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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, need input on anxiety management (long post).

My 7 year old Morab was just diagnosed with anxiety induced ulcers. I've owned her for one year; when I bought her she was kept in a tiny paddock, ridden (extremely poorly) down local roads, and fed 6-8 pounds of sweet feed a day.

She is now on 24/7 turnout on a track system (with another horse) and has free choice grass hay from a slow feeder. She has unlimited access to salt, minerals and water and is fed soaked timothy pellets, ration balancer and oatmeal daily, along with generic zyrtec (allergies), spirulina, magnesium oxide, and now Vita Calm (started about a month ago when I noticed attitude changes). She is up to date on teeth, chiro, feet, and shots.

I have basically restarted this mare; hours and hours of ground work, hand walking, riding solo, riding in groups, manners, etc. She rides bitless now and we've had saddle fitters out for tack. We went camping in October, and did fairly well.

However, the longer I have this mare and the more time and money I invest in her the hotter and more anxious she seems to get. A 3 mile trailer ride has her dripping sweat. A group ride where she isn't in the lead has her prancing for HOURS (6.5 is her record). Ironically she has been better solo, but of course even then she's looky. She was like this when I bought her, but I thought she would get better. If anything, she's gotten a little worse.

I keep thinking with more time, work and exposure she'll get better. When I bought her I attributed many of her issues to her high sugar diet, lack of experience (she wasn't trailered or ridden in woods for 3 years), and poor handling. But now, I'm at a loss.

If her ulcers are caused by anxiety, what do I do to calm her down? Typically I'd work on building her confidence through work, bonding and exposure, but now I'm scared to rock her boat at all and risk worsening her gut.

Who has dealt with this before? What am I doing wrong?
 

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She is now on 24/7 turnout on a track system (with another horse) and has free choice grass hay from a slow feeder. She has unlimited access to salt, minerals and water and is fed soaked timothy pellets, ration balancer and oatmeal daily, along with generic zyrtec (allergies), spirulina, magnesium oxide, and now Vita Calm (started about a month ago when I noticed attitude changes). She is up to date on teeth, chiro, feet, and shots.
Even though you have put a lot of thought into her diet, I think it should be tweaked.

1. Whose ration balancer and is soy the protein source?

2. Does ”salt and minerals” mean a mineral block or white salt and loose minerals? Whose minerals and does she free feed the mineral tub?

3. I get the reason for the oatmeal but there is something better with oatmeal in it, albeit expensive, but it truly works on both gastric and hind gut issues. Which, she may also have hind gut issues.

I highly recommend either ”Suceed” or “Egusin”. Succeed helped one of my horses, while Egusin worked miracles on my current IR Cushings horse who foundered and was on a lot of Previcox— which is supposed to NOT cause ulcers BTW - that’s not true either:(



4. Ditch the magnesium oxide. Mag Ox MIGHT work on mild anxiety cases but Magnesium Malate was what worked on my highly anxious TWH.

He was on MagRestore three years, and one day I realized he didn’t need it anymore, lol

***
Please share the specific current ration balancer and what the minerals are:)

Hope this helps:)

 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, here goes!

1. Salt and minerals are varied; I actually have salt and mineral block stations scattered on their track. They have white salt, himalayan rock salt, mineral blocks (trace minerals) and a redmond rock.
2. It's Essential K by tribute. It wasn't my first choice, but it's what is available near me; it was the lowest sugar and starch they had.
 

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1. My anxious TWH is also soy and grain intolerant. I discovered that when another horse was diagnosed with metabolic issues. I took all my easy keepers off anything with grain And that used soy as the protein source.

The change for the good was so dramatic in this horse’s behavior, even my non-horse husband asked who that was that looked like Rusty, lol

1.1. Meaning, the Essential K has some serious flaws for a horse like yours:)


The first two named Ingredients are soy, which is what is used for the protein source.

It is generally understood that it takes one pound of a feed product to meet the stated guaranteed analysis.

Tribute has stupidly not only added iron but they have far exceeded the 273PPM that was always the standard amount. They show 900PPM. Too much iron depletes copper:zinc, which are needed for coat & hoof health, and to stabilize insulin.

Insulin numbers outside the normal range can also alter a horse’s behavior - not always but sometimes:)

Yes, their NSC of 12.5% is low for a bagged feed But you could do a lot better in that department if you are able to buy on line and buy HorseTech’s HighPoint condensed vit/min supplement for grass fed horses. It is soy-free and no added iron.


It only takes three ounces daily, mixed in Timothy pellets.

2. The mineral block is not needed as the Essential K has everything plus, so it is possible she is duplicating mineral intake where she doesn’t need to.

I would ditch everything on the track EXCEPT the white salt:)
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1. My anxious TWH is also soy and grain intolerant. I discovered that when another horse was diagnosed with metabolic issues. I took all my easy keepers off anything with grain And that used soy as the protein source.

The change for the good was so dramatic in this horse’s behavior, even my non-horse husband
asked who that was that looked like Rusty, lol

1.1. Meaning, the Essential K has some serious flaws for a horse like yours:)


The first two named Ingredients are soy, which is what is used for the protein source.

It is generally understood that it takes one pound of a feed product to meet the stated guaranteed analysis.

Tribute has stupidly not only added iron but they have far exceeded the 273PPM that was always the standard amount. They show 900PPM. Too much iron depletes copper:zinc, which are needed for coat & hoof health, and to stabilize insulin.

Insulin numbers outside the normal range can also alter a horse’s behavior - not always but sometimes:)

Yes, their NSC of 12.5% is low for a bagged feed But you could do a lot better in that department if you are able to buy on line and buy HorseTech’s HighPoint condensed vit/min supplement for grass fed horses.


It only takes three ounces daily, mixed in Timothy pellets.

2. The mineral block is not needed as the Essential K has everything plus so it is possible she is duplicating mineral intake where she doesn’t need to.

Imwould ditch everything on the track EXCEPT the white salt.

That is seriously so helpful, thank you!! I will try it for sure! I'm almost out of essential K anyhow, so the timing is perfect:)
 

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I hope it helps. If it does, that will tell you the mare is a lot happier without soy (and probably grain) in her diet:).

The HighPoint uses alfalfa for the protein source.

If you buy their smallest tub, it should be enough for you to see a difference or not. It’s well worth the money If it helps:)

I‘ve had my IR/Cushings horse and the soy/grain sensitive horse on this product since 2014 with no complaint. They also have great customer service.

Please update one way or the other:)
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I hope it helps. If it does, that will tell you the mare is a lot happier without soy (and probably grain) in her diet:).

The HighPoint uses alfalfa for the protein source.

If you buy their smallest tub, it should be enough for you to see a difference or not. It’s well worth the money If it helps:)

I‘ve had my IR/Cushings horse and the soy/grain sensitive horse on this product since 2014 with no complaint. They also have great customer service.

Please update one way or the other:)
I just ordered the small bag to try it, fingers crossed!

My vet also told me to start her on Redmond Daily Gold Stress Relief. Any thoughts on it?
 

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Well —- I don’t think much about it for two Reasons:

1. If someone such as my basically nutrionally non-educated self u derstand copper and zinc interact and need to be ratioed, why doesn’t a company selling a nutrional product understand that.


Daily Gold has copper in their formula but no zinc. That’s a deal breaker for me.

2. They added iron. No horse should have iron added to their diet unless a vet diagnosis them as anemic .

Iron naturally occurs (in high amounts in some areas) in hay and pasture. It also naturally occurs in some other minerals.

2.1. I understand why your vet recommended the Daily Gold but most vets don’t totally understand the labels on the backs of bags. They are all guilty of falling prey to a good salesman or a peer who thinks the sun rises and sets on a product.

The lameness vet I use saved Joker’s life when he foundered in 2012. He is more nutritionally savvy than all the other Vets in my county. He is also inclined toward Holistic healing in combination with traditional methods. BUT, I have respectfully turned his suggestions down once or twice because my gut was too questioning. “Go with your gut” has merit and it turned out I was right:)

I wouldn’t use the Daily Gold because there is no zinc to interact with the copper, and there’s added iron.

The HorseTech HighPoint will give her everything, including proper ratio of copper:zinc, plus it also has the three essential amino acids for muscle health:)

I would strip the diet back to this ^^^^, mixed in timothy pellets, plus a white salt block out on the hay track and see how she does. You can always add the Daily gold later, if need be.

Dont forget to address the fore and hind gut issues for 30 days on Succeed or 42 days on Egusin which is a two-phase product.

I would be really surprised if you don’t see a marked improvement in her angst, at the end of this not-so-cheap trial period. <——-nothing cheap ever works on serious issues:):)
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
"Don't forget to address the fore and hind gut issues for 30 days on Succeed or 42 days on Egusin which is a two-phase product."

Is that how you would treat ulcers, then? Or prevent them? Or both?
 

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My 7 year old Morab was just diagnosed with anxiety induced ulcers. I've owned her for one year; when I bought her she was kept in a tiny paddock, ridden (extremely poorly) down local roads, and fed 6-8 pounds of sweet feed a day.
Ulcers are absolutely & positively about feed type, amount, frequency of feeding, etc. So I'd be assuming her ulcers were due to being fed sweets, and perhaps she also never got any hay/forage either. To have 'diagnosed' it as 'anxiety induced' I'd expect the vet to have at least ruled out more obvious causes, such as diet. I have read some studies years ago(that unfortunately I have no reference to, for you) that I thought basically proved that stomach ulcers were NOT due to mental stress.

She is now on 24/7 turnout on a track system (with another horse) and has free choice grass hay from a slow feeder. She has unlimited access to salt, minerals and water and is fed soaked timothy pellets, ration balancer and oatmeal daily, along with generic zyrtec (allergies), spirulina, magnesium oxide, and now Vita Calm (started about a month ago when I noticed attitude changes). She is up to date on teeth, chiro, feet, and shots.
Sounds like her basic diet - free choice grass hay/grazing - is now good. Why do you feed her oatmeal? Why the timothy pellets? And I'm curious about the mix of nutrients you're supplementing her with - have you done a hay/feed analysis, or had her hair analysed, to know that she needs the balance of whatever the ration balancer and free choice mins and mag ox and vita calm? Because of course, if they address imbalances with correct amounts of everything, all well and good, but if you're just giving her those supps without good reason, this could be further upsetting her nutritional balance. For eg. too much calcium suppresses magnesium & other nutrients & will cause the same 'symptoms' as Mg deficiency. Too much selenium can cause major health probs & even kill a horse. So... I wouldn't be supping 'willy nilly'.

Along with a good diet & nutrition, what have you done to treat the ulcers? IME if they're bad, they're not likely to just go away of their own accord, just because diet has improved.

However, the longer I have this mare and the more time and money I invest in her the hotter and more anxious she seems to get. A 3 mile trailer ride has her dripping sweat. A group ride where she isn't in the lead has her prancing for HOURS (6.5 is her record). Ironically she has been better solo, but of course even then she's looky. She was like this when I bought her, but I thought she would get better. If anything, she's gotten a little worse.
Can't tell you more than, if she has become worse since you've had her, chances are it's something you're doing/not doing. Maybe it's the way you handle her, her experiences or such, or maybe it is nutritional balance. Lack of Mg & too much K, for eg are strongly associated with 'spooky' or 'hyper' behaviour. And of course, if she still has the ulcers, if they're painful and chronic, something like a 6+hr ride, especially if she's not allowed to pick grass along the way frequently, would likely make her ulcers worse.

So... first & foremost I'd be treating her ulcers - I'd start with Omeprazole or whatever alternative as per your vet, but I'd also look into 'herbal' type remedies, such as liquorice, aloe vera, etc. Because proscribed drugs don't actively aid healing, they simply suppress stomach acid, so prevent further exacerbation to allow them to heal. And vet meds also don't do anything whatsoever for 'hind gut' ulcers, should she have those(I'd sus likely after a sweetfeed diet).

Secondly, if you haven't already, I'd do a diet/hay/pasture analysis and consult with a nutritionist regarding what supps etc may be necessary. There is an online program/service called feedxl.com which is incredibly helpful in sorting out diet balance, and what supplements are best to 'fill the gaps' & are available in your area, etc.
 

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Just read replies - wow, Walkin, heaps of great info there! I'll have to look into that Succeed, if it can help with hind gut ulcers - one of my standy mares still has a mild hind gut issue, that Gastro-Aid by Kelato & liquorice was helping with, but as soon as I stop with the supps, the symptoms(tongue sucking, slightly odd gait of back legs) start again. So obviously it is suppressing but not treating...

OP I just want to echo that vets don't necessarily know much at all about nutrition. Unless they've specialised in it & done extra courses. So I'd consult with a nutritionist, not a vet generally, re diet/nutrition.
 

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Concerning stress ulcers, this is what happened with my 6 year old Saddlebred. He was, by his shaved mane, a fine harness horse at a Saddlebred barn in New Jersey. No telling what kind of abuse he suffered there. Then he was sold and shipped by truck across the US to Oregon, sold again and I bought him at a training barn. He is now being trained under saddle 5 days a week. He is a cribber and wears a strap. He would stall weave if his horse friends leave the barn but only when his friends leave. He was flighty, jumpy, gaunt looking, dull coat, cinchy. My trainer said I think he has ulcers. We can pay hundreds of $ to have him scoped and the vet will say put him on UlcerGuard. Or we can just put him on OTC UlcerGuard for 2 weeks and see what happens. Well, he became like a different horse. Calmer, happier, willing to work. His gauntness disappered and he became sleek and shiney. His coat looked like someone had oil poured over him. Since he came to this barn he had been fed alfalfa and a high calorie, high fat feed to put weight had this not changed. He has gained about 200 lbs sice starting on ulcerGuard. Apparently he did have ulcers. After the 2 weeks of UlcerGuard paste now he is on the powder and my trainer advises this is for life. Maybe because he is a sensitive and neurotic individual, kind of like a Woody Allen personality.
1106478
 

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Arago, I'd advise (serious) caution about taking your trainer's advice, about using Omeprazole long term, let alone for life(?!) It is indeed an often necessary treatment, but it is a 'pump inhibitor' and as such, also inhibits digestion...
 

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Ditto @loosie on the Omeprazole. I have read from bio chemistry type folks on other forums that Omeprazole should not be used long-term.

Also, ithas to be fiinished by gradually reducing the dosage, similar to Prednison. I don’t know if that is true as I have used it plenty of times on two other horses and neither the vet(s) nor the equone pharmacy mentioned it.

I like Succeed and Egusin because they are all natural, oat groat is part of theIr formulas, they are not prescription, and Succeed is less money than prescription Omeprazole.

Horses love the taste of both; Succeed smells so much like cookie dough I was tempted to eat some but didnn’t, lol

Duke was on Suceed 2-1/2 years before the lipomas finally took him, but it didn’t work that well for Joker.

The 2-phase Egusin works well on Joker. He has not had to be formally treated for a couple of years but:

I only de-worm twice yearly. With The Boys being 25 & 26, and there have been past ulcer issues, I have taken to buying the Egusin and feeding it before, during, and after worming.

I buy both phases and give the 1st phase to the ulcer prone horse and the 2nd phase to the horse. Each bucket lasts 21 days which is plenty of time to settle their digestive systems from poisoning them with worm meds.
 
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Arago, I'd advise (serious) caution about taking your trainer's advice, about using Omeprazole long term, let alone for life(?!) It is indeed an often necessary treatment, but it is a 'pump inhibitor' and as such, also inhibits digestion...
That is what I am thinking. Once I get him home his main job will be going out to graze in the pasture with a horse friend and riding me around an arena in a green field. Not that high stress of a life.

Since he has been on omeprazole he has gained 200 lbs and is shiny as a Hershy Bar so I don't think it is inhibiting his digestion too much.
 

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@HisMissus2013 , everyone has covered the ulcer issue but I have a couple of questions about the anxiety. In your first post you mention she's on a track system with another horse so...

1) Does she and the other horse get along with no squabbling?

2) Are you using electric fence to make the track?

Either one of those things can cause anxiety.

And of course a couple of other things popped into my head once I typed that.

3) Any possibilities of dogs or other wildlife getting into the pasture and keeping her upset?

4) Does any one have access to her besides you or your immediate family? For instance if you board her or have neighbor kids that could be antagonizing her when you aren't home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hello! Sorry, I didn't get notifications and just thought to check back in. To clarify a few things:

1. Yes, I have had my hay tested, but have not had the analysis looked over by a nutritionist. Definitely will do that! I'm also weaning her off of the vita calm and magnesium so I can be sure of any results. She is on the zyrtec and spirulina for her allergies and doesn't do well off of them.
2. Yes, she and her little sister get along well on the track. Little sister can be annoying at times, but Mina puts her in her place quickly and without drama, and this doesn't happen frequently. No one else has access, and it's not an electric fence. Can't say much about other animals, although she's never spooked at critters before.
3. Upon further reflection, I may have overlooked a detail. When I first bought this mare she did improve, considerably, in her new environment, with the forage diet, regular riding, no sweet feed, etc. I thought back to when we started really having issues, and I think it was after an accident she had in late July. I have no idea what happened, but something spooked her and she went through the fence. She ran past my husband's shop and hit her leg on a wood pile, putting a nice gash in her back leg. I tried to keep it clean but it got infected, and she was on 20 antibiotic pills a day for 10 days. The vet said nothing about probiotics. When her leg healed and I put her back into work, she was a spit fire; I attributed it to her having time off. Now I'm wondering if this has been snowballing since late July? Because before that she was doing really well. I even had to use leg on some rides, and now she's a demon. I'm not sure if that's a thing or would slowly become an issue overtime, but it was 3 weeks ago when I really started to suspect pain was involved.
4. I just got a bucket of Succeed in the mail today (omg it's so expensive😭) and I'm starting her on it today with the soaked hay pellets, and I'm still slowly weaning her off of other supps.
5. The oatmeal was added at my chiro's advice, she said it helps keep weight on her horses in the winter and Mina had lost a touch of weight. I will be contacting a nutritionist and I'm open to ideas as well!

Thanks for all the input, and I've got to say this has been awesome. Every time I've needed help in the past I've about thrown my phone because some folks are "horse experts" and can be really rude, but you guys are seriously so nice and amazing, thanks so much!
 

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you are most welcome — we hope our input helps:)

It is very possible the 20 pills daily for ten days caused either caused ulcers or made what she may have had worse.

Yes, that Succeed is a pretty penny, but it is cheaper than Egusin so I hope it works. it kept my horse with hind gut lipomas free of colic for 2-1/2 years and the vet had only given him six months. I was disappointed when it didn’t help my IR/Cushings horse; that’s whenI bought the Egusin and it does help him:). Always have a Plan B, lollol

If it does help, you will know for sure she has ulcers and/or digestive issues. Her feed will then have to permanently be on the bland side to keep her healthy and at good weight:)

Since you have already started the supplement weaning process, my thought is to just stop everything you were backing her off of, and let the Succeed do its work, uninterrupted:)

Hopefully you will start seeing some sort of improvement in 5-10 days. PLEASE update, one way or the other:).
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
you are most welcome — we hope our input helps:)

It is very possible the 20 pills daily for ten days caused either caused ulcers or made what she may have had worse.

Yes, that Succeed is a pretty penny, but it is cheaper than Egusin so I hope it works. it kept my horse with hind gut lipomas free of colic for 2-1/2 years and the vet had only given him six months. I was disappointed when it didn’t help my IR/Cushings horse; that’s whenI bought the Egusin and it does help him:). Always have a Plan B, lollol

If it does help, you will know for sure she has ulcers and/or digestive issues. Her feed will then have to permanently be on the bland side to keep her healthy and at good weight:)

Since you have already started the supplement weaning process, my thought is to just stop everything you were backing her off of, and let the Succeed do its work, uninterrupted:)

Hopefully you will start seeing some sort of improvement in 5-10 days. PLEASE update, one way or the other:).
What signs will I see to know it's working? And if it does work, will she have to be on it permanently?

Also, someone mentioned the timothy pellets. She currently gets 1.5 cups per day; I soak them so her ration balancer and supplements had something to stick to. Is there something even blander I can give her instead? (Ration balancer has stopped as well, I'm waiting on the other mineral/vitamin supplement you recommended to arrive)
 

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You should see an improvement in her general demeanor. Less anxious and she should be more willing and comfortable to have her tummy, flank areas, and even her inner hind legs brushed.

The Timothy pellets with water is great! That’s what I use. She should love the Succeed. That stuff smells like cookie dough, so don’t you eat it:p

Once the Succeed is used up, you may have to feed another 30 days but hopefully not. Duke was on it monthly, until his end time, because of the hanging lipomas in the hind gut.

Once you take her off the Succeed , if she gets fussy about her meals, you can try a 60:40 mix of water and Walmart brand 100% apple juice. Their 100% apple juice does not have added sugar and it’s only a couple of dollars for a 96 oz bottle:). It is also a great tasting pure apple juice:)

If the Suceed does help, something else to think about is when she is de-wormed. My horses are on big pasture so on,y see worm medicine twice yearly. They are also mid-20’s so I start them on Egusin about a week before I de-worm them, and finish the bucket after they get the worm meds. I only feed them one bucket each, so it’s not as expensive.

You may not need to do that, it’s just something to keep in the back of your mind if she does seem to develop a sensitive stomach after worming:)
 
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