"bad attitude" continued......
So Ice and I are slow-going relationship wise.....we have good days and bad days, but today in particular he seemed to be extra jerky. It was a little cooler outside, so I'm leaning towards it just being the weather, but I would like some opinions anyway.
The first thing that I noticed is that he was just really on edge.....normally he objects a little bit when I first start brushing him, but this time he was full on stepping away, baring his teeth and trying to bite me, and he even swung his butt towards me at one point. It was really only on his right side, but even on his left he was still just a little "off". So I ditched the brush and just started touching him, which illicited the same reaction, to me at that point meaning he was just in a bad mood. He was really unhappy when I was pushing on his gut, but there were good digestion sounds and he had three or so piles of poop in his stall. He also had a wet spot (on his right side) where he had obviously been reaching back and biting, but that was near his shoulder. He wouldn't let me touch his chest at all (I was fitting a new blanket) but everything was resolved when I took him out to the front of the barn and let him graze for a little bit. He let me touch him anywhere with no problems. I decided to try tying him in our arena, and although I didn't have any problems there either, he was also non-stop cribbing, which is unusual for him. Normally, he cribs once or twice and then just stands there or moves on.
So does anyone have some insight? I'm used to a sullen attitude, but this afternoon he was just hostile. According to his farrier, which I brought with me from his old house, he did go through an "adjustment period" where he was mean to the other horses and had to be separated, which is what is happening now. Is he really just being extra jerky and trying to test me, or could something be wrong?
It could be attitude, but it sounds like he is uncomfortable. I would guess stomach ulcers. My horse got them a few weeks ago and had an out of character attitude and was refusing to trot. He is now on ulcer meds (after getting scoped for ulcers) and is doing lovely and will return to riding soon. I especially suspect this since your horse is showing more sensitivity to having his barrel touched. Horses can have ulcers even when they are pooping normally. The symptoms for ulcers I see in your post here are: bad attitude, barrel sensitivity, biting at body, and cribbing.
This doesn't mean that could be the only cause. He could just have an attitude or too much energy, but from the information given it sounds like ulcers to me. The best way to go about a change in a horse's attitude is to check for medical explanations, and if there is no pain, disease, discomfort etc then you look at your horse's training and how well you are handling him. But again, I would explore medical possibilities first and keep an eye out for any changes in time.
I was going to say ulcers as well. It definitely sounds like he has digestive upset. Cribbing is especially a sign of ulcers.
Well, I know he's been a cribber forever since he was a racehorse....but racehorses are also prone to ulcers. I started him on some U-guard at the beginning of the month on that suspicion since I don't really have the money to get him scoped, but even if it is ulcers, this is the first time he's really shown genuine discomfort in that degree. Usually its something where if I just go about my business he'll put up with me, but I actually ended up changing my plans from riding, to clipping him, to not even working with him at all because he was so sour. I ended it after he let me put on/take off the blanket without being horrible.
Would he be that one-sided if it were ulcers?
Anything else that I could do about the ulcers that might get some results a little sooner? I know U-guard takes 30 days to work, but if hes going to be like this for the next two weeks or so, I don't know how I'm going to get any real work in. Also, other possible suggestions could be helpful.
They might bother him more on one side than the other. I'd look into treating him with GastroGuard and doing the entire dosage time. Talk to your vet about it. If you can't afford that, I'd suggest getting some U-Guard 2X powder and treating him for 70 days. It's pretty inexpensive and I've had success with it in the past. If by chance he doesn't have ulcers (even though it sounds like he does) it won't hurt him to treat him with it. Also make sure he has CONSTANT forage to eat...pasture and free-choice hay. Horses are not meant to go periods of time without eating, so when there is no food available excess stomach acid builds up and irritates the stomach lining. Cribbing is one way the horse tries to decrease digestive upset. It's like their way of "burping," if you will.
Well, today I think we figured out that more than half (probably 3/4) of the problem is hes just reached a new level of testy with everyone. He tried to bite my BO today for no reason other than he was in her space and she scared the BEJESUS out of him, backing him up like ten feet flailing the lead rope at him as they went. He did that a few more times, and by the time I got to him he tried it once with me and then it had down graded to taking a half step forward every now and again.
I'm still sure that he has some low grade ulcers, so I'll see if he improves over the duration of the month with the U-gaurd I have him on. I'm going to make it a point to let him graze a little more, since we get compressed hay (VERY nutritious and fresh, but also a little more expensive, and also not ideal for a hay net/bag) so the BO can't throw free choice like we used to when it was regular bales, and the pastures don't have grass.
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