My yearling grew up in a big field full of babies, and needless to say, is quite a handful. He has since moved to my private farm, where I am slowly working on his manners, but we have a long road ahead of us...
He had a visit from the farrier around 7 months old, and with a light twitch, stood for all 4 feet to be trimmed.
Today, however, we were unable to get past the first foot without him striking out. Eventually he just got pissy and totally shutdown mentally.
Any recommendations for him? Thinking about sedating him for round #2, and each time he gets trimmed, easing up.
Farrier mentioned doing a bit of IM ace to take the edge off, but I was thinking possibly dormosedan? I will obviously consult my vet, but what is a general guide for dosing for a yearling?
My filly has farrier issues as well especially when in heat and I've used Dormosedan gel on her with great success. The only thing I don't like about it is that she tends to sweat profusely when sedated.
Dormosedan. I use it fairly routinely (injectable) on young horses that are in similar situations as yours. I think it is most appropriate for you ask your vet for dosing advice. It works very nicely. I believe the injectable is cheaper than the gel, but I've never used the gel. Dormosedan is pricy, but the amount used is very small and it is worth the cost.
Don't feel badly about sedating your colt. A few non-stressful farrier sessions will set the stage for him learning how to relax and behave on his own. There are purists out there who will go on about proper training, and obviously drugs do not supplant training, but my safety and the safety of my farrier are priorities. There is nothing wrong with lightly sedating (with the advice of a veterinarian) an unruly 1000 lb. animal so that he can safely (for all parties) receive farrier or vet care.
I have a filly (1.5 Y/O) that I have picked up her feet since the day she was born and then all of a sudden about 3 trimmings ago she decided we were planning to cut her legs off.... apparently. She totally lost her mind, we sedated her with the gel and she is finally changing her mind about the farrier. No point in fighting or taking the chance of getting someone hurt. Never use Ace with the colts or geldings. You may want to pass that along to your farrier, he needs to be aware of that too.
I knew not to use ace on colts/stallions, but I had no idea that it was bad for geldings! (I've only had mares in the past.) Learn something new every day, lol.
Thoughts on the gel?
He has had IV in the past, for coggins draws, but I am not the best at it, especially with a fidgety baby. Plus, Im thinking the gel would be easier to keep on hand?
I bring him in to a stall for feeding and daily handling, including picking up his feet, but he was just NOT happy with the farrier. He got the first foot done, then oliver caught on and was just pushing right through both of us. Not ok.
I am not a fan of sedation while trimming as a trimmer because by golly, they can fall right over on you!
Then that's TOO much sedation!
Xylazine (Rompun) works well, and you can give it orally. You can give Dorm and Ace orally too. I have found that lightly sedating the youngsters for trimming helps in taking the fear and anxiety out of the farrier experience for them, and that attitude remains with them permanently. By the time they're 2, sedation isn't necessary anymore.
The other thing I do to make the farrier a "good experience" is to give generous scritches when their foot is in the air and being trimmed, and stop immediately if they pull their foot away from the farrier. I've got one or two that LOVE the farrier because when they see him, they know they're going to get lots of scritches and attention.
It seems to me that with daily handling, you should be able to desensitize him relatively easily.
I am not a fan of sedation while trimming as a trimmer because by golly, they can fall right over on you! I would rather the work be put in ahead of time.
Youngsters have a VERY short memory. If YOU have been picking up all four feet, and holding them for a bit with no problem, then while you farrier waits, go thru your routine on all four. Then and only then ask the farrier to approach. Most will be perfect at that point.
I am not a fan of sedating for a behavior issue. I sedate/twitch for pain issues.
For behavior issues, I much prefer to use other tools - nose in a corner, schooling them to a nose/lip chain with their butt in a corner if they are blowing past/over you.
Dangerous behavior is just not acceptable.
For hind legs, run a long, thick cotton rope around the leg, and allow it to drop to around the pastern. Then with the horse's nose in a corner, or up to a wall, pick the leg up with just holding both ends of the rope, out of the way of a kick.
Once they quit fussing, and realize they have to stand, and are ok, then let them put their leg back down. Repeat daily, and do the same for the farrier the next time.
I think the key here is holding the foot. Not just picking up. But it could also be a farrier issue if he/she isn't trying to get under the horse and make things comfy. Some farriers really do wrench them out and that's not fair IMHO.
But it's hard to get under a horse who is constantly pulling too. I can see it both ways.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
As a farrier myself, I would much rather have a fearful and/or naughty youngster sedated than fight with him. Of course in the meantime keep working with his feet - but generally 1-2 times of sedation will help him get over the farrier issue, then he's usually good for life.
Talk to your vet about Sedivet. I like it better than Dorm. You don't need to use much but they will not get as unsteady on their feet. It is used by vets for a lot of procedures where the horse need to be standing. Also great for rehab when you need to ride them AND keep them from leaping around
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **
I work at a vet clinic where we use sedation daily. We often have to sedate yearlings to get them to load in trailers as they are often completely untrained when they come in, and as it is not our job to train horses, simply to get them back on the trailer and home so their owners can train them, we sedate. Be careful using Xylazine/Anased as it is more likely to cause them to kick out. We use 0.4ml Dormosedan on most yearlings and it works well, although as always, consult with your vet before using. I have used the dorm gel on my own personal horses, and I found that it affected two different horses differently that got the same dose, one very drunk, the other barely sedated.
Sounds that you need to do a lot of work with this kiddo, in hand.
I have always raised my babies out in a field situation, but spent a ton of time handling them, picking up feet, etc. - out in the field -- judiciously desensitizing to these things that will be a part of their lives. I don't want them to be behaviourly problematic for the vet, farrier or anyone else for that matter.
Considering his raising, I would recommend working with him at least 2 x day for now -- not very long, but just to get the compliance -- until he habituates to the necessary handling.
Little bit at a time is fine. It builds upon itself.
Ditto not using Ace as a drug of choice. Dormosedan, but a light dose lest he feels he will fall over, and create even more insecurity having to "lose a leg".
I'd spend a ton of time with him to teach him trusting compliance so you don't need to resort to sedation again.
I have just been through this exact same thing. This week my well-handled, usually polite, calm yearling colt decided he would not have his feet trimmed. At all. I used Dorm gel to take the pissiness out of him and all was calm once again. I don't imagine I'll need to use sedation again but if he's still being a real brat at the next trim I'll not hesitate to reach for the Dorm gel again.