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Normally calm, reliable horse acting CRAZY

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  • Normally calm, reliable horse acting CRAZY

    A friend of mine has a horse that seems to be going through something, and I would like to see if anyone has had a similar experience.

    He is a 12(?) yo Appendix who is normal a super nice guy. Laid back, good on trails, perfect amateur's horse. Lately he has been acting increasingly crazy, with random outbursts that culminated in him bolting and her coming off and severly injuring her back. I rode the horse the following week and I noticed a few things right away: he looked very skinny and he was very touchy about his withers. I remember her mentioning something about the fly sheet rubbing his withers, but it had been off for quite a while at this point. He was good when I rode him except for a random outburst as we were leaving the arena, which caught me off guard, but was over as quickly as it started. The whole time though, I was careful to keep the end of the reins and the saddle pad away from his withers because he became clearly agitated whenever anything touched them.

    The owner is going to have a chiro out to look at him, and I had my friend who is a massage therapist with experience in TTouch look at him as well. She was unable to find any kind of muscle soreness that could account for his explosions.

    This past weekend, my friend's trainer took the horse to a horse show, where he worked himself into a lather by pacing in the stall. The trainer proceeded to get on and ride him until he was dripping with white foam. He only drank a quarter of a bucket of water the whole weekend and maybe a flake of hay. I told the trainer that I thought he should be worked up by a vet, preferably at the U, before he was ridden like that again and offered to trailer him home, but she insisted it was a training issue and he just needed his butt kicked. I'm inclined to disagree, considering the fact that this behavior is all pretty new and his is usually Mr. Calm and Dependable.

    I'm aware that horses can be unpredictable (in fact, it is one of my biggest pet peeves when people forget this fact!), but this behavior has been consistently getting worse over the past 3-4weeks. Has anyone experienced anything like this? Was it behavioral or was there something medically wrong? God knows I'm no master trainer, but I think it is responsible to have a horse worked up if it is behaving strangely before I try to fix the problem with training. Thoughts?

  • #2
    First thoughts--if he's lost weight...saddle fit would probably be an issue. Check saddle fit or have a fitter out to do it!


    Ulcers. They can change a horses' behavior pretty drastically. If you give him a squeeze with your leg and he explodes, perhaps its belly pain from the ulcers.

    I would have the vet out just to do a workup!
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

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    • #3
      My sweet, gentle, reliable boy bolted out of the blue with me, dumping me eventually on the mounting block. That was our last ride- his kissing spines recurred and is now retired. I'd say dispense with the chiro and masseuse, and call the vet. The weight loss would also be concerning. It could be myriad things.
      Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

      Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs

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      • #4
        Pain. Everything you write describes a horse who's hurting somewhere.

        Ulcers are the #1 thing I'd look at based on your post. Talk to the vet and the chiro about this and other possible sources of pain. Just the weekend at the show alone, little water, little hay, stressing constantly and then working hard on top of all is a recipe for ulcers!

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        • #5
          Pain and/or ulcers.

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          • #6
            I'd also encourage you to check for ulcers or just go ahead and do the treatment. One of my horses had random and out of character outbursts and it turned out he had grade 4 ulcers! Once treated he gained weight and started behaving again.

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            • #7
              Very sad about how the trainer treated the horse. Forget chiro it might really hurt the horse without an xray of withers. Sounds more like a vet issue. Id worry about

              Fractured withers - (scooty horse that I knew flew laterally one direction. withers ended up being sore. xrays showed fracture from incident where trainer many months before abused horse and only told part of story. horse also came back very skinny from trainers)
              Sore back stemming from SI issue/pain - (bone scan and palps revealed this on horse that scooted every so often and then one day out of blue bucked me off big time)
              Ulcers - (can make horses bolt buck rear and more)
              Kissing spines - (can make horses bolt buck rear and more)
              Selenium deficiency - (can make horse bolt buck rear and more)

              The sensitive withers and weight loss makes me think wither injury. Or some other injury causing pain and worry.

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              • #8
                I also agree that your friend needs to get the vet out. It sounds like he has ulcers or some kind of severe pain!!
                RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                RIP San Lena Peppy
                May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010

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                • #9
                  I believe horses do not lie. It is up to us to try to find out what the problem is, poor horse.
                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                  • #10
                    yep...an otherwise well trained, well behaved horse acting up-almost always pain-trainer if he's a good one would understand this. Seriously wouldn't put much stock in a trainer that cannot tell the difference.
                    I'd get a chiro-as most if they are vets...can do xrays also, and will know if soemthing is fractured.
                    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
                    http://www.midwestnha.wordpress.com[/INDENT]

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                    • #11
                      I'm not sure if its as prevalent in your area as it is up here, but you may also consider testing for Lyme.

                      I knew a horse who exhibited similar symptoms (normally calm, well trained etc) who turned into a raging lunatic out of nowhere and it was because of Lyme.
                      Equine Web Design & Marketing
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                      • #12
                        I was also thinking lyme. Aloe vera juice will help with tummy problems althought it sounds like a vet is needed here and as quickly as possible.

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                        • #13
                          I remember reading in Equus (I think) a number of years ago about a girl's experience with her horse becoming completely unrideable one winter because of a poorly fitting blanket. I would get the vet out and start by looking into this wither sensitivity that you noticed.

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