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MAJOR tying problem. Please help

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    01-03-2013, 07:30 PM
  #61
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsesdontlie    
For those wondering about a plain seizure this is what it looks like: Very scary (warning), but very distinguishable. They can't stand so in a sense they don't 'pull back', twisting in odd angles twitching.

Morgan Mare Having Siezure 3/29/11 - YouTube

Here is some random thoughts because I had a bit of the same issue and some peoples comments reminded me off it. I had a horse that would 'daze out' then freak out, pull back and throw himself to the ground. He did it more because of a saddling issue but maybe the dazing out could be the same thing? It might be from a pinched nerve which we were guessing with for Jake, some sort of cinch problem.

Here is the post I made and what people said a while ago :
Click Here

Jake had no problems with tying...ever. I could tie him to anything and everything, I could probably have tied him with a rope around his neck. He was just that responsive and calm with ropes. He was never concerned with being caught or tight. To even give an example of this he once rubbed up against a fence post, got the side buckle of his halter caught on the gate and was stuck with his head unable to move, in a high uncomfortable spot. I had been putting another horse back and saw him stuck from about 300 yards away. He didn't move until I was able to walk up to him, get a rope around his neck and unlatch his halter.

Yet just one day out of the blue I saddled him up, he lowered his head down low (like he was sedated, very relaxed) took a few steps back, hit the end of the lead rope and went nuts. He thrashed hard before practically throwing himself to the ground. He had been in cross ties so I was able to grab his lead rope and unclip the cross ties, and he didn't get up. It took him a few minutes and he tried getting up when he was 'out' of it still and just threw himself over backwards again. Without being tied. I ended up sitting on his head that time until he seemed to come back, his breathing slowed, he was looking around and he was relax, then I let him up and he was fine.

I worked with him for months giving to pressure but it seemed pointless because he showed no signs of anxiety from being tied. The next episode didn't happen until a year later. Then randomly since.

The main thing I learned to recognize were the signs. When he would daze out I would untie him and stand back and just wait. Most of the time he would come out of it a little panicky, trying to rush off or run backwards. But 90% of the time as long as he wasn't tied he wouldn't flip, just want to rush off.

I have a video of the warning signs, they were provoked as I normally worked around them. Notice when I try to pick up his legs he leans back and looses his balance. If tied he would lean back hit the end and freak. At 0:46 he comes out of it and is better.

Jake's Saddle Issue [[Subbers Ignore]] - YouTube
So, you think all seizure are the same? And all horses act the same before and after? Doubt it.
     
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    01-03-2013, 07:50 PM
  #62
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by franknbeans    
So, you think all seizure are the same? And all horses act the same before and after? Doubt it.
No, not all the same. Some can be mild and some can be major. Its similar as in people. Typically the way seizures happen, the contraction of muscles often result in the animals contorting themselves. Whether this be in people or horses. My cousin who had severe epilepsy had both minor an major seizures. I grew up around it. Every time he would turn sideways bring his arms and legs closer to his mid section with muscle quivering, and open mouth. That was always considered a mild, he would be very very stiff and not necessarily thrashing. He could remain in a sitting position, but could not stand. Often he required someone to help support him. A grand mal would leave him on the ground with all body parts thrashing.

Some animals go in and come out calmly, more relaxed than before and after the seizure. Others will go into a seizure as a 'spook', or they come out of it ready to attack anything near them. I have never seen an animal that can stand while having a seizure. Or one that would show extreme behavior for any time longer than 10 seconds before a seizure. (If the horse was pulling back for 2 minutes) Once down the animal would not just lay there, its muscles would still be stiff, or rapidly contracting.

I have also seen multiple dogs and cats have seizures and once you recognize it, you wouldn't mistake a horse pulling back out of panic (or choice) compare to an animal having a seizure. This is the point I was trying to make with my experience with both my cousin and working as a vet assistant. That if it was a seizure, there are typically very tell tale signs.

It still sounds like it could be something neurological, chemical misfires, or something. Or it could be a pinched nerve....there so much it could be. I would be very hesitant to say that the horse is having a seizure.
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    01-03-2013, 07:58 PM
  #63
Showing
I've sometimes wondered if horses that "retreat" begin to think they are being attacked, thus the explosive reaction when they come back to reality. The fearful horse I had (no longer) would zone out 5 0r 6 times but only if a lead rope was involved. I learned to watch his eyes when he was retreating. I would stop what I was doing, maybe just trimming his mane, remove the lead and move him laterally to try to keep his focus on me. I eventually figured out that all our work would be done at liberty not even a halter. 30 days went by before he retreated. Progress. Then it was months. Altho he's not completely fixed his explosive reaction is now a momentary tensing of his body. And not very often. He can now be on a lead rope and no more reacting. I don't tie him up as he doesn't need to be tied.
     
    01-03-2013, 08:07 PM
  #64
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsesdontlie    
No, not all the same. Some can be mild and some can be major. Its similar as in people. Typically the way seizures happen, the contraction of muscles often result in the animals contorting themselves. Whether this be in people or horses. My cousin who had severe epilepsy had both minor an major seizures. I grew up around it. Every time he would turn sideways bring his arms and legs closer to his mid section with muscle quivering, and open mouth. That was always considered a mild, he would be very very stiff and not necessarily thrashing. He could remain in a sitting position, but could not stand. Often he required someone to help support him. A grand mal would leave him on the ground with all body parts thrashing.

Some animals go in and come out calmly, more relaxed than before and after the seizure. Others will go into a seizure as a 'spook', or they come out of it ready to attack anything near them. I have never seen an animal that can stand while having a seizure. Or one that would show extreme behavior for any time longer than 10 seconds before a seizure. (If the horse was pulling back for 2 minutes) Once down the animal would not just lay there, its muscles would still be stiff, or rapidly contracting.

I have also seen multiple dogs and cats have seizures and once you recognize it, you wouldn't mistake a horse pulling back out of panic (or choice) compare to an animal having a seizure. This is the point I was trying to make with my experience with both my cousin and working as a vet assistant. That if it was a seizure, there are typically very tell tale signs.

It still sounds like it could be something neurological, chemical misfires, or something. Or it could be a pinched nerve....there so much it could be. I would be very hesitant to say that the horse is having a seizure.

I assure you there are many presentations, other than just minor and major. There are NOT always telltale signs. ( I am a nurse, so did not just fall off the truck yesterday). For example, my sons dog has seizure activity that looks like he is biting at flies. Still-seizure. Not classic :tell tale signs-almost more like a tic, but the vet has classed it as seizure. A horse that goes down, as opposes to up, is not necessarily pulling back. That is an unusual presentation for "pulling back".
     
    01-03-2013, 08:21 PM
  #65
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by franknbeans    
I assure you there are many presentations, other than just minor and major. There are NOT always telltale signs. ( I am a nurse, so did not just fall off the truck yesterday). For example, my sons dog has seizure activity that looks like he is biting at flies. Still-seizure. Not classic :tell tale signs-almost more like a tic, but the vet has classed it as seizure. A horse that goes down, as opposes to up, is not necessarily pulling back. That is an unusual presentation for "pulling back".
Well I can say I learned something new today then. Its so hard to pick and choose information to know, if the person your talking to knows more or less than you do. I guess my relative understanding for seizure did not include things like tics and smaller more singular muscle contractions. So can any sort of uncontrolled muscle contraction be considered a seizure? Including HYPP?

Just from what I was understanding from what the OP posted was that the horse pulled back, thrashed for a period of time and then eventually trashed so hard that they fell.

My own horse had a tendency to go down instead of up with his issue. Yet he had no signs muscle contraction at all, more like he would panic without any coordination. Like he was out of it and didn't fully come back before he thrashed. I thought it was possibly coming from the endorphin release of when a horse shuts down. (As in the TAP) after I tightened the cinch, that would make him out of it and panicky.
     
    01-03-2013, 08:50 PM
  #66
Banned
Decided on plan of action

Hi all! I logged on and read a lot of the new responses earlier today with my phone, but am just now back at home and my computer to write a response. 2013 has really decided to start off with a bang this year! I had to take my german shepherd into the vet school for a draining cyst (ugh. Spare yourself the trauma of asking for details) and on the way back home my car stalled and smoke decided to pour out of the hood. Apparently my radiator is blown. Well when it doesn't rain it pours, right? Ha!

First off I would like to thank everyone for their advice, similar stories, and different ways to look at the cause and possible ways to go about diagnosing his issue. After careful consideration I have decided on the following plan of action:

1. I am really interested in the test for 'misfiring' brain waves that free mare mentioned. However, something of that magnitude financially is not in the playing cards for me right now. I have ample money I have saved for vet fees, but his stifle fracture and sacroilliac injury and his diagnosis of ulcers all within the last 8 or so months has really drained the account and I do not feel like the brain wave test is plausible right now. I will keep it in mind for the future.

2. I am planning on putting a call into my vet from MSU tomorrow to discuss possible additional options and asking him for some insight in the matter. Perhaps he will be able to point me in a training vs mental health direction.

3. As saddlebag and others have mentioned, teaching him to ground tie is a great way to get around this if it is truly a "behavior" problem. I have already been working on the "stand" command with him, and that is something we will continue in the future. He is coming along nicely and I until I get a further handle on things I will proboably use this method as a substitute for tying.

4. I am also going to continue working with him on releasing to massive amounts of pressure applied to his poll. Not that I plan on applying massive amounts of pressure .. but I think it was Muppetgirl who theorized that maybe he was exerting so much pressure on himself that it was causing him to freak out when he really decided to pull back. As she also suggested, I will probably tie him in a normal nylon halter for once to see if his freak outs are any less mild once he immediately is freed. If so, I believe that will point to more of a training problem and we will go back to square one.

I am always on my guard with Drifter, because I know he has this problem. Anyone who has daily contact with him also knows of his problem. I make sure to let people know so that no one will ever truly be taken by surprise. As it stands, he for sure has a forever home with me so if it is just a tying quirk (or even if it is a 'misfire') I will work with it and adapt my methods to handle myself and him safely. I will keep you updated on how the talk with my vet goes, and any new things I discover.

I also appreciate the advice that many of yall gave about keeping a note of what the scene is like before he freaks. I have decided to just keep a daily riding journal. I have a few friends at the barn who do it, and maybe it will help me be able to look back and say "hmm. This was a common factor both times when he freaked".

Again I appreciate it all! I have been stumped by him for a while, and the trainer advice I got (twitches, parelli, etc) never seemed to me like it would be beneficial. I enjoy having this site to reach other more knowledgable horse owners. Thanks everyone!
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    01-03-2013, 09:56 PM
  #67
Foal
It sounds like possibly a neurological problem to me but before you spend everything you have on tests has your horse seen a chiropractor? Because no matter what he definitely needs one after all that pulling but maybe his previous owner was more hash with his head and his pole is out SEVERELY and maybe every once in a while he hits it just right when he pulls back and it's really painful. Like I said this might not be what's wrong but no matter if it fixes the issue or not he needs it anyways and who knows it might be a miracle and you don't have to spend a ton of money. Ps I skipped a couple pages so if someone else said this already sorry:)
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    01-04-2013, 05:08 AM
  #68
Weanling
I do think pain is a possibility as well. However, I believe people are far more likely to think horses have neurological problems or serious training issues rather than simply the "fight or flight" reaction to fear.

The horse is trained to tie. There is nothing more you could have done to teach the horse to tie. Now I will argue that if you take any horse and send a jet plane flying straight at their head, if they have any brain cells working they will not stand there and let it kill them but will try to get away. No matter how "broke" they are.

Some horses, and I've met more than one, will misinterpret smaller things in the same manner most horses would interpret a jet plane flying straight at their head. Some people say this is "crazy," but it may just be their perception of the world based on their hearing or eyesight. For one of my horses, this can be a bee zooming in close to her ear, a chain saw starting up a half mile away, or other somewhat minor stimuli.

For these horses, their biggest fear in life is being trapped and unable to get away. If they know they absolutely cannot get free when they are tied, then when they perceive that their life is in imminent danger it will produce such a panic in them that they will struggle to the point of hurting themselves.

I had two such incidents as you describe with my horse. After the first one, I tried many interventions to truly make sure she was trained to tie. She absolutely knows how to tie in any situation. Unless her life is in danger (or she thinks it is). The second time it happened was enough for me. Why does the horse need to be tied? It's not safe to leave a horse tied without supervision anyway. So if you are around the area and your horse is not running off, just loop the rope around something or use a tie blocker ring. No expensive tests necessary.

If your horse lifestyle requires that your horse stands tied, just use something that will easily break so your horse can get loose on the rare occasion he feels he must. Thin leather lead lines are great. I would be afraid to tie in a rope halter anyway since I've experienced how difficult it can be to get a quick release knot loose in a true emergency and I want a halter on my horse that will break.

I would assume logically that if your horse had a serious neurological problem it would not only present itself when the horse was tied, but when the horse was being ridden or out in the pasture as well. If it is a pain response, then not tying securely will solve this issue as well. If your well-trained horse starts trying to leave when he knows he is not tied securely, then you can easily train him to do so, it sounds like.
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    01-04-2013, 05:15 AM
  #69
Weanling
Sorry for the double post but I wanted to add that when my horse gets seriously frightened now, she calms down the instant she realizes that she could get away if she needed to. Whatever it was that startled her becomes minimal in her mind once she knows she is not trapped, and she has not once pulled a lead completely free from where it was looped since I started "not tying" her.
     
    01-04-2013, 04:52 PM
  #70
Showing
Shadow, as your ground tieing work continues and he gets better at it I think you will find that behaviour stops. When he is really solid about being ground tying put him behind a corral panel or wooden fence while you go on the other side. Use a long rope and hold the rope as tho he's tied. Should he pull back, let him do so. Just bring him back and try again. He is learning that he can leave without consequence.
     

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