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Whats the best option for ulcer prone horse?

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  • Whats the best option for ulcer prone horse?

    I've recently moved to a new barn and I told the BO and my trainer how my horse is ulcer-prone.

    They were very, very accommodating and have been doing everything so my horse's ulcers don't come back. And I can already see a difference - horse looks generally happier, fatter and performing better.

    I was given the option of turning her out on an old bullfighting arena. It obviously has no grass, but at least she would be out. They would leave her there with a hay net and water.

    The thing is, the arena is right next to the broodmare's paddock. I turned her out once in the arena and she looked very aggravated - whining, running around,... Basically the normal horsy stuff, but I'm afraid it's "stress".

    Should I keep turning her out during the day or is she better kept in her box all day? She is hand-walked in the morning and afternoon, and ridden at night.

  • #2
    I think turnout is critical. Change is stressful, and she probably will have an ulcer flare but hopefully then settle in.


    • #3
      Does she have a friend that she could be turned out with? Perhaps a horse that she's stabled next to?

      Is she ever ridden in the turnout arena? Perhaps riding her in there a few days, and then turning her loose after a ride would aid in the transition.


      • Original Poster

        No buddies available at the moment. And anyways I'm pretty scared of joint turnout - a kick in the right place and her sporting career is over.

        She has been ridden in the dressage arena next to the bullfighting ring where she is to be turned out, and everything went perfect - she looked at the mares and foals, threw a couple of tantrums but settled into work fairly quickly (specially for her age).

        I guess my main question here is how beneficial is turnout if she doesn't even have any grass to eat...


        • #5
          Turnout is very beneficial.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • #6
            Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
            I guess my main question here is how beneficial is turnout if she doesn't even have any grass to eat...


            I would never keep my horse only in a stall, unless dictated by the vet.


            • #7
              I cannot imagine keeping a horse with no turnout, and if there were no "ideal" options I'd choose whatever was available to get my horse OUT OF THE STALL. I'd wait and see if she didn't settle down after a few days in the bullring. Yes, it's stressful to be in a new environment but over the long haul FAR more stressful to have no turnout. I'd also seriously consider some sort of companion. Yes, an ill-placed kick can cause injury but a horse running and pacing and fretting itself into a lather because it lacks companionship is even more likely to be injured IMO.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                When they want to punish prisoners they take away their yard privileges. At the track where we have no turnout we hand walk and hand graze as much as possible to get them out of the stall. It is absolutely vital to their mind and well being.
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home


                • #9
                  Are there mares in the mares' paddock that she can see? If so I would turn her out. My mare cannot handle being alone, and yet she is never turned out with others.

                  As long as there were horses about she can see and smell, and she can "graze" at her haynet, she should be ok.

                  A change of scenery is important.


                  • #10
                    Hair-to-hair contact is very calming - find her a laid back pony.
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                    • Original Poster

                      Hair-to-hair contact is very calming - find her a laid back pony.
                      And where would I put the pony when she's stalled?

                      Yes, the ideal option would be to have her turned out 24/7, in a green lush pasture with other horses. However, this is not possible. So I am assessing my other options.

                      The can see the mares on the pasture, the fence line is about 10m from the bullfighting arena.

                      She is hand walked and hand grazed twice a day, I was just trying to figure out if there would be other (better) options.

                      Thank you all for your posts and advice, I'll talk to the BO today and ask her to turn her out for the whole day from now on


                      • #12
                        You don't want her to get hurt running like an idiot in a new paddock either. Since she's on private turnout, what about a little ace to help her settle? Or xylazine if she's being hard-core silly?

                        If it were me, I'd probably through her a maintenance dose of omeprazole through all these changes too.
                        "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


                        • #13
                          Any reason she couldn't go out with the mare group?
                          Or find her a companion from among that herd?

                          Ponies are great but yeah, they are another whole equine to look after. I'm very lucky to have my own place and the benevolent Shetland is PRICELESS for when I bring other horses in and out. But it would be tough to justify paying board on her itty bitty self.

                          Make sure her hay ration is divided up if you can so she doesn't go too long without having something to eat. If they feed just once in the morning, ask them to give her ration in multiple small piles, at least. Or get a slow-feeding net or bag so she has to take her time.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            If I were in your position, I would opt for slowly increasing the amount of turnout for each day (until she had worked up to a full day) and making her hay situation such that she has something to nibble on for her all/most of the day. To do this, you could use slow feeder of some kind, more piles of hay or simply increase the amount of hay available to her each day.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RiderInTheRain View Post
                              If I were in your position, I would opt for slowly increasing the amount of turnout for each day (until she had worked up to a full day) and making her hay situation such that she has something to nibble on for her all/most of the day. To do this, you could use slow feeder of some kind, more piles of hay or simply increase the amount of hay available to her each day.
                              This. She should settle eventually if she isn't too worked up about being alone to begin with. A few whinnies and some trotting here or there isn't "really worked up" IMO.

                              I agree that since she is prone to ulcers, she should be given a maintenance dose of omeprazole throughout the changes and for a bit following her "set" schedule.

                              Turnout is very important, not just for the brain, but for the body. I wouldn't opt to keep her in a stall just because.
                              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                                No buddies available at the moment. And anyways I'm pretty scared of joint turnout - a kick in the right place and her sporting career is over.
                                I have found that group turnout keeps them FAR healthier, less colic, less ulcers, and sounder, with MUCH less injuries than private turnout.


                                • #17
                                  I agree about omeprazole as she's adjusting to a change, and I most definitely would NOT make an ulcer-prone horse stay locked in a stall when there are other options.

                                  Turnout isn't just about grazing, but about your horse's overall health. The haynet so she has something to eat is great, and the time spent moving around will make her both mentally and physically healthier. She may at first fret and run and whinny, but typically within two days of the routine they settle down and learn to enjoy it.
                                  If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                                    No buddies available at the moment. And anyways I'm pretty scared of joint turnout - a kick in the right place and her sporting career is over.
                                    My mare is also ulcer prone. Where we were at the turnout situations changed and she was out in a paddock by herself with very little grass for a while and not happy at all. We moved shortly after and now she's out almost all time with 4 other horses and LOVES it. Horses are herd animals and are happiest with other horses. Turnout and grass is vital to a keeping horses happy and healthy both physically and mentally. If it were me I would not keep my horse in a ring without grass. I know you worried about her getting hurt, but the right fall could end your riding career. Does that stop you from getting on the horse?
                                    Last edited by WBmare; Jan. 9, 2013, 04:27 PM. Reason: Typo
                                    "There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience."


                                    • #19
                                      My mare isn't turned out with others. She hasn't been in a herd situation since she was very young, is shod all around, is much larger than the other mares on the place and can be food-aggressive with other horses, or at least was the last time someone thought she should be with others.

                                      She does have geldings in paddocks on each side of her and can see the mares. Her paddock is large enough to accommodate a short sprint and her morning bucking routine, but there's no grass to speak of.

                                      So her life is that she cannot be alone, and she can't be turned out with others. It isn't ideal, but she's presently healthy and satisfied. She has access to hay 24/7, and her stall is connected to the paddock so she can be out whenever she wants.

                                      Perhaps adjacency is the best SCMSL can do?


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks for all for sharing your experiences.

                                        She has been on omeoprazole for about a week for an unrelated event (we had a clinic and I thought it would be best to keep her on it, anticipating added stress from the strenuous lessons). So I decided to get her in the arena for the entire afternoon. I left a bucket of water and a hay net for her.

                                        She jumped around for a while, but after about 10 minutes she was perfectly happy and settled.

                                        Again, thank you all!