Dec. 7, 2012, 02:12 PM
Hyper-sensitive mare: Thoughts?
Mare is a 5 year old warmblood mare (TB on damside) with Pilot lines on sire side (which are known for being sensitive). She was started with three months as a three year old then turned out until spring of her five year old year where she was brought in and re-started. She has spent since July of her 5 year old year in proffesional training with a kind, experienced young horse trainer. She has always been fit and healthy and beautiful, has lived out fulltime except while in training and has been well handled and maintained even when she was not being worked. She has always been handled by reasonable, competent horse people. She gets fed beet pulp and a complete feed and previous to being back in work maintained perfect condition on hay and mineral.
She is well mannered (because of the good handling she's had) except for her sensitivity which is annoying at times and semi-dangerous at others. Her skin seems to be hyper sensitive and things that are routine with other horses are very challenging with her.
For example: She is difficult to halter and bridle and reacts adversly to the motion of the halter or bridle sliding over her face. Everyone who knows her is very aware of this and uses a lot of tact with the horse, but I worry abut someone putting her halter on without thinking, she can wheel away from a careless person. Once she is haltered/bridled she is totally quiet and stands and is very easy to lead/handle. You can touch/rub her ears and her whole face and she is fine and quiet, but not if you make sudden moves. You can not pull her mane, not one hair (I found that out after I was left standing on a bucket with one mane hair in my hand while the horse was sitting in the back of the stall after breaking the cross ties).She can only be curried with a soft jelly and can only be brushed with a very soft brush. Brushing her legs with anything is very difficult. We are happy to handle her in a way that makes her comfortable, but can't help but wonder why she is so hyper sensitive, it really seems beyond the typical thin-skinned. Of course many horses won't have their manes pulled and don't want to be brushed with hard brushes but her reactions are so extreme to very little stimuli when compared to any other horses. We did manage to clip her this year but could not do her head (or even within 6" of it).
Under sadldle she is hyper sensitive to your leg or hand. One micro movement of your leg can send her shooting sideways or forwards. With an experienced, very quiet rider she can go around like a normal horse but only with a long warmup and lots of walk breaks. She has had other under saddle issues that we think might be related to her SI region as she can be completely resistant to contact (but not every day) and swaps leads behind, especially on the lunge. The vet has seen her and has recommended an injection into the SI and chiro. We hope this improves the under saddle as she seems to jump well and we think she has the potential to be a good horse. The overall sensitvitiy was present before she was even being worked under saddle. The vet also checked her eyesight and teeth given the haltering issues and her eyes seem just fine.
Has anyone had success with vitamin supplements or any other treatments to reduce sensitivity? The old fashioned horseman in me thinks: this horse needs a new attitude (which is how a lot of people feel about her), but the sympathetic one thinks a horse with this much good handling should not behave this way so there must be something wrong. We want her to be happy to do her job and obviously want it to be easier for anyone to handle her. She does have a defiant element to her personality, so I think in some instances she is chosing to overreact and be a drama queen, but often I think she is just as surprised as we are to be like she is.
Thanks for any stories, suggestions.
Dec. 7, 2012, 02:36 PM
HyPer Sensitive mare suggestions
Has she ever been tested for Lyme disease and ulcers....horses that have either can be very sensitive ....also what is she being fed?is it high starch/sugar? That can also make a sensitive horse worse.....how much turnout does she get??
Originally Posted by winter
I've had great success with several factors that make up my feeding/management program....first...everybody eats a low starch/sugar diet -consisting of a combo of plain soaked beetpulp and alfalfa pellets, Progressive Nutritions Grass Diet Ration Balancer, and Envision Classic-which is an extruded fat supplement, all my horses live out 24/7 unless it's bad weather, and they have free choice top quality 2nd cutting Timothy /orchard/Alfalfa hay, if they are stalled they have free choice hay in nibble nets
For horses that are anxious or sensitive they get Quiessence , Performance Equine's Focus, and Mare Magic along with an ulcer supplement....my top choices are Succeed, Smart Gut Pellets or Nutracell Labs Ulcer Aide
Also giving Depo or Medroxyprogesterone seems to really help mellow them out
1 members found this post helpful.
Dec. 7, 2012, 02:43 PM
Interesting about the ulcers. I never considered them since she has had such a 'stree free' life. She hasn't shown yet, is only stalled at night with all day turnout, prior to that on 24/7 turnout. I don' think we have lyme here but I will ask my vet about that and the ulcers. Thanks!
She only gets beat pulp and a handfull of complete pellets to eat and abundant good hay.
Dec. 7, 2012, 03:40 PM
Have you considered ReguMate?
Dec. 7, 2012, 04:07 PM
Dec. 7, 2012, 04:16 PM
Thank you for the suggestions. I will talk to my vet about Regumate and Ulcers. I guess she thinks her life is stressful... having to get ridden 3-5 days/week for less than an hour and having the rest of her days to do as she pleases. I have heard of other horses that did not want to accept contact or lift their back because of the stomach acid.
She doesn't have noticeable cycles, so not sure if Regumate would help, but she has recently had some low back pain which we thought was related to the SI, maybe it could be reproductively related as well....
It's so frustrating, she has had every opportunity to be a great mare but she is just not being easy.
Dec. 7, 2012, 04:21 PM
I feel your pain. My mare is a great horse...when she isn't worrying herself into ulcers.
Literally, all summer long, she just got to be a horse. And her ulcers flared up. WTH?! I mean, I can't really do anything different! She internalizes her stress, so outwardly appears cool as a cucumber, inside, she is raging ball of ulcer-causing stress.
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
Dec. 7, 2012, 04:50 PM
I was just getting ready to post a thread regarding ulcers/ulcer-related issues, and came across this thread. I had not heard of Pilot horses being sensitive, BUT I just recently sold a mare who was ULTRA sensitive. It got me thinking. She is of Pilot lines as well. (Iroko is grand sire). This mare (chestnut, of course!) was very hard to deal with in terms of sensitivity. She was super sweet on the ground, but just very sensitive. I got her as a yearling, and she had ALWAYS been like that. She could be quietly resting in her stall, hanging her head over the door and I could walk by and blow my bangs out of my eyes, and she would flip her head up and bonk her poor nose on the top of her stall door. Just very, very reactionary. It was difficult to deal with. Because she was so sweet, it was hard to make a decision that she was not the horse for me. We kept giving her more and more time. Supplements did NOT work for her. The only time I noticed a slight change in attitude was when I took her off grain completely and put her on timothy pellets and hay. It worked for summer, but she lost too much weight in the winter time. Really, nothing I did helped much. Under saddle she had reared twice when spooked by things. That was when it was time to let her go (with full disclosure, and sold as a broodmare.) I was very sad to see her go, since I did really like the "crazy redhead." She was 7 years old at that time. So not sure I'm helping you at all, but sometimes I think they are just that way. I wish you luck.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
¯ Oscar Wilde
Dec. 7, 2012, 08:31 PM
Selenium deficiency can cause this hyper sensitivity to touch,grooming, girthing, etc. Try KER product MyoGuard:
Dec. 7, 2012, 09:56 PM
Selenium deficiencies can indeed cause ALL the symptoms you are describing including the hind end problem. I would test her and then supplement until she is on the high side of normal.
"Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.
Dec. 8, 2012, 08:18 AM
Surprised she's not a full TB My guy is extremely skin sensitive. This time of year (when he's body clipped, which makes it so much worse), we have a deal that I will only use a curry or brush if it is absolutely, without a doubt necessary. Most of the time, I just use a rub rag (which is barely tolerated).
I agree with other regarding Lyme, ulcers, and just generally running some blood. There are a lot of reasons for why she could be so sensitive. She may ALWAYS be the sensitive type (like my guy), but you may be able to reduce it.
Also consider what you are feeding her. Last November, my horse and I moved to a new farm where I was the BM. When I got there, the farm was feeding a locally milled feed that was similar, on paper, to what he was eating. But it wasn't, and was far, far less quality. Within about a month, he was so out of his mind about being touched (I couldn't even love on him), was in a horrible mood, his skin was in high allergy alert...he was a mess. I talked with our new vet, thinking it might be Lyme, who was a huge advocate in getting the barn switched to better feed (back to what my guy HAD been getting). Over time, he became far less horrible. It took almost exactly 90 days, as the vet said it would (took that long for his body to get rid of all the crap in the bad feed).
Definitely talk to the vet and run some blood work. It isn't hard to "test" for ulcers...give her a couple of tubes of UG or packets of "pop rocks" for a week and see what happens.
Dec. 8, 2012, 01:05 PM
Thanks again for all of the helpful suggestions! I had never considered Se, very interesting, another thing to put on the list to ask the vet! I unfortunately couldn't be there when he saw the horse, so there were a few things I wanted to ask that I couldn't at the time. I guess a course of some ulcer medicine couldn't hurt either, but I am worried about trying too many things at once, how will we know which was the thing that helped if she improves?
I have for sure considered that she is just 'like' this and that we're just going to have to manage it. I've had her since birth and she has always been a drama queen. At her foal inspection she threw herself on the ground in protest to having to go somewhere.
I can deal with her in the barn, but it's the under saddle that really needs to be resolved. You need to be able to at least touch the horse with your leg and she needs to be able to accept some contact. I am going to do some more problem solving with the vet and get some blood pulled for the Se, and talk about the ulcers. She is also coming home to my barn in a few weeks so I will be able to manage her feed a lot better. I think she will also be more comfortable at home, I have a much smaller, less busy barn than where she is now so I think that will suit her temperament more.
thanks again for the helpful suggestions and stories about your own sensitive ones!
Dec. 8, 2012, 05:27 PM
check out his vids. This horse was a *wreck* about everything when Warwick got him. He's so much better that I joked he must be a different horse.
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