I'm looking for a way to get my 13 year old paint gelding to settle down in the stall and relax. He's never been so bad about this until this winter and we moved to this barn in October. We had him in the stall closest to the front of the barn. Even while they were on 24/7 turn out and just coming in to eat he would circle in his stall until he was dripping sweat, refusing to eat and destroying any bedding in there. I had to strip it daily and it was just terrible. He also has shivers, and the stress of being all worked up and pacing makes it way worse. A bunch of trial and error since then and I now have him acting basically normal. We treated for ulcers, he always has grass hay in front of him and he's in a turn out group he's happier with. The biggest improvement came though when we moved him to a stall in the back of the barn. Its quieter and he doesnt get worked up seeing all the comings and goings. He's eating free choice grass hay in a slow feed net, about a 5lb flake of alfalfa in his stall at night, with 2lbs soaked alfalfa cubes at night and 6lbs of Triple Crown senior split in two feedings a day.His wieght is finally looking good, as throughout this whole thing he became a hard keeper. Right now they are on full day turn out and in at night. It usually works out that I am just getting to the barn from work when they are coming in for the night and I make sure he gets some sort of exercise, either hand walking or lunging before he has to go in for the night. The problem now is if there is any change to the routine he starts up with the stall walking/weaving again. I dont want him to start up this habit again, its hard on his legs, the stress is likely to give him an ulcer again and I have a hard enough time keeping weight on him. Like today they are staying in because the weather is bad. All the horses are in and he has a stall guard up so he can stick his head out and see everyone. They all rotate getting a couple hours out in the indoor when the weather is too bad. I just need something to keep him calm now on the days they dont get out, like if we have a big storm or ice or something. I've tried several calming supplements with no results. He just gets mean on ace, and I dont think it last long enough to be useful in this situation. But at the same time I dont need anything too long lasting, since he'll be turned out with his buddies the next day. Apologies if this didn't all make sense, I'm at work and got interrupted a few times.
My shivers guy is also a pacer... Treating his ulcers helped, and Gabapentin has also helped. Just switching him one stall over, for whatever reason also helps. Mine seems to pace more when he has not had any lie down REM sleep. I think when his shivers are bad, or his stomach is hurting, he doesn't feel comfortable lying down to sleep = crazy stall walking. Mine also has EPSM so he is out during the day and has a spacious in and out stall.
Forgot to mention, he has a mirror. It made no difference. For the most part the walking and weaving has stopped, its just on bad weather days when they don't get to go out and his routine changes that he starts up pacing and nonsense.
So can't they just leave him out? He's obviously happier outside and despite all the coddling we give them, horses can do just fine outside 24/7. We ask a lot of a horse to put them in a 10 x 12 box for extended periods of time and just expect them to be okay with it. Wouldn't you get a little stir crazy if you were locked in the closet all day with nobody to talk to, no tv or books to read or anything to do but stare at the wall and eat?
My TB mare has been a confirmed stall walker, in the past. Over the years, I have been able to 'control' it. Few herbal, so called, calming supplements worked for her either. The one exception was Quietex, with Valerian. Valerian is a potent sedative. If you are showing don't use within a certain amount of time, 30 days perhaps? Has a long clearance time.
There may be chemical means other than Ace that you can try, talk to your vet. But with ulcers you do need to limit the use of any sedative, herbal or lab made.
You don't say where you are, but way up north here, the wind chill was zero last night - you better believe she stayed in last night!
“You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky
Ideally I'd like him to be out 24/7, but no one is willing to leave their horses out in the craptastic weather we have and he is way unhappier being out alone. Its going to be -10F tonight with the wind chill. He was quiet when I left tonight. He is fine when they get all day turn out and he comes in at night. He starts weaving if they dont get out for a day and there is activity going on in the barn.