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Need some suggestions on what is wrong with our OTTB

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  • Need some suggestions on what is wrong with our OTTB

    We have a 6 yr. old gray OTTB gelding. we've had him for 2 years now. He came to us only two months off the track and was a pistol. With alot of groundwork, as in a year of intense and consistent groundwork, he has turned into quite a lovely horse. Very obedient and respectful. He does not get along with other horses all that well as he is an extreme alpha, and sometimes gets nasty with other horses.

    He is boarded at a private residence farm with Epona, our Belgian draft...high up on the top of a mountain at a lovely farm with 23 acres of pastures and a brand new 6 stall stable all to themselves.

    But there is a problem. When out at pasture, the OTTB will suddenly...well, go crazy. i don't know how else to explain it. He will go from grazing quietly to running about madly, bucking and rearing at Epona, or rearing by himself...he will chase her, then run about at a full gallop for a full five minutes or more, come back and rear at her or chase her again, then take off galloping as if he is in fear for his life.... He is not doing this for fun. I can see it in his eyes, he looks ...well, like he's not there. Like he's in a panic or something..... he will run and run until he falls down or until he can't breathe. When he stops, he is covered in sweat and panting so hard his entire body shakes.....he is so overwrought he cannot catch his breath sometimes.

    I don't understand it.

    Todays scenario went like this.....we walked him and epona to the upper pasture and let them graze. All seemed well, both were grazing quietly, and my son left the field and was walking back to the stable. All of a sudden Beau rolls, gets up and takes off.....he galloped madly, reared at Epona, chased her, then ran off in another direction at a full gallop on the muddy pasture.....he slipped badly....he continued running at a full gallop, only stopping to rear or buck and in his insane galloping spree he almost ran over one of the barn owner's chickens which were in the field...it's like he didn't even SEE the group of chickens standing in his path, .....he chased epona some more, causing her to fall in the mud. Our hearts stopped....that was it, we'd had enough. as he chased her back into the dry llot paddock, my son quickly shut the gate. he then haltered epona and took her into the barn so we could make sure she was ok. Beau was so out of breath his nostrils were flaring and his body was shaking and he seemed to be having trouble catching his breath.....he couldn't breathe without snorting. This meltdown lasted for about 7 minutes.... And for what reason? we just don't know what set him off. he has always done this....ever since we got him. He doesn't go off like this alot, this is the first time he's done it since summer...so it's intermittent...he can go months without having these meltdowns or he can do it twice in one week. It is like...he kind of goes insane, and he gallops as if he's in a panic....it can happen any season, during the day or at night.....and it happens when he is out to pasture with epona or in the dry lot with epona.... he's fallen twice himself in the mud while having a meltdown and today he caused Epona to fall.....we would seriously like to know what causes these mental meltdowns and if anyone has any ideas on how to stop it? It isn't a human respect issue as these meltdowns happen when he is out grazing or outside in the dry lot and we are nowhere near him....like today...it happened as my son was outside the pasture, walking back down to the stable. He heard the hoofbeats and turned to see Beau having a meltdown, but when he left the field Beau was grazing peacefully....so these episodes occur within seconds, just out of the blue. Winter or summer. day or night....warm or cold....wind or no wind....
    This is his first meltdown in months...we had hoped that this problem had resolved itself... but it has not. These mental meltdowns are a danger to himself, to Epona and to the chickens.... we are frustrated and confused as to why they are happening.

  • #2
    normal hot blooded horse high spirits- like baying at the moon for dogs/wolves

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      normal?

      When he gets these...meltdowns...he acts anything BUT normal. i swear, he is a calm, sane, happy horse 99% of the time...very respectful and affectionate with humans.....he's eager to please and highly trainable.

      But out to pasture or in dry lot....he sometimes just...goes insane. Literally.....

      Is this "normal" for an OTTB to just have mental meltdowns once in a while or is he just a complete fruit loop?

      Comment


      • #4
        Sounds like a thoroughbred off the track. This is not unknown in high strung hot blooded horses. He MAY outgrow it he MAY not. If you can discuss it with an animal behavior specialist, it might help you deal with it.
        I hope you can learn what to do with his high energy. I think I would have reacted like you if he were mine.
        Best wishes for the future.
        sadlmakr

        Comment


        • #5
          Could be all the space. My TB spent a month in a 'big' 5acre paddock and would randomly just loose it. Would gallop, and gallop, tremble, scream - after the 3rd episode I decided enough was enough & he does great in his half-acre paddock these days I wasn't willing to risk injury to my horse, who wouldn't even stop for the almighty peppermint-wrapper. Good luck. But it is a very odd 'switch' that went off. Not a happy gallop through the field.

          Comment


          • #6
            I used to have a TB broodie who had a 2 pm gallop almost everyday. And when I say gallop, I mean like a pack of banshees was chasing her with machetes! She would tear ass around her paddock until she could only blow and snort, head in the air like a TWH at Celebration. There was no stopping it and it was just...her. We did end up putting her down when she developed grand mal seizures, but I'm sure the "self-directed exercise" and the seizures weren't related.
            We breed these animals to RUN. And RUN they will.
            "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
            http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

            Comment


            • #7
              Jet used to do that before he was put on 24/7 turnout. He'll still do it if I change his pasture.
              Normal TB thing. Scares the crap out of me if the footing is wet/muddy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Normal for a thoroughbred.

                Enjoy the spectacle. There is nothing more beautiful than a TB high-tailing it outta there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  How often is he turned out? May be a good candidate for 24 hour.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What does he eat? I'd look at his diet.
                    Ever been around (human) 4 yr olds when given ice-cream and cake?
                    Chaos.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yep, sounds normal to me. Check your feed program and keep him out 24/7 if possible. My broodmare would do this on a daily basis even when very heavily in foal. She would two minute lick around the pasture in blind gallop to the point I was sure the foal would fall out the back. I chose not to look!
                      McDowell Racing Stables

                      Home Away From Home

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                      • #12
                        I had a mare who would do that. She was on about 4 acres of pasture which I could see from my apartment window and she would just take of hell bent for leather, like a crazy horse. She would get the whole herd running with her but she would be running circles around them. It was quite awesome to watch. Often, they would wake me up in the middle of the night in winter with the ground pounding- I think they would take a nice gallop on a cold winter night to warm up. Otherwise, she was a quiet, well behaved, sweet mare.

                        No one ever got hurt. We had plenty of room for these runs and good footing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This doesn't sound like normal behavior, even for a TB, especially one that's been off the track for 2 years. Running until he is shaking? That sounds a little extreme. The first thing I'd do is have the vet out for bloodwork.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My horse would do that every time I turned him out while we were boarded, which is why we built our own place so he can be out all the time.

                            Very high energy horse running out that energy. It's a testament to your horse's temperament that most of the time the horse is calm and normal.

                            And it can be terrifying. While my horse loved it, he would also look like there was a banshee after him, and I was afraid he'd drop of a heart attack, injure himself, or something else bad. Now that he has hours and hours to run, each run is more like a 400' run along the fenceline running that hard... but then he stops, snorts at me or one of the horses, or just a cloud in the sky... gets a drink of water, and takes a sun bath.

                            ETA: My horse was a distance guy, so the amount of time your horse runs doesn't sound like much to me! I once calculated that he was running approximately 15 miles/week on his own in addition to the work he was getting. I think you're putting too much human emotion on the horse - an excited running horse, whether excited or scared, can look very similar when they are going that flat out. (At a more controlled pace, yes, the looks are very different!)
                            Originally posted by Silverbridge
                            If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sounds like normal TB to me; lots of times they take off running and bucking after rolling; quite often they are stupid about it and will slip if not paying attention to footing; quite often they stop and snort and blow while breathing. The shaking I'm not sure about, but I would guess that he is just trembling with excitement...I've seen TBs do this when they stop running--they are staring hard at something and you see them quivering.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                He is young, healthy, fit and wants to play with the mare ( who of course does not want to play) He needs a gelding to play with and then you would see some action.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by netg View Post
                                  My horse would do that every time I turned him out while we were boarded, which is why we built our own place so he can be out all the time.

                                  Very high energy horse running out that energy. It's a testament to your horse's temperament that most of the time the horse is calm and normal.

                                  And it can be terrifying. While my horse loved it, he would also look like there was a banshee after him, and I was afraid he'd drop of a heart attack, injure himself, or something else bad. Now that he has hours and hours to run, each run is more like a 400' run along the fenceline running that hard... but then he stops, snorts at me or one of the horses, or just a cloud in the sky... gets a drink of water, and takes a sun bath.

                                  ETA: My horse was a distance guy, so the amount of time your horse runs doesn't sound like much to me! I once calculated that he was running approximately 15 miles/week on his own in addition to the work he was getting. I think you're putting too much human emotion on the horse - an excited running horse, whether excited or scared, can look very similar when they are going that flat out. (At a more controlled pace, yes, the looks are very different!)
                                  I have had a couple endurance horses with lotsa energy. One day I put the gps on one of them and left it on the halter (safely) until the battery ran down. I forget the mileage but he did alot of moving around in my 12A pasture. It was like 5 - 8 miles in a 12 hour period. I have a garmin 305 now and I could do the same thing and then down load to the maps and see just where a horse went all day or night. I have done this when I lunge a horse so I can see the mileage they have traveled. Ok, crazy endurance rider. But it is interesting to KNOW how far they traveled. I do ride with mine just about each and every time.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The three TBs I have had could really let loose when they were playing but this had no relation to their behaviour under saddle, except, of course, that the more crazy turnout time they got, the quieter they were under saddle. Even my 26 year old would lead the charge of the younger ones in the pasture.

                                    A few days ago, I watched the normally very quiet mare I half lease play with my gelding in the indoor (both are TBs). I have seen him run and play like a banshee before but not her. They were mimicking each other and practically bouncing off the walls as they rolled, galloped and bucked. She was very athletic, heels to the ceiling, twisting her body and jumping sideways as she bucked and jumping off the ground on all fours from a standstill.

                                    Luckily both are quite sane underneath all the outer craziness and don't do stupid things like run into things or crash. I could walk into the arena and they would instantly stop what they were doing to heed my safety.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      No no no, I disagree, NOT normal. Maybe a trip around the field once or twice would be normal. A full-on-freak-out-mad-gallop-till-falling-down-and-dripping-sweat-race-around is NOT normal. Find out his track history. Put him in a small paddock, alone, for short periods of time. "High up on a hill" as in top of the world with a big view and plenty of wildlife? This could well be freaking him out. Get him into a smaller space, protect Epona by keeping her separated, poor girl.

                                      From what you've written here, you haven't changed enough stuff in his life to try to get to the bottom of this. Does he do it under saddle? We had an OTTB who had been traumatized at the track and by a subsequent trainer. When we got him, and actually up until we put him down, he had flash backs and would SUDDENLY take off. He only went sideways though, at a high rate of speed. Glad your son was out of the field when the last mad dash took place. Be careful!
                                      Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        We had one that would do that also. Other boarders would watch in amazement, thinking how beautiful he was- stretched out in a full run. I would cringe and pray that he didn't hurt himself. Of course, he had a right stifle that we were always paying attention to- so sometimes after these episodes he would be sore for a while. I think he would just get bored and that is how he entertained himself.

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