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Question about TTMS (Tickelish Thoroughbred Mare Syndrome)

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  • Question about TTMS (Tickelish Thoroughbred Mare Syndrome)

    I thought Id come to the thread where people KNOW TBs

    my mare can be quite tickelish/itchy during grooming. she LOVES to be brushed, scratched and such, and can be very animated when you hit just the right itchy spot, but, has a couple of tickelish spots too. grooming is her favorite thing, next to eating of course.

    But, yesterday she was EXTREMELY, way over the top tickelish. along her topline, girth area, and flanks. I almost didnt ride her because I felt like something was wrong, and she was trying to tell me something... like a pulled muscle or something...

    So, I spent some time massaging her before I saddled her. I did end up riding and we had a WONDERFUL time... but, I was really close to bagging the ride and putting in a call to the chiro.... if she had disagreed to saddling (which she didnt), I would have put her up and made the call.

    I just wonder if anyone else has experienced this? and where do you draw the line between, "awe shes just unusually tickleish today", and "somethings wrong"..

  • #2
    TB's can be quite thin skinned, so a little more sensitive then other breeds...If I thought there was a real problem, I would have her jogged in hand, or put her on the lunge to make sure she wasnt sore.


    • #3
      Can you describe what you're interpreting as "ticklish"?

      My mare went from standing there sleepily while I tacked her up to twitching (like to get rid of a fly) so badly when I put the saddle pad on her that she twitched the saddle pad right off. She also had her head up and her ears back.

      It was a pain response, and something we're still managing several weeks later. I missed it for a couple weeks, thinking it was behavioral. Once I knew what I was seeing, I was horrified.

      I would take a step back and look at the whole horse. If you see anything that indicates pain, it's probably time to get the vet or chiro or acupuncturist out.


      • #4
        I have a chestnut TB mare with SFTTMS (sporatic freakishly tickelish thoroughbred mare sydrome). Some days she loves the brush, some days she'd rather kick it into the back wall and take me along with it. She's extremely sensitive in the rear quarters, and that's a shame as she's got a long, thick tail that needs to be brushed. I can always tell when she's in heat though as she'll love to have that booty scratched. I almost always tie her while grooming though, as she'll be enjoying a groom one minute, then reach around to nip me the next for finding a tickly spot. As ACS says, I don't base how her overall body is feeling on her reaction to a grooming. I might be extra aware of what I'm doing, how I'm cinching her up or how much leg I'm using when she's like that, but I'd lunge or in hand jog her to see if there was something physically wrong.

        The infuriating part is this same mare will let a blanket of flies cover her rump with barely a twitch. It's not always, but most times she's the least affected by bugs in the whole barn. I managed to knock the crud out from between her back legs the other day, but I made triple sure she was accepting of my "advances" first!


        • Original Poster

          I have a chestnut TB mare with SFTTMS (sporatic freakishly tickelish thoroughbred mare sydrome).
          yea, mine is chestnut too! - ummmm.....

          well, theres itchy spots which she loves to get itched, and then tickelish spots, she reacts just like if you were being tickled.. but, for some reason, her reactions where just so magnified yesterday. I could touch, and rub her all over with my hands with no problems, but, she just didnt like the brush.

          she spases like when a fly lands on her, and moves away, or just contracts the muscles away from the brush, and looks at me like "cut that out!" its not really a pain response, more like a irritation response.... she would never bite or kick, she just gives dirty looks..... bless-her-heart

          um, perhaps she is in heat

          I massaged her and there were certain muscles along her topline that made her contract slightly, indicating possible muscle soreness, so she got a deep massage in those areas.

          I moved her in hand quite a bit, WTC, some lateral movements, and even over some jumps (all in hand, and with the saddle on) and she was in great spirits, moving as lovely as she normally does. also, she didnt disagree with saddling/girthing at all, she just stood there quiet like normal.

          her legs felt good, temp felt good, breathing good.. her coat is healthy. nice and shiney, eyes are clear and bright.

          it was a little cooler yesterday than its been. Its been like 90 degrees/humid and yesterday it was only like 75 degrees and not humid at all.

          we had the most AWESOME ride yesterday too. she was really focused and tried everything I asked of her with no problems. she was playful and fun with the jumps and such...

          I was just wondering if other TB owners have ever noticed a excelerated response to grooming on occassion.

          maybe I will have the chiro out, just to give her a once over, and I will give her a few days off with some massages.. I hope Im not spoiling her TOO much


          • #6
            I was going to ask if your mare was a chestnut... but I didnt want to seem biased ... most chestnuts have even more sensitive skin than the darker colorered horses.


            • Original Poster

              wow, I never thought about Chestnuts being more sensitive than others.. ummmmmmmmmmm.....

              another thought I had last night (as she was getting her spa treatment) when I was massaging her. I was thinking, its the end of the summer and Ive been using fly spray on her all summer, I wonder if her skin is just getting more sensitive because of the constant use of fly spray

              on hot days, after she is cooled off from working, she gets sprayed down with a cool hose (just water, I dont use any kind of soap on her). I just think that makes her feel better and washes off all the dried sweat and bug spray. but, then I mist her with bug spray again.

              here is the bug spray I use. perhaps I need to change that.



              • #8
                Oh boy......don't get me started on chestnut TB grooming! Mine is a gelding, but pretty much the same! He LOVES to be groomed but in order for it to be truly enjoyed by him, must be done a certain way!!! Must be scritched in certain places (his contorted faces show you hit the right spots) with a certain brush, in those certain places. Don't you dare use a stiff brush on his tender, thin, TB skin - you will get the ugly look for sure! Loves a rubber jelly scrubber, massaged all over, but don't do it in one spot for too long, thats incredibly annoying to him!
                Fly spray does make him more sensitive (he gets hives if he has fly spray on and he gets too hot) Fly sheets must be alternated or he gets a shoulder rub.
                Some days you can scrub him harder than others, but he mostly likes soft brushes and soft massagers.
                My daughters friend came over and helped her brush him up, her friend had a brush that was much too hard for his liking......if looks could kill! He will certainly let you know what is acceptable or not!!


                • #9
                  Alot of chestnuts will have "pink" skin...As far as putting fly spray on her, make sure she is dry before you spray her down, that may help!


                  • #10
                    Jelly scrubbers are the BEST TB grooming item in the box. On or off the track, whatever color their coats are, the jelly scrub is the one I know I can at least knock grime out of the coat with and be safe doing so. I think we have 4-5 of them knocking around between the track and home.


                    • #11
                      Putting fly spray on when wet may cause an irritation problem. I was told that, while fly spray on a dry coat tends to sit on top, fly spray on a wet coats wicks down the water on the hair and can come in contact with the skin. Especially on a sensitive horse, that could irritate, especially over time.
                      If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                      Desmond Tutu


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by Louise View Post
                        Putting fly spray on when wet may cause an irritation problem. I was told that, while fly spray on a dry coat tends to sit on top, fly spray on a wet coats wicks down the water on the hair and can come in contact with the skin. Especially on a sensitive horse, that could irritate, especially over time.


                        NOTE TO SELF: "dont do that anymore"

                        THANKS (to Acertainsmile too)

                        perhaps this is her problem. its been horribly hot here 90+90%. So, ive been riding early in the morning, but, by the time im done and cooled her out, she is still icky, sticky, wet, dried sweat, so ive been hosing her off. but, the B-52 bombers are out right now too (horse flies) so, as soon as I squeezy her off, I spray her with bug spray especially along the top-line where those nasty bugs land to bite... AND where she is acting most sensitivily..............

                        I think we have an answer here.

                        I knew you guys would come up with an answer!

                        she thinks she is in heaven with all this massaging lately and a couple of days off. ha ha ha!

                        Im still going to keep my Chiro appt. just to give her a once over, and make sure. an oz. of prevention is worth a lb. of cure...

                        ETA - Also, I think we have some jelly scrubbers around here somewhere. I will find them tonight and give them a try.


                        • #13
                          Get a lightweight turnout fly sheet instead of spraying when she's wet. I bet she'd appreciate it.


                          • Original Poster

                            sounds like a good idea. Ive never used a fly sheet before, so I dont know which ones are the good ones...

                            is there a "prefered" brand?


                            • #15
                              I have several different kinds ~ but for my sensitive guy, the really soft nylon ones (can be the cheap kind) work the best! His latest was a Tuff Rider that I got him at Country Max and I absolutely hate it. He's had it about a month and its the one that gives him the most issues. Its not really THAT soft, tends to get hot with it and its falling apart!! I'd stay away from that one. I also have a couple (I don't even know the brand, maybe a generic Dover) that are really soft, have no lining, just 2 clips on the chest, surcingle and 2 straps in the back. They don't really get too hot in them, they breathe nicely and you can throw them right in the washer and they dry really quick. Although I really like them, I think I am going to try a really soft one with a belly band, the bugs are cruel here and think their bellies are very tasty! I found I really don't like (I should say they don't like) the stiff polyester ones ~ they hold up well but my TB's get rubs and hot in them.


                              • Original Poster

                                thanks, Im off to Dover. also, I will go my local tack store and take a look at some

                                so nylon is the best?

                                I bet I can find them on sale now this time of year.


                                • #17
                                  You've gotten great advice and suggestions already. And thanks for the wet horse fly spray advice- I never thought about that! My horse's skin flakes if I apply too much spray so I'll be sure not to spray him when he's wet.

                                  I'll add my own little tidbit. I've noticed that horses seem to get less ticklish as they age.

                                  Also have to add my experiences from seeing OTTBs at my barn. If you're ever on the backside at a racetrack, check out how efficiently the grooms work on their horses. Quick, and amazingly thorough. Confident currying and cleaning- they use some real elbow grease for a rubdown. Then the horses retire from the track and here we are getting ready for a ride... brush.... brush... brush....
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