My mare has been acting odd since I moved her to a new barn in mid-October.
The move was from a barn we both loved with about 12 horses and fairly active, to a very small place where she just has one mare for company. She has a stall with a big runout paddock so she can go out when she likes (paddock is twice the size of her old one, which I thought was nice). The other mare is right next to her so they can touch over the fence. She's gone from 4 feelings a day to two, but does have a slow feeder net which has hay in it most of the time. I see her 6 days a week now instead of 3-4.
Now the issues: she has always been a food vacuum, but is now eating about half the amount of hay she used to. I used a slow feed hay net at the old place too, so she does know how to use it. She just doesn't seen "into" her hay like she used to be. About once a week she will eat no hay at all for 24 hours. She is still happily eating her ration balancer, beet pulp and soaked alfalfa cubes.
She also seems anxious in her stall when she never used to be: if she hears any noise outside her stall she runs outside and looks around, looking very tense. It is difficult to get her to relax in her stall/paddock.
Otherwise she is the same as always. I thought at first she just needed to settle in, but its been going on for 3 months now with no real improvement. There have been points where I thought things were getting better but then she relapses. I recently moved her hay net outside thinking maybe she didn't like her stall, but no luck. She also had her teeth done recently as I thought that might be the issue. She's spayed so its not hormones!
I am at a loss and quite worried! Is it possible she simply does not like the new barn? Could it be ulcers?
I would check her for ulcers, but also it could be the hay. Does the new barn use a different hay supplier? It could be that she just doesn't like the new hay, and her stomach being empty is actually causing some ulceration or upset stomach.
Last summer I tried two different barns and my horse hated them both. One was very small and quiet, the other one more busy plus he was on pasture all day. His personality changed, he became spooky (which is totally not like him) plus he just didn't seem quite right. Took him back to the original barn in the Fall and he is a happy camper.
When was she spayed? And why? Cuz spaying can remove hormones (progesterone) and actually create new problems.
I actually am not sure how she gets along with the woman who feeds in the mornings during the week as I can't get out to the barn before work.
She was spayed in June 2012 because ovulating was causing her severe pain, cramping and colic-like symptoms. She was a miserable horse before we the spay.
Thanks all for the replies. I bought new hay yesterday to see if she likes it better. But if that doesn't work (I am not hopeful) I will bite the bullet and order some blue pop rocks as I can't afford to scope+treat right now.