem to attract folks mostly kooky for the fantasy aspect as opposed to the real hard work that they truly are. Bolting/spooking/spinning VERY common. Good thing they do not run fast!!! Not for amateurs unless you want to putz around.