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Strange behavior in horse--Need advice

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  • Strange behavior in horse--Need advice

    Lately my horse has been doing this strange thing. Background--he is a 13-year-old Friesian gelding and completely healthy as far as I can tell.
    What he does is basically kick out with his hind right foot repeatedly. He will keep doing this until you tell him to stop. It looks like he is pawing with this foot really really hard and also kicking it back sometimes. He has done this three times recently. Once when I was just riding him lightly, once while tied up inside being groomed and once tonight after I had just finished jumping him. He is totally sound and does not look lame at all anywhere. When I feel the right hind foot I don't feel anything that could be causing pain or discomfort, but since he is a Friesian he has a bit of leg feathering. Tomorrow I'm going to clip all the feathering off and see if I can find anything. It's just so strange, I have no clue why he is doing this.

  • #2
    My horse did that when he was frustrated with me. Check his foot and see of there is anythng wrong. I will bet he is doing the same thing as mine.

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    • #3
      Could be the first sypmtom of shivers.
      IF YOU THINK YOUR BRAIN IS NOT WORTH PROTECTING WITH A HELMET, YOU'RE PROBABLY RIGHT!

      Damrock Farm

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        I don't think the behavior is out of frustration or anything like that. He seems content and relaxed when he does the behavior and there is no correspondence with the behavior and working hard or doing something he doesn't like.

        The shivers thing is really scaring me now. I hadn't associated what he is doing with shivers before, but now that I've read more about it and looked at some youtube videos, I do see some similarities with what he is doing. They also mention that horses with shivers will sometimes snatch that hind foot away when being lifted, which he does sometimes, but never did before. Should I call my vet?

        The problem is I am away at school right now 3 hours away from home with him. My school is in the middle of no where with no good horse vets in the area. I could trailer him to a vet school if it continues to become more severe. I also plan on calling my regular vet at home about it tomorrow.

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        • #5
          When you say recent, do you mean within days? Have you changed or added anything to his feed?

          Sometimes my gelding gets a little gassy coming into the Spring with the fresh grass and displays his discomfort with raised/kicking hind leg. I'll hand walk him and even trot a little - he is sound. I am wondering if he was a little belly achey from something?
          "Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is." Sir Winston Churchhill

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by JumpItHighPie View Post
            When you say recent, do you mean within days? Have you changed or added anything to his feed?

            Sometimes my gelding gets a little gassy coming into the Spring with the fresh grass and displays his discomfort with raised/kicking hind leg. I'll hand walk him and even trot a little - he is sound. I am wondering if he was a little belly achey from something?
            When I say recently, I mean three times this has happened when I've been there within a time period of maybe a month or two. No changes to his feed and I've never had any gastrointestinal problems with this horse in the past. Also, before and following the times he has done this behavior he has had a hearty, normal appetite.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hmmm, the two times I've seen this were when the horse had horrible scratches and was really miserable, and when my youngster was about to blow an abscess. Any chance of either of those things?

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by betsyk View Post
                Hmmm, the two times I've seen this were when the horse had horrible scratches and was really miserable, and when my youngster was about to blow an abscess. Any chance of either of those things?
                One of my first guesses was that it could be scratches or something fungal since he has feathering around his feet and the weather here has been really wet and muddy lately. Tomorrow I'm planning on clipping all the feathering to see if there is scratches or anything of that sort.
                He does do this weird thing where every morning when he gets turned out he rests his front foot on the metal bar in his turnout and leans back to stretch and groan. Sometimes when he does this he will also rub his legs on the bar to scratch. So maybe something is itchy. I always thought it was just a weird quirk of his.
                The shivers thing does have me a bit concerned though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just a thought... you said a couple times he did it was while being ridden. Could he possibly be having trouble with his stifle? I know some horses will do a kick-like movement if their stifle is locked and they're trying to get everything to pop back into place. Ask if anyone who has watched you ride if they've noticed him excessively dragging his foot and then all of a sudden snatching it or kicking it up. Good luck, and hope it's just some minor problem!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Damrock Farm View Post
                    Could be the first sypmtom of shivers.
                    Okay, so I've been reading more, and I don't think it's the beginning symptoms of shivers. He isn't going anything funny with his tail and he backs up normally. And it's just that one hind leg he is doing this with.

                    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. Keep them coming if you have any other ideas. I wasn't able to clip the feathering and look more closely at the foot today because it of course poured outside all day. Hopefully tomorrow I can.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I second stifle. Indeed the kicking out may be unlocking a stifle.

                      Paula
                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think you need to check for scratches. I have Clydesdales, a breed very prone to this ailment, and I have seen this kind of activity (fortunately in horses owned by others). My Clydes are treated weekly with an oil and sulpher mixture to keep them from getting scratches. However, if your horse has them (and my understanding is it is not uncommon with fresians), you may need something more aggressive to get rid of them. Your vet can help. Feel the leg under the feather and see if you can find "lumps."

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by JoanR View Post
                          I think you need to check for scratches. I have Clydesdales, a breed very prone to this ailment, and I have seen this kind of activity (fortunately in horses owned by others). My Clydes are treated weekly with an oil and sulpher mixture to keep them from getting scratches. However, if your horse has them (and my understanding is it is not uncommon with fresians), you may need something more aggressive to get rid of them. Your vet can help. Feel the leg under the feather and see if you can find "lumps."
                          Scratches is what I'm starting to think it could be too. If it stops raining tomorrow, I'm going to clip his feathering and see if I see anything. I've never seen a horse with scratches before. What specifically should I be looking for?

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