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Suddenly anxious in grooming
My TB gelding is usually a super calm dude. We had a couple weeks of very dry and cold weather and the nights were in the 28-30s, days a little higher (f).
One day 2 weeks ago I took him for a 40min walk with his winter blanket on; came back to the barn and thought I would do a massage since he'd been moving. Took off the blanket and began doing light strokes on the shoulder, and as I began doing a slightly deeper stroke he jerked and pulled away from me; snorting in anxiety. It was as if he had been shocked. There weren't any sparks or sounds of static, so I am not certain what happened. Since then, he has been super sensitive to being groomed. He does that snorting blowing thing as I groom him. I've been careful to use the softest brushes, begin at his hind and work up toward his seemingly more sensitive neck and shoulder. He is partially clipped.
I didn't see any evidence of bruising on his shoulders and he moves fine. Its just that anxious snorting as if he's expecting a shock. I've never seen him so edgey. Is it a cold dry weather thing, or are horses more sensitive to cold weather on their neck and shoulders?
I would assume it was static even if you didn't notice anything. Is he ok with the blanket?
Just go slow and don't make a big deal out of brushing.
Could just be the weather making him a bit twitchy, I've one mare like that. When the temp stays the same shes fine, but if it takes a dip she's even "afraid" of her halter. The fence, her feed bin... The pony lol And would be flinchy about being brushed, petted. Everything. However he could also be in pain... you never know, I'd try applying Liniment for a few days, and if that does nothing have a chiro out to see if its not something deeper. I had ours out often last winter (first winter with the twitchy mare) and while the first time she did need adjusted, Neck and back. After that nothing was wrong.
The blanket could be making him sore and it may be causing his coat to discharge tiny sparks of static electricity. Are you wearing a nylon jacket as this can make it worse.
Hmm Interesting about the nylon jacket. It is a nylon outer shell with poly filling. My vet said he holds so much charge that he will not to take a blanket off a horse, but will hold the horse. I have been folding and lifting the blanket as to not 'pull' it off my guy. I've also been checking to see if his shoulder is sore. So far it just seems a bit warmer than the rest of his body but the shoulder area is clipped. If I am gentle he will let me palpate all over. I haven't pushed it further as he seems to over react to further touch and I don't want to make this a big deal. The more times grooming is non eventful the quicker he will return to his old self. I appreciate the feedback about similar behaviours in horses! He is the only TB in the barn so I think the thinnest skinned, also.
If he is sore if you push hard I would think he did something (a kick from a pasture mate maybe).
He could possibly be scared of the grooming supplies. Have you tried letting him smell the supplies and seeing them? That could possibly work. I hope I helped.
It was from the static in my clothes, and his blankets. It's been much better since the weather changed. I have also been 'grounding' myself by touching his water in his bucket, or metal in the stall that does touch the ground. Thanks, everyone. Merry Christmas!
Just an update. The weather here has been very cool and dry. Its gotten to the point now when I go to remove his blanket, head comes up, worried look, won't hold still. I tried removing the blanket in the paddock yesterday thinking that the charge would go to ground. He stepped away and the blanket fell off him instead so I could not tell if it helped. I am using "avocado mist" - its a lanolin based hair and skin conditioner in the effort to create a less static-y condition, and just bought but haven't used Static guard to spray on his blanket. I hope it works!
I was just reading an article about ulcers the other day and one of the symptoms is sudden anxiety during grooming. Any chance of that, maybe?
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