Okay, I hope it's okay to do this OP. I have copy and pasted your original post, and I'm going to read it inserting paragraph breaks as I go. That way, I will get to the end, and perhaps others might do too
ORIGINAL POST WITH PARAGRAPH BREAKS INSERTED:
I'm sorry this is long, but I really need help! I'm absolutely at my whit's end with trying to help my mare.
I've had her since she was 8 and she is now 18, and she was my first horse. She's always been a grouch, but it's become so bad lately. Bless her heart, she was only 8 when I got her, and I was her fifth owner. You could tell by her disposition she had some sort of "rough" training in her lifetime, she just had a grudge against people, but was completely safe, just always had her ears pinned when ridden and became very agitated at the canter.
(Also, her tail appears to have been nerved or broken, she can't hold it and to the fancy Arabian high tail action with it, and can only swish if from side to side. It's completely stiff, and won't lay flat between her back legs either, there's about 3 inches of daylight between her and her tail at the dock.)
After the first 3 years she began relaxing a bit. She had been trained western, but after I got her I started her English. Her dressage scores began improving into the 60's, but any canter tests she would just ball up and get uptight, but never bucking or rearing.
I started jumping her when she was 10 and eventually started lower level eventing. She seemed to love jumping, a little on the unsure side at first but eventually became confident over almost anything.
In 2007 she became sick with an upper respiratory infection which almost took her life. She was hospitalized and we were able to save her, however, the vet warned us that she would have to be on steroids the rest of her life and that she would be a lawn ornament.
After about a month she seemed almost normal, but the steroids were making her feet fall apart, so I started weaning her off of them just to see what would happen, low and behold, she was fine.
After two months I started her in light work, and in 2008 we started eventing again, the only problem was... she was NUTS! She actually seemed healthier than before she got sick if this is possible. However, she became jittery and spooky at EVERYTHING over about a 2 month period to the point she couldn't even hop over a cross rail.
In the entire 10 years of owning her I had come off of her less than 4 times, all which were of course my fault. She began dirty stopping at the simplest of things, I've lost track of how many times I've come off of her now. She rarely jumped something on the first try, but when she did, she would brace on the bit and run with it, charge the jump, even if it was on 18" and hurl herself over it, or worse, stop dead and whirl right at the base.
I obviously thought health or saddle problems. Her health checked out fine, including her eyes, had a saddle fitter come, acupuncture and a chiropractic adjustment while also starting a mare supplement for her.
I have been eliminated from almost 12 combined tests/horse trials now, most being at the first two fences. I've been training with grid work and all sorts of exercises for two years now to try and slow her down and we actually seem to be regressing.
I usually work on dressage 2 days a week, jump 1 day a week, and take another 1-2 days to let her hack around the 700 acre facility(trail ride, gallops, ect.)
The past year I had her check for an ovarian tumor/cyst to rule that out, nothing.
She has now become so irritable when touched... let me explain this. She can be brushed all day and will love it, but you ask her to back up and touch her chest, she becomes VERY upset, or if you ask her to move over and just lay your hand on her, the same thing. If you enter her stall and ask her to back up, she throws her head violently, showing her teeth, but has never offered to bite.
Many of my friends LOVE this mare to death, but will not go in the stall with her.
She hates when you put her blanket on and buckle the front, but is fine with the leg and belly straps.
When you get on her with a saddle, she's fine, but when you get on her bareback she tosses her head like a crazy woman and nips at your feet(and I get on very gently from a high place to where I literally just have to sit down on her.)
When ridden with a bridle OR bitless bridle/halter she refuses to stretch down or accept any contact, if you put your lower leg on she becomes nasty, ringing her tail, napping at the bit and ducking her head under. She moves very choppy, landing toe first sometimes, UNLESS you ride her without a bridle or anything, that's right, with a rope around her neck. I'm into the Parelli Natural Horsemanship and ride her tackless, she stretches down and actually puts her back up and opens up her trot.
HOWEVER, I've noticed lately that I ride her like a Saddlebred, I can't put my lower leg on her without her spazzing and throwing a fit, so it's really hard to ride bareback with using only your thighs!
I started her on SmartMare Harmony last month, then she started spooking at random noises that she always had heard, and then starting pulling back and setting down when tied in the barn, breaking halters, ect.
So then a few weeks ago put her on Vita-Calm by AniMed. After two days of that stuff she completely lost it, I couldn't even handle her. She was running over me while spooking at things I couldn't even see in the arena, snorting blowing, hopping around. I've NEVER been afraid of her until that day, the horse I ride galloping around the fields jumping xc jumps bareback with a halter and lead rope couldn't even walk around the arena. Finally after lunging my mom was able to hold her so I could just set on her. After researching, the main ingredient in Vita-Calm is l-tryptophan, which I've heard can have the opposite effect intended on horses, and so did the SmartMare Harmony. I took her off of everything the next day, and she was better two days later.
She's been calmer, but she still HATES to be touched at all, almost like she's in pain, but no vets, chiropractors, equine dentists, farriers or saddle fitters have been able to find anything wrong with her.
She's such a sweet girl and tries so hard to be good, and she is good, as long as you don't touch her. You can touch her face or pick up her feet, but touching the back, shoulder, barrel, flank, and definitely the chest sends her into a frenzy.
I've began to think about the whole feeding regimen, and I think I may have figure out the hyper problem. Before she became sick she was on Reliance 12% pelleted feed with grass hay, after she got well we moved her to another farm which fed Southern States "Select" sweet textured feed, she didn't get hay as she was on pasture board and had plenty of grass.
Three months later the madness started. We had one random double clear stadium round in the summer of 2011, which now that I think on it, makes total sense since the barn owners bumped all the pasture horses down to 3/4 LESS grain since they were getting fat on the grass, so she went from a full scoop to a 1/4 scoop.
Since then I've moved her to the old farm that I used to board at and put her on stall board. She became WORSE, however, I had put her on the LEGENDS Performance 12% sweet feed with the oats and corn, and she gets alfalfa hay year round, in the fields as well.
So after having realized that I had created this monster myself, I've consulted with my vet and now have her down to:
1/4 scoop of the 12% Performance,
1/2 Scoop of Southern States 11-Six Pellets,
1/2 Scoop of Standlee's Beet Pulp Shreds(Soaked) and
1/4 Scoop Legends Fortified Rice Bran with
2 1/2 Pumps of Cocosoya Oil,
Mare Magic and
That being said, it doesn't account for her "touchiness." Please help, I feel terrible for her as you can see in her eyes she wants your attention, but can't stand being touched or ridden anymore, yet she is completely healthy, lunges beautifully and plays like and idiot!!! This is my baby and I want to do something for her. I'm now checking out the possibility that she is magnesium deficient. She gets more upset, tight and quick the longer she is worked, which is classic for that. Please give ANY suggestions! Thanks
Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.