Could it be ulcers? (warning long post) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-28-2015, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Midwest
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Could it be ulcers? (warning long post)

My 13 yo TB mare has been in refresher (dressage) training for almost 3 weeks. In many areas she has improved however she seems to regularly have a "fit" usually midway through each session. She is very sensitive on the right side with leg pressure and after she has worked for maybe 20 minutes and gets a little walking break she then refuses to go forward or will go forward but puts her head way up to avoid the bit. This behavior usually is incited by the right leg aid. Eventually she will go forward again but this behavior doesn't seem to be abating despite continued training.

I was just observing her today when the farrier was out. She seems to bend her head down like she is trying to look at her chest when the farrier is working on either of her front feet. I thought it was just her personality but maybe she is uncomfortable.

She is not girthy. She is not loosing weight. She eats all her food. She does not have diarrhea. She has been checked for worms and completely clean.

Ive had the vet out (a sports medicine/lameness specialist) just a few days ago who did a thorough lameness exam and chiro exam. Everything checked out clean. She had a little stiffness on flexion test in her hocks but X-rays were clean. Teeth are fine.

She has been with me for about 4 months. on her trial ride she did not have this behavior with me before I bought her. she started it a day or two after she arrived home. I found that if I held a crop in my hand the mere sight of it would convince her to rethink her behavior but if I didn't ride with the crop she would bulk and come to think of it, she did seem pretty picky then with the right leg aid. I asked her previous owner and she said she always rode with a dressage whip and in a martingale but never had any problem with balking.

She coliced 2 months ago. We never figured out why but assumed it was sand because she recovered easily after banamine and getting tubed and the place she came from before had a lot of sand and she was eating grain from the ground at her new place where I board.

The trainer thinks there is something painful going on, possibly ulcer but she is not sure. Going to try Gastrogard for a few days and see if that helps.

I've had her on some joint supplements since a few weeks after I got her and in fact 1 week ago transitioned her to Smart Pak Senior Combo Pellets which she is on loading dose now! It has a whole bunch of stuff including MSM and Devils claw which I think I've read is not good if horse is prone to ulcers. I had started her on supplements because I was told she had a mild suspensory injury 18 months ago and thought what the heck, maybe it will help. But with the vet check the other day she ultrasounded the area and everything looks completely fine.

today was her worst day yet with the balking and refusing to go forward.

If it weren't for that, she would be a really awesome and talented dressage prospect.

If it's not an ulcer I don't know what to do.
kateortamar is offline  
post #2 of 3 Old 10-28-2015, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Olds Alberta Canada
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no harm in ruling out ulcers, but my bet is that she is testing you
You say she started this behavior just a day or two after you got her.
Kinda warning light for me, that the old owner always had to ride her with a crop and martingale
When you test rode her, was she saddled up fresh, gotten out of the pasture, stall, or whatever, or had that old owner 'ridden her down' ?
When buying a horse, it is a good policy to try that horse out at least 3 times, making sure that she was NOT Ridden before you rode her
Could be possible that she still has some sand in her gut, as just giving her banamine and being tubed with mineral oil, won't remove all the sand.
Smilie is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 10-29-2015, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Midwest
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I thought the same as you at first- that she was testing me. But I don't understand why she would continue to do it with the trainer. She has been worked 5 days a week for 3 weeks so far with the trainer and like I said almost everything she does, she does better than day 1 but she still has the episodes of balking.

She could still have sand I suppose. After the day of her colic and treatment I put her on some maintenance psyllium which she gets every day for a week every month. And she no longer eats her grain off the ground.

And no words have been wiser spoken then what you said about 3 trials before purchase, etc. The day I had tried her for a test ride she was worked that day before I came to try her. I guess I was so trusting of the previous owners that I just took what they said as truth.

So many lessons I'm learning with this horse.
kateortamar is offline  

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