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Serious Question Regarding Behavioral Issues in Horse (Long) Please Read!

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    01-03-2013, 06:43 AM
  #11
Trained
I'd certainly try turning him out for 6 months first.
But if he doesn't improve from there I'd tend to agree with tiny liny. A horse that completely loses its brain to the point of risking serious injury to itself, is an increasingly dangerous horse. I have had one of them - it was sold cheaply as a companion as I did not want a bar of it.
A good horse costs as much to keep as a bad horse. I've learnt to not waste time with horses that don't have a brain. It's not worth getting killed for.
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    01-03-2013, 07:32 AM
  #12
Foal
If you've worked with these rescues before you are aware it's a dangerous situation. I agree with a lot of the statements that these horses are used to routine and you're going to need to develop one ASAP. What we may consider bad ground manners is not a challenge to track handlers.

I personally would back off anything new for a bit and let him decompress. Race horses are not put in a confined wash area. They are normally bathed with a hose and bucket in an open area. Guess all barns are different but I've never seen them stand cross tied, at least not in the traditional way.

See how he responds to a stall or pasture buddy - a small pony or goat. Do not turn him out in a herd. He does not know how to be a horse, he has been a machine his entire life.

This is such a long process, you may want to contact one of the thoroughbred rescues. There's no sense in taking the chance of making things worse for both of you.
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    01-03-2013, 09:03 AM
  #13
Started
You have had this horse two and a half years and nothing has changed. It is time to move on and cut your losses. You have experence with rescue horses so behaviour issues you are experienced with but still, two and a half years have gone by and you persist. Have you tried having blood tests for mineral imballance. Also check the feed, cut out all grains and only feed cool feed. Mico toxins can have an effect on behavour so get a supplement that will bind those toxins and remove them. It will take a couple of months to see any results. Mico toxins do not show up in blood tests
Any feed that has rhye grass, clover, to name only two or has fungas will have mico toxins.
And after all of that you still may have to make the hard decision and do what is best for the horse and yourself. Does it sound to you like the horse has a good life, or torment.
     
    01-03-2013, 09:08 AM
  #14
Yearling
Well, here's the deal.

I got him after he had been down for a few months. His last race was April 2010, I got him at the very end of August 2010.

We took everything slow, and like I said, under saddle, I never have problems with him. By Summer 2012, we were schooling 2'9 to 3'3 and showing 2'3/2'6. He was the perfect jumper.

It's his ground issues that make the problem. He has always been cross tied, so he usually stands pretty well in the barn, I've had maybe two problems with barn cross ties since I've had him. It's just the wash stall. When I hose him outside, just holding him, he spins around me and makes it difficult to keep still.

Also, his stall makes no difference. The farrier tried everything, stall, barn, outside, chute, etc. He didn't care. He didn't want those shoes. That's why resorting to the sedatives.

As for his past, his owner didn't tell me much. She told me he was a bit hot, but every time I emailed her with questions about his problem, I didn't get much of an answer. She's had him since he was born, she bred him. So I'm not sure if she's covering something up or what.

I love him to death, but I just wish I could settle this whole freak out issue with EVERYTHING. One of you asked, and yeah, it pretty much comes out of no where. Last night, he reared up in his stall and fell to the ground, all over a tube of wormer. I tried showing it to him, etc. He would spin around his stall unless I had a lead rope on him, then he would just start to rear if I tried to come close to his face with it. Yet, if I put the wormer tube down and picked up treats or even just went toward his face with my bare hand, he was fine.

Edited to add:
Also for the "time off" you all have suggested, I am currently going to school in Florida and he is in Maryland. He hasn't been ridden since August. The only time he is brought out of the field is to eat, or get his feet done. My mom and boyfriend go out occasionally just to pet him and feed him treats, but other than that, he's had the last 4 months to be a horse.
     
    01-03-2013, 09:39 AM
  #15
Trained
He sounds like he's a pretty opinionated character, and has been manhandled because of it. They don't have much time to mess with horses like him so they resort to brute force.
Dewormer: I've seen plenty of horses putting up a big fight, most of them non-member race horses. But I've seen a lot of them doing it because they learned they can get away with it. Don't show him the dewormer. Get a large syringe, fill it with applesauce, or molasses, watered down, and " treat him with it. Si he learns there's a goodie coming with a tube of any kind shoved in his mouth. Once he takes it eagerly, you won't have a problem with the dewormer tube( not that he won't hate you for it once you " cheated" him, lol), and continue to applesauce- tube him after.
He might be lacking certain minerals, as mentioned before, magnesium comes to mind. Get him a supplement. Might just take the edge off enough.
Don't put him in cross ties, do the grooming etc, in his stall, tie him there, leave the escape way open, for your safety.
If he gets treats for just being there already, work with treats, too. Do baby steps, if he stands for hosing one leg, shove a treat in BEFORE he snaps and leave it at that. Then next time, do two legs, and so on.
When cleaning his hooves, tap the shoe like a farrier would put a nail in, with the hoof pick, and again, treat.

AND tell us what he currently eats....a change of diet to a lower"octane" feed might help.
     
    01-03-2013, 11:03 AM
  #16
Yearling
He's on a Southern States 10/10 grain, the exact name I'm not sure of off the top of my head. He is going back out to be a "field ornament" until I come home in the summer. So, he will have more of the time off you all have suggested. I will also begin with the suggestions you have. I just wish I could get inside his head and figure out what causes his problems.

I will never sell him to someone as a riding horse, and I really would like to avoid putting him down, as I don't think that's fair to him either. I have considered looking into a 'retirement' for him, finding someone with a field looking for a companion horse. He loves to eat treats and be brushed and petted. He really is a sweet horse, it's just he has a past that seems to be keeping him from having a future.

And as for the person who mentioned me having him for two years and him not changing. He makes GREAT progress, then just snaps back. When I was trailering him out a few times a month, he would settle nicely, then one day, we'd go and he would just freak. He tried to drag me out of the trailer one day. His issue is he catches you off guard. He had been to the same place a few times before and was perfect. Same type of day, same amount of horses. It just confuses me. He will get so good, then randomly freak out.

I'm considering retiring him to pasture, pulling his shoes (he's okay for the farrier if it's just for a trim), and letting him be fat.

He's only 9, he'll be 10 in May, so I don't feel like it's fair to cut his life short because he's not made to be a riding horse.
     
    01-03-2013, 11:16 AM
  #17
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotxhorses    
Well, here's the deal.

I got him after he had been down for a few months. His last race was April 2010, I got him at the very end of August 2010.

We took everything slow, and like I said, under saddle, I never have problems with him. By Summer 2012, we were schooling 2'9 to 3'3 and showing 2'3/2'6. He was the perfect jumper.

It's his ground issues that make the problem. He has always been cross tied, so he usually stands pretty well in the barn, I've had maybe two problems with barn cross ties since I've had him. It's just the wash stall. When I hose him outside, just holding him, he spins around me and makes it difficult to keep still.

Also, his stall makes no difference. The farrier tried everything, stall, barn, outside, chute, etc. He didn't care. He didn't want those shoes. That's why resorting to the sedatives.

As for his past, his owner didn't tell me much. She told me he was a bit hot, but every time I emailed her with questions about his problem, I didn't get much of an answer. She's had him since he was born, she bred him. So I'm not sure if she's covering something up or what.

I love him to death, but I just wish I could settle this whole freak out issue with EVERYTHING. One of you asked, and yeah, it pretty much comes out of no where. Last night, he reared up in his stall and fell to the ground, all over a tube of wormer. I tried showing it to him, etc. He would spin around his stall unless I had a lead rope on him, then he would just start to rear if I tried to come close to his face with it. Yet, if I put the wormer tube down and picked up treats or even just went toward his face with my bare hand, he was fine.

Edited to add:
Also for the "time off" you all have suggested, I am currently going to school in Florida and he is in Maryland. He hasn't been ridden since August. The only time he is brought out of the field is to eat, or get his feet done. My mom and boyfriend go out occasionally just to pet him and feed him treats, but other than that, he's had the last 4 months to be a horse.
Hmmmm since I've worked in the racing industry (majority of my horse career) I can offer some advice.

There's a whole pile of things going on here. It's a combination of:

Breeding - (let's face it, racehorses are bred for speed, not nice personalities!)
Handling - on your part, the previous owners part and at the track - either poor or not firm and consistent enough
History - the nature of his life, the routine, the feed, the high energy

You need to change what you can change, you cannot change his histroy and you cannot change what has been genetically given to him.

I would give this horse a spell, as you are doing. I would also re-enter my approach to this horse with a plan. A consistent straight forward routine. Lots and lots and lots of groundwork.

And my biggest piece of advice, is to soothe this horse into submission (not coddling, not treats) a low ho-hum voice, gentle gentle handling.....that is how I dealt with the explosive horses at the track. One thing at a time, low soothing voice.

He sounds very fearful, but he also sounds as though he has been in charge for a while.

This may or may not be feasible, but if I were you, to get to understand the nature of this horses previous life and to gain some skills in handling these types of horses in an everyday environment I would get a part time job at the track in Florida for a time to really see what goes on.

The handlers at the track learn to deal with these horses in a relaxed way, you get so used to them jigging and jogging and stuff that you can just take it in stride - its not considered bad manners (unless they're trampling you!) it's just the nature of the industry, when I started at the track I had for the most part walk horses (and ride some) back and forth to the track all morning, in any weather, walking two at a time or riding one and ponying two for about 2 kms there and 2 home. There were plenty of explosions, horses running away, getting dragged, stepped on etc.....These horses aren't routinely beaten, that is a myth. They are treated like athletes. If a handler has beaten a horse, mistreated a horse in anyway they are either fired or reprimanded in a big way....atleast where I come from.
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    01-03-2013, 11:18 AM
  #18
Trained
I really like your attitude about his life after...

He might just need to re-learn good behaviour.
After his turnout time, start him like a youngster.
Try the magnesium, it won't hurt.
Tap his shoes with the pic, like I said, he might have been hurt during shoeing.

Never let your guard down with horses, always think ahead. With ANY horse.

He might be doing better with a non-grain feed. He might be doing better with a zero- oats feed, I had a couple of TB's who would go completely crazy and out of control when eating just a tiny amount of oats.
     
    01-03-2013, 11:23 AM
  #19
Yearling
Okay, and yeah. I can deal with the wiggling around, I've dealt with plenty of horses like that, because that's easy to fix over time. Honestly, I prefer when he's wiggling sometimes, because when he locks up, nothing good ever comes from it. It's like he's preparing for an explosion. So usually I try to keep him moving until he's relaxed, even if it's just to graze.

I don't like to yell at him, I try to bring us eye to eye and talk to him. Last night when I was trying to worm him, I talked to him for almost an hour. Just telling him how I felt and how I just wanted to get it over. He stood eye to eye the whole time and didn't move. He was silent.

I don't mind taking the time to do stuff with him, but when he is rearing and flipping himself over and coming down on top of me, or running forward straight into/over me to get past, it's a tough.

Fear is fine, I am more than willing to help him in any way I can, but when his fear is combined with a lack of respect or concern for his own safety or mine, it becomes frustrating.

I don't show fear, I try to keep my calm, and just take him and myself for a walk or talk to him and reapproach it, he doesn't seem to care.
     
    01-03-2013, 11:26 AM
  #20
Yearling
This was a double post, so I erased everything off of it. Sorry!!
     

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