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My Horse is Sad :(

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  • My Horse is Sad :(

    We've been working with my mare getting her ready to sell and she was really coming along, until the farrier cut her feet (one of which is already clubby) super short. (however she did leave the clubby foot with a extremely long heel) We gave her 2 weeks off waiting for the foot to grow. Rode her for a bit and then gave her a bit more time off before the next farrier visit (different, very good farrier this time!). He did all that he could in one farrier visit when she probably wasn't even really due for another shoeing for another week or two. Her feet look a lot more even now, but he thinks it'll take him another shoeing, maybe two to make her feet look perfect again. We've been riding her a bit off and on, not doing too much now.

    Now I know you guys are going to say I need to have a vet out to evaluate her for pain, but I know she is in some pain and that is why she is getting time off whenever she shows it. My concern now is that she seems to be depressed/sad. I brought her out today to ride her around bareback for a few minutes and she was quite happy to see me, not so much to be ridden. She walked around fine, and happily, but as soon as I asked for the trot to the right (her right front is the clubby one) she would take a few steps and walk. No matter how hard I tried she would not trot more than a few steps. She didn't feel lame, and she isn't when I jog her, but she just did not want to do anything. I then decided to just go for a bit of a walk in the field and put her back in her paddock.

    It kills me to see my mare like this, even though she's for sale (and I need her to sell ASAP) I still love her and she is the sweetest thing. I feel so bad for her and I'm not sure what I can do with her to make her happy. I don't have pretty much any money right now, but am willing to do as much as necessary to help her out. Any ideas on how to make her happy? I think I'll take her out on the trails tomorrow and see if that helps. This is normally a very willing horse that goes forward when asked and stays there until asked to come back.


  • #2
    Captain obvious here....

    You know she is in some pain, she is reluctant to do the things she normally likes to do, and you're still riding her and want to take her out over uneven terrain?

    My solution to make her "happy"? Fix her pain. And until you do that, don't push her to do things that she's trying to tell you she doesn't want to/can't do because it hurts.

    You said you knew I'd say it.


    • #3
      Live and learn

      Sorry you and your mare are in this situation. But she's teaching you something. Listen!~

      So yeah, I'm voting for pain, but a special type in a particular personality.

      Foot pain is tough for horses because while sometimes not severe, it is unrelenting. Therefore, it can seem to change their personality before you see obvious, head-bobbing lameness.

      Here's what you can do: Paint some durasole or venice turpentine on her soles to help toughen up what she has fast. If she were mine, I might help her out with a low dose of bute for a few days. Not all will agree. Otherwise, I'd be really nice to her. Let her know that it's not personal.

      And in the long term: Remember that horses can present pain and other problems in a variety of ways, including a change in attitude. If you get good at noticing these changes, you won't have to wait for a higher level of pain to tell you that your horse needs help.

      Best wishes for you and your mare
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat


      • #4
        If you know the horse is in pain, then stop riding her and trying to force her to trot. No riding at all until she is out of pain. It isn't fair to her. She doesn't want to ride on trails, she wants to rest.


        • #5
          I have a mare who is the best at telling me when she isn't feeling right. She might seem fine walking, but if it hurts and I ask her to trot she'll literally shaker her head back and forth and refuse to trot. It helps me out because it makes it easy to see she's in pain. As opposed to my other mare who will try to trot anyway, even if she's a little sore, so it's harder to tell exactly what's wrong.

          Listen to your horse, give her some nice spa treatments to spend time with her, and don't ride her until she will trot willingly on a lunge line. My sensitive mare loves baths and getting her mane and tail combed and showsheened, so when she can't work we do "spa days" and groom her like she's going to a show. She really enjoys the attention.


          • Original Poster

            I just rode her for the few minutes yesterday to see how she was. It was obvious that she was still sore, but I can't tell any other way than to get on her. She doesn't jog lame. I rode her literally for 5 minutes, if that. And she probably trotted 6 strides all together.... she does more than that in the paddock on her own in a day.

            So, yes, I'm going to give her time off, but any ideas on how to keep her happy in the process? She likes being ridden and is very fit so standing in a paddock is not like her. She doesn't like being brushed, she has very sensitive TB skin.


            • #7
              What about hand grazing/ walkiing/ ground work (not that she needs it, per se, just to keep her mind busy) to spend time with her if grooming is not her thing?

              You could teach her voice commands on the ground, to ground tie, to do carrot stretches, etc, etc.

              I like the turpentine idea.


              • Original Poster

                What is turpentine?


                • #9
                  Venice turpentine is this incredibly gooey, gunky stuff you get at the tack shop. It comes in a can (usually with its own brush) and you paint it on your horse's soles. It works fantastically for soothing sore feet. BE CAREFUL not to get it on your own hands, or anywhere on your skin, or clothing for that matter--it's hard to get off, and it really stung my skin!

                  If it doesn't come with a brush, an old toothbrush works ok. Or you could buy a paintbrush.

                  I loff my Quarter horse clique

                  I kill threads dead!


                  • #10
                    With Music in particular, "acting unhappy" is a clear sign that something hurts or is uncomfortable, even if it doesn't show up as actual lameness.

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).