Can Eastern Oregon Hay and/or nighttime lighting make my mare HOT and CRAZY??
My mare has been in a new barn almost a month now...and ever since she has not been herself. She is normally a mellow, almost pokey quarter horse but now she is high, high, high it seems all the time. . She bucks and rears almost every time I lunge her before a ride and it goes on and on and she never seems to settle down. Recently, she bucked me while I was riding her and I fell off....and she galloped across the arena like a rodeo horse.
So...there are only two things that are different about this barn that could possibly be causing this:
1. She is getting 100 percent eastern oregon (orchard) hay of very high quality......and getting a lot of it compared to the past barn. Not sure exactly but I think she is getting at AT LEAST six flakes per day. Whereas at the last place, she was getting a minimum of 3.5 or four flakes a day and the rest was just filler local hay. She only gets a handful of grain so that's not an issue.
2. Second possibility is that the barn leaves a fluorescent light on all night in a hallway directly across from her stall...so the light shines directly in her stall all night long...and a radio is left on constantly to a country station. (The barn manager refuses to leave the barn in total darkness and also thinks the horses need the radio to keep them company). But the radio is annoying to me at times because of all the talking/commercials in between songs. Just me though.
I actually noticed today that my mare was VERY obviously in heat and I have never noticed her being in heat once the past year since I've owned her. I cannot stress enough how unusual it is for me to actually see her in heat...and I know this horse well. So I'm wondering if the constant light has sent her into early or stronger heat cycle and it is making her act more extreme than I am used to seeing her...and perhaps this could be the cause of her bad behavior?
But I also bring up the hay because my dressage instructor firmly believes that orchard hay can make some horses hot...whereas the barn manager says this hay is extremely benign and couldn't be causing my mare to act hot. And with my vet I kind of get more of a "perhaps" answer but frankly she wasn't helpful!!
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Too many calories, too much energy? That is usually the case, and if she's getting 6 flakes (and I am assuming you mean the big bales that weigh in around 100+lbs each) that's approaching 30lbs. of hay a day!
I feed EO orchard exclusively and have never noticed it making my horses hot (loose poop, yes, hot, no). Has her turnout changed? Smaller, bigger, not enough? The lights can effect a mare's cycles I think...others will chime in on that.
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Lights are used to bring mares into cycles during the winter....so that could definitely affect your mare. Moving itself can be disruptive in so many ways (turn out, food, herd dynamics, activity pattern, etc). Does she like the new place? A move changes many factors at one time -- figuring out what the possible problem(s) is a puzzle. Good luck - I hope she settles in and gets a darker stall soon.
This is a rough time of year to transition into a new barn. Many or most horses are already showing their nuttier side anyway from the cooler temperatures, the wind, and maybe a little less turnout. Lately my riding arena is filled with non-stop lunging and it is driving me absolutely mad. A friend's horse is also acting "hot" from a basically eo orchard grass hay diet and from what I can tell the horse mostly needs a program, something consistent and productive to do in life.
I moved earlier this year and I was amazed how slightly unsettling it was for my easy and relaxed horses. They spooked at nothings for months. Nothing big, but they just weren't as comfortable in their own skin.
Can Eastern Oregon Hay make my mare HOT and CRAZY??
Would be interesting to see the WSC content. You can get it tested here: http://www.equi-analytical.com/
get the 'carb pack'.
Try soaking the sugar out of the hay, or switching to hay tested and known to be low in sugar and see if there is a difference.
"So I'm wondering if the constant light has sent her into early or stronger heat cycle and it is making her act more extreme than I am used to seeing her...and perhaps this could be the cause of her bad behavior?"
YES! You've essentially "put her under lights" and caused her to cycle when she should be in anestrus at this time of year.
Ask for another stall maybe? Can you switch with a gelding at another end of the barn in a darker stall?
May also want to try Regumate.
This is probably in combination with just needing more time to settle into the new place. I personally believe that the hay is probably less of a factor; but it's a very simple experiment to find out. Buy some of her "old" hay, about a week's worth, take her off the "new" hay and see what happens.
Can you buy a small hole haynet and ask that she be fed hay in the haynet? It may cut down on her consumption but still give her something to do all day. Ditto the comments on her heat cycle - if they want the light on, try Regumate, or see if you can switch stalls.