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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2007
    Posts
    79

    Default Long-term Tranq and/or Horse therapist

    A little bit of what I'm dealing with:

    Rescued a mare from Camelot a little over a year ago, she was a couple hundred pounds underweight. Said to be around 11 yrs old and rideable...well, maybe she was at some point in her life. She's about 22 years old and someone did a number on her abuse wise while under saddle, if you put a saddle or bridle on her she starts shaking. After a tattoo search we found out she was a broodmare, having 9 foals. I knew that rescuing is a hit or miss and she has a home for life, no matter what. However, I have a huge problem. She is neurotic. Not like, I'm a mare or I'm a typical TB, but more like humans have screwed up my head. She is a weaver, but I really don't mind that very much (hey, we all need to find a happy place, that happens to be hers). But the biggest problem is in the field. For the most part she's ok when you turn her out first thing, but when it comes around the time to come in (within 2 hours of that time) she goes crazy. Gallops hell bent around the field, runs up and down the fence line...completely looses it. There's no other way to describe it other than her brain just sets off. Other issues include any sort of activity in the barn or surrounding area during the day will bring her to start running. I've tried bringing her in as soon as it begins, but she just starts the craziness sooner.

    She is such a sweet horse, but mentally is just not right. I don't want her to hurt herself, or anyone else (she can be a bit unruly coming in). I am looking for some sort of calming agent that is suitable for long-term use. I've used quiessence and other mare supplements w/ no change. She is on Purina Senior and Platinum Performance, somehow manages to maintain an acceptable weight although I would like her to put a little more on. We have round bales in the field, she likes it for a few hours. She goes out w/ my broodmare who is very calm...even the broodmare is getting annoyed w/ her psycho-ness. If you could see her face when it's time to come in it would break your heart...she looks very desperate and completely out of whack.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. We've done bloodwork, all is fine and she seems healthy as long as things stay on 'her' schedule. TIA.

    ETA: It has gotten worse in the past couple months. She used to have a VERY clean stall...now, in the mornings it looks like something chased her around for hours (although she does not show any physical signs of being stressed). Leading her in and out she trots next to you, very on edge (she used to have PERFECT ground manners).
    "This inauguration feels like the first date with a really great guy after an eight-year dysfunctional relationship with a loser who spent all my money."



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 14, 2007
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    827

    Default

    You might try Fluphenazine. Did wonders for one of mine that was sooooo frantic and unhappy.



  3. #3

    Default

    Can't you leave her out for a longer time? Perhaps she just needs to be out more, and realizes that she has to go in and is upset about it. Maybe something happened to her in her stall before you got her.
    I would make coming in be a good thing-hay, treats, a good groom, etc.
    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
    http://www.midwestnha.wordpress.com[/INDENT]



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2007
    Posts
    79

    Default

    The longer she's out, the worst it gets. In the summer we leave them out all night (over 12 hrs), she's frantic by the morning. In the winter they're out all day, from 8am until around 4pm. Once I brought them in a little later (a few months ago) and she got so frantic she ended up choking on her food and we had to call the vet out.

    She lives a very spoiled life, lots of grooming and love b/c she actually likes attention from people she is comfortable with. For her, coming in IS a good thing, I think her stall is her safe place as long as nothing is going on. I could leave her in her stall for the rest of her life and she'd be fine w/ it....but of course that isn't possible.
    "This inauguration feels like the first date with a really great guy after an eight-year dysfunctional relationship with a loser who spent all my money."



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2008
    Location
    now in KCMO, and plan to stay there
    Posts
    3,040

    Default

    I know that thinking of this is hard, but it may be time to send her over that Rainbow Bridge. Your description of 'If you could see her face when it's time to come in it would break your heart...she looks very desperate and completely out of whack' tells me that the mare's quality of life is not good. If she is that stressed and upset, consider that possibility that she has a brain tumor or other pathology caused by past abuse that truly did make her 'not right in the head'. Why force her to endure such mental and physical stress on a daily basis, when you have the ability to end that pain for her.
    Jeanie
    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.



  6. #6

    Default

    Could she have free access to her stall to come and go as she pleases? Perhaps she would be more at ease that way?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2008
    Posts
    762

    Default

    Some things to try:
    When she is going to be moved anywhere (stall to field, or field to stall), "work" her for a few minutes on the ground. Basically firm, fair manners work - walk, stop, turn, a couple steps of backing now and then, trot in hand on YOUR cue. Slowly, deliberately, making it clear she can rely and listen to you safely. If she is frantic in the stall, take her out and "work" her in similar fashion.

    Another possibility - teach her to keep her feet still if she wants something from you. That may or may not be appropriate or even possible with her. I generally use this when they are agitated, pissy, but not truly frantic. You have to be very firm in your resolve to do this if you start, every time you cave it just teaches her to run/try harder. Basically - head her way, if she is moving, wait 2-4 seconds and/or give verbal cue for halt. If she does not slow/stand - turn around and walk away. You will likely have to do several stops/turn arounds on your trips for a while. Most catch on pretty quick.

    I have used both of the above methods successfully for different horses.

    She sounds like she is in a self designed and perpetuating loop of behavior.
    Have you considered/tried any herbal supps to take the edge off?
    Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    Can you provide some sort of arrangement where she has access to a stall AND a small turnout paddock or pen?

    Some scars cannot be healed, unfortunately. Giving her the ultimate gift would not necessarily be a bad thing. You've given her a good, secure life, but at age 22 the risk of her wrecking herself is not insignificant. Poor old girl.
    Click here before you buy.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,385

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sdlbredfan View Post
    I know that thinking of this is hard, but it may be time to send her over that Rainbow Bridge. Your description of 'If you could see her face when it's time to come in it would break your heart...she looks very desperate and completely out of whack' tells me that the mare's quality of life is not good. If she is that stressed and upset, consider that possibility that she has a brain tumor or other pathology caused by past abuse that truly did make her 'not right in the head'. Why force her to endure such mental and physical stress on a daily basis, when you have the ability to end that pain for her.
    I agree with this and also DW's comments. The old guy is coming 26 and has Cushing's induced issues as well as having been a stalled and pampered Saddlebred show horse so some of what you describe is familiar to me.

    If she has gotten more and more upset over time she may have an organic problem. If she gets upset because it's time to go in her stall, where she wants to be (is she fed there?) and she can't go yet then perhaps a reconfiguration of her stall/pasture so she can go in and out of her own volition.

    When we shifted the old guy's pen to a different area to reduce the mud he was digging up he was quite unhappy. He stall walked as a regular thing but wasn't a weaver and his walking was not the really bad circling circling. It took two days to re-establish his routine and then he decided that he could see more of what was going on, meals were on time, and that was good. Too be honest with you, I stood there and told him where he would be and the advantages he would have in his new spot, and in his first days of fussing I reiterated how much better it was here in this spot. I'm sure I sounded like a nut case but he did calm down.

    If he had lost it (could she have had a stroke, loss of eyesight, anything?) as your mare has I'd be either letting him stay in the pen 24/7 which he actually doesn't like a whole lot, but it's part of his world being "right", or seriously considering rehoming him back to my trainer or putting him down if he is that miserable.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  10. #10

    Default

    I agree with a run in stall for her, I think that would be the best scenario for her-also have you tried valerian root? that will help calm her.
    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
    http://www.midwestnha.wordpress.com[/INDENT]



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2007
    Posts
    79

    Default

    I do have a small rehab paddock that is connected to 3 of my stalls that she could have access to, but it is very small (meant to allow them to walk around but not be able to get momentum to go full out). She is happier in it for the most part, but I guess I just feel they should have as much room as possible to move around. She also runs in and out when she sees me coming out to the barn. It is definitely an option, but wanted to explore some other things before making that her permanent place.

    As far as putting her down, I also agree that is an option. However, it isn't mine or her last resort and for me it would need to come to that. I understand there may be disagreement on that, but if I have the ability to make her happier or more comfortable alive then I would rather go that route first.

    I do work w/ her coming in, lots of halting, backing up, etc. I don't feel that she has any intentions of hurting me, and for the most part stays out of my space...but she is so far gone at those moments that her memory becomes that of a goldfish. Once she's in the barn though, perfect angel. Stands in the cross ties, untied, for me to hose her off (she gets quite muddy from the running), not a mean bone in her body.

    I will try the valerian root, thank you for the advice. I appreciate everyones feedback and being openminded about the situation.
    "This inauguration feels like the first date with a really great guy after an eight-year dysfunctional relationship with a loser who spent all my money."



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2008
    Location
    now in KCMO, and plan to stay there
    Posts
    3,040

    Default

    What about Magnesium? I am sorry I don't remember if you said you already tried that as a calming supplement.
    Jeanie
    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    Since this is a retired horse, I would talk to my vet about fluphenazine. She sounds very, very unhappy.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2002
    Posts
    2,270

    Default

    Triple vote for fluphenazine. It's works very, very well on laid up racehorses.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    2,510

    Default

    One of the retirees here is on fluphenazine. It has made a WORLD of difference. He has gone from downright dangerous at times due to his anxiety to pleasant to live with. This horse has been a naturally high anxiety horse his whole life and his anxiety got worse as he got older.

    We had tried many things to no avail prior to fluphenazine, and it was tried as a last resort. Neither us nor his owner expected it to work as his anxiety was so bad. It was a pleasant surprise to realize we were living with a totally different horse within 48 hours of the initial dose.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2000
    Location
    Chantilly,va.
    Posts
    10,882

    Exclamation pPFORGIVE CAPS

    have SOMEONE , A Tellington touch PRACTITIONER DO A COMPLETE SESSION OF BODYWORK ON HER, INCLUDING MOUTH WORK; they CAN TEACH YOU AT THE SAME TIME
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 19, 2010
    Posts
    158

    Default

    I wonder if you would be able to get a vet to prescribe alprazolam (xanax) they can prescribe it for dogs, and I know that horses can take benzodiazapines. Talk to a vet about anxiety relief...one that is open to that idea.

    Have you tried Valerian Root? That may help. I used to get the capsules and dole out ten to a crazy mare years ago and it did really relax her.

    I hope you can find something that works for her long term.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2010
    Posts
    2,437

    Default

    Maybe some Resperine? There's a mare at my barn who is very spooky and frantic at times, and Resperine seems to really help her.

    My guy has a stall with attached paddock, as that is truly the best set-up for him. He weaves when locked in a stall, and stands by the gate in turn-out. When he has the stall/paddock combo, he's calm and happy (unfortunately, he has to be in the stall about 4 hours a day, which he does NOT like, but it's the best situation I have found so far). That might be the solution for your girl, as well.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2005
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    757

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    If someone already asked this I didn't notice... Does she get turned out with anyone else?

    The mares at my barn are a tight bunch, occasionally taking Kentucky Derby laps around the field, gossiping with the neighbors across the fence, chilling under the shade trees together etc...lots of group activities that could get her brain thinking about something other than her own neurotic tendencies.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

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    I would be scared that other horses would find her incongruent and shun her at best; attack her at worst. IME at the very least, other very confident horses can tolerate a horse like this for a short period of time and then they need a break. So a very tight bond is hard to develop.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



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