Daughter's pony has changed behaviour - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 09-11-2010, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Daughter's pony has changed behaviour

Hi all, noticed there is a similar thread to this but posted this one as situation is different. My daughter's VERY placid mare has done a complete personality change in the last few weeks and we need some help to figure out why. She is an old girl and up until recently the only bad behaviour she displayed was to nod her head a lot when she got tired riding out. We have been told it could be seasonal (Spring and rampant hormones - which surprises me given how old she is), or because she hasn't been ridden much lately due to the wet weather (previous owner told me she never had problems with this - was always ready to go no matter how much of a rest she'd had), or the spring grass (this could be possible except we don't have very much grass in her paddock yet).

Does anyone have any other ideas? Any suggestions to help us sort this out would be very much appreciated.
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-11-2010, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mother of a horse nut View Post
Hi all, noticed there is a similar thread to this but posted this one as situation is different. My daughter's VERY placid mare has done a complete personality change in the last few weeks and we need some help to figure out why. She is an old girl and up until recently the only bad behaviour she displayed was to nod her head a lot when she got tired riding out. We have been told it could be seasonal (Spring and rampant hormones - which surprises me given how old she is), or because she hasn't been ridden much lately due to the wet weather (previous owner told me she never had problems with this - was always ready to go no matter how much of a rest she'd had), or the spring grass (this could be possible except we don't have very much grass in her paddock yet).

Does anyone have any other ideas? Any suggestions to help us sort this out would be very much appreciated.

Hmmm... An older horse can still have hormones affect it...another thing to consider is allergies. One horse at our barn does a complete personality change when his allergies start to get bad and annoy him. Could explain why it came with the warmer weather. Seasonal plants she is allergic to.

Myth= Free/Cheap horses are expensive.
Indy was $150 we keep her in a pasture with a shed for free and she is brushed and fussed over dailey. Other then deworming and feet trimming she isn't costing us anything.
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-11-2010, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick response! I did notice yesterday that she seemed to have more of a nasal discharge than usual, possibly a symptom of allergies? Do you have any suggestion of what plants could be causing this?
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post #4 of 21 Old 09-11-2010, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Yehhh! The hormone thing...do older horses go through menopause like the rest of us poor suckers?
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post #5 of 21 Old 09-11-2010, 07:41 PM
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I'm not sure what plant could cause it and I was gonna ask about nasal discharge but forgot to. I would ask the vet if they think it might be allergies. You can get a powder to add to their grain that makes them more comfotable and more like their normal selves.

Myth= Free/Cheap horses are expensive.
Indy was $150 we keep her in a pasture with a shed for free and she is brushed and fussed over dailey. Other then deworming and feet trimming she isn't costing us anything.
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post #6 of 21 Old 09-11-2010, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Don't suffer allergies myself but imagine it could make you feel pretty crabby. I will follow up on this. Thanks for your input!
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-12-2010, 09:38 PM
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Horses don't tend to develop allergies later in life, not saying it isn't possible, but I'd look for other reasons first. What is her temperature? Nasal discharge can be a sign that she is getting ill and a spike in temperature would be one of the first real red flags for that.

Yes, older mares do go through a sort of menopause, where their cycles become more and more unpredictable and they finally cease to come into season. It could make her more cranky, and so could just the change of seasons and the hormonal changes going along with that, but usually you don't see a 180 in personality.

What kind of specific things is she doing that are concerning you? Is she becoming aggressive or just reluctant to work?
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-13-2010, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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She usually is very placid which is why I am concerned. Her unusual behaviour ranged from the very mild, backing up and refusing to move on, to the more dangerous, kicking out and rearing. She was ridden by my daughter's instructor, as my daughter got quite frightened, and she put up quite a fight. I was amazed she could find that much energy!

My daughter rode her again yesterday and she was much better - only a little bit of resistance, and a bit of head tossing. And there was no nasal discharge yesterday either. We couldn't locate any sore spots and she pulled up remarkably well after her little episode on Saturday. Maybe she is just going through a bad patch but it is not good that she is behaving this way. We are arranging for the dentist to come out just to make sure there are no issues there, but otherwise we will keep looking.

Thanks for your help!
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post #9 of 21 Old 09-13-2010, 09:41 AM
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Have you had her teeth checked? Have she had a vet exam to make sure she does not have an issue that is causing her pain? Does her tack fit?

A sudden change like you describe sounds like a pain response.
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-13-2010, 09:08 PM
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I agree that it sounds like pain and am glad you're getting the teeth looked at. Since you haven't changed any tack lately, I would look for physical abnormalities that could be causing pain. Also, mares that suddenly become aggressive like you're describing can have a tumor of the ovaries (almost always benign) called a Granulosa Theca Cell Tumor. There have been a few threads on here about them but not sure if anyone has actually had their mares diagnosed with them . They are actually fairly common in mares and cause hormones to get out of whack. The classic presentation is a usually calm mare becoming "studdy" or aggressive.

While she has her teeth checked, make sure the vet does a rectal palpation of both ovaries (ultrasound ideally, but not all vets have a portable). You may not be able to feel anything yet, but if one ovary is unusually enlarged it is a red flag that might be what is going on.
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