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Safe, effective calming supplements?

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  • Safe, effective calming supplements?


    Well, it’s spring here in NM. The time of year that all of the mares start squatting and squealing and making eyes at my coming 3yo Irish Draught colt. Been the same thing for the last 2 years. He gets more distracted and less manageable for about 2 months, we work on maintaining our composure despite our hormones, and by summer he’s an even more solid citizen than he was last year.

    But... this year is different, because we’re trying to slow the contagion of this covid19. One of my BO’s kids is high risk, and I work in a necessary industry (still working), so I’m trying to stay the heck out of the barn for at least the next month. This takes training off the table for the foreseeable future.


    I’m looking for a calming supplement to take the edge off until I can install the training update my boy needs. Doesn’t matter if it tests, because there aren’t any horse shows anyway. I’ve got reserpine, but he’s ulcer prone so I’d prefer something with less side effects. The barn worker who handles him is a great guy, but no trainer. I want to make this as easy for him as I possibly can. Ive never needed to intervene this way before. What works?

  • #2
    For immediate use, Vicks VapoRub. A dab in each nostril will kill a lot of the smell that gets the stallion's motor running.

    Beyond that, the only one I've ever used was Ace and that was for helping keep a very young, very "reactive," very "in your pocket" gelding quiet during recovery from a minor injury.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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    • #3
      I probably would not reach for the Ace bottle for managing a male horse. Can cause penile complications which could potentially be catastrophic.

      Suggest location management; move colt to area of barn as far removed from females as possible. Do not route female in front of the colt in their passage to field or arena . If it is a large enough facility, a stallion barn would be more appropriate and paddocks that are removed from the females.

      As far as laming meds or supplements I would seek the advice of vet since this is a long term management issue, not a one day situation
      _\\]
      -- * > hoopoe
      Procrastinate NOW
      Introverted Since 1957

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by hoopoe View Post
        I probably would not reach for the Ace bottle for managing a male horse. Can cause penile complications which could potentially be catastrophic.

        Suggest location management; move colt to area of barn as far removed from females as possible. Do not route female in front of the colt in their passage to field or arena . If it is a large enough facility, a stallion barn would be more appropriate and paddocks that are removed from the females.

        As far as laming meds or supplements I would seek the advice of vet since this is a long term management issue, not a one day situation
        You’re right about the ace, that’s definitely off the menu. He is on overnight turnout with other horses in the second paddock over. He’s fine to go out, and he’s fine for me going around the farm to the wash rack, cross ties, etc. Its coming in from turnout on the morning that he’s being a handful, mostly doing laps around his handler, but that’s bound to escalate if not corrected. I’m definitely going to talk to my vet, because I suspect he might be having another ulcer episode. I’m certainly not above better living through chemistry until I can go fire and brimstone him back into a civilized young man.

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        • #5
          Definitely talk to your vet, but this really is a training issue at the root, and you really might need to find a way to safely get out there at least once a week.

          Is the handler the only one is handling him, and is there anyone more qualified? Is there a way to have a little session with the handler and your horse - him handling, you watching and advising from a suitable distance?
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by JB View Post
            Definitely talk to your vet, but this really is a training issue at the root, and you really might need to find a way to safely get out there at least once a week.

            Is the handler the only one is handling him, and is there anyone more qualified? Is there a way to have a little session with the handler and your horse - him handling, you watching and advising from a suitable distance?
            100% agree that the real solution is behavior modification. I snuck out this morning to asses the situation, and it’s mostly a big horse diving for grass (a rare treat here, it’s been a wet winter). I’m tempted to just do turn ins myself, but that seems like taking the “good for me” rout instead of what’s best for the community at large. I’m still working out the moral implications.

            My barn was bought last fall, and the horse handling brain trust left with the old owner and staff. Current help is game and learning, but timing and feel take a while. The back up staff are BO’s kids, so no help there. I wouldn’t have moved this horse into this situation, but we more or less grandfather’ed in and I’ve been filling in the knowledge gaps with my own care. I’m working on getting my own place, but it hasn’t happened yet.

            I have a couple of back up barns in mind, but I don’t know if they’re taking on new clients just now. 2 boarding operations have already closed the last weeks in response to the public health situation. There’s also the family farm back in Missouri, but if I can avoid crossing state lines during a contagious disease epidemic, I probably should. I could also forego his turnout so he didn’t have to be handed, but I’d rather drug him into a zombie than lock a long 2yo in a 20/20 for any length of time.

            This is quite a frustrating situation. I should have gotten ahead of this by finding a barn more equipped to handle our specific needs, but it really has been working out very well up to last Thursday. I’m sure I’ll get flamed in this board for even daring to own an intact male horse, and that’s fine. I just want to get through the next 2 months and do right by all parties involved.

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            • #7
              I have great success with Valerian Root for anxiety issues with various non-showing horses, but I use it for extreme herd boundness or one who doesn't handle change well and maybe goes off their feed because they're anxious. I don't know if it would help with hormones/studdy behavior. It's a natural calming aid for horses and humans, so might be worth at least trying, it's very affordable. I typically give 3000mg per day for 1200 lb horses, have done 4000mg when necessary.

              But I do agree with the others that it needs to be handled with training/correct handling. Has any correlation been made with something that could be adjusted, even if only temporarily? Such as the order of who's brought in first/last in the mornings - I.e., is he worse, or only acts "naughty" if he's brought in after all the mares, or something like that
              Custom tack racks!
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              • #8
                Can you just leave him out and have him fed in his paddock? That's probably better for a young horse who can't be in training/work anyway.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by mmeqcenter View Post
                  I have great success with Valerian Root for anxiety issues with various non-showing horses, but I use it for extreme herd boundness or one who doesn't handle change well and maybe goes off their feed because they're anxious. I don't know if it would help with hormones/studdy behavior. It's a natural calming aid for horses and humans, so might be worth at least trying, it's very affordable. I typically give 3000mg per day for 1200 lb horses, have done 4000mg when necessary.

                  But I do agree with the others that it needs to be handled with training/correct handling. Has any correlation been made with something that could be adjusted, even if only temporarily? Such as the order of who's brought in first/last in the mornings - I.e., is he worse, or only acts "naughty" if he's brought in after all the mares, or something like that
                  Definitely agree that training is the real solution. I think I will be doing turn ins for at least the next week to reset his little mind.
                  He only really gave his handler a bad time when he brought him in first, past the particular mare that he loves. (She actually calls to him, regardless of her cycle. Poor young fella doesn’t stand a chance.)

                  Unfortunately this colt, like most entire male horses, is a boundary pusher. Now that he’s decided that he can run circles around this human and drag him over to eat grass he’ll try harder than he would with me. Even so, he was still testing me this morning. I fear this has been going on a little while and wasn’t brought up until I specifically asked.

                  In any case, I still want to pursue all avenues to make him easy for the humans in his life. The valerian root is a great idea. I’m ordering that now. Even if I handle him myself and lay down the law, what if I get sick? What if the barn manager also gets sick? Who will be brought in to turn horses out? Not likely anyone more skilled.

                  The situation with this virus is certainly showing me the holes in my set up. I’ll definitely be looking into some reorganizing if and when our health climate calms down. Even bringing my horses home, having experienced horsemen on call is vital. A gritty C-2 in pony club would make short work of these shenanigans. But laborers are not horse people. I should have recognized that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jonem004 View Post
                    He only really gave his handler a bad time when he brought him in first, past the particular mare that he loves. (She actually calls to him, regardless of her cycle.

                    I fear this has been going on a little while and wasn’t brought up until I specifically asked.

                    In any case, I still want to pursue all avenues to make him easy for the humans in his life. The valerian root is a great idea. I’m ordering that now.
                    Good, there seems to be something that makes it worse, or start in the first place, which can be adjusted. I would definitely have the BO tell all handlers that he is to be brought inside AFTER his girlfriend, at least for the time being, and he is not to be walked past her.

                    It’s pretty much Guaranteed it’s been going on for a little while and you just haven’t been told.

                    Fingers crossed the valerian helps some! Better living through chemistry, as they say. Especially during a difficult time like we’re in.
                    Custom tack racks!
                    www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

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                    • #11
                      Benedryl can have sedative effects. Unless they have a paradoxic reaction and start bouncing off the walls, but that can happen with any sedative. 25 mg per 100 lbs.
                      For the horse color genetics junky

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                      • #12
                        Yes, valerian root is good to try. Another possibility would be a magnesium supplement. I have an Irish Draught mare for whom Horsetech's MMX does wonders. I know that a mare's issues are never going to be the same as a stallion's issues, but sometimes the reactivity and nerves may be the result of a shortfall in magnesium. Might be worth a try.

                        The VapoRub in the nostrils could help as well.

                        Good luck.
                        "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Posting Trot View Post
                          Yes, valerian root is good to try. Another possibility would be a magnesium supplement. I have an Irish Draught mare for whom Horsetech's MMX does wonders. I know that a mare's issues are never going to be the same as a stallion's issues, but sometimes the reactivity and nerves may be the result of a shortfall in magnesium. Might be worth a try.

                          The VapoRub in the nostrils could help as well.

                          Good luck.
                          I appreciate the feedback. I talked to my vet today and we decided to put him on reserpine for the duration. I don’t love making that decision, but I have to think about the humans before any horse. I’ve been working with him in the morning as part of his turn in and we’re making improvements after just a couple of days. I just feel like I need to hedge my bets with the current viral situation.

                          Lol, stallions gets a bad rap, but all three of the most aggressive horses I’ve met were mares. Don’t be too quick to discount your own experience and expertise. They may be triggered by different situations, but it’s the same awareness of those situations that allow you to work with any horse more safely. Biggest difference is that stallions preen and mares pin!

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