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Do certain horses make you a worry wart or are worry warts just naturally that way?

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  • Do certain horses make you a worry wart or are worry warts just naturally that way?

    As many of you have now read, my OTTB mare passed on the weekend because of colic.

    She was an extremely high maintenance horse. In the 7 years I owned her we went through many injuries and setbacks. She was a little accident prone and feisty.

    Ringbone - caused by interference
    Splint - Turnout
    Tying Up - feed change
    Pedal Osteitis - from the track
    Navicular - from the track
    Foot infection from stepping on a nail - farrier's fault
    Suspensory - turnout
    Arthritis - track and jumper career
    Stifle OCD - born with it
    Mouth Tumour - have no idea
    Cracked tooth and Abcess - have no idea
    Head Trauma - a freak out in the cross ties
    Continued Intereference - from sore stifle
    Colic - RIP

    I got to the point where I would always be worrying about her. I would go to the stable at least everyother day to at least check her entire body over. No matter what stable we were at, I always made it a mandate to double check her paddock, her stall, her body, her blanket straps, her water temperature, hoof temps, eyes. I almost became neurotic in trying to prevent "something else".

    Now, I question whether it was the horse, or my natural personality. I have a 1.5 year old son. A human one. I don't ever worry about him. I miss him, and look forward to seeing him at the end of the day. But I don't fear picking him up from daycare everyday, wondering if he has a scraped knee or a stomachache.

    Have any of you been with high maintenance horses and then eventually you found a happy-go-lucky one that was pretty sturdy?
    Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
    LouLove - OTTB - 1992-2008...miss you my pretty red girl...
    Wilde! NEW - OTTSTB - 2004 Gelding...my heart's new journey...

  • #2
    Originally posted by LouLove View Post
    As many of you have now read, my OTTB mare passed on the weekend because of colic.

    She was an extremely high maintenance horse. In the 7 years I owned her we went through many injuries and setbacks. She was a little accident prone and feisty.

    Ringbone - caused by interference
    Splint - Turnout
    Tying Up - feed change
    Pedal Osteitis - from the track
    Navicular - from the track
    Foot infection from stepping on a nail - farrier's fault
    Suspensory - turnout
    Arthritis - track and jumper career
    Stifle OCD - born with it
    Mouth Tumour - have no idea
    Cracked tooth and Abcess - have no idea
    Head Trauma - a freak out in the cross ties
    Continued Intereference - from sore stifle
    Colic - RIP

    I got to the point where I would always be worrying about her. I would go to the stable at least everyother day to at least check her entire body over. No matter what stable we were at, I always made it a mandate to double check her paddock, her stall, her body, her blanket straps, her water temperature, hoof temps, eyes. I almost became neurotic in trying to prevent "something else".

    Now, I question whether it was the horse, or my natural personality. I have a 1.5 year old son. A human one. I don't ever worry about him. I miss him, and look forward to seeing him at the end of the day. But I don't fear picking him up from daycare everyday, wondering if he has a scraped knee or a stomachache.

    Have any of you been with high maintenance horses and then eventually you found a happy-go-lucky one that was pretty sturdy?
    First, so sorry to hear about your horse I certainly know how you feel. Horses are constantly making my question my sanity I know for me that when my mare is having problems, I worry a lot about her. Time without issues seems to be the only thing that subsides that worry for me. I think that if she continually had problems, back to back, I would continually worry about her. I am generally not a worry wort. I also think the expense that is involved with a sick or lame horse makes us worry more too.

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting question.

      Sorry that your mare made the worrywart personality trait you may have been born with more salient, but I think that all of us do have that to some extent, although some more than others.

      We were partners with a company on many cattle and once, in a meeting, we brought some concerns to the table and someone mentioned that we should not worry so much.
      The president then said that it was ok to want to cross all T's and worry, because the day we would quit worry, he would have to start worrying.

      Those of us that have responsabilities need to be worrywarts, that is what keeps all working well.

      I think our vets LIKE that his clients be worriers, because they always tell all that they rather be called when in doubt and it be nothing, than not called and maybe put an animal in jeopardy.

      My old horse is 28 and I do worry about him.
      He seems to be oblivious to it and keeps on keeping on, happy and contented, right now about to take his nap on his sand pile, but it is hard not to worry about him.

      I would guess that most of us worry as much as the situation warrants.
      If a situation or horse are prone to problems, we should worry about it and try to be alert and prepared, just as yo udid with your mare.

      Comment


      • #4
        I was born worrying.
        If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....

        Comment


        • #5
          For me...I was always highly vigilant about animal care and health. Trying to head off problems or address them as soon as possible. However I would never say I was a worry-wart. I knew the abundance of issues some animals can have and accepted that fact.
          However...I also lost a mare this year who sounds a lot like yours LouLove. I adored that mare and she was *very* high maintenance. She was healthy for quite some time though...her issues at first were emotional. Emotional enough to cause gas colics on and off but nothing really bad.
          Then she started with one major health issue after another. Serious ones. And at the same time her health issues really kicked in, the gelding I also owned at the time had two pretty serious health issues one right after the other. She started it with collapsing from heat stroke in late August during a freak heat wave. (115 degrees 3 days in a row, for CT that's not normal at all) She wasn't being worked, she was in her stall under multiple fans and being cooled down every 2 hours. We almost lost her then and there.
          A month later the gelding got a really painful series of kidney stones. During that time the mare started having more frequent mild gas colics. A week after the kidney stones resolved the gelding started getting extremely severe" colics once or twice every single day. Every few days the constant care and vet visits for the gelding would cause the mare to have a "nervous" gas colic. After 30 straight days of the poor gelding collapsing daily covered in sweat from mysterious pain and him going to the clinic for a stay and all sorts of wrong diagnosis it was finally figured out he had right dorsal colitis. The "cure" for that can be brutal on the person with constant around the clock small prepared feedings and constantly making sure the animal is drinking a lot.
          We went through a few months of pure hell here...around the clock care for two horses. During that time we also found out the mare's non-issue heart murmur went from a one to off the charts high. She had absolutely no rhythm to her heart anymore. The vet had no idea why she was even still standing...but she was acting normal by that point. (I ended up with mono and lyme disease at the same time during all this, sucky time for all)
          Now since that time 18 months or so ago the mare has sinced passed away from congestive heart failure...the gelding went to live with a friend who takes awesome care of him (and he's 100% healthy again) and I have two different horses who are both young, healthy and sound. No issues.
          And yet I STILL worry if the smallest little thing doesn't seem right. All one has to do is turn to itch their side and I'm thinking massive colic. One naps too often and I've got the stethoscope out worrying about the heart getting weaker. One trips on a rock and I'm staring at their gait forever thinking they're lame. That time completely wiped out my judgement on what's serious and what isn't
          *However* it is improving for me. My hubby jokingly calls it PTVD...post traumatic vet disorder. (I tell him to stop using that abbreviation because it sounds like I have post traumatic venereal disease, LOL) Every month I worry less.
          I think it's normal to be "gun-shy" about health issues after having a load of them or the type of horse that's a walking vet bill waiting to happen. I know I spent months afterwards getting grumpy listening to people who weren't as psychotic about health issues as I was and they had normal healthy horses. Sad, huh? I'd read a story about a rescue horse that had zero care and nutrition and had nothing wrong with it other than needing groceries...and think "WTF? My horses get top everything and couldn't stay freaking healthy!" It screws you up IMO.
          And it took me a bit to admit to myself that as devastated as I was to lose that fabulous mare I adored...it was also a bit of a relief at the same time. I was both devastated and felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders the day she was PTS. No more staring out the window all day, no more running to the barn in the morning with a sick feeling in my stomach because I was wondering what issues there would be that day when I opened the door, no more driving home from rushing through my errands with white knuckles on the steering wheel because I thought I;d see a down horse in the paddock when I got home....etc.
          So it's bittersweet in one way and in another don't be surprised if you remain a worry-wart for a while yet, always expecting the worst all the time. Expecting the worst and finding the worst was a normal thing for you for a long time, takes a while to break the habit.
          You jump in the saddle,
          Hold onto the bridle!
          Jump in the line!
          ...Belefonte

          Comment


          • #6
            Well from another paranoid owner I think it comes from the circumstances. I have had horses for the past 16 years but man did Tango age me about 30 years in the 9 years I had him, and even though I've given him to the most wonderful couple for his retirement I still find myself anxious and worrying about him. Tango was always sound but he is not healthy. We were fine the first 3 years, he would have the odd gas colic that was cause for slight heart failure, but we figured out the triggers and amended accordingly. But then started some odd things. He was fine one day, didn't want to move the next, blood pulls showed liver/kidney enzymes every which way but where they should have been. Then he would be fine a few days later, and blood went back to normal. Then he would be sluggish a couple days, and then be fine. We were getting ready for a show and he had a massive nose bleed out of nowhere and was diagnosed with EIPH. Then came the next 3 years of almost monthly visits to the horsepital. We ran the gammit! His blood work is horrendous now and has been for about 4 years, he is not producing bone marrow as he should be and is believed to have cancer, but they can't find it. UC Davis believes at this point that he has had 2 small heart attacks, yet this horse has still never truely been outwardly sick, and if you look at him today or through most of this he looked 100% fine. You had to know him to see it, but the vets always confirmed what I was seeing. This horse will be the death of me for sure! Now my other guy I have Owen, he is easy, I don't worry about him, I know he is fine, he just isn't as fragile. Perhaps its the same with you, the mare had given you cause to worry but your son doesn't. Plus in the back of your head you know that your son can tell you when something is wrong and if anything ever happened to him somebody would call you. Even if your at a great barn they probably don't run in and check her 10 times a day to make sure everything is fine, and your mare couldn't call you when something was wrong.

            Comment


            • #7
              I suppose it is possible to have circumstances make you a worrywart, but I also think that some people are just natural worriers.

              I know that in my case, my horse has been lame once the whole time I have had her, and it was just a short trim. She's been off her feed maybe once. I've had her 2.5 years, with no real problems. She is nice and sedate in her pasture, doesn't run around or cause trouble, doesn't get in the middle of fights, is just as healthy as a, well, a horse!

              I still worry all the time. I triple check her stall door to make sure it is closed, even though I could probably leave it wide open and she couldn't be bothered to leave. I have turned around and come back to the barn from 2-3 miles away, because I just couldn't be sure I had closed it or closed the pasture, even though I have never once in my life actually forgotten to close it. I trot her back and forth, staring at her legs to figure out if one or the other of them is looking stiff or lame, even though for all intents and purposes, she's hardly taken a lame step in her life. On occasion, I have laid awake nights worrying about the blankets she is or is not wearing! (I am pretty sure there is some kind of medication for this )

              I have actually been less stressed since I moved her farther away from my house so I can't get there as often. When she was around the corner from me, I had a compulsion to check on her every time I drove past, afraid that if I drove past her and didn't check on her, and later found out that something bad had happened, that I would never be able to forgive myself. A few times, I have made a conscious decision not to worry about something, and had it turn out to be a big deal. Now, I am kind of afraid to let anything pass by in case it turns out to be a big issue.

              I think that part of my worry may just be a bit of inexperience. I have ridden for a long time, but she is my first and only horse, and I haven't had a lot of problems with her, so I'm not always sure what a real problem would look like. I am hoping that as I gain experience, I will have a better comfort level of what to dismiss, what to keep an eye on, and what to worry about. For now, I am glad to have her boarded at a barn with great, experienced care, where I can check on her often, but can also count on being told if there is something to worry about. I am trying to let everyone's zen wear off on me

              Comment


              • #8
                I think individuals bring out the tendencies that are in us, but that our temperaments are hard-wired. A needy, fragile individual will bring out the overprotective side of us, while a tough cookie will not. That said, there are definitely people who are prone to lots of needless hand-wringing and hovering, just like there are people who most certainly are NOT that way. Neither is "right" or "wrong", it's just the way we're put together.
                Click here before you buy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hay

                  I was about a 5 on the worry scale with horse then I adopted a PMU that is the absolute apple of my eye. I've gone to a 10 so I worry about his wretched little pampered butt all the time...
                  Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                  One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                  Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think I worry because of the collection of things that have gone wrong over the years to ALL my horses—not just one!

                    Rosie—developed West Nile TWICE (despite being vaccinated) and survived! Also was kicked in the lower jaw with a horse with studs on shoes and devloped a bone infection. Also survived that!

                    Will—died of reaction to Bute given for minor injury.

                    Peter—kicked on cannon bone and also developed bone infection. Survived that.

                    Davos—developed intestinal cancer (he was 30) that ultimately resulted in euthanasia.

                    Luna—died suddenly of brain aneurysim.

                    Mandy—severe navicular.

                    Allie—very bad chancre (sp?) in one hoof. Finally got that treated and cured.

                    Obviously these things happened over a number of years, but it still makes my heart pound if anything happens!
                    "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I definitely think circumstances can switch the "on" button for being a worrywart - and once it's "on" sometimes it is difficult to switch 'off.'

                      In 1999, I had three horses. My main riding horse suffered a severe tendon injury and I was faced with an iffy prognosis with about 8 months of rehab. I was a few months into this twice-daily hand walking/bandaging/cold hosing routine when my Arab gelding had to have emergency colic surgery. He was still AT Texas A&M recovering when the mare I'd bought in foal, to breed to a warmblood stallion (I was going to sell the foal she was carrying since it was not something I wanted) foaled unexpectedly, the foal was badly malpositioned, and the foal was already dead when I found her. I also lost the mare later that day, despite my vet's best efforts. That short span of time, with something horrific happening to, basically every horse I owned, definitely turned my worry switch "on" and it stayed "ON" for several years.

                      After having owned probably 20 horses over nearly 30 years, I also do firmly believe there are 'problem' horses, too. Horses that just are accident or illness prone, no matter what you do.

                      Or, as my vet is fond is saying, "Horses are born trying to kill themselves and keep trying until they succeed."
                      Donerail Farm
                      www.donerailfarm.com
                      http://donerailfarm.wordpress.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I too am sorry to hear about your mare.

                        I have a filly that I constantly worry about, but I am also a worry wart by nature too.

                        Abba:

                        2 1/2 months of age - Head trauma
                        (couldn't walk a straight line, spun in circles, acted blind,
                        kept trying to flip over)

                        7 months of age: jumped 3 fences, someone left the big yard gates open
                        so she ran free onto the main road until we caught up with her a mile away surrounded by cars and lorries, who by the way were honking. That helped.

                        9 months of age, had to have woof teeth out, really big ones which also meant a month of hand feeding her and thinking she was a head shaker.

                        Spring this year as a 2yo. Got annoyed with her brother so jumped out of said field onto road but luckily back into our drive. I saw her coming down the lane, called to her, she turned, she fell, she had a nice haematoma (sp) on her hip which had to be lanced in addition to some other nice road rash injuries.

                        Add to this the fact she cannont wear a rug in a field. She can wear it in the barn, she can wear it in the big all weather pens at night, but put it on in the field and chances are she will just kill herself. She's been lunged in a rug, she's been driven in a rug, she's been lunged and driven in her field with a rug all with no problems until she is on her own. Now she gets one at night only, during the day it's off. I can't waste anymore of my time and energy trying to figure it out. Heck she can have said run on her head and she eats hay like nothing is going on. I just can't waste my time and energy worrying about it anymore. We have a system now and it works which is better than her being dead.

                        So yeah, I can understand your constant checking and wondering what will happen next.

                        Terri
                        COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                        "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm sorry to hear about your mare

                          I had a horse as a teenager that I can trace my worrying to. He always seemed to get hurt or sick right before horse shows and ultimately had to be retired due to an injury.

                          Then I took a break from riding. Then I leased and I didn't worry about my leased horse as it was my coach's horse and she was also the BO. So I knew he would be well looked after when I wasn't around.

                          Then I bought my own horse and she immediately hurt herself on day one (and has had several other incidents since and it's only been 6 months). My worrying kicked into overdrive and I was wondering what the heck was I thinking buying a horse, horse ownership is too stressful and this isn't fun at all! This wasn't how I remembered it! Note, the horse is in the same barn as my lease with the same coach/BO but I don't feel the same way as she is ultimately my responsibility and I am her advocate and that weighs heavily on me as I don't want to do her wrong. I had to make some accommodations to lower my stress level like put her in individual turnout even though I know she'd enjoy being in a group. But she has buddy's over the fence and I can sleep at night and I'm not a ball of nerves when I get to the barn only to let out a sigh of relief when I count her four legs

                          I was and probably still am suffering from new horse owner syndrome but I am happy to say that I have relaxed a little and have gone from probably a 9 on the worst days to a reasonable 5. But I think I'll always be a worrier. On the good side I think it helps me be very vigilant!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sorry about your mare.

                            Is it wrong that it makes me feel better that other people are admitting to being worrywarts too? I thought it was just me. I am the ultimate worrier, particularly since with my mare it has been one accident after another as well.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              For me personally it is less about high maintenance and more about how the horse copes with being high maintenance!

                              I've had horses on both ends of the spectrum-- those with good coping ability that can bounce back from near-death and maintain their composure, and those with such poor coping ability they were dangerous if they had so much as a sore muscle.

                              One horse I had, I used to make myself sick with worry as he was such a volatile creature in many ways. I was always trying to find the magic bullet with him. We fed off each other's tension. Really I probably just needed to CHILL OUT. I swore, no more high maintenance horses with bad coping skills!!

                              And then, even when you think you have the bases covered, and the perfect program, and a damn tough horse, things can go horribly awry. It is the risk we take in involving ourselves with a living, breathing creature. Bad stuff happens, out of the blue.

                              So while I do strive to do the best I can by my horse, I don't stress so much about the small stuff anymore. I think I've come to realize that to some degree, you have to just let go. Let go of the worry, the nerves, the wondering and hoping and stressing and just take things as they are, day by day.

                              There is only so much we can control... so in the end it is best to enjoy the things we can, and not stress about the small stuff.

                              Hope your week has improved, a little. I know how hard it is. Hugs my friend!
                              We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
                                There is only so much we can control... so in the end it is best to enjoy the things we can, and not stress about the small stuff.

                                Hope your week has improved, a little. I know how hard it is. Hugs my friend!
                                I know.

                                You make sense.

                                At some point I want another. But I really was wondering if it is this way with every horse. I guess I am gun-shy. Once from all the stuff I had to bring Lou through and twice from losing Lou.

                                I still feel sick to my stomach all day and have heart-aches - physical ones - every hour or so. But I am beginning to put the images of her in pain and being PTS away. I am now just remembering her.
                                Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
                                LouLove - OTTB - 1992-2008...miss you my pretty red girl...
                                Wilde! NEW - OTTSTB - 2004 Gelding...my heart's new journey...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by LouLove View Post
                                  I know.

                                  You make sense.

                                  At some point I want another. But I really was wondering if it is this way with every horse. I guess I am gun-shy. Once from all the stuff I had to bring Lou through and twice from losing Lou.

                                  I still feel sick to my stomach all day and have heart-aches - physical ones - every hour or so. But I am beginning to put the images of her in pain and being PTS away. I am now just remembering her.
                                  Well, it sounds like Lou was particularly high maintenance, in her own ways.

                                  There are some tough beasts out there. My friend is leasing a gelding who is one solid cookie. Awesome feet, good bone, excellent attitude, just solid as a rock. Low maintenance. Lives in a stall or in the field, handful of grain and hay. That's it. Those types are out there.

                                  I guess my point is, even with the tough ones, there will be ups and downs. Some may stay sound and healthy till they are 35. Some will leave far too soon. Hard to know. So in the end, don't stress, it is all kind of out of our control...

                                  There is another horse out there for you, I know it. A different type, I bet, with something new to teach. It will come your way, in time. And we will all be here to celebrate with you when it finds you...
                                  We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks so much Flash. You have been great.

                                    Everyone here has. I can't believe how much everyone's stories have helped me. Amazing really.

                                    Take Care. I will keep you posted. I may find my half draft quarter mustang quarter army tank out there one day.

                                    LL
                                    Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
                                    LouLove - OTTB - 1992-2008...miss you my pretty red girl...
                                    Wilde! NEW - OTTSTB - 2004 Gelding...my heart's new journey...

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