This could be that druging a horse is doing something expeditous to the horse owner and boarding facility and not what is in the best interest of the horse.
There are times when a calming agent can prevent a horse from injuring itself.
If you have ever had a horse that suffered from severe separation anxiety, you might believe that 2 cc's of Ace are preferable to a suspensory injury or a broken leg. In the case of my horse, I believe that it was in the best interest of his overall health and sanity to use Ace while teaching him to be calm when left alone. Luckily my vet agreed with the approach.
No one is suggesting that this horse live in a state of perpetual haze. My horse got ace a few times to help him settle. Then he learned to calm himself. I can write out the whole training program if you want to know how I did it, but Ace was part of the process.
What I find ironic is that for all the holier than thou "never drug my horse or give them any kind of calming agent" posts on this board, the fact of the matter is that a huge number of competitive equestrians give their horses calming products. Some of them are legal; some are about to be banned; some are not on the radar screen for testing yet. When my vets tell me about what they see as standard practice in large show barns it makes me feel profoundly uncomfortable. Helping a horse get over a bit of anxiety hardly something to get up in arms over.
So he's getting better. She is using cool and calm brand supplement. I am not opposed to using safe nutraceutical attempts to keep him healthy and happy.
For what it's worth, if I had the funding for all weather footing I would rather spend that money on more fencing to make bigger pasture! Turning out in mud? Not gonna do it here. I have two all weather paddocks that stay firmish in most sloppy weather but we have to rotate the whole barn through them when the dry lot and grass pastures are closed due to mud and slop. Once the ground freezes we go back to long turnout.
Fly spray, masks, sheets, we do it all. It's included in the board. We do fly predators fly traps barn fogged. No shortcuts.
Different stall? Our facility is very open air. There is nowhere in our facility that horses can't see some activity. Any stall and he can see either way down either aisle. He's either going to see horses going outside or horses working in the arena. I could block his view by boarding up his stall but he can still hear activity. Don't think this is a good option for many reasons.
I do care about every horse in our facility whether it's mine, a boarder or a training horse. We make as many reasonable accommodations as we feel is fair and equitable for the time and cost involved. Because of this, owners don't like to leave. This owner is trying to find a compromise between a new and unsettling behavior in a horse she's owned fifteen some odd years and the overall great care her horse is getting at our barn. He's lived in many barns with everything from nooooo turnout to all daylight hours turnout in any weather.
I don't understand how the weather can be so horrible in Ohio that horses can't be out 24/7. Granted, I've never spent much time there, but I've lived in both harshly cold and incredibly hot/humid climates and known horses to live out and do just fine. If it's flies, can't he be sprayed down daily and/or wear a fly sheet and mask? Horses NEED time out for their mental and physical health. This horse is probably suffering from ulcers from the stress of confinement. His health really depends on getting more turn out. If I were his owner, we'd already be looking for a new place if it's just not possible at yours.
In OH here with a horse who must be out 24/7 for her sanity. No big deal at all. Boarded at places with tiny paddock all mud and big pasture. No big deal. They are LIVESTOCK- no one blankets and stalls their cows, lol.
~Former Pet Store Manager (10yrs)
~Vintage Toy Dealer (rememberswhen.us)
~Vet Tech Student
Mom to : 1 Horse, 4 Dogs, 3 Cats
I just want to say, hats off to you OP. Usually its the HO, not BO, so concerned about the horse. I only hope the HO is mentally working as hard as you to make this poor horse happy. Kudos for all your efforts.