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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Upstate New York
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    Default My TB's winter pasture board - need a little hand holding...

    Apologize for the length. Have a hard time narrowing it down...

    Moved to this barn in April. My soon to be 10yo OTTB is 2.5 years retired from 4 years on the NY circuit. Now on 24/7 pasture, with a run-in. BO takes very good care and consciencetious, but has only been doing this for 3 years and not really "brought up" with horses. My guy the first TB at her barn.

    He is 16.3 and fine boned. Has kissing spine and a little arthritis, but also attitude, which 24/7 turn-out has helped with immensely. Been a handful to train, but we now have a good trainer (away for the winter) who has helped me figure him out. There is an indoor and plan on continuing riding for the winter, working towards eventing training in the spring. Just taking a short break (2 weeks?) for both of us. 1) snow, 2) I'm starting a new business.

    Lots of snow last week and we're back to "the way it used to be" up here - snow and cold and snow. BO had plans to move him and a buddy into a big, big pasture (one of their hay fields) and we did so on Friday. Had been in a smaller one during the day, with a 3 stall run-in, and a mini . Their yard opened at night into a medium sized pasture near the house for grazing. Smaller one became frozen and cuppy. New big, big one full of deep snow, heated trough, and a large run-in. But also has snowmobile trails along the far side. Probably about 300' from the run-in. BO's DH said first day my guy handled them going by fine, since buddy used to them...

    Friday was also 8 weeks post last farrier visit. We've been talking week to week as I've given reports on his feet - horse has always had shoes. With the huge snowstorm we had up here, farrier suggested we pull them, and just see how it goes for him barefoot for the time being. Feet have been an issue with us. He's a fly stomper in the summer, and they were breaking off and requiring patches regularly. Plus substitute farrier did an awful job on him in July trimming him severely. We are just now back to an acceptable foot length, but I have been able to ride since late Sept.

    Started Keratex application today. Won't ride him for 7-10 days. Will see how he goes in the indoor then. Any issues being barefoot, we'll go back to shoes, with snowpads and borium for the winter. I'll probably ride him 3-4 times a week, mostly in the indoor, but also along the roads briefly on sunny days.

    As I said, right now it is COLD. He's not clipped, and has a medium Rambo blanket. Also has the hood, which I added for the storm, but the temps were in the mid 20's yesterday, and he was reportedly rolling constantly, so thought I'd remove it.

    When I came in today, he had icicles (my poor boy - but Mom will get used to it!) and quite a bit of snow on him, but warm under his blanket. I brought him into his assigned stall indoors to do his feet, and he was very anxious inside alone. Tomorrow I'll bring his buddy back inside to help keep him quiet (buddy upset, too).

    1) He is walking fine on his feet for now. They haven't flaked at all. Granted, he is only walking on snow or soft footing in the indoor. But with hoof issues this summer he was hardly putting one foot in front of the other. What should I watch for? Be cognizant of while barefoot? Any other recommendations? (Have already read a few of the threads here.)

    2) He's also anxious with this new routine, and a wide open field with only the one buddy. The smaller field was close to the others with 3 other horses and a couple of "killer" llamas. The herd was all set. And having been a knucklehead in the past, reacting to all kinds of changes ("interesting" clinic this summer...) but who quieted down with the lengthy turn-out. Not all that bad when I left today as he and buddy were quietly eating hay back in their big, big pasture. But when I had arrived, they were very anxious. We have great hay, from the farm here, but before the snow, he could always dig at the remnants.

    Do I worry about ulcers, or anything else anxiety related? He had them on the track, and I did a month's worth of Gastrogard this spring based on his behavior, with no improvement until I moved him here.

    3) Being a TB, what should I watch for condition wise? He isn't at all overweight, but neither has he been a hard keeper. Gets Nutrena Safechoice, and "unlimited hay" (but, well, it is limited, but not unreasonably), a daily naproxen for a little arthritis, isoxuprin is prescribed for his feet, and I've added SmartShine. Took away his Vitamin E when he was brought here, but adding it back capsule form now. I may go to a more comprehensive supplement in the spring...?

    Just want to make sure I'm watching out for him, without being too concerned about his frosty appearance! Grown up in Upstate NY, and been through a lot of awful winters, being around a lot of horses. But most have been on half day, instead of full turn-out. The smaller field was almost like a relaxing wandering in and out of the run-in. The big, big one is, well, big, and wide open! So I'm a "little" nervous.

    Thanks for plowing through this, and any suggestions!
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Minnesota
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    16,660

    Default

    A bottle a scotch will do amazing things.

    Not for the horse, for you

    He will be FINE. Take a deep breath, give him a week or two and see what he's like then. My guess is all the anxiety you're seeing due to the routine change will be gone. He might still be nervous if you bring him in alone, so bring in his friend, too, or just know what to expect. Unless it gets very squishy and then very hard, I can't imagine he's going to have any problems with his feet.

    I'd keep an eye on his condition since he's on the naproxen and that would make me worry about ulcers, but I don't think there's anything about the way you're keeping him now that's a red flag or concerning in the least. He's going to dig his accommodations and life style


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
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    Default

    I would be a little concerned about the ulcers given the meds, the fact that he's an OTTB, and that he has a history of them. But depending on the diet and how long his anxiety lasts it may not be an issue. If it were me, I would be doing a preventative dose of GG or pop rocks given the increased anxiety.

    I'm sure his feet will be fine, just keep an eye on them. Same thing with weight, which I would imagine wont be a problem if it hasn't been in the past.

    Good luck from a fellow OTTB lover!
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2011
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    448

    Default

    I am from upstate NY and know the winters you are talking about! My OTTB is same age as yours, and with me near DC now. First of all, I agree with Simkie about the bottle of scotch! My coach recently reminded me that "Stalls are for people, not horses". Your boy will LOVE his huge turnout. It's good for him, especially if he is ulcer prone. Your blanketing sounds fine and having a regular supply of hay will keep him warm and busy. I agree with your keratex plan, just be careful not to over-use it (I use it 2x a week with great success) and dont get it near the coronet band. He should be fine barefoot on the footing you described. Is the footing causing him to slip and step on himself a bit? If so I would throw a good pair of bell boots on him and just keep them on for protection. My ottb wears them 24/7.

    I agree with OTTBcooper about a maintenance dose for ulcer prevention. My OTTB gets UGUARD every day which helps him (not everyone agrees it works, its really just an antacid), but I have started with preventive poprocks and have seem a marked improvement in his overall disposition. However, having lots of turnout and free choice hay/pasture will be really good for ulcers too. I guess if I were you I would use something to get him through this time, then wean him off once he is used to his regular routine.

    Good luck and have fun with him!
    "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
    as a thoroughbred horse."

    -JOHN GALSWORTHY


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  5. #5
    CVPeg is online now Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Thanks, everyone, for all the answers! I even have a bottle of Scotch, purchased for the family holiday gathering, but Scotch favoring members backed off, leaving me with a full bottle. Maybe I will have to take the medicine...

    Am a little confused about the ulcer/Gastrogard issues. I know he was given a month of Gastrogard at the track at some point(s). And I did it in the spring, but before he had adequate turn out. Then, as he was on plenty of grass until the past couple of weeks, but could still 'pick 'n graze', was wondering about it now on so much snow.

    The Gastrogard didn't change a thing, but would I still have to start with that ($$$) or can I just do the pop rocks? Have been eyeing the idea from reading about it on here.

    He does LOVE to roll. One good thing about the snow - he no longer has a mud caked mane/legs/face(including his eyelashes!). Nice and clean! Always been the 'sensitive skin' type. Hates flies. Was touchy initially during training. Can still get ornery with too much leg. But SO much happier NOT being stalled all the time.

    Think I now, however, have my instructions about how to bring in the New Year's!
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  6. #6
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    Aug. 25, 2005
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    He really sounds as though he is doing fine. The best part is the comment about his feet. If he can stay barefoot through the winter, and is sound in the indoor, I'd relax. It sounds as though he is getting adequate hay which is important in this cold weather.

    Just think Spring.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Minnesota
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    Excellent! I hope it's a nicely aged single malt. My favorite!!

    If you are seriously concerned about his stomach, or if you'd just like a little protection there, you can start right off with the pop rocks. You could even try the preventative dose instead of the treatment dose. As long as there is something to protect it through the stomach omeprazole is omeprazole is omeprazole.

    As long as he's got plenty of hay, though, and is not very stressed, I would be inclined to just leave him be. Since he's out 24/7 now, you might even be able to stop or reduce his naproxen--an NSAID is far more likely, IMO, to cause problems with his stomach.


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by CVPeg View Post

    Am a little confused about the ulcer/Gastrogard issues. I know he was given a month of Gastrogard at the track at some point(s). And I did it in the spring, but before he had adequate turn out. Then, as he was on plenty of grass until the past couple of weeks, but could still 'pick 'n graze', was wondering about it now on so much snow.

    The Gastrogard didn't change a thing, but would I still have to start with that ($$$) or can I just do the pop rocks? Have been eyeing the idea from reading about it on here.

    He does LOVE to roll. One good thing about the snow - he no longer has a mud caked mane/legs/face(including his eyelashes!). Nice and clean! Always been the 'sensitive skin' type. Hates flies. Was touchy initially during training. Can still get ornery with too much leg. But SO much happier NOT being stalled all the time.

    Think I now, however, have my instructions about how to bring in the New Year's!
    As you're in NY, I'd pick up some of the omeprazole paste from this company - with the combined NSAID & anxiety, if he's ulcer prone (not sure if he's ever scoped positive), I'd just treat for a month or so, then taper off over ~ 2weeks.

    With the arthritis, you might try adding an oral supplement such as Recovery EQ HA - some horses show great response, some limited, some not at all ...
    his reactivity suggests that he has some issue but it also sounds like you are a great person for him

    (the pop rocks would be fine too, just suspect you'll run into some shipping delays & I'd start the omeprazole sooner rather than later)


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  9. #9
    CVPeg is online now Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Great - thanks, Alto! - ordering the omeprazole paste, maybe even the pop rocks for later.

    And like the idea of the supplement. The naproxen is a left over suggestion from previous barn owner - whose only real horse knowledge seemed to be meds. Well, it did seem to work - but ID'd only after he was injured at the old barn in their iffy turnouts, and he needed a shot of bute . Have thought about adding a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement all along. I haven't been happy continuing it either, Simkie.

    And no, not a single malt . BIL picked it up for me on their way to the house. But with the snow we have, who can tell?

    Happy New Year, everyone!
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
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    NY
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    Make sure to groom him weekly, take that blanket off so you can see his condition. Mine didn't have his blanket off until his Coggins/ rabies shot last February(they had to take a digital picture for the Coggins). And whoops, he was skinny under the blanket, but no one had checked, he looked fine with the blanket on. BO then upped his feed. But do check him out naked once a week.

    PS my retired barefoot for over a decade TB got 4 barium shoes in his new barn because of the ice/snow in his big field, so don't be surprised if that comes up as an issue.



  11. #11
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Try MSM for starters. It would probably be a good idea to get him off the naproxen...how much are you giving him?
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  12. #12
    CVPeg is online now Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Chall, am bringing him in daily doing the Keratex, and rubbing my hands underneath his blanket (which he hates!) because of my concern about the change in turnout. Plus he drops weight with anxiety, but it's usually short lived. Got pictures back from the fall clinic, where he had stayed overnight with lots of strange horses and yikes! Will be back riding him after the weekend regularly so he'll be getting the once over often!

    LauraKY - gets one tablet 1x a day - as I sit here, can't remember the dosage, but just OTC human. Nothing high.

    NB 3:30 - Just returned from the barn. The dosage is 220mg per tablet.

    He's looking good. The boys were really enthused about coming in for a short "hay break" while I did my guy's feet. Felt his legs - all seems fine. Feet looking good. Removed his blanket and everything looks good. It is very gusty and lots of snow blowing around. One car off the road near the barn. With the bite the winds are adding, I put his hood back on.

    As soon as I turned them back out, my guy went about his business digging for grass. So he has it all figured out. Think I will try a little taste of that cheap stuff. Time to do bills, so will help that as well!
    Last edited by CVPeg; Jan. 1, 2013 at 03:34 PM.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
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    He will be fine! young, healthy horse, in a huge field with a buddy, food, blanket and a shelter! And it sounds like you get out to see him often, which means you'll catch any problems quickly. Drink a toast to his living situation, because it sounds like you scored.

    I bet barefoot for the winter is going to be really good for him, with the added bonus of not having to worry about lost shoes in the mud in the spring. My TB's have always been the type who act like their legs have been amputated when we tried to pull shoes, so be glad yours has nice soft cold snow for the transition.

    I hate icicles, too. My best trick is to throw a rainsheet on over the winter blanket for wet snows or really windy days, so if it gets totally encrusted with ice I can pull it off and he still has a dry blanket to wear.

    Not to give you things to worry about, but the two things I'd watch for would be blanket rubs (just because) and punctures to legs. The reason I even mention punctures is because once the snow covers everything, they lose their landmarks and if they get charging around, set off by snowmobiles, for example, they might plow through a section of the pasture they would normally avoid. My TB did that one year and we nursed a puncture above his knee for weeks - not much fun in January.



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