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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 16 yr old gelding has been rubbing his tail for the past 7 months since I moved him to a new barn. He started rubbing within minutes of arriving, and does it on a daily basis, and continues to have a bald spot. I'm worried it's a health problem and I'm not sure what to do about it. I've tried almost everything.

- he is on a daily worming program with boosters at 6 month intervals
- his sheath is cleaned regularly
- moved him in August and it's lasted through the winter so it's not a seasonal allergy or bug
- he is on daily turnout and gets exercised regularly
- I've tried MTG, cortisone cream, and a prescription anti-itch cream from the vet (none of these worked)

WHAT CAN BE CAUSING HIM TO DO THIS?

He has lived at a handful of barns in his life, and has only had this problem once before. It was at a barn in a different state with a completely different climate, but I think the stall he was in at the time may have been built from the same type of wood. Could it be a wood allergy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, his tail was not wrapped in the trailer.

Airborne allergy crossed my mind too, but here's what makes me think that's not it: at the first barn where he did it, he only did it when he was living in that one stall. We moved him to a different stall and he stopped doing it. The stalls were maybe 50 yards apart, at most.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
did you have his tail wrapped in the trailer?

No, his tail was not wrapped in the trailer.

Airborne allergy crossed my mind too, but here's what makes me think that's not it: at the first barn where he did it, he only did it when he was living in that one stall. We moved him to a different stall and he stopped doing it. The stalls were maybe 50 yards apart, at most.
 

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Have you tried an antibacterial shampoo or a salve for hotspots?

My first thought was worms but you said he's on a daily dewormer, although you could send a fecal out for tests, I think it's fairly cheap - like maybe $30?

I would have then suggested cleaning the sheath but you mentioned that's taken care of as well. I had an older gelding that had issues and it turned out to be an allergy to biting flies.....
 

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My friends horse does that. My trainer thinks it's because he thinks that when she washes off, she doesn't get in between his legs enough since that is the hottest part of their body when they are ridden. Once she started doing that, he stopped. Other Girls horses did it too, and once they started paying attention to it, the less they rubbed.

I don't know, that's just what happened at my barn:)
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I hate to toss this out there like it is the answer to everything but have you thought about ulcers?

Horses find strange ways to express their frustrations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The problem is obviously being triggered by his location somehow. His rubbing habits come and go depending on where he lives. My routine with him has otherwise not changed. And, like I said, it was within minutes of unloading him that he started doing it at the new place.

I'm so confused!
 

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Yes, stress and be triggered by location too. Changing stalls can relieve the stress of a neighbor horse that he did not get along with.

And how did he start rubbing minutes after being removed from the trailer. Did you take him off the trailer and back him up to a fence?
 

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I suspect he's developed this habit as a means to deal with his stress. He had a trailer ride, new surroundings, new horses, new people. Pretty stressful for a horse. Can you try changing stalls to an end stall, even for just a day to see if that helps. Is he in a standing or box stall?
 
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