My 6 year old TB has been very hot the past two months.
He's been OK on some days in the arena but he cannot be ridden on the trails or in the small field without jumping around, trying to take off, leaping through the air or just being a hot spook. He's tossed me a few times during these escapades.
I figured weather changes, 6 year old TB, feeling good...but it's been two months and he could settle down by now. Sheesh.
I trail rode this horse every weekend pretty much last year and he was a star. Was never naughty in fields or in the woods. This year he's quick, won't give me the time of day and just wants to plow through everything and squeal and take off.
I assert myself telling him this is not what we are doing and he gets more pissed have the time. Like a temper tantrum.
Lately in the indoor arena he has been OK and doing some good work. I swapped with a friend the other day because he was doing well and she's a confident and strong rider.
The minute she got on him he just wanted to canter and go go go. She took him over some small cross rails which he usually just goes through slowly and he was jumping around, doing lead changes, trying to buck and just resisting with his mouth open and head in the air the whole time. He did this to another rider who got on him about a week ago too.
The things he was pulling with them he did not try with me when I rode him before they did and after. I don't know if he just didn't like the style of riding of the other people...not that they were bad or much different but it's unacceptable.
He just seems weird. He'll be slow and lazy with his head down and collected then the next day he will get a hair across his ass and be on fire. Sometimes I really do think he breathes fire.
I've lunged him, rode him, longed lined him for countless hours and I just can't get him to settle on most days.
Or he'll act relaxed and I'll think good boy then some random explosion will occur. Go figure my riding instructor never sees this because it's been raining for our lessons and we've been confined to the indoor and these are mostly outdoor antics. I just want to ride outside without being tossed around. And I know it's possible because it happened all last year.
Health wise he checks out fine.
He's been recently adjusted by the chiro with minimal issues.
He's just had his teeth done with no issues. Just a float.
The saddle fits.
The vet and my instructor can't find any pain issues...I just think it's a brain issue.
Any other ideas as to what I can do to help him work through this?
What kind of program or exercises have helped you out?
I just need a Thursday where it's not raining so I can take him down to the field with my instructor.
I feel like I am to the point where if I were rich I'd send him off to a trainer and I thought I would never even imagine doing that.
He's been scoped for ulcer's and we found nothing. I treated for them anyways thinking maybe it wasn't accurate or there were some some place else. Nope. No change. He doesn't show any signs of ulcers other than being hot/sometimes spooky.
His diet is -
(AM and PM are the same)
3lbs Vintage Performance LS
1lb Hay Stretcher
1 cup Omega Horseshine
1/2 cup Canola oil
Ultra Elite Digest
First thing I would do in such cases is take everything away except the hay for a couple of weeks to see if that makes a difference. Up the hay if you need to and then add one thing in at a time for 2 weeks each to see if it causes the problems you experienced.
It could also be not just one thing, but a combination of items. Horses tend to get hot on too much grain. Soy can be a factor too.
Sounds to me, I agree with taking the horse to just hay (lots and lots of it) and if you need something to put the msm in, just a cup of concentrate to mix it in. Of course, make your changes gradually over a week and give your horse at least a month to see if he gets a bit more settled on a more high fiber diet.
It's been hard lesson for me to learn over the years, not all horses need a super grain laden diet every day. Despite what the feed manufactures want you to believe.
I forgot - also consider adding a magnesium supplement, such as Mag Ox. However this will not off-set hotness from feeds. But it might help calm the horse more overall once you have the diet more balanced, if he needs a little extra.
I have been posting here about my nutty Appy for a few months now, but we finally have him under control!
The culprit? We think too high NSC, alfalfa, molasses and corn. He can't have any of it ever again!
His diet is now Triple Crown Low Starch and he is a happy camper. I also feed U-Gard because although he is not ulcery he does maintain wieght on way less food since being on it.
I did the hay only... then gradually started with a complete pellet to rebuild the diet. Better, but still not great and at times unmanageable. Finally, I transitioned him to TC Low Starch which is alfalfa free... and he is a different animal. Chiro work helped too.
What is the turnout situation for your guy? What is in your Hay Stretcher? Also, I second being aware of the MSM... my guy can't handle too much of it.
The only part of having just hay is that free choice hay is not possible at this barn.
He is out from 8:30-9 in the morning until 5:00pm.
He is on a dry lot in the morning and has some hay to munch on then gets turned out in the afternoon on a field that has a bit of grass.
Another issue with hay is that he isn't the easiest keeper and I guarantee if I went just to hay he'd drop a lot of weight.
I do give him as much hay for dinner as he can eat by morning with his grain.
Currently he looks the best he has ever looked on this diet. He was eating Sport Formula Pellet before and doing OK on it but I thought the Performance LS would help him out with more fat, fiber and protein. And the starch is low.
The hay stretcher is just pure alfalfa pellets...I should have been more clear on that but he ate those last year too and never gave him any ill effects.
He's only been on the MSM for a week so I can't really say that's played a role at all.
So I am not sure what I can eliminate from his diet without him dropping weight. As much as I'd love him to be on just hay I don't think he could hold his weight and there is no way I could make it free choice hay.
I've also tried rice bran in the past and fed a lot of it to him and saw no results.
So, to sum it all up I am just wary as to what I should take away.
And he was fine on this diet before it seemed...I thought of adding Thiacal before but haven't tried it yet.
I am so glad you posted this thread, because this is my horse TO A T!
Little background, my guy is 15 (OTTB too), and everyone who doesn't know him asks me if he's 3 He's always been looky/spooky, but ever since coming back from his injury he has been UNBEARABLE at times. He used to be great in that I felt confident trail riding (street, cranberry bogs, hills, woods, etc). Well he had a pretty bad injury to his leg and was laid up for about 11 months. In this time I did move him to a new facility. Well, all of a sudden he decided he was going to be insanely studdy, breaking fences, wouldn't stand still in cross ties, spooking at EVERYTHING when riding one day, but would be fine the next. Trail riding, forget it...can't do it in a group or not. Also, trailering became a big ordeal in that he would throw a fit about getting on, and then after an hour or two just be like "okay" and walk on like nothing happened! He also started going on and off his grain when the studdiness started. I've always known this horse is better in 5/6 days of work, but he wasn't so bad that if you gave him a week off he was a demon, just a little energetic.
So, now we've been back in consistent work for a year. This time last year is when he was being really studdy and not eating, jumping out of paddocks, etc. This behavior did calm down once we were working more in the warmer weather, and I did start him on an antacid. He now has good and bad days. Some days he falls asleep in the cross ties, some days he's a lunatic. Some days he hacks out quietly and takes jumps like they're a canter stride, some days he's a raging maniac and I can't do anything but work in a tight circle. Some days you could do a monster truck show in the ring while I'm riding and he wouldn't bat an eye, others he's out of nowhere spooking at a flower blowing 1000 feet away. It's very, very frustrating. He was on NeighLox, and I happened to switch him to TractGard and have his first chiro appt in the same day, so he didn't eat that day...but went back immediately to being fine, so I don't know if that's any significance. I recently tried switching him to SmartGut seeing as how it was more comprehensive, and he was a rodeo show for the 3 days we tried it, so we're sticking to TractGard. Also, going off grain is not an option for us either, he's a hard keeper...has been his entire life so that's nothing new. He's finally a GREAT weight, shiny and looking fabulous. Readily/happily looks for/eats all his grain and hay. I also have been riding 5-6 days/week lately, and the on/off craziness/quietness is still there in consistent work. Tried SmartCalm Ultra, no success.
I did talk with my vet about it when the behavior first started, and he really felt it was just him being studdy and that's when we tried the SmartCalm Ultra with no success. We also tried Prolixin (anti-psychotic) w/no success. Some days I suspect ulcers, same days I do not. It's almost nice to hear you scoped/treated your horse and he DIDN'T have ulcers. I know people who's horses have all the classic symptoms, and didn't show any ulcers, and others who's horses showed no symptoms, and their horse has Grade IIIs. Currently I don't have the money to treat for ulcers, and where as he's happily eating I am not in a HUGE rush. I am going to try MareMagic and see if it makes any difference.
I know I didn't offer much advice, but atleast I know I'm not the only one dealing with something like this. It's so aggravating because when he's good, he's REALLY good...and he has so much potential, but some days I feel like I have a racehorse still.
I'd be interested if you find ANYTHING that helps you out. Good luck!
I went through the battle of my guy dropping wieght too, but it won't take you long to see a difference if it is the feed. It will hurt you more than it will hurt him... trust me. Anyway your guy can come in for extra hay at lunch?
Also, keep in mind that just because something didn't bother him before doesn't mean it isn't affecting him now. I never would have thought it was the alfalfa pellets he was eating for a year... until I cut them out! Viola... I had my answer. Obviously it wasn't that simple, but that was the end result.
Just one more point... I tried many calming supps: SmartCalm, Calm and Cool, herbs, Mare Magic, Quietex, B1, and the list goes on. None were as affective as a diet overhaul. I realized that the thing that was "jacking him up" so to speak was the very thing causing him to fluxuate so badly in wieght. The guy was a mess, walking off the calories faster than I could get them into him because of feed reactions! He went from an 8 QUART BUCKET of beet (plain soaked) and alf pellets TWICE a day to 4 QT Low Starch per day. And we got here in 6 weeks!
I'll check out the thread that the previous poster just stated.
I did take out the Alfalfa pellets for a month and saw a little weight loss but no change at all in energy level/attitude.
I am also glad to hear that I am not the only one going through this.
Sometimes I just think he's a Thoroughbred and to deal with it but I KNOW he can and has been quieter.
The diet he is on now IMO is actually friendly when it comes to sugars/being hot.
With school being over and just work to worry about I am going to try to work him even more and do EVERYTHING I can outside so he learns he's outside doing work and it really isn't that exciting or anything to get all anxious about.