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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 17, 2002
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    409

    Default Need suggestions - pony gets MAJOR diarrhea getting ready for and at shows!

    Any input would be much appreciated here!

    We have a small pony that's an angel at home and does the lines no problem. Goes at a nice medium pace. Everything is great.

    As SOON as you pull out the braiding and bathing stuff and start getting ready for a show (we do it the night before as we typically have to leave for shows at 3 a.m. for an 8 a.m. start to the division), she starts spouting MAJOR diarrhea. And I mean by the time I'm done braiding I'm slipping in pools of it. And for the rest of the night you can hear it shooting out onto the stall walls. Same in the trailer, my walls are caked in it. Same tacking up at the show.

    By the time she gets in the ring she is dull and sour and won't go forward at all. Adds in every line, pins ears and kicks out or bucks for lead changes or when asked to pick up the pace. She also won't drink until she's done showing. Obviously she's got to be very dehydrated and probably her gut is pretty crampy, thus the major change in attitude.

    This pony is new to us this spring. We had no idea this was an issue for her but I ran into some students from the pony's old barn that told us the pony had the exact same problem last year so the trainer kept sticking a big kid on it with mega spurs and running the crap out of it to get it moving before the little kid got on for the show ring.

    So I think I'm dealing with two things. One, the pony being totally whacked by the diarrhea, and two, the pony having had a very unhappy show experience last year that's made her ring sour.

    It's a total shame as for the previous 3 years the pony was winning at the top shows. I don't know the full story of what went on last year but I know the diarrhea was an issue, these students were laughing about it and I gather this ring behaviour is why she was sold. So nice of the previous owner/trainer to have shared this info with me......NOT!

    The pony is very sweet and doesn't want to be bad. I am waiting to speak to my vet when he gets back from holidays in two weeks as to whether there are meds that would help. But in the meanwhile I was hoping someone here might have some suggestions

    Somehow I have to combat the diarrhea - head it off in advance if that's possible, and help her with the stress of showing. She appears totally calm and quiet at the show, you wouldn't know she's having any issues at all except for the diarrhea.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2006
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    800

    Default

    Have you tried ulcergard? You could try that leading up to the show/ day of/ continue after to try to combat any stomach discomfort. It sounds like at this point the poor thing has a bad association with showing. Maybe take her to some shows without the braiding and no showing to show her that shows don't have to mean she will have a miserable day? Also, I would say try to encourage her to drink and have electrolytes to try to prevent dehydration. The poor little girl, sounds like she is pretty stressed. Ulcergard is available over the counter, so you can try without a scrip from your vet. You could also try some other antacid type things like ranitidine (you can use the OTC human pills, 150 mg but not sure of dosage for a pony), or some of the supps you add to feed.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2009
    Posts
    850

    Default

    It differently fear related and I agree with your, something is tiggering a memory of a bad experience and perhaps with a show.

    Couple ideas

    - Can you haul her a few times, just to go... make it a fun day, no demands, hang out and watch
    - Talk with her, let her know your intentions, you are only going to the show to show her off, her talent and not to show her to a buyer or anything like that. Same rider, same as at home.
    - Try Flower Bach Remedies, specifically, Rescue, for stress. Put on a horse cookie 2 a day for a week up to the travel day and continue. This is very safe and your pony will love you for it.

    Anyway, a few ideas., something has scared her about the trip, perhaps even the trailer. Build her trust back up with you and the whole situation. FUN will be FUN



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2010
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    447

    Default

    If it were me, I'd reprogram her show experiences. I would take her a couple times and just let her hang out, make it enjoyable for her.... maybe a nice hack around the grounds, but other then that, no hard schooling. I would start braiding her more then when you have to go to a show, and then when you are done braiding, just take them out in the morning and turn her out.

    Now, this may help a lot or it may not help at all, but that is where I would start before trying to drug her. If trying to retrain her behavior doesn't work, you could try adding a supplement like calm n cool to her feed for the week leading up to the show, but depending on what you show, that may or may not be an acceptable substance, so make sure you check the rules.
    Concordia means "Harmony" in Latin.
    Full Time Dressage Addict



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 17, 2002
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    409

    Default

    Thanks guys

    Before we started showing this spring we actually did trailer her about a half dozen times to a friend's indoor arena just to have a fun ride with my daughter's friend. Diarrhea hit as soon as she got in the trailer but after an hour's haul she was still relatively energetic.

    Our first show with her was just a local schooling show, about 45 mins away. We didn't braid, just got on the trailer that morning. She was great for the warmup, nice and forward, did the lines. She won all the O/F but in the hack she ended up starting to get sour I think and threw a nasty buck in a corner and hucked my daughter off. But her energy level was good, I think because we're talking just a couple hours of diarrhea (trailering and tacking up) as opposed to about 18 hrs for the A shows (braiding, overnight, then trailering).

    I should add that at the A shows she's actually pretty good in the warmup ring and somewhat forward. It's not until she walks into the actual show ring that the bad behaviour starts - ultra slow, ears pinned and/or kicking out the more you ask her to go forward....to the point where she actually managed to do 9 in a 6 stride line once...otherwise she adds one or even two in every line. It's REALLY tough to deal with this as she's literally only like this in the show ring, not in warmup and never at home, so no way to really "school" her out of it.

    Are there any feed supplements that would help? What about perfect prep or something similar (had not heard about it before the recent thread, not sure if we can get that in Canada anyway).



  6. #6

    Default

    Get her on Gastroguard asap - I'd do a full 28 days - its cheaper than you think. On a small pony you can do a loading dose of 1/2 tube for a couple of days then go to 1/4 tube a day. Once you are finished the full treatment course, I'd start giving it 2 days out from a show and add an extra dose in the morning of the show.

    Concurrently, I'd also start to desensitize her. Go braid and leave them in for a day and then unbraid. Give her a bath and take her out to graze. Take her for a trailer ride around the block and put her back. etc, etc.

    I would also put her on something like U7 for daily maintenance.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    Burbank, California
    Posts
    721

    Default

    My horse has a sensitive stomach - stress usually materializes as diarrhea as well. Not to that extent, but it is there.

    We have started and kept him on a probiotic. For some reason, it has really done the trick.

    I also agree with the "go out and have fun" and "braid, bathe, then unbraid" ideas. Someone messed this pony up somewhere along the line, poor thing!
    "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2005
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    I would agree that it is fear triggered. If she were mine, I would treat her with Ulcerguard for at least a few days. Also put her on a probiotic and keep her on it during show season - I use FastTrack for all my ponies that are showing. I also think she would also be a good candidate for Perfect Prep or another similar product. I would also take her to a show a day or two in advance and let her live there, school in the ring if possible and/or take her to a few more schooling shows. Good luck!
    Quicksilver Farms, LLC
    "Welsh Hunter Ponies"
    Welsh Sec. B Stallions and
    Fancy Show Pony Prospects
    www.quicksilverponies.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2008
    Posts
    326

    Default

    Is there any way you can take her to a show and let her stay a few days before she's shown? Maybe if she's given a few days to settle into the whole A show experience she might feel better by show time.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2009
    Location
    Readington, NJ
    Posts
    178

    Default

    I agree with the gastroguard suggestions. You may also want to consider putting your pony on an ulcer supplement like smartgut. How about giving the pony a tube of pro bios when you get to the farm in the morning for the horse show? That usually keeps things from getting too ... messy.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 13, 2009
    Posts
    1,182

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by murph View Post
    Are there any feed supplements that would help? What about perfect prep or something similar (had not heard about it before the recent thread, not sure if we can get that in Canada anyway).
    My horse is on a probiotic from Greenhawk which has really cleared things up for him.

    I'm not sure what it's called, but it's their in house brand and I think it's the only probiotic they sell.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2006
    Location
    ON, Canada
    Posts
    843

    Default

    You can also try the 911 paste by McIntosh. You can get it at Greenhawk. It's great because it addresses the diarreha, dehyrdation and upset tummy issues.

    I would also change the routine. I wouldn't braid before the show, get a braider to do the pony at the show right before it goes.

    I would also consider getting a stall, shipping the pony to the show and letting her settle in for several days prior to its show day. I would do this for several shows until you can get the pony around the ring easily. I would just do the schooling rounds to start, less pressure that way. If the pony seems ok after then, then maybe enter a division.

    Some horses/ponies are just not the "ship it and rip it" type. This one may benefit from having time to settle in and hack around before having to go into the ring and lay it down under pressure.

    Either way, think you need to do some re-programming in terms of this one's anxiety over travelling.

    How is the pony in the trailer? What kind of trailer is the pony shipping in and how experienced is the driver of the rig?
    Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 20's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
    Posts
    8,422

    Default

    Ulcerguard might treat the symptoms but not the underlying issues which sound like extreme anxiety and fear.

    If she were mine I would trailer her more places. Sometimes to an indoor, sometimes for a walk on the trails, etc. so that trailering becomes a means to get some place fun. When the projectile diarrhea stops or diminishes then go on to step 2.

    Then I'd take her to shows and just hand graze her. No showing. No riding until her anxiety levels are lower. If you are not showing her you can also give her a calming agent which might help get her through the experience.

    Spending a few days at a show might help her settle in.

    Once she can be at a show, try warming her up and see how she is. Then let her stop.

    Only when she is calm during the warm up should you try competing. At that point I'd do one class give her a big pat and stop.

    It might seem like a long process but it's probably the quickest way to fix the problem and end up with a pony that is happy about being there. You need to her to associate shows with fun and rewards.

    Since you don't know her history you really have to go back to the beginning.

    Good luck!
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2006
    Location
    NY/VT
    Posts
    263

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRiver5 View Post
    I agree with the gastroguard suggestions. You may also want to consider putting your pony on an ulcer supplement like smartgut. How about giving the pony a tube of pro bios when you get to the farm in the morning for the horse show? That usually keeps things from getting too ... messy.
    Agree, but something other than SmartGut if you're doing rated shows as it is not USEF legal.

    I also hear good things about http://www.platinumperformance.com/B...ctinfo/EBIOP4/ for digestive issues...maybe this in combination with an ulcergard/gastrogaurd routine?

    Definitely think lots of low stress trips to local shows or other barns to hang out and experimenting with arriving at shows early to give the pony time to hang and chill will be in order.
    ILOVERMONT



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    412

    Default

    i've been told that ulcer medicine can interfere with uptake/absorption of minerals so i would definitely save that as a last resort and not use it as a band aid.

    agree with earlier poster who said it sounds more mental/emotional for the pony, not digestive. i'd definitely wager good money that she gets upset bc she knows she's going to a show - not because she has ulcers. sounds like she was a nice pony who was overshown and got burned out.

    supplement wise, yes to probios if she's not on them. yes yes yes. so helpful for any horse. magnesium is very helpful for anxiety, not sure if it will help at the level she is anxious. but it's great. i love dynamite's easy boy, smartpak's smartcalm is quite good too. i personally did not have success with perfect prep.

    i agree that reprogramming her experience with horse shows is probably the best answer. and i'm sure i'll get laughed at but i'll say it again: i would also try an animal communicator.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 17, 2002
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    409

    Default

    Thanks for all the info everyone. I will look into some of the products suggested. Unfortunately stabling at the shows is out of the question, due to a young child at home and work/farm issues I can't be away overnight.

    I have trailered her around, both by herself and with a buddy, and for short trips (i.e. an hour or so), she arrives feeling well enough to ride normally. I don't think it's a trailering issue, it's a showing issue as the diarrhea starts as soon as you start braiding. She loads on the trailer fine and after showing will stand on the trailer and munch hay happily and the diarrhea stops after the showing stops. And next day she's fine.

    In the warmup ring there is not that extreme backed-off and grouchy behaviour. Quite often for the warmup we are pumped that she's nice and forward and looking great and are expecting a good trip....then she goes in the ring and all the other stuff starts. She's not scared of the jumps, so they are not backing her off. She was winning over the same jumps in May of last year and for years prior to that, and jumps scarier stuff at home, and always made the distances as well.

    I'm not sure if treating the diarrhea will cure/help the show ring behaviour but we'll start with that and see if it makes a difference. No question that the dehydration and likely gut pain or cramping must make her feel like crap and certainly can't help her attitude. But the weird thing is she does warm up fairly nicely. Any suggestions for the ring behaviour?



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2006
    Location
    ON, Canada
    Posts
    843

    Default

    How experienced is the rider showing the pony? Is it possible that the rider has show nerves that are compounding the pony's issues once they get into the ring?

    Perhaps get a pony jock to catch ride the pony in the ring and see if its better with a more confident and experienced rider.

    I know all too well that stabling is expensive and time consuming (mega budget rider here), but it might be what actually helps. Perhaps you could hook up with a trainer already at the show and have day care done for you? It seems a bit of shame to continue to show if the pony isn't getting around the ring nicely. Might be better value for your dollar to do a couple less shows but pay for the stabling and care and build better experiences before going the ship in route.

    This is what I have done...less shows but stabled. Allowed me time to get to know my horse at the shows and to get myself accustomed to showing at the bigger shows. Now I feel confident that I can ship in and get around with no problems.

    Just some food for thought.
    Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 20's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
    Posts
    8,422

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by murph View Post
    In the warmup ring there is not that extreme backed-off and grouchy behaviour. Quite often for the warmup we are pumped that she's nice and forward and looking great and are expecting a good trip....then she goes in the ring and all the other stuff starts. She's not scared of the jumps, so they are not backing her off. She was winning over the same jumps in May of last year and for years prior to that, and jumps scarier stuff at home, and always made the distances as well.
    She knows the difference between the warm up and the show rings. I knew someone who bought an upper level event horse. After winning at the *** level he decided it wasn't fun anymore and started to stop on course. Not at a fence, in between them. He would school at ANY level, any course, no problem. Put him in a start box and you maybe got three fences out of him until he'd stop, even at Novice!

    You need to make competing fun.

    How about taking her to a show and just doing the hacks? Maybe she's afraid she'll be overfaced over fences. In any case, you need to mix it up until you find her comfort zone and then very slowly push the envelope.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2005
    Location
    McMinnville, Oregon
    Posts
    312

    Default

    Completely agree with GastroGard (or some form of generic omeprazole if cost is an issue - ask your vet if he/she has access to a reliable source) for a month, also for a few days leading up to a show and certainly WHILE showing, and then putting her on some other supplement consistently. U-7 and U-Gard, both of which can be purchased online or at most feed/tack stores are both great and not terribly expensive products. Also agree with the suggestion to keep her on some probios during the stressful times. Obviously, none of these things will in and of themselves take away her stress, but they will help her body deal more effectively with it. Poor little thing. It's kind of heartbreaking to imagine that before you had her she was feeling so sick from stress and yet had someone on her back ruthlessly spurring her and making her go anyway. That's terrible. Good luck!

    www.foxdalefarm.us



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 17, 2002
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    409

    Default

    Thanks everyone. I should clarify that we quit showing As with her after only 3 shows when it became apparent it wasn't working out. She had 3 weeks off, then light riding for a couple of weeks and then we did one local show last weekend. No change in behaviour, diarrhea was brutal. Thus my post now as I'm sorta at wit's end here.

    She wasn't a cheap pony and she's the only one my daughter has to show so if we can't figure this out I'm going to have to sell her. We were thrilled with her until we started showing her, so it was quite a surprise. This pony has a long and successful show record and as mentioned was winning on the As in the smalls right up to May of last year, then the performance just dropped right off when I scrutinize the results. When I questioned those kids from her previous barn I was quite shocked when I found out that ALL the stuff I'm describing is what happened last year (pony had a new rider last year, obviously something went terribly wrong with this rider as the pony was very successful before that so surely didn't have these problems). They were laughing about how you never stood behind her when getting ready for a show. Ugh! The trainer/owner obviously covered all this stuff up and I bought her based on how she rode at their barn and how good her show record was. Had never seen her show as we weren't doing that division last year so I had no idea what we were getting into.

    It's not rider nerves or bad riding either. The rider is very confident, does not have problems with show nerves, and is a nice soft rider. I didn't see the previous rider so again can't comment on that but was told by those kids that she started last season with little spurs and then they got bigger and bigger until they were large rowels "with spikes". And that a 16 yr old kid got on her before the classes and really got after the pony before the kid with the nasty spurs got on. Very sad and I will certainly NEVER do business with that trainer again. I even asked her before looking at the pony if she needed spurs because my daughter doesn't really care for a push ride like that and I was told "only maybe late in the season when she's getting a little tired". Ugh! We saw them at every show and the husband even joked to me that he bugged his wife last year that the pony should have B1 shots or "pep up pills" right before going into the ring. The kids also said the pony was being mega dosed with something at the shows to try to get her to go forward but didn't know what it was.

    Unfortunately stabling at shows is out of the question for us. It's not so much the money as the travel and time. I do the shipping and all the shows are 3-4 hrs away from us. Pony divisions are all on one day so really no need to stable, most ship in. But I can't do the drive to ship in early and then back again for show day and pay someone for day care and schooling on other days, I just can't get away for that much travel time every show due to family and farm commitments. I understand why people are suggesting that but we really need a pony that can ship in and then go home. Not this pony's fault I realize. I know the pony did ship in for all shows in previous years, so this is not a new system for her.



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