Please Bear with this long story...!!
I am helping out a friend who was given a neglected OTTB about 4 years ago. They are not horse people but they wanted to help and they thought they could just get a "lawnmower" (we all know this story, right?!). Argh!
Well apparently he thrived for the first couple of years (I did not see him) but in the past 3 - 5 months he has been on a very bad downward spiral. They do not ride this horse, apparently he is "unridable" but I just think no one knows how to handle him. (I have to say he seems very sweet to me, but maybe just because he is in so much pain right now)
Unfortunately they did not ask for help sooner and now this horse is a mess. He is probably a 2 on the body scale, his tendons and joints are a mess, his feet are inflamed and dished, he has almost cribbed away his front teeth and he's just in overall **** poor condition. Today we wormed him and got his teeth floated. The dentist actually recommended that we just put him down because he's suffering and he has so many ailments right now.
(WHY DO PEOPLE THINK YOU CAN HAND AWAY HORSES TO PEOPLE WHO KNOW NOTHING????!!!! AND WHY DO PEOPLE TAKE THEM???!!!!)
I think that the majority of his condition is from stress brought on by isolation and boredom. Although he is free at pasture (about 2 acres), he is isolated. I also noticed he stall weaves even though he's a pasture. He's not ridden, simulated or challenged. He has bitten the owners a couple times and now they are scared to really do anything with him. They also just got a new dog that barks and chases him and after I witnessed this and brought it up, they realized that the horse started dropping weight right around when they got the dog. His appearance in the field is like a crazy person banging their head against a wall. He just can't deal so he weaves or cribs.
Secondarily, I'm positive that he has horrible ulcers that need treatment and his feet are a mess - due to nutrition I'm sure. They are giving him a high sugar sweet feed and lots of tropical fruit (we live on an island). He has free choice pasture and they give him some hay. Even though it's the wrong food he's still burning it off (or it's going right through him) due to stress.
I am meeting with them this afternoon to pass along the words from the dentist and to give them some advice. IF they decide they want to invest the time and money in this horse, I would like to formulate a strong nutrition plan for him. It has been a long time since I've had a thoroughbred and I've never had to bring one back from the brink. We also have very limited resources. I'd like some suggestions if you have them.
Emergency Health Issues first -
* Get a vet out there. We need to treat the ulcers (Gastroguard?) and the swelling in legs and his feet (haven't even looked at them closely let, they may be abcessed or other). He is obviously very tender and in pain to walk. Dentist recommended IV saline right away because he is very very dehydrated. Needs bloodwork for more insight.
* This is where I would like some advice. I am going to suggest that they toss him much more hay on top of the free pasture (our pasture is not very nutritious). Our grain/supplement options are limited, but I think they should change to unsweetened pellets (I can get ADM brand) with canola oil (would rice bran oil be better?). I give my horses Calf Manna because it's the closest thing I can get to a ration balancer or supplement here (I am in Puerto Rico, some of you may have seen my other threads). Do you have experience with Calf Manna and thoroughbreds? Is it still too sweet for them? I can get Amazon delivered here so anything I can find on Amazon I can order, but the feed stores have very little. I can get Farnam products and things like Red Cell. I would estimate him at 16.2h and right now maybe 950 lb? Should probably be 1500. How many pounds of pellets would you start with/end with? Right now he's getting about 3-4 lb of sweet feed daily.
Address the stress and the cribbing -
* Get another horse in the pasture next to him for comfort and company. Apparently he is really aggressive towards other horses, but there is a small pasture open right next to him with a fence in-between and I have two friends looking for space for their horses.
* Get some stimulation in the pasture. Pasture toys, slow feeder for grain and hay to keep him occupied.
* Start getting him out daily for grooming and desensitizing and move up to working on the lunge line after we get his health issues sorted.
* Keep that dog away. I have a strong strong feeling the dog really triggered this guys stress.
THANK YOU if you are still reading! Any and ALL help appreciated!