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Young mare issues

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  • Young mare issues

    Just seeing if anyone has any suggestions or has experienced anything with their mare like this:
    I have a 5 year old mare, lots of thoroughbred in her so she is very sensitive (but not hyper). When tacking up she is extremely girthy (biting and tail swishing). She also doesn't like her chest rubbed/groomed. Okay about her hind end though and udder being touched.
    Anyways, she has also had an on again, off again issue with riding when you put your leg on her. She wasn't broke until 4 (and was sent to a professional to start her for 3 months because of the leg issues). When you put your leg on her she gets upset, sucks back, swishes her tail and kicks out. She usually works out of it after warming her up (10 minutes or so of riding). Worse gait is the canter...she will kick out every stride for a bit.
    I've had 2 suggestions..."girl" problems (she has very expressive heat cycles and her last heat cycle a few weeks ago she actually rubbed her back end every evening in turnout on various things and actually cut her legs, sides, rear, and udder up with rubbing). Second is ulcers. I don't know much about either (my other horse is an older gelding and I haven't had a mare for over 10 years). The ulcers just seem a little odd to me as she is only like this for girthing and riding...fine in her stall and eating and such.
    I'm stuck as to what to do as I don't want to keep throwing money in "searching" for the problem. For both hormones and ulcers the medications are very expensive as well...so I'd also like to know if anyone has experienced this type of bahaviors in their mares, what they have put them on to try to help?
    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I have heard that some mares really get bitchy and nasty when the hormones fluxuate.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      haha...she definitely does!
      anyone ever use any of the mare type supplements and have success (or ones that don't work)? I think I've seen a few in the catalogs that claim to help relieve their hormonal issues (not regumate...the feed supplements).
      I still don't know if that's her issue but might be worth trying it to see...

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, it may get better with age-or pregnancy!

        Comment


        • #5
          Why don't you try and get her used to pressure on the ground? Keep grooming her even if she dances around, try to find her favourite itchy spots to groom at the same time. Get her used to moving over from pressure, leading, halting and backing up. The female hormones only make them more sensitive and over reactive but it doesn't change their basic personality. And she can't be cycling all the time, so she must have better days than worse ones. You say she's green, was started at 4 and is now 5. Maybe start from scratch and treat her like an unstarted horse, going over all the basics. Perhaps she has only experiencing a saddle hitting her back hard and being tightened up all the way. You could do a lot on the ground to desensitize her before you decide to go for supplements and medication to try to sort her out.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            She's actually had an extensive amount of groundwork (even went to an evaluation by Monty and she was an angel with everything...even surprised the heck out me how desensitzed she was! haha). She likes grooming and such...and she is getting worked with desensitizing her chest area (always had issues there...but also has areas/scars there from before I bought her where she's rubbed so might be a long term old issue?). No issues anymore (note I say anymore...when I first got her she used to kick and bite and hated touching but now likes most of it) and she is fine to work with her girth area without tack and such...it's just the girth tightening, doesn't dance around but just makes nasty faces, bites, tail swishing. I'm not as concerned about this though as I am about the kicking out when riding.
            It is just weird that it is such an on and off thing...she can go for weeks without doing it then just start it again (as what happened last week) for no apparant reason, which is why I was thinking hormone related as it conincided with the end of her heat? I did try regumate for 3 months, but unfortunately she first had a cut leg then a big hoof abcess so she wasn't able to be ridden...so I couldn't tell if it helped. I only could do the 3 months worth at the time due to the expense...which is why I thought I'd see if anyone here has mares with the same issue that have found anything else that worked without being so expensive.
            LOL @ pfb...that was actually one of the first things I said was maybe she needs to get knocked up!

            Comment


            • #7
              As it sounds like it's an all the time thing, highly doubtful it's hormones.

              Have you had her checked for, or treated for, ulcers? What is her diet? One poster here has good luck feeding a pound or so of alfalfa pellets right before riding, for this issue.

              Or, she just might have your number
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Started her today on a week of ulcer treatment (gastrogard) today. She did have a month round of the ulcergard a while back but it was during one of her non-bit@hy times so I don't know if it helped, we had done it on a trainer's suggestion for weight gain. Might be ulcers though as it during the ulcergard time she was also on alfalfa hay too mixed with her t/a/orchard hay. She's been off the alfalfa and ulcergard for 1 1/2 months now since she moved to a new barn so perhaps it is just the timing and an ulcer is acting up? Weird though that she's fine in her stall/turnout/eating/etc. and everyone says they act up all the time with the ulcers? But I guess every horse might be different.
                My vet did suggest the alfalfa and possibly scoping her to see if it's an ulcer. Just not really ready to shell out the money for scoping yet. ugh..these horses and their issues! lol
                She might just have our number as well though...hahaha. She is really smart!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: the expense of scoping...you will probably be able to tell after the week of gastroguard whether it's helping or not and may be able to skip the scoping, though she may still *expect* certain things to be uncomfortable for a bit longer. I now use ranitidine as daily treatment for my ulcer-prone mare and just use ulcer/gastroguard for shipping, shows, etc.

                  Mare also gets something in her stomach--alfalfa or even just grass hay--before riding.

                  For the record, my mare's ulcer symptoms match your mare's symptoms pretty exactly. I've had her almost 10 years and can tell if her meds need to be increased by the degree of crankiness about having her chest curried and girth tightened!

                  ETA: I think every horse's reaction to ulcers is a bit different. Some may act differently all the time, others seem extremely stoic and can't tell until scoped.

                  "When tacking up she is extremely girthy (biting and tail swishing). She also doesn't like her chest rubbed/groomed. Okay about her hind end though and udder being touched.
                  Anyways, she has also had an on again, off again issue with riding when you put your leg on her. ... When you put your leg on her she gets upset, sucks back, swishes her tail and kicks out. ... Worse gait is the canter...she will kick out every stride for a bit."
                  Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!
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                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Hmmm...interesting. I'm now leaning more towards the ulcers so we'll see if the gastrogard helps this week. She is also not getting the alfalfa hay so I'm going to go get some more and put her back on that too (and try the before you ride feeding).
                    Thanks!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Update (since I've seen a few other threads about mares here recently).
                      Tried the hay/hay cubes before riding and absolutely no change. I think they also gave her some of the ulcergard (or like it) and it didn't do anything either. The more it went on the less it seemed to be ulcers as she was only over-reacting when girthing and then the worst was when riding, mostly at the beginning.

                      So, next step was the chiropractor as one thing that I've noticed for a long time now is that her one hip seemed lower than the other...never lame but just not even when you look at her from behind. Chiropractor came out tonight and her pelvis was torqued, and the worst/sorest spot is where the back part of the saddle sits. I guess with a torqued pelvis it makes everything out of wack. So...we'll see if this helps!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I had both my mares sewn/Caslicks . This has helped with their heats and not suck in air while riding, etc. It really helps, but takes a while to see results. I am sure this is not the cause of your mare's whole problem, but may help with one.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is EXACTLY how my mare displayed. She is navicular, among other things, and has a lot of problems in her feet. This went on for about a year before we were able to pinpoint it, and I wish we had caught it earlier and were dealing with a lot less damage.

                          Ulcers and hormones were the first two ideas. She was scoped and had an ulcer, but treatment with gastrogard did nothing for her kicking/balking, although she gained weight afterwards. Regumate didn't help the it either, although it calmed her down a little.
                          You can try a week of Ulcergard and some Regumate to rule those issues out.

                          I would definitely get radiographs of your mare's feet. There was a thread recently about soreness in the girth area, and it is very commonly seen with sore feet due to the bracing and restricted movement.

                          How are her feet? Does she have low heels or any problems that may point to pain?

                          On a side note, does anyone know whether you can do hoof blocks and then ride as a diagnostic test? My mare was not consistently lame for at least 6 months after the start of her behavioral changes, and I wonder if that would be able to help pinpoint foot pain in a horse in the early stages.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            She actually has great feet...barefoot until she was 4 1/2 and then only plain fronts as she was starting to work. She did have to have hinds put on a couple shoings ago as she had a sand crack, that led to a huge abcess blow out on her hind toe and as it was growing out the crack was splitting up to the blown out abcess part (if that sentence makes sense! haha). So hopefully after another couple shoings it will be grown out and we can pull the hinds again.
                            Defiitely something to keep in mind though if not for my mare, for others.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Okay...not to drag up an old thread but thought I'd post an update for anyone else who might have experienced the same issues as my mare had (note I said "had"!)
                              So...over the past couple months she got worse and worse under saddle to the point where she would kick out, buck, then stop and rear and literally throw a huge temper tantrum. Hmmm...thought it might be pain so we gave her a few weeks off. Also appeared like it might be mental as it happened in the same spot(s) in the ring, usually in the corners but that was also where you would start to use your leg/seat/etc. to cue her to turn. Decided after a couple weeks rest (in case it was soreness) to have a rider who had ridden her months before all this started get on her (with the saddle she used to use with no issues) and what do you know...still threw the tantrum! ugh...so decided to have the vet come do a full going over with lameness exam. Oh, one other note we also had a new farrier come out and fix a few areas that were off in her feet but nothing major, which did help a little with her movement and eliminated one issue she had for a few months of knocking her ankles behind and forging but it didn't solve her bucking/rearing issue. Also had the dentist come do a routine on her as well but nothing significant there.

                              Before anything the vet's first question was had I ever tried depo. Nope. So she went over her thoroughly (note she is also an acupuncturist so she literally ran her hands over her entire body to note issue areas as well as a complete lameness/flexion/lunging/etc.). Absolutely nothing wrong with her (she was sensitive more on her left girth area so might be the cause for her girthiness). This vet had also seen her when I first got her and remarked how she actually thought her manners throughout the exam and her attitude was much better as she had not had a lot of handling when I first got her.
                              So, in the end she first told me she was super smart and to try to mix up her riding with jumping/poles/trails/etc as lately the dressage was being concentrated on and a lot of it seemed to be temper tantrums.
                              Second, we started her on depo that day. This was 2 weeks ago...WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! You can put your leg on her now, she hasn't reared since or bucked, only a few of the kick-outs but they were legit (one tripping and it was her reaction and a few due to confusion but not temper tantrums or pain-like). So, it seems like the hormones were a huge factor in all the issues this mare has been having. Definitely not saying this is all mares' issues but thought I'd share a hopefully happy ending to my mare's issues.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Good for you! My mare just turned 7, I also put her on depo as a 5 yo... this winter I took her off and she was much better than pre-depo mare. I will start back up in the summer for sure!
                                Welcome to my dressage world http://www.juliefranzen.blogspot.com/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm glad you figured it out! I have an ottb mare who is a lot like this- but add on a layer of general insecurity around horses- her personal space bubble is HUGE. She seems to be a nasty mare- but if you really watch her- she's insecure around other horses.

                                  Last year in addition to the numerous tests, we tried regumate, chrio, gastroguard, herbal this-and-that, lo carb to no grain, extensive teeth workup, farrier work- shoes, barefoot, special shoes- you name it, no change in her.

                                  Then I had a colt starter work with her- and after a couple of interesting sessions, she figured out that the only answer was forward, and she quit doing the really dangerous stuff.

                                  She had a couple of months off over the winter, but just started back this week. Her rider says she tried some funny business, but gave it up fast.

                                  She still isn't friendly with other horses. Only sometimes- for brief moments. otherwise, she's absolutely sure to posture at them and show them she cannot and will not be messed with.

                                  In observing her, though, I think I am going to explore some allergy testing, and I think I am seeing a bit of headshaking- especially when she feels pressured- which can either be a horse coming up to her fence, or being asked to do something by a human.

                                  We will see what spring brings. This time last year she was a gem, she only started getting really bad in April.

                                  I'm confident we'll figure her out. When she's tuned in, she's an amazing mount. When she's not- well, look out! I really want to help her, it may just take some time to figure her out.

                                  Good luck to everyone in these situations- and post your findings- you never know who you'll be helping!
                                  My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Good luck with figuring out your mare as well! ugh...so frustrating.
                                    You mentioned you had tried regumate..did you ever try the depo? I had also had my mare on regumate for over 3 months but didn't notice it changing anything (but was hard to tell as she was off work at the time due to hoof abcess and then a dose or two were skipped by boarding barn as she went into heat, doh!).
                                    It's funny you also mention the colt starter...the trainer who broke my mare did a lot of groundwork/roundpen/etc. and their main focus was getting her to stay forward as well. I should have picked up way back then when he said he thought she might be super sensitive with "girly" issues and hormones...even told me about marbles but at the time it wasn't so bad..she was younger and hadn't been out with other horses. I think as she was exposed and turned out with more horses, and matured in age a little, it caused her behavioral/physical issues to get worse.
                                    So far over 2 weeks into the first depo shot and she's still great!!! My friend who hadn't seen her in a few months (and was there when she started to get really bad) saw her this weekend and said she just seemed more relaxed, and just a nicer horse to be around.
                                    Crossing fingers it just gets better and better from here!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Interesting about the regumate not working for your mare either. I'm going to talk to my vet about the depo shot.

                                      For whatever reason, she seems to be ok with being paddocked next to my 3 yr old standardbred. He's so relaxed and dopey and young he doesn't really react to her. She's since dropped the posturing at him over the fence, and has taking to standing next to him and even nuzzling with him a bit.

                                      Who knows, that can change in an instant, but I am kind of relieved to see that she made a friend over the fence, LOL.

                                      I have a young horse starter riding her 3x a week right now too- and he said the first day she had a lot of bad ideas, but that now she's doing well. I'm going to try to catch one of their rides this week, and maybe bring her new found friend in the arena while she's working to see if she can be worked through the probable antics.

                                      There is hope for her- at least between the months of December and March! LOL
                                      My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        KW-thanks for posting an update. I have a mare with the same chest sensitivity issue, and apparent "girlie" problems. My girl is still fine under saddle, but is clearly the alpha mare of her pack, and makes the UGLIEST faces at her neighbors (both mares) when in her stall. We went the ulcer route too, nothing changed temperament wise, but she did gain weight.

                                        We are just starting her on regumate to see if we can keep her happier, but I'm really interested to read your stuff about depo. Currently the plan is to try regumate for 60-90 days, see the effect and then discuss depo. Thanks again for coming back to update with your results!!!!

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