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  1. #1
    dse822 Guest

    Default What went wrong?

    My horses attitude has gone from perfect to spooky in the matter of 3 months. I have a 9yr paint gelding who is usually very quiet easy going, easy keeper etc. .For the 4 yrs that I’ve had him he’s always been in a big crowded barn with lots of stuff going on. The last 8 months I have kept him in a backyard barn.

    The last 3 months he started acting up only during my lessons. I would ride the first 20 minutes with no problem and then boom out of nowhere he picks something to spook at (usually my trainer) only when I’m circling off the rail, drops his shoulder and spins. I began thinking it was her until recently he decided to spook at the bench that has been there longer then he has. He will be on cross ties and if someone walks by “wrong” he flinches and raises his head.

    I recently had the dentist there to make sure his mouth wasn't bothering him and decided to flinch raise his head and throw himself into the back of the stall. The dentist was shocked on the way he was behaving. She couldn’t believe the difference in his behavior.

    I was beginning to think that maybe he thinks he has my number. He spooks 50/50 me falling off and then he’s done being ridden. Well I cured that, I usually make him work for another 20 minutes if he pulls anything. He is pretty much unpredictable. Quiet trotting around, doing our thing and then randomly spooks shoulder drops…

    I’ve been writing all the changes that happened within the last 3-4months.. Thinking maybe one of these reasons made him so miserable

    -My riding has increased. I use to ride him 3x-4x a week and have my trainer ride him once a month. I now ride him 4x a week plus my trainer rides him 1x a week.
    -He use to get 2scoops of strategy morning and night, I now gradually decreased him to half a scoop morning and night. Which I think benefited him since he is a very easy keeper.
    -He use to be turned out 8am-230pm with 2 other horses. Since its summer and they get turned out in the ring a woman goes and rides in the morning therefore my horse doesn’t get turned out till usually 9-930am - 2:30pm
    - Not only did turn out decrease its now only my horse and the other, who bites/chases my horse around the paddock all day

    I’m really getting frustrated. I want my calm behaved horse back. A few people who know my horse see the difference, they said maybe he has an ulcer, maybe it’s the turnout, maybe it’s the change in environment from going to a big loud to a quiet small barn….

    I ruled out his teeth, I gave him 2 weeks off due to my vacation, and now I am going to call the vet and get his eyes checked because he does have one blue eye. We will see what happens



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    3,035

    Default

    Vision problems, ulcers, diet...the list goes on an on.

    ETA: Wasn't trying to be so unhelpful. What's his diet like? Is he only spooking one direction? How much turnout does he have and what sort of hay does he get?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 1999
    Posts
    1,682

    Default

    Don't know where you are, but you may want to consider Lyme as well.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2003
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    3,493

    Default

    I personally know this horse (and actually directed her to post on COTH, since you guys are usually so knowledgable. )and I told the owner that I was thinking ulcers. We actually both live on Long Island so Lyme is also a possibility.

    I know Lyme made my horse a MONSTER! If he wasn't vaccinated, you would have thought he had rabies because he would just lunge across the paddock and attack you.
    Kristen

    Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:
    http://community.webshots.com/user/kiwayu



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    441

    Default

    Ulcers, saddle fit, and chiropractic. I usually say dentist as well, but it sounds like you've got that angle figured out. Read this link when you have about 10 minutes: http://www.lunatunesfreestyles.com/horse_ulcers.htm



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2002
    Location
    it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
    Posts
    12,079

    Default

    Did the hay change when you moved? Is he getting more alfalfa now? Alfalfa can do exactly what you're describing.

    As can MSM for some horses. It's like they're uncomfortable in their skin

    A couple of folks have seen the same reaction to soy, but it seems much more rare. Alfalfa is a fairly common cause.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2002
    Posts
    440

    Default

    EPM made my horse ultra-sensitive and touchy.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 6, 2000
    Location
    Amherst, MA
    Posts
    5,870

    Default

    Get a lyme test done. Personality changes are one of the symptoms of an active infection.

    The vet should be your next call.

    Good luck.
    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    5,522

    Default

    Maybe he's going blind.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2008
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    726

    Default

    I would seriously look into ulcers.

    My guy was so crazy he would start spooking at the BO who feeds him everyday when she had been sitting in the same spot for the past 30 minutes...minute 31 all of sudden it was scary and he would have total meltdowns, big nasty spooks (shoulder drop and gallop the other way) and then if I tried riding by her he would bulge out/stop and not go forward, it was ridiculous. This behavior did not get better with consistent riding.

    You can go pick up some Ranitidine (Zantac) at Walmart. He will need 3mg/lb of body weight, so 1000lb horse=3000mg/dose of Ranitidine. My guy responded to 3600mg 2x/day in 48 hrs. It's a good diagnostic, and can be used to treat if done correctly. Obviously, I'd contact your vet as well, but giving the Ranitidine on your own can't hurt.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    12,822

    Default

    ...rubs crystal ball and waves magic wand....

    It's either behavioral or physical.

    You have to rule out physical before you can just assume behavioral.

    I too would be concerned about vision. That's a pretty easy one to rule out.

    Next, I would be concerned about neuro stuff. Again, pretty easy to assess with a simple exam. You can't completely rule it out w/o blood work, but you can do a simple neuro eval.

    I would double and triple check saddle fit. It *could* be that as you've increased his riding, he's increased muscle and things just aren't fitting well. Your normally tolerant horse is BEING tolerant...for about 20 min or until he's really hurting.

    I would try to duplicate the behavior from the ground. See if there's a difference. Is it you? Is it him? Is it the "magic pony ride over" time?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2005
    Posts
    3,788

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dse822 View Post
    ...now only my horse and the other, who bites/chases my horse around the paddock all day...
    I'd fix that first. When a horse is being tormented in his herd, he's going to bring that paranoia with him for everything else as well and get in the habit of being defensive, reactive, and "spooky" all the time.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2006
    Posts
    94

    Default

    I second getting the Lyme test done...spookiness was one symptom my mare showed when she came up positive for the disease...



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    2,676

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    Keep looking into physical causes, and like others, I'd definitely consider ulcers.

    I rode a 20 year old TB gelding for a year and then he moved with his owner to a new barn. This mellow horse started being very odd and spooky at the new barn and just not right. Of course we considered ulcers as he'd gone through some stress to move. Meantime, I went to ride him and during the course of our ride realized he was hot and too dry. The horse had developed anhydrosis (inability to sweat). My friend has treated him for it and he's back to his old relaxed self. Another good reminder to me to always look for physical causes first!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2008
    Posts
    878

    Default

    A simple way to mostly rule out pain as a cause load him up with bute for a week and see if his behavior changes. My mare had a similar change in personality (though over a longer period of time appx. 6 months) and once on a week of 2g AM and PM she was relaxed and calm and happier than I'd seen her in months. Now we're just trying to figure out what hurts. :/

    I wouldn't advise this route without talking to a vet first though.
    “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

    !! is the new .



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 6, 2000
    Location
    Amherst, MA
    Posts
    5,870

    Default

    Bute won't rule out either lyme or EPM or ulcers though. Nor will it rule out eyesight issues.

    If you think the problem might be arthritis pain, it might be worth trying.
    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2007
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    3,299

    Default

    I vote for environment. Even in a busy place, he probably had a buddy to watch out for him. And he probably got enough sleep. Now, the only other horse is tormenting him. Not a good situation for a herd animal.



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