but she was jumpy as soon as I went into her stall. I figured I had just startled her, so I was slow to bring her into the cross ties. I should add, she didn't eat her grain, but that is another problem on its own LOL. Due to more unfortunate circumstances, she has not cross tied in a few months, so unsurprisingly, she was nervous being in them.
Bit 'by the by' but since you posted... IS it a separate issue that she didn't eat her grain? Could it be that she is either sick/in pain, or too stressed to eat? I'm guessing she's been at this barn a while & has been fine till now? I'd guess then, something happened yesterday to get her on edge. Not that I like x-ties as a rule, but especially if she were nervous already AND she has had a problem with x-ties for months as well, there is no way I'd be forcing her into that situation.
Probably not the greatest thing I could do, but after trying everything with her, it is the most effective way of avoiding a meltdown)
Depends, but with a stressed horse, bordering on panic, yeah, whatever it takes to get her out of that stress ASAP, so I wouldn't say putting her in her stall - if that's her safe area - is at all wrong.
So, the problem... I would get an expert vet yesterday to this horse! I would have a full neurological exam done on her. IF it is only ever when she's saddled, then I'd be less concerned, avoid the saddle & get a chiropractor to come check her out first. No, this doesn't sound at all like 'narcolepsy'(or, as I sus it is, that horses who are so exhausted 'zone out' & then startle occasionally). Sounds like she has a serious problem.
The only personal experience I've had with anything of the sort is when a Ranger stopped by to say there was a stray horse in the bush nearby, sweaty & looking like she was exhausted & with (minor) scratches all over her. I said I'd go get her & keep her safely in our yards till we found the owner. Prepared to walk her home, but thought as it was a fair few kms, I'd see if she'd let me ride. She was obviously well trained & calmly accepting, so I hopped on & rode her calmly for half a km or so.
Then seriously suddenly, out of the blue, she reared, threw her head berserkly, started shaking & fell to her knees! I luckily was able to jump off to my feet & keep control - she jumped up, reared again with the look like there was a lion on her back & tried to bolt, only her good training & my holding her overruled. Then she again looked exhausted & was calm. We walked towards home for another 15 mins or so, before we had a repeat performance(tho I wasn't silly enough to get back on her after the last). This happened about 4 more times on the way home. Put her in the yard, gave her hay & water, which she wouldn't touch and called the ranger to say the horse was seriously unwell & advise they tell the owner to bring a vet when they came to get her. Then had to go to work.
So I got a call later, from a distraught owner - the horse was dead. Possibly brain tumour or aneurism. They arrived at our place with the trailer & a vet to find her standing exhausted looking in the yard, feed & water still untouched. Vet did basic tests, couldn't find anything obvious. Put her through her paces & she was calm & responsive, if very lacklustre. So they led her to the trailer, planning on taking her to the vet hospital for more tests. She walked out quietly, then at the trailer, had one of her 'attacks' & fell down dead!
Turns out this was the owner's pride & joy who was a 4yo filly she'd had since a foal, lived only a few kms in the other direction & who had only come back from extensive training a few weeks earlier. The day before, they came home to find her agitated, racing in terror around her paddock, then stopping with her head hanging for a while, only to do it again. They had called the vet, but before he arrived, she tore around the paddock again, crashed through the fence & took off into the bush! They had followed her tracks - which were erratic, all over the place & did lots of circles - all afternoon & first thing that morning, but never found her.