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I give up-- Reserpine on Stall Rest

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  • I give up-- Reserpine on Stall Rest

    Not really a question, just a general frustration sharing thread. I was trying to get through the first month on stall rest without drugs. I've been using a valarian based supplement and a good old fashioned chain when attempting to hand walk. After my horse rearing straight up in the air today-- I mean perpendicular to the ground, that is the final straw. I'm calling the vet and having him come sedate Mr Stall Rest tomorrow.

    I hate the evil jumpy demon horse that is currently occupying my horse's body. Yes, the stall rest and walking-only is trying my patience, but at the same time I am okay with it as it is not like I have another choice. But man, I want my well behaved sweet horse back!

    Scary thing is I have to climb on him in two weeks. I just don't see how that is going to happen. I technically can be walking him while mounted, but ended on the ground in less than a minute the first time I tried that, so I'm just sticking to hand walking. I have to start up the trot in two weeks, and that's why I need to be mounted. For those who have done the stall rest rehab, how did your first couple of rides go? Does the reserpine make that much of a difference that the horse becomes seemingly well behaved again?

    Have any of you also given Gastro-Gaurd while your horse was on the reserpine? I see that a side effect can be gastric upset.

  • #2
    I've posted this before, but I had two on stall rest at the same time. One was 6 months; the other 10 months. I started them back riding at the same time. At first, Ace worked well. As both got more fit, I used Reserpine, as more Ace wasn't doing the trick.

    I was very hesitant at first to drug but came to realize not only did it save my ass, it saved theirs. And that's the whole point. They are coming back from an injury and could easily reinjure, so do what you have to do to make everyone safe.

    Some have reported problems with using Reserpine (i.e., diarrhea and a haziness in attitude); I didn't have these problems, but it's something to be aware of.

    The first few rides on both were fine, but as we went from lots of walking to trotting (over weeks), there was a lot of bucking and bolting from one and one instance of bucking from my nonbucking mare, which was really kind of funny as she hadn't bucked in 8 years while under saddle and didn't really have the whole thing down. Other mare has a bit more practice!

    It was absolute hell riding them every day through last winter, so I do feel for you, but in the end, it worked out fine.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      Oral reserpine tends to have less or no side effects.
      If you give the injection...they sometimes get crampy and have horrible diahrrea for a few days. And every once in a while it just doesnt work,or makes them more excitable. I have only had that happen once though.

      In my experience, if the injection works, it works better than oral, but the cramping and runs are painful to watch. (never had one get sick enough to amount to anything, but it is ugly)

      I use the oral paste from Farmvet now, and I find it effective, but at a higher dose than standard. I know the pills are the easiest oral, but they are very expensive.
      "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


      • #4
        Just want to add, based on mroades' post, I used only the paste Reserpine over, I think, 3 days. There were no noticeable side-effects.


        • #5
          And to add to Snapdragon...it really is a lifesaver for stall rest.

          I know about fluphenazine, but I heard such horror stories about what happened if you mis-dosed with that , that I am too scared to try it.
          "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


          • #6
            Better living through chemistry

            We had a client who flat out refused to give her mare any drugs during her lay up and then she had the nerve to get mad at us when her mare wasn't getting any better. The constant rearing and leaping around her stall might have had something to do with that. After finally getting the idea that her mare was doing more harm to herself the owner finally let us give her drugs. Surprise surprise the mare started getting better.


            • #7
              Originally posted by mroades View Post
              . . . . I know about fluphenazine, but I heard such horror stories about what happened if you mis-dosed with that , that I am too scared to try it.
              Well, injectable reserpine has killed plenty of horses - I personally know at least one.

              Regarding hand walking ... have you tried a lip chain? You usually can control most any horse with a lip chain. Once they get used to the idea that you WILL insist that they behave, you usually can go back to just a stud chain over the nose & around under the jaw. We have six racing fit TBs here on stall rest & not a one needs drugs either in their stall or to be walked.


              • #8
                I have used the powdered reserpine several times. I found that it did make a big difference with no side effects. Maybe the horses got a little dopey but i think they would rather have that than a chain shank and definitely better than a lip shank.
                Xylazine is another great drug that i learned about. it works faster than ace and only lasts about 20 minutes. I found it perfect for handwalking or those first 2 weeks of 15minute rides.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Evalee Hunter View Post
                  Well, injectable reserpine has killed plenty of horses - I personally know at least one.

                  Regarding hand walking ... have you tried a lip chain? You usually can control most any horse with a lip chain. Once they get used to the idea that you WILL insist that they behave, you usually can go back to just a stud chain over the nose & around under the jaw. We have six racing fit TBs here on stall rest & not a one needs drugs either in their stall or to be walked.
                  He is goofy about the chain and won't move forward. Plus, that's not going to help me much when I go to sit on him and ride. I am glad your guys don't need drugs, I was really hoping mine wouldn't, but that's not the case. This horse thrives on turn out and he just doesn't understand this being inside all day thing. He's bored. He's stressed. He's acting out.

                  Snapdragon-- did they buck with the reserpine? That's what I know he will try to pull when I start to ride, more than being quick and bolting.


                  • #10
                    How long have you been at this? Sometimes they settle after a few weeks once they realize that stall rest and hand walking equal their new life. But not worth getting killed in the meantime. I got through the multiple phases of hand walking with a chain, ear plugs (horse is sound reactive) and the fact that it was summer and darn hot. If I'd been trying even in what passes for our winter, I may well have needed drugs to get thru the hand walking.

                    Once I started riding, we went to ACE, IV for a few days and then BID. I weaned him off it for the walking phase, then re-introduced it to start the trot. I, too, was reticent to keep him on it as long as I did, but the assistant trainer helpfully pointed out that it wasn't worth re-inuring my horse if he did something stupid. I also finally learned to sign up for a "lesson" time so I could have the ring to myself without other people pinging around. Probably would have needed drugs longer, if that hadn't been an option. We are now gradually trying to re-socialize him and today managed to canter with two other horses in the ring that were jumping a single fence. There was one ginormous buck, but it wasn't caused by the other horses and was actually kind of fun (perhaps I'm not well?).

                    I guess the bottom line of all this is to do what you think is necessary and safe for you and your horse.
                    The Evil Chem Prof


                    • #11
                      Resprine paste has been shown to be safe and effective in cases like yours. You'll be OK !
                      "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks, guys. I will call and speak with the vet this AM and tell him I prefer the oral method of dosage-- sounds like it has less side effects.

                        Peggy-- he has been on total stall rest, handwalk only for 3 weeks. For a month and a half prior he'd not been ridden but was still being turned out a couple of days a week still. I, too, was hoping he'd settle in, but instead he's gotten worse. I don't think the timing of the year works very well in this case either-- crazy weather as we move into the beginning stages of spring and the days are getting longer and the horses are shedding-- they know what is coming.

                        I'm assuming the paste/pill would be dosed every day?


                        • #13
                          My girl is on a liquid reserpine that the vet had the pharmacy formulate for us. It's the kind of drug that has an initial 'loading' dose process for the first few days and then she gets it every other day via oral syringe. (can't remember dosing, left the sheet w/ the BO)

                          Katy's starting her 3rd week of 6 weeks (I hope!) of stall rest, and she is a little reactive to sounds, but otherwise fine and much more sensible on the reserpine. I second the notion that the drugs are not a bad thing, but will protect your horse from hurting themselves and undoing the hard work of stall rest. Not to mention money -- my barn charges an extra $6 a day for stall rest, so I don't want her to jump around, re-injure, and restart the danged clock -- for us it would be expensive as well as frustrating.

                          I too wish I had my usual calm happy horse back, but I tell myself that this will be over soon, and the weather isn't good yet anyway. Hang in there, stall rest peeps.
                          I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                          I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                          • #14
                            I'm in the same boat as you (horse with broken pelvis on stall rest). Handwalking got pretty scary over the weekend. My helmet and vest just didn't give me that same confidence!

                            I'll start using Ace this week, but another good trick is to handwalk the horse between TWO handlers, like he is cross-tied. One handler on each side. Two stud chains, etc. We walk about 6 feet out from the horse, for our own safety. I also handwalk in a small paddock or the arena, in case the horse gets away from me.

                            I have something called a "bumper" or "bonger" that's used on the racetrack. It's basically an aluminum bosal. It's really effective for keeping the horse under control as well.

                            But drugs are your friend here...Good luck.