Dealing with the Stressed-Out Stallion - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Dealing with the Stressed-Out Stallion

Hey guys, I'm new here and I joined in hope to gain some great feedback from fellow horse people about different challenges in the riders life. So here's my first,

I own a Friesian stud, and he's normally a great well-mannered gentlemanly stallion. considering he's been in training since he was 6 months old and has kept a strict schedule of training, handling, turnout and nutrition. However lately as Dressage conditioning has gotten a lot my serious as we close into the summer show season, he's been dealing with what I suspect is stress. All horses experience stress to some degree and it manifests in different forms, and I believe my boy is dealing from stress due to the mixture of Dressage training, conditioning, and the general Stallion management lifestyle. He tends to become "hotter" (and stronger) when working in the arena lately (especially around other horses so now we work him in the early morning again, when the arena is free.) and is generally being a lot harder to deal with lately. So I was wondering if it was common among other riders who show stallions, that you incorporate a calming agent into their diet? I really havent heard a lot about this topic, but was wondering if it was used within the circuit, and if so what brands tend to work well and what are the general reactions? I'd honestly just like something to take the edge off his stress and get him back to focusing more. I know the most plausible reason would be to cutback on his training schedule, but his management and training has been carefully structured for success in mental stimulation and growth-development as he continues to age. Other variables are that he eats a low starch diet and grass hay, has a vitamin supplement, and a skeletal and muscle supplement. He is not breeding or collecting right now.

Looking for some good feedback. :)
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 08:23 PM
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If he's as stressed out as you say, have you had him looked over for ulcers? Maybe his grain isn't working well with him.

Just a couple things for you to ponder while you wait for people's advice on your stallion.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 08:25 PM
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I have never shown stallions, though I have worked and trained them.

A friend of mine (who sold me both horses I currently own) always feeds a herbal calmer to her stallions when they start to show the stress of training, breeding, and showing. When I got a new mare who stressed the flock out from being moved to the stable, she fed her the calmers and it kept the mare from huting herself beating herself against the stall. I don't know what it was, but I was assured that it was all natural and just herbal.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Sky, he doesn't have ulcers. I'm sure of that. He just had a vet check recently and got A's across the board.

Yadim, thanks yeah if i was to feed my boy a calming agent, i'd make sure it was herbal too. I doubt any of the strong chemical compounds could be very productive with his lifestyle. Plus, there would be the added speculation if the denser compounds had some sort of negative affect to his fertility. Because that has happened to me once with a feed through mediation he had awhile back. (Or we speculated as much since his fertility exam was substantially lower than normal...) :/
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 10:55 PM
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I trained and showed stallions for many years. One summer, I had 10 in the barn and was collecting and breeding four of them.

They got more and harder riding during the breeding season. I was a lot tougher on them and a lot more demanding. I found that if you give them an inch, they tend to take a mile.

I would take a CBC about once a month. I would look for a lowered Red count (which indicates ulcers very often) and I would look just as hard at a very high blood count. It means you are getting him as 'high' as a race horse -- which is totally counter-productive to a horse with his kind of job. I would follow his Blood values monthly (I always did) as they are great indicators of what is going on inside a horse's body and his head.

I would warn against too many supplements. I would not let him even sniff a supplement with liver, iron, or B Complex Vitamins in it. You will only feed him 'up' like a race horse. I would only supplement the fat soluble Vitamins like A, D, and E. I would also make sure he gets enough Magnesium and Calcium. These keep a horse's immune system up and keep a stallion's breeding condition up. Magnesium is the best calming agent I know of.

I would stay away from all other supplements as many of them just unbalance a lot of things or make a horse 'high' as a race horse.

A lot of trainers use Regumate on their stallions. I never did but then I never had a stallion that I thought was capable of placing much higher and doing much better if he just wasn't so studdy. Then, if I had $25,000.00 worth of training in him, I might be tempted. [I'm glad I don't show any more and don't have to make those kinds of decisions any more. I have heard Vets say that using Regumate does not effect a stallion during later breeding, but it is a very strong female hormone, so I cannot imagine that it does not have some kind of adverse effect later on. I know some trainers that have every stud in their barn on Regumate.

But, I would start with a monthly blood count. And really, if your horse was not 'scoped' no Vet can declare one to be free of ulcers.
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-05-2012, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Oh thanks! New information for my Studs support group. No he did not get a scope, so i can schedule that in the next week. (Really that was just my 'i know my stallion' ego blocking me from thinking of getting a scope lol.)

And we've been doing a CBC every six months. He's going to compete for central stallion showing at this years keuring so I was going to just schedule his next one before the show. I will certainly start him on a monthly blood count.

However he is getting vitamins A, D, and E, and quite a lot of Calcium too. But probably not as much magnesium. So Ill add a magnesium supplement to his diet as well. Unfortunately I totally face-palmed when you said to stay away from B-Complex vitamins because his muscle supplement is heavy in that. I can take him off the B-Complex and just keep him on calcium and magnesium, that will be enough to condition him without the added "high." Honestly I dont know why I even put him on B-Complex? He's a friesian, he retains muscle with little effort.

Hopefully if the issue really is diet (which I was suspecting slightly) then I can avoid using a calming agent at all. He's normally very level-headed and has great work-ethic. Hopefully If I can clear the clutter in his mind created by "unbalancing" his diet, I can regain a progressive stud. And I totally know what you mean about hard decisions regarding studs. They truly are the most up-kept and expensive equine experience I've ever had. However my family and I have a strong support group to work with my stud, and honestly If I didn't have the money to support such an undertaking, I never would have.

I could take out the giant hard copy of his vet, training, breeding, and related management bills, and I'm sure we're rather close to reaching 25,000.
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-06-2012, 07:55 AM
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I am glad you are getting him scoped. A top event rider had all his horses scoped for ulcers and was shocked to find that several had ulcers yet had shown no symptoms.

I agree with all that Cherie has said.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-06-2012, 03:33 PM
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Friesian studs are usually pretty laid back! Sorry you are having problems! Does the problem seem to be that he is getting excited about being around the other horses? The Friesian breeding barn I have shown with puts vicks vapor rub lightly in the nostril of the young Friesian stud they show to keep him from getting overwhelmed by all of the "pretty lady" smells. That seemed to help him a lot. I also want to say hi as a fellow Friesian owner! What is your boy's breeding? Attending any IFSHA shows this year?
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-06-2012, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by homehorsetraining View Post
Friesian studs are usually pretty laid back! Sorry you are having problems! Does the problem seem to be that he is getting excited about being around the other horses? The Friesian breeding barn I have shown with puts vicks vapor rub lightly in the nostril of the young Friesian stud they show to keep him from getting overwhelmed by all of the "pretty lady" smells. That seemed to help him a lot. I also want to say hi as a fellow Friesian owner! What is your boy's breeding? Attending any IFSHA shows this year?
Oh Fun! Yeah there aren't many of us Friesian People on Horse Forum. :(
We've used something similar to Vix, its a beeswax that we smudge inside their nostrils a bit, and it does keep any lingering smells from distracting them at shows. My boy is FHANA registered and is out of Sipke 450 and Sjaard 320. I think it's pretty cool that I have Djurre 284 in his bloodline. Also his Stamline is 129. I hope to do some IFSHA (always wanted to compete in costume and saddle seat hacks) but im really concentrating on Dressage shows right now, plus I take his training very carefully. I dont want to overwhelm him or impede is success in Dressage by thinning him out to too many other disciplines. My next big goal would be Show Driving, but thats complicated and i'm willing to wait before I start carriage training him. (Although he does ground drive for Dressage conditioning so I doubt it would be too hard) I'm hoping for Star status during this years Keurings. :)
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-27-2012, 07:45 PM
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I own and show an English Arabian Stallion and he too gets excited and sometimes stressed out and or sore. He is normally a big puppy dog and I have to remind people he is a stallion and not a gelding!

The BEST thing I have found to keep him healthy and happy is Massage Therapy! He absolutely loves it!

Since when we show we use a double bridle I get the massage therapist to massage his tongue and hyoids under his throat and he relaxes in the bridle and just looks content and happy!

Also a trick for at the shows is a hormonal supplement (use just at shows) Called Regumate! (I know it was mentioned before). It is normally used on Mares to help keep them out of heat during shows especially if they are the type to get hyper sensitive at that time.

The actual ingredient in it is just Progesterone. I normally give it to my stud about two days before the show and everyday through the show to the last day. I find by the next day it has already started to wear off.

I have talked to quite a few vets from various areas and all said it will not hurt him or his sperm count in any way.

It just keeps his hormone levels in control so he does not also have the added "studliness" to handle as well as his work and his new environment at the show grounds.

Maybe give him a weekend off and do some massage therapy and stretching with him yourself as an extra bonding day!

I hope I helped in some way. I also have many more experiences if you would like to ask me anything specific! :)

Last edited by Nashinka; 05-27-2012 at 07:50 PM.
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