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**** 5/25 UPDATE **** Problem horse. Where have I failed him? Or have I? WTD!

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  • danacat
    replied
    See my UPDATE in red type at the top of my original post #1.

    Leave a comment:


  • danacat
    replied
    Thanks to everyone who's replying. But I don't want to get back into this thread = repettitive Q&A's = exhausting for me. I have a great vet and we are really working on this. I will update when anything important happens.

    Leave a comment:


  • danacat
    replied
    Originally posted by candyappy View Post

    Any chance it could be feed related?
    Not feed related.

    Leave a comment:


  • PaddockWood
    replied
    Originally posted by buck22 View Post
    I haven’t read past the first couple of posts on page 1, but OMG, my morgan was JUST like this when I first got him, every bit as severe, maybe a bit more dangerous.

    I once watched him once throw himself into a fit so dramatic I thought he was going to bring an entire fence line down, despite being electrified, just because his buddy was literally on the other side of the fence, just feet away. They could touch noses. When stalled, he actually tried to scale the wall trying to get out, his buddy was in the cross ties outside his stall. He had near-zero self-preservation when he was in panic mode, would destroy anything in his path, and had no fear of humans. Raising a whip to keep him out of your space did nothing but piss him off. When he decided to panic, it was immediate and full-on, and you just had to get out of his way else you’d be mowed down or kicked or bitten.

    Tying him was not an option. His former owner told me how he took the wall of the barn down. When I tried to tie him to a patience post, I thought he was going to snap his neck. I've never seen such an outrageous display in a horse. He was flat out uncontrollable, and I couldn't risk one minute of him tied as he would just explode. To this day, I have never hard-tied this horse.

    Like yours, he had to be first to be brought in or out. The entire barn schedule, my ability to work my other horses, everything had to revolve around him. It was exhausting.

    It was his extreme behavior that caused his former owners to throw up their hands in despair and get rid of him (enter me, big SUCKER), and he was so wild, he got us evicted from our first boarding situation, and started systematically disassembling the second one. It's because of him I had to assume a self-care boarding situation because I couldn’t allow other people to have to deal with handling him, he was just too explosive. Thank goodness he’s just a wee little thing of 14.3 and could at least be muscled when needed. If he was a big 17h beast he probably would have killed someone.

    He too is a “false alpha” (someone here once called him “a dictator of a teeny country no one has ever heard of”). He bosses the herd around but didn’t have the ability to actually be a leader.

    It was a 4-year journey to fix this behavior, and his need to keep an eye on missing buddies has never fully went away, but he is a MUCH different animal than he was 10 years ago. He is a joy to be around today. It was him that lead me to COTH actually, seeking help. I’ve written extensively about him over the years.

    In a nutshell:

    When a year’s+ of trying all of the traditional training methods didn’t work, I resorted to OTC calmers. The only thing that worked was straight valerian and only worked mildly. The thought to medicate crossed my mind several dozen times, but I’m just too stubborn, I knew there had to be a way to solve this.

    Despite having no traditional symptoms -- other than being bat-shit crazy -- he did respond favorably to being treated for ulcers.

    The solution, in the end, was a glacially slow process of teaching him the ability to solve his own problems, through which he (slowly) developed confidence in himself, accepting me as surrogate “buddy”, and (finally) learned to calm himself down.

    It started with some early work published by Buck Brannaman, where he teaches colts to have their feet handled by round penning them with a rope on their leg. I taught my horse to accept any suddenly restrictive rope on any part of his body. We then did an extreme amount of sacking out, including gift wrapping him entirely in a tarp (head and everything) on a windy day and leading him calmly. Then we did free-work in the ring, he learned to jump a course of 5 jumps just by my pointing at them. Then we started adventuring out together, learning how to cope with urban street traffic, dogs, kids, playgrounds, motorcycles and bicycles, tractors and semis, etc. Finally, we graduated to learning to stand tied in the woods alone as his buddy was lead away. But this took years of work.

    We officially turned a corner when he learned how to drive (oh, yeah, on top of all of this, he was a bucking bronc due to a back issue that went undiagnosed, despite being vetted a dozen times — once discovered, he was retired from riding — its amazing I paid money for this horse : ) ). When he was finally trustworthy as a driving horse, we drove EVERYWHERE. After 5 long years of hard work trying to get this beast tractable, suddenly one day he was -- and I could start enjoying him.

    We adventured all over the place, drove miles and miles and miles. His confidence BLOOMED. He finally had a job he liked, and he was a rockstar at it. He was able to rise to every challenge. He became so good, I started to use him to calm down other horses, and now, though retired from driving due to a shoulder injury, I use him as my steady rock for others having confidence issues. He would go through a brick wall for me now.

    This horse was the most exhausting, scary and exasperating experience of my life. He’s the only horse that has sent me to the ER and he’s done it 3 times. I came to my breaking point so many times, I even discussed donating him to a vet school with my vet as a viable option. I never thought I would survive him and see the day he’d become a useful, fun animal. But I did, and he did.

    In hindsight, this horse has been the greatest teacher of my life, and I consider myself blessed for the honor.
    Your story is SO inspirational. And three trips to the ER? Damn girl - you're not a quitter. Love that you call him your greatest teacher. Yes, the difficult ones are where we learn the most. Gotta embrace that to reduce the frustration.

    Leave a comment:


  • RhythmNCruise
    replied
    Separation anxiety is one of the absolute worst headaches that a horse can give us to deal with. I feel for you, OP, and commend you for working so diligently to try and figure this guy out and help him overcome it.

    Is he a danger to himself when he's fretting in the stall? As in, is he suicidal? I've seen one that was a complete basket case try to climb/launch himself over an 8-foot tall grilled stall front. He was so out of his mind he was literally going to kill himself. Long story short...he was at my friend's barn on trial, and the only thing we could do was load him up and return him to his owners. He was just...insane.

    If he IS that kind...and you do feel like he could mortally wound himself or kill himself through his tantrums, then I hope the drugs/meds do help. That's probably the safest and most humane way to contain one who has gone this far round the bend. Bless him. We all need a little help sometimes.

    If he ISN'T that kind...and all he's going to do is fret, scream, get sweaty and upset, dig holes, paw/kick the wall, and basically lose his sh*t but not try to do something insanely dangerous...then I say make him as safe and comfortable as possible (maybe wrap his legs up good...maybe a head bumper, he sounds like he should be wearing a helmet, hee hee), then pop your earbuds in, crank up your favorite tunes, and ignore him. Each time you get finished with your horses and he's still alive is a good day because HE is learning that he's not going to die, and YOU are learning that he's not going to die.

    Whatever you do, I wish you luck!

    Leave a comment:


  • 4horses
    replied
    Have you considered a change in circumstances? I think, given his behavior, I would either a) drug him up, get him in the trailer and take him to a friend's house b) take the horses he is bonded too, to a friend's house for a couple days to a week.

    See how he does without his buddies that he is in love with. I was given a pony for $400 for this reason. She was apparently very bonded to their other mare. But a change in circumstances helped and she did not bond like that to mine, but I rotate buddies, and if anyone shows a hint of getting too cozy, they are permanently separated.

    It is pain dealing with that behavior and I would definitely try switching buddies or putting him with the mares.

    Leave a comment:


  • candyappy
    replied
    Originally posted by danacat View Post

    Trazodone has not worked so far. My vet and I have been fiddling with dosage -- started with 17 pills = no effect. Even 35 pills did not made a dent in his anxiety. She knew of a horse similar in size and weight to my guy who needed 50 pills! We're going to try that amount next.
    Any chance it could be feed related? It might have already been asked and answered, but I didn't want to go through 6 pages again. I know some feed/ hays can cause major attitude issues?

    Leave a comment:


  • danacat
    replied
    Originally posted by candyappy View Post

    2 months later . The weather has got to be better by now. Any improvement?
    Trazodone has not worked so far. My vet and I have been fiddling with dosage -- started with 17 pills = no effect. Even 35 pills did not made a dent in his anxiety. She knew of a horse similar in size and weight to my guy who needed 50 pills! We're going to try that amount next.

    Leave a comment:


  • IPEsq
    replied
    Originally posted by diceuf View Post

    How did the trazodone work out for rehab purposes?
    I haven't worked with the horse in a little while. He's up to pretty normal flatwork now. I'm not sure if he's still on the meds or not. He's still kind of a goof, lazy and a bit balky/disrespectful of the aids. But apparently he's always been like that to some extent. So, I'm not sure if that horse needed it or not. I don't really have many details since I just helped with getting him started in the ridden work and the owner took it from there.

    Leave a comment:


  • candyappy
    replied
    Originally posted by danacat View Post

    The weather here has been awful -- either insanely windy, freezing cold or raining. I'm not going to start riding or doing anything with my horses until the weather turns a corner and is more tollerable = no Trazodone until I can be consistent with Mr. Anxiety and get him into a routine that I hope will help him.

    I'm chomping at the bit to try the Traz, and will report back as soon as the weather allows me to start my trial run etc.
    2 months later . The weather has got to be better by now. Any improvement?

    Leave a comment:


  • diceuf
    replied
    Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
    A client's rehab horse is on trazodone. I wish he wasn't, because he is too quiet. Like I have to hand walk him with a whip. And he seems kind of spaced out. Maybe he's just a young goof of a horse with poor spatial awareness or maybe it's the meds. Not sure, but in any event if this horse is any indication, I'd lean towards Depo. In my experience, Depo doesn't make them doped up acting like this other horse is (but maybe he's just a chill dude anyway lol).
    How did the trazodone work out for rehab purposes?

    Leave a comment:


  • AnastasiaBeaverhousen
    replied
    Thanks for the update.

    Leave a comment:


  • danacat
    replied
    Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post
    Bumping this thread because I wanted to know how your horse is doing.
    The weather here has been awful -- either insanely windy, freezing cold or raining. I'm not going to start riding or doing anything with my horses until the weather turns a corner and is more tollerable = no Trazodone until I can be consistent with Mr. Anxiety and get him into a routine that I hope will help him.

    I'm chomping at the bit to try the Traz, and will report back as soon as the weather allows me to start my trial run etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • AnastasiaBeaverhousen
    replied
    Bumping this thread because I wanted to know how your horse is doing.

    Leave a comment:


  • danacat
    replied
    Originally posted by Spud&Saf View Post
    Have you ruled out any neuro issues?
    My guy is a solid citizen when he's taken away from his herd -- it's when he's in a stall and one of his herd leaves that he gets anxious. Ruled out neuro -- he' be showing other symptoms and would be getting much worse rather than teeny bits better.

    Leave a comment:


  • MegBackInSaddle
    replied
    Nothing helpful to add. Just wanted to say a big HOORAY for the baby steps recently taken toward calmness and to say I absolutely admire your dedication to finding a solution if one is available. Whatever the outcome, you seem to be approaching all of this with love, patience, and reason.

    Leave a comment:


  • Spud&Saf
    replied
    Have you ruled out any neuro issues?

    My TB gelding had insane anxiety levels that, over time, got worse and worse. He was not able to be stalled, an extremely hard keeper, etc. I, too, tried many different management techniques and pharma intervention, but he got worse and became dangerous to handle. He was also an extremely hard keeper and became NQR behind, again this progressed over time. Eventually, I began to notice what I thought were neuro signs with the hind end.

    I had my vet come to evaluate him for the umpteenth time. We tested him for EPM and he came back with very high levels. EPM his relatively uncommon in my area, so it wasn't first on our list of possible diagnoses. Ultimately, due to his dangerous behaviour and his lack of awareness of where his hind end was, we decided euthanasia was the only real option left.

    Looking back now, I understand that his anxiety levels were likely 100% related to the fact he had a neuro disease - he simply felt he could not function without the protection of his "herd".

    Just another thought of something to rule out.

    Leave a comment:


  • TheHunterKid90
    replied
    Originally posted by danacat View Post

    Both ^^^ were talked about in earlier posts.
    I’m sorry! I only read the first page!

    Leave a comment:


  • danacat
    replied
    Originally posted by TheHunterKid90 View Post
    Does he straight tie? Have you ever talked to your vet about a couple months of reserpine?
    Both ^^^ were talked about in earlier posts.

    Leave a comment:


  • TheHunterKid90
    replied
    Does he straight tie? Have you ever talked to your vet about a couple months of reserpine?

    Leave a comment:

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