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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2001
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    Port Orange, FL
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    Default Has anybody heard of mental disorders for a horse ? WWYD with a crazy horse ? update

    So, first let me preface this by saying that I DO NOT OWN THIS HORSE.

    So, I have been working witrh my friend's horse for over a year. I broke him myself when he was 4 YO. Before that, he had only been minimaly handled by experienced people. He was just halter broke and touched only for shots, deworming and trimming.
    When I broke him, he was quite difficult, because he was very flighty and very scared of people, surroundings and new situations. I did a lot of long lining and ground work and finally managed to get him going under saddle, in a round pen and a small indoor arena.

    She sent him to me, to train him and show him. Well, when we moved him to the farm where I keep my horses things went downhill.
    First, this horse has a cow phobia. He will not eat, drink or function if he hears cows. And if he sees them (like 200 yards away) he will run through fences or try to jump out of his stall (which only has a 1 foot opening at the top ). He breaks in sweat dripping wet, just knowing that the neighbours cows are moving 1/4 of a mile away.
    When you ride him, he spooks at everything (chairs, atv, tractor, brush boxes on the side of the arena, bales of hay ... you name it). by spook, I mean spin 180 and bolt out of control, or rearing straight up for 25 minutes non stop.
    I tried to get after him, I ignored it, I let him look ... nothing makes a difference. Everyday, he is the same. 2 days ago, he broke the fence of the arena when he reared and ended up with his front leg on one side and back legs still in the arena
    He got booted out from the cowboy

    The sad part is that he is not mean, he is actually sweet. But he is very hard to even lead around because he bolts out of nowhere or refuses to go to places and just rears.

    My question is, are there any known horse psychological disorders like in people ? Are there insane horses ?
    Are there any drugs and/or treatments that would work in a case like that, just to make his life easier ?

    He has been treated for ulcers, he is on 24 hour/ turn out, low starch diet, he has had 40 X rays taken and has been seen by top vets, eyes checked ... There is nothing physical. It is random and can happen under saddle or in hand. We pulled some bloods and everything came back normal.
    Vets think that it's a behaviour or mental problem, not physical.
    As far as my credentials, I have worked with many stallions, problem horses and backing youngsters. Been there, done that and I have never seen anything like it. I'm at lost ...
    Last edited by mademoiselle; Sep. 29, 2009 at 10:57 PM. Reason: funny typo



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2001
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Posts
    7,471

    Default

    There are "dummy" foals who have been oxygen-deprived at birth and I often wonder what happens to them as they grow - are they mentally deficient in some way?

    That said, I believe there are "crazy" horses that really cannot be helped and should be put down before they kill someone.
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." ~ Jack Layton



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    6,046

    Default

    Retire him to a nice pasture many miles away from cows.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hitchinmygetalong View Post
    There are "dummy" foals who have been oxygen-deprived at birth and I often wonder what happens to them as they grow - are they mentally deficient in some way?

    That said, I believe there are "crazy" horses that really cannot be helped and should be put down before they kill someone.
    I have always wondered about that.. of course some horses must be born w/mental defects. This happens in every other species, why not horses?

    And I agree about crazy, which I tend to define as a lack of self-preservation.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
    Posts
    4,266

    Default

    I've known one horse that was born with an extraordinary flight instinct. She had had so many accidents by the time she was old enough to train from running through fences and things. She had to be sent to a cowboy for training, but I'm not sure her training held. They were considering euthanizing her, because she was so troubled. Her full siblings were pleasant and intelligent, not at all like her. She must have had some inborn imbalance?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2004
    Location
    Rolling hills of Virginny
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    5,976

    Default

    If the horse is truly mentally unbalanced, then euthing him would be the kindest thing.

    Not to mention safer for any people who have to be around him.

    Just as there are mentally disturbed, violent people, I'm sure the animal kingdom has their own versions.
    The plural of anecdote is not data.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
    Location
    MD
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    3,852

    Default

    He sounds like a hyper sensitive horse with NO confidence. The only thing you can do with a horse like this is go slow, slow, slow, with lots of patience and teach him he can trust you. He's not one of those that can be 'broke' in the normal course of time. Maybe never, but maybe he's still a baby in the brain and needs a little more time to mature mentally.

    Go back to work in hand ONLY and try some earplugs. I'd also try some B1 for him. It may work, it may not, but it won't hurt anything and its not uber expensive. What are you feeding him? I'd cut out all grain.

    And it takes some horses longer than others to accept new things like cows, etc. I had an old mare that freaked when she was first exposed to llamas. It took her about a week before she was grazing side by side with them. And at one barn where I rode most of the horses got all antsy when someone brought their icelandic ponies into the ring? They must smell funny or something.

    Don't give up on him yet... he's young and may just need a little more time and some confidence building.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2008
    Posts
    4,589

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mademoiselle View Post
    and baking youngsters. Been there, done that and I have never seen anything like it. I'm at lost ...
    I'm sorry Mademoiselle. I know your post is quite serious and that you are at the end of your rope. But I thought I would point out a tee hee you made. Maybe he's scared of the above?

    Good luck with this one. You are a braver woman than I. This is one I would say is beyond me.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2007
    Location
    PA
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    5,070

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    I have always wondered about that.. of course some horses must be born w/mental defects. This happens in every other species, why not horses?

    And I agree about crazy, which I tend to define as a lack of self-preservation.



    A horse lacking self-preservation is the most dangerous horse of all.

    How long has he been at your farm? If he really seems to be one of those horses that is just not going to improve than I agree that putting him down is probably the best option. Crazy can't be fixed with time in field. Sounds like he is an accident waiting to happen.



  10. #10

    Default

    Is he the same at farm with no cows?



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2003
    Location
    Nonsuch House
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    3,507

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    A friend of mine who has been re-working problem horses for 25 years told me one day he's only had 5 horses that he could not work with and the last one was the worst. The horse came to him with lots of problems and after many hours and days he finally took the horse out to the round pen and got on him, for 20 minutes nothing happened and without warning the horse launched my friend and proceeded to buck without stopping, slamming his head into the boards of the round pen over and over. The horse ended up smashing out 3 of the boards with his head.

    Friend of mine called owner and said this horse needs to be put down, owner came picked up horse and sent him to another trainer who ended up in ICU.

    He feels that there are horses that have problems too serious to work with. Whatever the problems are, they definately are like a mental illness. Any horse that can cause that much damage to himself has some sort of mental illness.
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    42,998

    Default

    ---"First, this horse has a cow phobia. He will not eat, drink or function if he hears cows. And if he sees them (like 200 yards away) he will run through fences or try to jump out of his stall (which only has a 1 foot opening at the top ). He breaks in sweat dripping wet, just knowing that the neighbours cows are moving 1/4 of a mile away.
    When you ride him, he spooks at everything (chairs, atv, tractor, brush boxes on the side of the arena, bales of hay ... you name it). by spook, I mean spin 180 and bolt out of control, or rearing straight up for 25 minutes non stop.
    I tried to get after him, I ignored it, I let him look ... nothing makes a difference. Everyday, he is the same. 2 days ago, he broke the fence of the arena when he reared and ended up with his front leg on one side and back legs still in the arena
    He got booted out from the cowboy

    The sad part is that he is not mean, he is actually sweet. But he is very hard to even lead around because he bolts out of nowhere or refuses to go to places and just rears."---


    Is he by chance Impressive bred?
    I had one of those that acted just like you describe your horse, sweet and dead gentle and nice, until something set him off, then he would kill himself to get away from it, once tried to jump a pen fence, with rider on him, when a lying down cow stood up.
    He had spells of uncontrollable shaking and sweating.
    He was tested and N/N, so that was not it, but something sure was not right with him.
    I heard of others horses of that breeding with similar problems, although of course not many, most are fine.

    A calf roper bought him, he was a beautiful horse and he is ridden to rope in arenas only, because outside, he can get so crazy it is dangerous.
    That is a lucky horse, because his craziness would have made him too dangerous to handle and ride, if he had not found that niche.

    In our area, we have once in a while a horse that eats "loco weed" and becomes too crazy to approach, they have to be shot.

    Don't know about your horse, but yes, some are a little bit off, just as some people are.
    We put those people in mental hospitals, don't know what you can do with such horses.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    348

    Default

    I think any animal can have a mental disorder. Sometimes it can be caused by handling, sometimes by oxygen deprivation at birth, and I also believe that there are 'bad' horses born. Have you ever looked at siblings from the same family, some of who are great people, and some of who are just incapable of living a normal life?
    If the horse is dangerous, it is a kindness to put him down.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,278

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mademoiselle View Post
    So, first let me preface this by saying that I DO NOT OWN THIS HORSE.

    So, I have been working witrh my friend's horse for over a year. I broke him myself when he was 4 YO. Before that, he had only been minimaly handled by experienced people. He was just halter broke and touched only for shots, deworming and trimming.
    When I broke him, he was quite difficult, because he was very flighty and very scared of people, surroundings and new situations. I did a lot of long lining and ground work and finally managed to get him going under saddle, in a round pen and a small indoor arena.

    She sent him to me, to train him and show him. Well, when we moved him to the farm where I keep my horses things went downhill.
    First, this horse has a cow phobia. He will not eat, drink or function if he hears cows. And if he sees them (like 200 yards away) he will run through fences or try to jump out of his stall (which only has a 1 foot opening at the top ). He breaks in sweat dripping wet, just knowing that the neighbours cows are moving 1/4 of a mile away.
    When you ride him, he spooks at everything (chairs, atv, tractor, brush boxes on the side of the arena, bales of hay ... you name it). by spook, I mean spin 180 and bolt out of control, or rearing straight up for 25 minutes non stop.
    I tried to get after him, I ignored it, I let him look ... nothing makes a difference. Everyday, he is the same. 2 days ago, he broke the fence of the arena when he reared and ended up with his front leg on one side and back legs still in the arena
    He got booted out from the cowboy

    The sad part is that he is not mean, he is actually sweet. But he is very hard to even lead around because he bolts out of nowhere or refuses to go to places and just rears.

    My question is, are there any known horse psychological disorders like in people ? Are there insane horses ?
    Are there any drugs and/or treatments that would work in a case like that, just to make his life easier ?

    He has been treated for ulcers, he is on 24 hour/ turn out, low starch diet, he has had 40 X rays taken and has been seen by top vets, eyes checked ... There is nothing physical. It is random and can happen under saddle or in hand. We pulled some bloods and everything came back normal.
    Vets think that it's a behaviour or mental problem, not physical.
    As far as my credentials, I have worked with many stallions, problem horses and baking youngsters. Been there, done that and I have never seen anything like it. I'm at lost ...
    due to bad handling and then no one having the confidence to correct him so hes unstable in his brain as hes not sure - then hes come to you with a different envoriment and unsure as nothing is there that he knows nor trust
    you need to work backwards - ie for getthe riding but work on building confidence
    and trust starting from the ground upwards and dont feed him, as thats fueling th fire as hes not doing enough work to warrant the grub so feed him hay only ab lib it will take about 2 weeks for it too come out of his sytem
    they do a lot of gorund work and long line him rather than lunge him -

    its all new to him nothing is the same so hes unsure hes a baby thats needs a full on confident rider -handler
    get his tack checked out as ill fitting tack a horse will spook or spin



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2001
    Location
    Port Orange, FL
    Posts
    1,916

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Long Spot View Post
    I'm sorry Mademoiselle. I know your post is quite serious and that you are at the end of your rope. But I thought I would point out a tee hee you made. Maybe he's scared of the above?

    Good luck with this one. You are a braver woman than I. This is one I would say is beyond me.
    thanks, I fixed it and I thought it was indeed pretty funny with the context. He always looks like something is going to eat him. And I'm coming from France, where people eat horses. Maybe I'm the problem, he thinks I'm going to eat him and bake him



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2001
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    Port Orange, FL
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    On a more serious note, he is a WB, nothing indicate a lack of oxygen at birth but who knows ????
    As far as being in a cow free environment he has been to other farms and he is still very spooky and uneasy about his surroundings.
    He is a WB, a very athletic one, very nice jumper, FEI gaits. His training is improving, but it takes 20 minutes of risking your life and his to get there.

    His siblings are actually pretty mellow, none of them show any signs of being like him.

    As far as getting him close enough to the cows to desensitize him, that's just impossible. There is no way to even get close.
    A cowboy told me I should tie him to a cow, and I asked him where I could find a 200 yard rope . When he saw the horse, he said forget about it .

    I called my vet and she told me that they just put down a horse that had the same type of issues.
    Right now the owner is not ready to put him down, which is what I would do if he was mine.
    I'm just afraid that when I send him back, after a couple of years somebody will try to ride him again and it's going to end up with a very injured rider.
    Most of the pros and friends who know the situation are all saying that I should not even try to ride him because he is so crazy.
    But I feel bad and want to try everything to fix him, but for the 1st time I feel that I can't.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2008
    Posts
    804

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    Are psychoactive meds possible with horses? I know a few dogs with anxiety issues who are on Prozac.... it's really helped make them "normal".... is such a thing an option? Horsey Xanax?



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Posts
    213

    Default

    Single vision? (sight in both eyes, but good sight in only one eye would effect depth perception)



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
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    3,554

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    I know this isn't the intent of the thread but just a quick note that having a mental disorder does not equal dangerous.

    I'm a little surprised that vision has been ruled out because I understand it is incredibly difficult to assess in a horse without specialized training and equipment. Plus, being an armchair quarterback, he sounds "just like" the horse in the novel by Sara Gruen.

    Good luck with him. It sounds like a really tough situation.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2007
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    Behind the Orange Curtain
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cita View Post
    Are psychoactive meds possible with horses? I know a few dogs with anxiety issues who are on Prozac.... it's really helped make them "normal".... is such a thing an option? Horsey Xanax?
    Flufenazine and acepromazine are used in horses.



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