Advice for OTTB on a downward spiral? *and a bit of a RANT* - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-12-2014, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Advice for OTTB on a downward spiral? *and a bit of a RANT*

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.

My plan:
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.

Nutrition -
* 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!
PixiTrix is offline  
post #2 of 7 Old 06-12-2014, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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I would delete the post above but I'm not sure how. I'm so upset with these guys, I just spoke to the owner and they are going to put him down. Although I think they're making the best decision it makes me so mad that all of this is due to STUPID STUPID ignorance. The poor guy deserved so much better. I didn't think it would really bother me but it does! I wish we had a horse rescue or someone to send him to. SUCH a shame. At least he won't be suffering any longer.
PixiTrix is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 06-12-2014, 05:30 PM
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That's awful, I'm so sorry :( At least he's in a better place now, and it's great that there are people like you willing to fight for neglected horses, I guess now all you can do is educate people to their ignorance :/
celestejasper13 is offline  
post #4 of 7 Old 06-12-2014, 06:38 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear they decided to put him down. But at least he won't suffer anymore.

I'd certainly keep an eye on those people, if they turn up with another horse I'd be on them like glue as far as keeping the horse healthy and sound.
Horseychick87 is offline  
post #5 of 7 Old 06-12-2014, 06:43 PM
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People see horses happily grazing in a pasture when they go for a drive, see people riding, and think, well a horse is just a big dog right? I have a few acres, I need to keep the grass down, might as well have a horse on it, they are "pretty" to look at. Of course there is always somebody willing to give these uninformed people a free horse and a pat on the back. This is what happens, even worse when the uninformed people think they can ride the horse.

I am not here to promote anythingNo, that's not true, I am here to promote everything equestrian and everyone enjoying horses!
waresbear is online now  
post #6 of 7 Old 06-12-2014, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah it's so frustrating. EDUCATE YOURSELF, or at least try. I don't feel like they even tried. I'm boarding with a friend currently who would have been in the same situation if I hadn't been there to help. Not like I am "super horsewoman know it all" or something but at least I know the basics and have common sense! Someone gave her a reputed dangerous horse for free as a lawnmower (good news is he's doing great).
PixiTrix is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 06-12-2014, 08:30 PM
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This can work out good for unridable horses as long as the people know what they are getting into...unridable horses cost just as much as ridable ones...

this is so sad they decided to put the horse down, I was sure something could have been worked out :(
luvmydrafts is offline  

feeding , neglect , nutrition , ottb

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