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The Perpetually Unsound Young Beautiful Horse..

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  • The Perpetually Unsound Young Beautiful Horse..

    Seeking advice. I have owned this horse since May 2017. I bought her sight unseen as a 3 y/o from KY. She is an OTTB - raced 3 times. As she was only 3 when I got her I did not plan on doing much with her outside of establishing a good base of groundwork, we took a handful of lessons, and did some trail riding. When I moved last year I made a horrible decision that I cannot emphasize how much I regret and moved her to a barn that did group turnout. Young mare did not do well. Within a month tore her right hind DDFT. About 30% at it's worst point and a few centimeters long. Quite high compared to other DDFT tears it seems as it is up a few inches from her pastern. It took a little while to be diagnosed but she was in limited turnout last spring and summer then went to full turnout with limited work per vet discussion. Has been ultrasounded through the process and trot work began in September following seeing the filling in and whatnot.

    October comes and some switch clicked on in little mare's brain. No more mild mannered filly she is now a full blown raging mare. Thus, bringing her back into work gently proved very tricky. I tried calming supplements. They only seemed to make things worse. I discussed with vets and chiro's what the best option was for her. Vet thought if she was in need of full work put her in full work there was enough new tendon there. So mare started a lot of lunge work because she simply was not safe to ride without lunging. I ate enough dirt trying to "save her tendon" and not lunging. Falling is not as easy, cheap, or painless as it used to be.

    Now, when I say raging mare I mean I have never worked with a mare this dominant before. She challenges people constantly, she isn't mean, yet, but will rear and strike if you are out with her in her pasture and she's feeling good/doesn't know you, kick out in a stall, etc. I do TONS of ground work with her and am a very confident horse-person. I can manage her just fine but I am not oblivious to what she is capable of. When I try to trail ride this mare she wants nothing to do with the other horses and will go on extravagant tangents of athletic display throughout the whole ride (where she re-damaged herself? maybe!). All I can say is blessed is the person who developed the full chap.

    Oh right. This horse is also an obsessive wood chewer and cribber. Cribbing is controlled with a collar but the chewing is only stopped with used engine oil.

    When I brought up the returned lameness to a friend she suggested I offer her for a broodmare before talking to my vet about the big E. While the horse is gorgeous, has the stupidest picture perfect form over fences, and pretty decent TB bloodlines, I cannot in good faith offer a horse that is this difficult as a broodmare prospect. Would anyone feel otherwise?

    Are there any options for horses like this that I am neglecting to see? I wish I had unlimited funds so I could go the stem cell/shockwave/take another year off route but dumping an entire down payment on a house for a horse that has not proven herself in anyway is proving quite difficult for my personal relationships and honestly, my sanity.

    Edited to add - I really am seeking replies to the question posed. Mare has been checked out for a plethora of issues by a vet, ulcers, lyme, EPM included. In short this is a horse that falls apart while in a strict rehab program as she cannot be stalled without significant medication, and while I wish I could go back in time and start her on reserpine before bringing her back into work it did not happen that way and this is where I am now. Since getting her in 2017 I have been putting all my available resources into keeping her alive and happy.
    Last edited by libotome; Mar. 10, 2019, 09:51 AM.

  • #2
    Treated for ulcers?

    EDIT to add, you did not originally mention any medical diagnostics, you can't blame people for asking the obvious.
    Last edited by Angela Freda; Mar. 10, 2019, 10:30 AM.
    Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

    http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

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    • #3
      Because she is only 3 she has a good chance of coming around. You have to decide how much time (since you don't have the wallet) you are willing to put into her rehab. TBs are complicated individuals and anyone who has been around young horses will tell you they seem to go thru a bratty stage at 3 and sometimes around 6. Especially if not handled daily. Add to that a horse who is uncomfortable and you have a handful. Gymnastic exercises (from the ground and at the walk in the saddle) and body work should be the biggest part once you get an OK from the Vet. She may be medication for a while also. It can be boring, but it is also a chance at bonding and is necessary. You will have a hard time finding some other situation for an unsound horse. Just start with baby steps and stay safe. She will teach you a lot. Best of luck. JMHO
      Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

      Comment


      • #4
        What groundwork are you doing? Is she perfectly proficient at it?
        "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

        Comment


        • #5
          What is her pedigree? It is possible someone would be interested in breeding her; you make her sound like a nutjob, but honestly it seems like a lot of that behavior could go away with time (perhaps not your time, sometime else's!). I've seen mares such as this, soft tissue injury straight off the track, thrown out in a field and just left to heal on their own. Will they be 100% sound for a high level sport career? Maybe not, but they will eventually be pasture sound and adapt mentally to being in a stable herd at grass. They grow up, settle down, and generally become good citizens, suitable for a low level career if not breeding.

          This may not be an option for you, but just saying it is done with some horses with a cautious level of success.

          A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
          ? Albert Einstein

          ~AJ~

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by EventerAJ View Post
            What is her pedigree? It is possible someone would be interested in breeding her; you make her sound like a nutjob, but honestly it seems like a lot of that behavior could go away with time (perhaps not your time, sometime else's!). I've seen mares such as this, soft tissue injury straight off the track, thrown out in a field and just left to heal on their own. Will they be 100% sound for a high level sport career? Maybe not, but they will eventually be pasture sound and adapt mentally to being in a stable herd at grass. They grow up, settle down, and generally become good citizens, suitable for a low level career if not breeding.

            This may not be an option for you, but just saying it is done with some horses with a cautious level of success.
            Thank you! This is what I have been wondering about.

            Her pedigree: https://www.pedigreequery.com/proud+cougar

            Honestly I realize she is young and a lot of this comes with the territory of an-almost 5 year old athletic horse. I just have concerns about her landing softly in a broodmare situation given the cribbing and wood chewing issue. I think most anyone breeding horses knows their way around young horse antics.

            Comment


            • #7
              Have you x-rayed and MRI'd her cervical spine? It really seems like she is in pain and is desperately trying to tell you. Has she had a basic Neuro exam?

              I am a huge (new) fan of Equitopia.com which has some really good videos made by very knowledgeable people. You might see if any of the horses used as examples of lameness which is not readily apparent remind you of your mare.

              I wish I had discovered Equitopia years ago. Then I would not have 3 horses who were unrideable/euthanized by age 6.
              Last edited by Lord Helpus; Mar. 15, 2019, 07:19 PM.
              "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

              Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

              Comment


              • #8
                There are plenty of difficult horses out there. Why even consider breeding another one? The Big Sleep is kinder and more humane to animal and human if the situation is so dicey.

                That being said, it costs $14.99 to buy a 3-pack of Esomeprazole (generic Nexium) at Target and give her a bottle a day and see if it helps her somewhat. Cribbing, wood chewing, awful behavior- all sounds like pain or ulcers. I don't know how you've checked for them, but if they're in the hindgut, you won't see them on a scope. In my experience the Nexium seems to help the hindgut ulcers where regular Gastroguard/omeprazole does not. I'm assuming you have also xrayed her back for kissing spines?

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by scruffy the cat View Post
                  There are plenty of difficult horses out there. Why even consider breeding another one? The Big Sleep is kinder and more humane to animal and human if the situation is so dicey.

                  That being said, it costs $14.99 to buy a 3-pack of Esomeprazole (generic Nexium) at Target and give her a bottle a day and see if it helps her somewhat. Cribbing, wood chewing, awful behavior- all sounds like pain or ulcers. I don't know how you've checked for them, but if they're in the hindgut, you won't see them on a scope. In my experience the Nexium seems to help the hindgut ulcers where regular Gastroguard/omeprazole does not. I'm assuming you have also xrayed her back for kissing spines?
                  I agree whole heartedly.

                  I did have a Succeed test ran recently which is supposed to be able to detect hind gut ulcers. I realize those rapid diagnostic tests are limited to active ulcers so I am happy to give the Nexium a shot.

                  Regarding pain I must say I truly believed this had to be the issue when everything began last Fall. A bute trial yielded no changes and that is one reason why we have not gone down the where is the pain coming from rabbit hole. Is this constantly nagging at me? You bet. But I trust my vet. She was the one who was able to diagnose the tear last year after several others deemed her sound.

                  This entire situation is heart breaking to say the least. I was hoping to have a few months of proper top line developing work under our belts before going for x-rays of her spine. Probably will get them done at the time of the next ultrasound though.

                  Sorry to hear about your luck Lord Helpus. That sounds so miserable. I am assuming https://www.equitopiacenter.com/ is the site you are referring to? I have definitely wondered about the cervical spine, that is one area she has been "out" on during chiro visits.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is she on any hormones?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Believe me, I know about heartbreaking stories. I'm on the Lord Helpus plan, too. 3rd horse in a row, with a devastating prognosis, despite pre-PPE and PPE and videos and riding multiple times. So I get it, and I get trying different things before the expense of X-rays. But I also agree she's trying to tell you something. The nice thing about the esomeprazole is how cheap it is. I have heard iffy things about the Succeed test and none of the vets in my area recommend it due to unreliable results, so it can't hurt to do a few days of the medicine. 1 bottle = 1 tube of Gastroguard and you should see some results pretty immediately.

                      I sure hope you get to have some good news. Horses are such heartbreakers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If she is pasture sound honestly I would consider turning her out for a year in a small herd. Horses will adapt to get along with a small stable herd and not fight so much as in turnout. At the end of the year see what you have.

                        So many OTTB crib that this wouldn't be a deal breaker to people who want a brood mare.

                        I have seen so many OTTB kind of lose their minds with the wrong management, and others get real chill with a long pasture let down.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Based on your description, there are likely a number of things going on with this mare. If I were in your shoes, I would keep going with her.

                          Diet - Have you had her diet evaluated? I can think of a few vitamin/mineral deficiencies or imbalances that can cause the unwanted behaviours you have mentioned. Maybe you can post what she is currently being fed?? You mention that she started to get worse in October. I'm not sure where you are located, but would her diet have changed in the Fall when grass isn't as available?

                          Turnout - How much turnout does she get? Is it possible to give her 24/7 turnout? I have come across lots of high-energy horses that do much better once they are able to self-exercise outside whenever they need to.

                          Ulcers - If I were you, I would also have her scoped for stomach ulcers, if you haven't already. Most racehorses have ulcers and they don't go away on their own. That being said, there is no way to scope for hind-gut ulcers. The vets I've spoken with about the Succeed test aren't buying into it, and I have to say if my horse tested negative on the Succeed test, I still wouldn't rule out ulcers.

                          Bodywork - Have you had a chiropractor or osteopath check her? Does she have back pain? I don't think I would x-ray her back unless she is showing signs of back pain, and even so, there are lots of other causes of back pain than kissing spines.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yet another thread where people are trying to solve behavior problems with something other than training.
                            "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Mare is on 24/7 turnout with quality 2nd cut hay (been tested and worked with a nutritionalist) she gets Triple Crown 30 with beet pulp and raspberry leaves daily. Free choice access to Buckeye Harvest Salt.

                              Regularly seen by veterinary chiro, teeth were done by vet last Fall under sedation. Mare was treated for ulcers back in 2017, and I treated again via the enteric coated omeprazole route for a week and a half to see if we missed anything earlier this year but she showed no response to treatment hence why it was only for 10 days. Chiro did not think kissing spine because she felt she had decent movement in her lumbar vertebrae.

                              Palm Beach I appreciate your interest but the issue here if it were purely behavioral would not be an issue. The issue is that she is not sound and also is a handful behaviorally. For this mare to be easy to be around she needs to be in consistent work. Seeing as it is looking like her tendon is not holding up to this sort of work, I am at a loss.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by libotome View Post
                                Mare is on 24/7 turnout with quality 2nd cut hay (been tested and worked with a nutritionalist) she gets Triple Crown 30 with beet pulp and raspberry leaves daily. Free choice access to Buckeye Harvest Salt.

                                Regularly seen by veterinary chiro, teeth were done by vet last Fall under sedation. Mare was treated for ulcers back in 2017, and I treated again via the enteric coated omeprazole route for a week and a half to see if we missed anything earlier this year but she showed no response to treatment hence why it was only for 10 days. Chiro did not think kissing spine because she felt she had decent movement in her lumbar vertebrae.
                                Wow, it seems as though you've covered your bases. I do think though, that even if a horse is in pain, and even if they aren't getting any work, they should be able to be safe around people (as long as they don't have too much pent up energy).

                                Have you read any of Mark Rashid's books? I've read them all more than once. His books really helped me learn about how horses think and why they act the way they do, and considering things from the horse's perspective. My advice - read Mark Rashid's books and spend time observing your mare. Lots of times, we're with our horses, but not really noticing the subtle body language that is their means of communication. I would bet that she's really unhappy about something and she's trying to communicate it the only way she knows how.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                                  Yet another thread where people are trying to solve behavior problems with something other than training.
                                  I don't think that's fair to the OP. Like you, I follow Warwick Schiller quite avidly and have had fabulous results with his methods. At the same time, I have had 3 horses with what presented as behavioral issues and turned out to be serious physical issues. OP said she is experienced with groundwork. She has been clear headed in her other descriptions of what's going on- why disbelieve her? It is a disservice to the animals that serve us to ignore their attempts at communicating with us- that includes BOTH anxiety and pain.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by twinmommy View Post

                                    Wow, it seems as though you've covered your bases. I do think though, that even if a horse is in pain, and even if they aren't getting any work, they should be able to be safe around people (as long as they don't have too much pent up energy).

                                    Have you read any of Mark Rashid's books? I've read them all more than once. His books really helped me learn about how horses think and why they act the way they do, and considering things from the horse's perspective. My advice - read Mark Rashid's books and spend time observing your mare. Lots of times, we're with our horses, but not really noticing the subtle body language that is their means of communication. I would bet that she's really unhappy about something and she's trying to communicate it the only way she knows how.
                                    I have not! I will look into him. I agree, pain or no pain, you must be safe for anyone to handle. Which leads me to our ground work...

                                    Thank you scruffy. I also agree with Warwick Schiller's approach (and Clinton Anderson, and countless others) to working with horses. Take a look at the picture I attached of said mare in the original post. I have her ground tied out in the open. Our ground work is pretty solid. That being said it is something that I work on every single time I interact with her. She's been testing dominance but has not gotten anywhere with it (with me).

                                    Thanks everyone for the input. It will be a few weeks until I can have the vet out unfortunately as she is heavy into repro work and so she is mad busy but it is on the schedule. I hope my heart doesn't completely stop before then.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by scruffy the cat View Post

                                      I don't think that's fair to the OP. Like you, I follow Warwick Schiller quite avidly and have had fabulous results with his methods. At the same time, I have had 3 horses with what presented as behavioral issues and turned out to be serious physical issues. OP said she is experienced with groundwork. She has been clear headed in her other descriptions of what's going on- why disbelieve her? It is a disservice to the animals that serve us to ignore their attempts at communicating with us- that includes BOTH anxiety and pain.
                                      If you read my first post, I asked her about her groundwork. She has not offered details, but I think she is more focused on working the horse into good behavior due to her comments about the horse not being safe to be around when not in consistent work. She talks about lunging the horse before riding, which is a colossal waste of time. I'm merely commenting on the information presented.
                                      "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                                        Yet another thread where people are trying to solve behavior problems with something other than training.
                                        Have you ever had chronic pain or ulcers?
                                        They make ya grouchy.
                                        I think it's far kinder to be CERTAIN it's not physiological, and honestly more fair. They can only tell us "I'm not right..." so many ways. We owe it to them to listen.
                                        Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

                                        http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

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