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Personality Shift

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  • Personality Shift

    Just looking for some input here. About a month ago my gelding started to go through a personality shift. We had a bad lesson that he just couldn't quite get over and since hasn't been himself.

    Background is he's usually super quiet, steady Eddie type. No spook, occasionally will be fussy if you hit him in the mouth (at all) over fences. Loves to jump, generally very easy going on the ground. Likes trail rides.

    About the same time as his personality shifting he got kicked in the face (sliced down his nose) from a new horse that pesters him in the paddock. Since then he's began a spiral into a horse I don't know.

    Since his shifting personality he went from his usual "you touched my face" upset to throwing me off. I called out the chiropractor who says he's out in a few places, but him back in and he was good for about 3 rides. Now he's back to feeling like he's got a fire cracker up his butt.

    He's on Ulcergard but his spookiness seems WORSE. He's never spooked before but last night he spooked 5 times and at random stuff like squirrels coming out of the tree. Riding him seems unfair since he's SO upset.

    He came to my former trainer a basket case so she's coming out tonight to ride him and see if he's similar to when he shut down before. In the meantime I'm looking for other thoughts here?

    I've spoken to his previous owner who never had any troubles with him and is as confused as I am by his change.

  • #2
    I would x-ray his skull, I think.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree. I'd x-ray his head. I'd also consider asking the vet about a 3-day NSAID and steroid trial. If he goes back to his old self on NSAIDS and steroids, you know he's in pain. I don't know if there is any reason that would be contraindicated with a head trauma- so certainly ask your vet before doing anything.

      Comment


      • #4
        Has anything -anything- else in his life/care/situation changed?

        My guy had a personality shift similar to that (though no dumping of the rider, just a lot more spooky and throwing tantrums) when I moved him to a new barn. All of a sudden he was rushing me at the gate, hard to lead...just generally being a doofus. Had the vet work him up, chiro, etc - everyone said he looked good.

        One day as I took him back to his pasture and took his halter off, I stood watching him. He went to the water trough to take a drink, and at the same time a motorcycle flew by on the road and he flipped out - the front corner of his pasture butts up to the edge of the property, right next to the road, only separated by trees....but from that particular vantage point, it looks like the vehicle on the road is momentarily coming right at you. Once I removed him from the pasture, he never had another problem........ Such a weird thing and I never would have known if I hadn't been there at just the right time.
        To be loved by a horse should fill us with awe, for we hath not deserved it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Do you have reason to believe the kick injury was enough to possibly cause a fracture or soft tissue swelling that might explain his unusual behavior? Or do you think it was more of a coincidence that it occurred around the time he lost his marbles? Has his pecking order in the herd changed since the new horse arrived? Assuming all seems normal....
          My horse underwent a surprise personality change - VERY spooky, seemingly unable to learn, constant hump in his back, acting like a Roman chariot horse even on the ground, etc. Many vet visits later, he's just at the tail end of a grueling 2 months of Marquis and doxycycline for EPM and Lyme. And he's completely back to himself, if not even a little better, strangely enough. Has your horse lost any weight/muscle/condition? Coat still shiny and/or dappled? Is he eating and drinking like usual? Standing in his normal positions? Is anything at all, other than his behavior different?
          "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

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I've got pictures somewhere of his face on FAcebook. I'll try to post them here. I have considered his head needing to be x-rayed but he was also on bute for a few days after it was stitched back together. I even gave him around 2 weeks off to chill.

            Nothing else has changed. Been at this barn for almost a year. He seems to be in his same status in the herd. We had a sick horse (nothing catching) come in that they have fixed and he seems to watch over him, but now that his strength has improved he is more on his own.

            I'll ask my vet about his skull. I really think it was merely a flesh wound.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'd check his eyes asap. Not unheard for facial trauma to result in torn or detached retinas
              "Listen to your mind. It has a whole lot more brain cells than your heart does." - SillyHorse

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by HRF Second Chance View Post
                He came to my former trainer a basket case so she's coming out tonight to ride him and see if he's similar to when he shut down before. In the meantime I'm looking for other thoughts here?

                I've spoken to his previous owner who never had any troubles with him and is as confused as I am by his change.
                Sounds like the previous owner DID have trouble with him if he was a basket case when your trainer got him...
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I meant his owner 2 (well 3 owners ago) had problems. Girl I got him from never had problems.

                  Talked to my vet yesterday (and again this morning) and he feels that it's entirely superficial with the injury to his face. He said if he felt that he had any other problems he would've immediately suggested x-rays. He called back today to see how he did with former trainer last night.

                  Former trainer came out and rode him last night. He was his usual self for her, eventually coming down into the bridle and being sweet. Even flew his lead changes for her (he's always had sloppy changes). She thinks he's never felt better or more sound. Says she sees no need for me to move him or turn him out.

                  Former trainer is suggesting that while current trainer is out of town to ask him if it's ok if she comes back and watches me ride him to see what happens with me in the irons.

                  We're currently on day 4 of a tube of a day of Ulcergard just to help him wtih any ulcer related issues he may have.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm curious to see if the ulcergard helps. Bute can irritate them, and if he's only on day 4, it could be that he was quickly showing a change from it.


                    I'd think herd situation, though, from first instinct based on your story. When he used to be a basketcase was he bullied? If he's now feeling insecure because of the new horse there could be a connection there.
                    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

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Admittedly the big red horse has had a rough run of it. Got kicked in the face by the new 'little brother' type horse, then had to have all the granulated tissue removed and sewn back down. then had a bandage sewn to his face. Then ran out of his ugard pellets and swapped to powder, added a little oil to his feed to keep his antibotics stuck to his food, then had a RAGING bad lesson on him (sorry buddy)..... Then a chiro adjustment where he was out....

                      I do think that now that the 'little brother' horse has been put into his place and the horse he watches over is feeling better he'll be showing some improvement in that area. I'm tossing around the idea of stalling him half the day to just give him some down time where he's alone and quiet.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My previous horse went through a somewhat similar personality change and it turned out to be a magnesium deficiency. I put her on SmartCalm and she returned to her normal, lovely self within 3 days! It is not a super expensive thing to try and may be an easy fix.

                        Another suggestion is to get a massage therapist out or a repeat visit from the chiropractor. Often, if the problems are significant or have been around for a while, a single adjustment won't "last" forever - follow-up adjustments are necessary. I personally prefer a massage therapist as they, IME, tend to have a more "whole body picture" and can help relax the muscles before they, or a chiropractor, put anything that is out of whack back into its place.

                        I always find a dramatic change such as you describe is due to a physical problem, so you are definitely doing the right thing searching for a cause rather than forcing him to "work through it".

                        Good luck!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I put him on a magnesium supplement but now I sort of feel like he's just 'drugged'. kind of slow and lethargic on it. I had him on basically a dusting of it because it said to adjust for effect.

                          Chiro is coming back out for a follow-up on Saturday and wants me there to discuss how to move forward. I'm starting to feel that maybe it's just him reflecting me......

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You might want to check that your magnesium supplement doesn't also contain tryptophan as it isn't uncommon and it might just be too much. I've never known a horse to feel drugged on just magnesium. Perhaps you are getting used to the crazy personality so a return to "normal" feels too lethargic.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've been on mg a few times for various reasons. Intravenous once, oral the other times. Each time it's given me a whopping headache and been markedly sedating. Also, I have been very closely monitored, bloodwork and all, each time and only took the mg for brief periods. I've never understood why we throw mg at horses as if it were completely wothout risk. That said, I felt so crappy everytime I was taking mg that I WAS decidedly quiet,well behaved and slow moving.
                              The other thimg I don't get is why some people say,"My horse was so much quieter after starting mg, so I know she was just mg deficient." I feel a lot better after a few margaritas, so I must ne tequila deficient. ?? Okay, bad analogy. I think I AM tequila deficient!
                              "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

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by JackieBlue View Post
                                I've been on mg a few times for various reasons. Intravenous once, oral the other times. Each time it's given me a whopping headache and been markedly sedating. Also, I have been very closely monitored, bloodwork and all, each time and only took the mg for brief periods. I've never understood why we throw mg at horses as if it were completely wothout risk. That said, I felt so crappy everytime I was taking mg that I WAS decidedly quiet,well behaved and slow moving.
                                The other thimg I don't get is why some people say,"My horse was so much quieter after starting mg, so I know she was just mg deficient." I feel a lot better after a few margaritas, so I must ne tequila deficient. ?? Okay, bad analogy. I think I AM tequila deficient!
                                I, too, am tequila deficient!!!

                                My understanding is here in Texas we have low magnesium in our water and hay so that might be a reason to use it? But the deal is I've owned him for 2 1/2 years now and he's ALWAYS been quiet and steady. I don't feel that he needs to be fed anything different.

                                Current trainer suggested to give him depo. He doesnt' really know my horse as well as former trainer, who says he feels amazing so it's clearly got to be a 'me' issue. Former trainer used to watch us do some laps at trot, call me into the center of the ring and ask me what was going on in my life because something was off with my horse that day. Once I let go of my bullshit he'd be a saint again.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Anything with chlorophyll in it (green stuff, like grass) has magnesium. Legumes (alfalfa, soy) have oodles of Mg. Whole grains are also excellent sources of Mg. In short, nearly ALL of the feed stuffs we provide for our horses contains Mg. Mg deficiency is VERY rare and it has much more serious hallmarks than "spookiness". Magnesium is KNOWN to be a sedative. It can also provide analgesia and, in concert with other compounds, skeletal muscular relaxation. Horses are NOT quieter on Mg because they were previously deficient. They are quieter on Mg because it is a natural sedative. And, in high enough doses (injected), it can be quite fatal. Causes death by asphyxiation due to neuro-muscular blockade. It's NOT considered humane for euthanasia alone, but is considered humane when used in combo with other drugs such as chloral hydrate and pentobarbital (outdated - not very common anymore).

                                  So, OP, I'm sure your horses did feel drugged on Mg. Because he was.
                                  Last edited by JackieBlue; Jul. 27, 2012, 09:04 PM. Reason: clarification
                                  "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


                                  • #18
                                    I'm sorry, but in an area where the soils (and anything grown in those soils) are known to be very low in Mg, Mg deficiency is not a "VERY RARE" circumstance. Many things, including water, are fatal in high enough doses, but that does not, by itself, tell us that we shouldn't ever give it to ourselves and/or horses.

                                    The OPs horse may well not need Mg supplementation, but not all animals/human react the same way to the same thing. Different animals also utilize different nutrients differently so not all horses in a Mg-low or -deficient area will be Mg deficient or display symptoms of such. In addition, not all Mg supplements were created equal - many have additional components that may be cause the reaction rather than just the Mg. My horse showed no signs of sedation when given Mg, but it had a dramatic effect on her personality. She had been very consistent (personality-wise) since I had bought her (~2.5 years), but there was a sudden, noticeable change for the worse. However, we hadn't been in the same place for the entire time - we had moved to a new area ~1 year before this personality change showed up (an area known to have Mg deficient soils).

                                    My current horse was having some similar, but slightly different issues and I tried the same thing, and the Mg had zero effect on her (again, no sedative effect) so I stopped using it.

                                    I'm not saying it can't have a sedative effect, but I don't think it always does (undoubtedly it may depend on dosage as well as the individual's metabolism) and I don't think it is quite the "evil" your post makes it sound.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Magnesium deficiency is very rare and it IS a sedative. Not sometimes, not only for certain animals/people. Don't know why you seem to have taken my post so personally and I certainly didn't say Mg was "evil" or shouldn't be supplemented. I believe in making decisions using all the facts available and I tend to think others like to do the same. Mg supplementation is rarely necessary, Mg IS a sedative and many companies line their pockets with our money b/c we want to do all we can for ourselves and our animals. That's all FACT. Nothing personal there at all directed at you, leheath, or anyone else.
                                      Supplement companies love that horse owners worry about things like Mg deficiency. If you like spending your money on Mg, go ahead, but with the diet most horses enjoy, Mg deficiency is highly unlikely. And when it does occur, it manifests as muscle abnormalities in most species of large animals. Hence the term "grass tetany" applied to Mg deficiency in cattle that only have access to Mg deficient grass (yellowed, curled edges) and no other feed source.

                                      The chlorophyll molecule is built around Mg++. If it's vegetative matter and it's green, it's got plenty of Mg. Period. Fact. Chlorophyll doesn't exist without it and hays, grasses, etc. aren't green without chlorophyll. Soil that's low in Mg isn't as problematic as those selling the Mg supplements want you to believe. IF you're feeding hay and/or grain and/or if your horse has access to green grass to eat, then the Mg in the soil in which those feeds grew was sufficient. It may have been lower than in other tested soils, but living, growing anything requires Mg. If the Mg in the soil is too low, the crops either won't grow or will be noticeably substandard, so it would be common procedure to use a Mg-containing fertilizer in "deficient" areas when growing commercial feed crops (grain, corn, hay, etc.).

                                      Last, but not least, Mg participates in the same chemical reactions in every horses' body. IOW, all horses need Mg for the same reasons and all horses (all living things, actually) rely on it heavily. Mg has sedative properties in all mammals because of its mechanism of action in essential central nervous system chemical reactions. A horse is about as likely to be immune to the sedative properties of Mg as they are to be immune to xylazine. Yes, some show more outward signs and some "give over" to the effects in different ways, but like many things in life, it just is what it is.
                                      "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

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Well I'm happy to report that I took him completely off the MG supplement just because I personally didn't like where his personality was headed and gave him a tube of Ulcergard for 6 solid days before I rode him Sunday (as mentioned previously).

                                        The happy part is sweet pony is back to being sweet pony. Maybe still a little 'looky" but now I think because he was like "ok, Momma told you to walk me until I was bored. It's been 2 laps. I'm bored. Let's get rowing."

                                        I'm hopeful at this stage that he's past his 'bad spot' and we're ready to go back to normal!

                                        And FWIW, my friend runs Advanced with her gelding and he's also on Perfect Prep and she's been thrilled with the results. I just think my already quiet gelding just found it too much for his particular system.

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