Horse at our barn looks like a Cushing's case...

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Horse at our barn looks like a Cushing's case...

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  • is this horse skinny
  • Skinny cushings horse

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    08-06-2012, 04:20 PM
Horse at our barn looks like a Cushing's case...

*I don't have pictures and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post them anyway...Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!*

There's a horse at our barn who is very skinny, has a dull coat, and his trainer (they're fairly new at our barn) mentioned that he doesn't shed out like their other horses and maintains a relatively long coat all year. She claims he's skinny because of his age, he's 21, but that just doesn't sound right with the coat. My trainer has a client horse with Cushing's that's been diagnosed and properly treated for a long time and he's pretty normal, and that's why I thought of it.

The question is, is there a way I can suggest testing for Cushing's to this trainer without being confrontational? Or should I just stay quiet? She's a very nice lady, but a bit of a BY trainer considering the methods I've seen her use in training and instructing. I don't want to insinuate that I'm more knowledgeable/have more experience and come off rude, but I hate to see a horse in that condition. Any suggestions are appreciated!

ETA: In my opinion, age is not an excuse for an unhealthfully skinny horse. It may make things harder, but in my and my last two trainers' experiences there is usually an underlying cause that need to be addressed.
natisha and jaydee like this.
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    08-06-2012, 05:10 PM
Green Broke
Just ask her if she's ever considered Cushings as a problem with the horse. She shouldn't get mad about that & if she does so what? At least you tried.
    08-06-2012, 05:23 PM
Green Broke
Just bring it up non-chalantly, referencing the horse that does have cushings. A potential conversation(as you admire the sickly horse):

You: Wow, he reminds me so much of [horse that has cushings]. He has cushings, too!
Her: He doesn't have cushings.
You: Really? He just looks so much like [horse] that I thought he did. Has he been tested?

It's all about tip-toeing around the conversation. And you should be smiling with a friendly demeanor, so as to not come off as confrontational or know-it-all. If you don't want to come off as Mrs. Knows Everything, act like you don't know much about it.
Wallaby and 2BigReds like this.
    08-06-2012, 05:31 PM
Super Moderator

Its really hard to turn a blind eye when you care isn't it and you're in a tough situation
The horse isn't that old and being old doesn't mean a horse should be skinny anyway.
Cushings horses usually have a long thick coat that doesn't shed properly and it tends to have a curly or wavy appearance and doesn't shine. They do look underweight despite eating well and having a big appetite but often have a bloated looking belly (pot belly) with loss of muscle along the top line
They will often drink a huge amount of water daily - far more than a normal horse and also pee a lot more as a result
They are dull and lethargic, look depressed
The hollow above the eyes may protrude outwards
More prone to laminitis and other infections
Not sure if any of this helps or how to suggest you ask the owner tactfully as you'd think they'd notice that their horse wasn't well
2BigReds likes this.
    08-06-2012, 05:59 PM
Natisha, that's the plan! I just don't want to start any more drama at our barn... There was one trainer that got kicked out because of the drama and I want to do my best not to disturb the peace while still addressing the issue is all. :)

Kayella, that's probably the way I'm going to have to do it. Fortunately his stall is right in an area where it's easy to stop and talk.

Jaydee, I'm not sure about him drinking abnormally or the part above the eye protruding (didn't know to look, thanks!), but he never seems to be very energetic when they bring him out and he's certainly not happy in his stall. He pins his ears and shakes his head up and down at any horse that passes by and the rest of the time just hangs his head out looking bored or tired.

I know these people really love their horses, and they love this one to death just as much even though they aren't showing him. All the kids get way excited to bathe him or turn him out or groom him. It's really heartwarming to see that kind of love put into a horse, even when they don't realize he's probably hurting. I only hope that they see it as me trying to love him as well!
    08-06-2012, 08:04 PM
Super Moderator

Since they're new to the barn it might be a good idea to let them settle down first and if you make an effort to be friendly with them and interested without being nosey - if you get what I mean - it might become easier for you to chat about the pony in general. It could just be that he's come from somewhere not so great and is just suffering from being underfed and maybe a bit neglected in general. There are other things that can cause a thick coat, see if his condition improves, I'm sure if it doesn't the barn owner will raise concerns for his well being
2BigReds likes this.
    08-06-2012, 08:43 PM
How long is long enough to settle in, though? They moved in a few months ago. Also the horse doesn't belong to her, but I'm not sure the owner really has any time for him which is why he's in "training", and I use the term loosely since he's really just turned out or ridden very lightly.
    08-06-2012, 09:07 PM
Super Moderator

It just worries me that you'll go rushing in and get an unpleasant response, some people can be like that, I don't know why but that's the way it is. Do you think he looks worse or better since he arrived? Does he seem to always have plenty of food? Maybe they know he has a problem but for some reason don't want to discuss it
Just be careful, your good intentions could kick you in the butt which would be a real shame
2BigReds likes this.
    08-06-2012, 09:11 PM
He seems to be the same as he has been. He certainly gets plenty of hay, 5 flakes/day!
    08-07-2012, 11:55 AM
Super Moderator

As long as he's being fed well and loved and cared for I think if its going to cause bad feeling that might put your own place in the barn at risk you need to take a step back at this point in time and monitor the situation quietly from the sidelines
From my past experiences of life at a horse barn if the pony continues to look in poor condition there will be plenty of other chatter going on about it that will pretty soon reach the ears of the trainer or owner

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