Illuminating Vet Visit- Some Thoughts Please?
My gelding Xander is an 11 year old QH/TB/Morgan, I have owned him for about a year. He is my first horse, so bear with me ok! :-) I don't exactly have very much experience dealing with this aspect of the horse world, fortunately for me I have access to some very knowledgable people. But, I thought I'd get some totally 'non emotionally involved' opinions.
I jump Xander, we've gone up to around 3'3" and I've shown him (in our one hunter show that I've ever done) at 2'9" schooling hunters. I don't know anything really about his history, as I bought him from a lady who had him in a bad, bad situation. I just saw him and fell in love with him! Then it turned out he is an amazing jumper, and at some point in his life someone had put some good training into him.
Last week I started to have some problems with him, I would get on him and he would start to buck and rear and just be generally uncooperative. The first time he did it, I figured he was just frisky as he had not been outside for two or three days due to sub zero temps (he is body clipped). The next time I went out to ride, two days later, he was the same. This was really unusual for him, hes a generally compliant horse and when hes frisky he usually just gets fast. This was the first time he had really BUCKED since I got him. So, I got off of him and all of a sudden I got the "SOMETHINGS WRONG" surge of intuition. The feeling was so strong I have to admit that I burst into tears! :oops: Well, we called the vet and set up an appointment for her to come and give him a once over, as this was really unusual behavior for him.
The vet appointment was today, and I couldn't be there, as I was at school. The barn manager filled me and my mom in and here's whats up.
He needs the chiropractor, that one's easy, the barn manager is actually setting up a day for her (chiropractor) to come to the barn and do a whole bunch of horses. So he will be seen in the next week or two. Until then, no riding so that his back doesn't get anymore out of alignment. However, its been suggested that I keep him moving so that he doesn't tense/stiffen up to much more before he gets seen. So here is my first question: whats the best way to keep him moving? Lunging, in hand work...? I'm not sure whats best for him.
Next, the vet said his joints are really dry and he needs some help. My barn manager suggested I start him on Pentosan, which is what all their competition horses (AQHA) get. She said it was the best thing to keep him comfortable for the level of jumping we want to do and the amount of competition I was hoping to do this summer. So, next question: some opinions/information on Pentosan? Will it make a lot of difference in his joints? Experiences with it helping/not helping? I really want to keep jumping him, and he practically lives for jumping, but of course his comfort and welfare is my first priority.
Next, he is a fairly anxious/high energy horse. Its been recommended by my trainer, barn manager, barn owner, and vet that he be put on a calming supplement. My vet actually has suspicions that he has a magnesium deficiency, causing him to get more upset and be harder to calm down than other horses. So, i agree that he needs it. But, here's the problem, he is the pickiest horse ever!:evil: He wont eat any supplement that I put in his grain, no matter what I do to it. I've mixed in molasses, wet his grain, mixed in applesauce, made into a 'cookie' with oats and molasses and ground peppermint. All to no avail! The vet also suggested I put him on a digestion supplement because of his anxiety and the amount I want to travel, to keep him from getting ulcers. And, I want to give him an electrolyte in the summer. So, does anyone have any suggestions to get him to eat his supplements?
Ok, so that kind of turned into a novel :oops: so kudos to anyone who read the whole thing! I really need some help/opinions/experiences.
Thank you! :D
I hope Xander is well soon. (He has an awesome name, btw!)
However - sorry, if this offends someone, because I know and hope that everyone cares for their horses according to their best intentions - but I feel that so many problems could be resolved if only people tried giving their horses 24/7 turnout and living conditions, that are maximally close to their natural ones. They don't need being protected from weather, they need unaffected coat and maximum turnout. They don't need complicated supplements, they need movement. They don't need calmers, they need movement - anxiousness just comes from not being able to fulfill what they are - nomadic animals that are built for large doses of daily movement, grazing and herd life! Ulcers, anxiousness, joint problems, digestive problems - it can all be prevented! The best for any horse - is being a horse!
OP, I do believe that you love your horse and care for him. Good luck in your decisions and I really don't want to start an argument, as I respect choices that differ from mine. Some things just sadden me. Regarding feeding supplements - try adding cold pressed linseed oil or natural apple cider vinegar to his feed - that sometimes pleases fussy eaters. And try not to mix all the supplements in at once - maybe he just dislikes some or one of them.
Even though some people would say that my horse has an overcomplicated life, too many blankets, too many supplements. I would just have to point out the AQHAs kept at my barn who get little to no turnout, are kept under lights, and blanketed to the hilt (300 grams of insulation in a heated 50* barn).
Don't want an argument either, just my opinion.
Turn out and light work in a round pen probably would be best for the activity part of the equation. He looks quite scopey in the photo over the fence.. so when he comes back on line for riding he probably does not need a lot of practice jumping. If YOU need practice OTOH, are there other horses you can ride?
You have a Nice horse. THe only other horse I had contact with that did have joint issues that was kept on the circuit was a horse that had to have injections in his hocks. Worked well for him.. he was a hunter champion actually.
BTW you can try putting a little molasses on his feed to get him to eat the supplement. NOT A LOT.. just enough to make it "interesting."
I can maybe help with the getting him to eat a supplement, as I had a VERY picky eater on my hands as well! I had to give a small scoop of bute to my old arthritic horse (as prescribed by the vet) and he was a horribly picky eater.
The key to introducing a new food, is to introduce it pain-stakingly SLOOOOOW. I'm talking sprinkles for the first week, or longer. I would spray the feed with water to get it moist, just so that the powder would "stick" to the feed, and not be lost on the bottom. For my horse, he liked Purina Molene 200 sweet feed mix. So use what your horse likes.
Once you get him eating a "dusting" of the supplement, do just a hair more for the next week. And then a hair more the next. It's a really, really slow process, and it may take longer than you'd like, but if you present it nice and slow, you'll get your picky eater eating it!
I don't really have anything of value to add to the whole supplement question haha, as I'm not a huge fan of giving my guy any. But I'm kinda with Saranda on this one.
I don't personally agree with everything that she said but I think what she said about turnout has some value. My horse is a big Dutch Warmblood, 3'6 hunter at AA shows, shown every show season, chiro/massage every month, jumps 3 times a week and hacked every other day except for one. He is pretty much as high-maintanance as it gets...and he is not on ANY supplements, extra feed, nothing. He lives outside 24/7 and has never had a soundness issue, colic, etc. I live in Canada and even when it gets down to -50, he still stays outside with 2 blankets as he is full body clipped. So no excuses for your guy to not go out under -12 haha! ;) Our indoor horses even go out until it gets below -25 and they compete grand prix. Sometimes as horse owners we think of what WE would find as comfortable or desirable for US - our horse's definition of comfort is often different. I've had not one health problem with him for the 4 years I have had him - turnout for horses is an incredibly useful and beneficial thing for them to have.
Now he got severely hurt in September and has been on full stall rest ever since. He has coliced twice, lost about 50% of his body weight and has become really depressed. Granted, I know that some of his consequential health problems are due to his original injury, but even when we travel to shows and he stays in a stall all weekend he looses a ton of weight, gets colicy and a little depressed.
So in my personal opinion, horses need turnout (longer than a couple hours) to live healthy, functional lives. Now, I have nothing against chiro/massage - my guy loves it and I find it helps him tons with jumping. He's straighter, rounder and jumps more loosely, just what you want in a hunter! Just try things that are more natural for a horse before pumping them full of supplements (calming, ulcer, pain, etc). If that has no effect then for sure go try them! I just find they are often over-used and not really necessary. ;)
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i would NOT put a body clipped horse out in -12F, that is not fair to them, especially if they are not used to the cold. i dont know what its like where you live OP, but our weather has been crazy here. 50F one day and 0F the next and -15F the next. it is very hard on a horses body.
as for supplements, they can help your horse a lot, especially if he is deficient in something. have you tried smartpak ? they are really good at giving free samples, that way you can try 3 days of a supplement before you spend a ton of money on it. all you have to do is call them up and ask.
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As for the temperature. The BO decided not to put almost ANY horses that day. It was icy> I'd rather him NOT break a leg.
As for the supplement thing. Well thats just dandy that your horse never gets lame. But mine is. So he obviously needs something.
Really sorry that sounded so snippy, but I posted this thread asking about exercise, Pentosan, and a picky eater. Not to have my horses living habits questioned when I'm doing the best I can.
And now I am afraid I am going to be attack about the Reserpine, here we go...
Thanks for your response! :)
Oh gosh, smartpak haha. Well.... we have tried i believe 7 or 8 different taste tests. Nothin' doin' :(
And yes my weather has been insane too! I'm in New England, 50 degreees yesterday and hovering around 0 today.
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