My horse has had a good beating :(
My OTTB arrived last weekend. Due to him having no social skills we kept him by himself for a few days and then he has been turned out with some other horses and ponies and everything was going fine until yesterday.
When I arrived at the yard he had just been in a fight...a very one sided fight because he did not fight back...he just stood and let it happen. He didnt even know to move away from the lashing hooves and bared teeth. He is about 16.1hh and the pony that did this is about 14hh.
His back leg has a nasty gash on it and the other back leg he is resting but there is no swelling. His front leg however was kicked in the shoulder and is swollen to about 3 times the size.
Unfortunately he is being treated for ulcers so giving him bute is not good for the ulcers so he only had it last night to give him some immediate relief. We have been forced to just keep hosing the legs down and treating the open cuts and putting an external ointment for the swelling on his front leg. today he will be seen by the vet to check its just bruising and then will have to start walking to help the swelling...he is putting weight on it and will walk but only if he HAS to.
...im just SO upset. I know he needs to learn these social skills but in the meantime I cant have him getting hurt all the time. I also cant keep him all alone or he will never learn. He is on box rest now and is terribly frustrated because all he wants to do is go out to his new found freedom.
besides that Im just devastated knowing he is hurt. He went for his first outride on Saturday and did so well. He lead the whole way, never spooked at a thing (cars, ATVs, Bicycles, people, dogs and other horses) and now he is stuck in a box and cant be ridden :-(
Is there anyway the he can be put in a paddock next to a horse or the pony? That way they can communicate over the fence, while minimizing the scratches. Once they get more friendly with each other, you can put them together. There will be nicks and bumps, but until he learns manners, I would keep them separated.
For now he has to be box rested. After that im going to have him kept in the arena for a little while. He has impeccible manners, just no social skills. He doesnt understand their body language. He is 4 years old...during that time he was a baby with a mommy to protect him and then went straight into racing. I wont knock the racing industry but the most he did was an hours work out in the mornings and then a half an hour walk at night. The rest of the time the only socialising he did was looking at his neighbour from across the stable door. He has to learn the pecking order and what certain signs mean I suppose.
He spent the first few days grazing alone and has now started to want to be with the others. He had his time meeting and greeting across the fence for a few days. Maybe I need to take him back to square one and try and introduce him even slower.
He might just need a better horse to socialize him. One of my horses "buddies" was also immediately stalled and put in private turnout after weaning until he was 4. My horse is dominant, but not aggressive and does not attack unprovoked, however he will tell this little guy when he is out of line. He kicked him once when they were first out together (and that is the only physical confrontation they had) when the little guy walked straight into my horse's bum, the kick just grazed his chest and despite having back shoes there was not even bruising or swelling. The middle horse in their little three horse "herd" has no interest in the little guy. None come in with bites or kicks and mine must encourage the others to destroy his clothing because theirs is fine and he is obviously alpha.
I would not turn my horse out with a horse who attacks him for no reason, having no social skills is not an excuse. My horse was raised in a healthy herd where babies grew up in the herd so I think that's why he has a good grasp of how to "teach" social skills. The little guy follows him around sometimes too haha its pretty cute - like he's trying to observe how to be a horse :P
Good luck and maybe have him only over the fence until you can find him a better teacher that won't attack him!
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He made one instant friend, they stand for hours and groom each other...the oddest companions! Unfortunately we are waiting for the owners of the property to connect the electricity for the fences so we can electrify the them (it's a new yard) and until then a fence means very little to these horses and ponies. Im going to have him kept in the arena for a while.
I was going to move him to a different yard where this is not an issue but I decided to just let him settle a bit before being moved AGAIN.
You are right, his "lack of social skills" is not really the problem because he is so placid and calm and friendly with everyone.
A horse that's never been allowed to develop social skills should never of been thrown to the wolves and expected a different outcome. An established herd has a hierarchy that you have to respect with adding new horses. The pony felt that his place in the herd was threatened so he needed to put the new horse in his place and make sure that he stays below him. He has alot of lifestyle changes that he is having to deal with. Just figuring out the grazing can be a challenge. You've identified one horse that isn't a threat to him. Put the two of them together even if it's just the arena for a month giving him some time to adjust and figure things out. Evaluate where he is at before you attempt to put him out with the group. Remove the killer pony for the first few days.
Moving him isn't going to solve the problem. He is going to get pushed around no matter who is he turned out it. This isn't a problem unique to the racing industry. I see it all the time with home raised foals that just don't have the opportunity to interact with multiple horses at a young age.
Well he is on box rest at the moment and his swelling has come right down. I walked him last night and hosed him down and this morning the swelling has really come down. He is walking very soundly and the vet said he is just bruised and will be fine in a few days. Fortunately the pony that did this never had shoes on or it would have been much worse.
He has become quite close to the one mare who is boxed next door to him and when he is ready he will be turned out with her for as long as need be and then see how he goes. They are very affectionate with each other so they will be alone for a while and then he will have others added as he goes.
I gave my BO the leeway of making the decision of how to turn him out because I am not there during the week and with whom because she knows the horses and ponies better than me. Lesson learned, we go back to basics and take it slower.
I saw the pony's owner yesterday evening, she was very apologetic even though it is not her fault and said he has done this a few times before. He did the same thing to the 17hh mare I used to lease at this yard 2 days after she arrived when he broke into her stall, cornered her and kicked her even worse than what he has done to mine. Seems he is the problem. None of the other horses have done anything but show a keen interest in him.
Can you substitute Previcox for the Bute? It will help with pain management without, I believe, aggravating the ulcers.
I dont know that drug, not sure if it one we get here in South Africa. His pain is under control though. He is walking soundly now and went out yesterday with his stable mate for a few hours and is much happier. I found that making him walk for half an hour or so twice a day has helped more than anything, along with a good long hosing
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