Almost at my wits end

Chippers1

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This is me pretty much admitting defeat and asking where to go...
I'm having such difficulty with Buzz at the moment, for the past week and a half he had just been so incredibly wired and on edge it's been really difficult to do anything with him. Getting him out of the field is a battle as he's on high alert and spins when he's heard a noise or the trees blow and he just runs straight into you.
Riding wise is hard too as he spends the whole time spooking at everything. As soon as I turn him back out he gallops off to the herd. He's completely relaxed in the field and tied on the yard, it's mainly bringing him in and out and riding. He's always been on the spooky side but this is ridiculous. Part of me thinks that something outside the field has upset him (lots of farm vehicles going past) but he has been in the same field last year and since april this year.

Weirdly though both weekends he has been perfectly behaved, which is why I can't understand it.

It started pretty much when the bad winds started and I'm just not sure where to go from here. I changed his feed a few months ago, could it be that? Or grass growing?
I have started feeding Magnesium but it arrived sunday so has only been a few days.
Teeth/back/saddle have been checked in the last few months.
Where do I go from here? Get the vet for a full work up? Or wait it out until the weather improves and see if the magnesium has an effect? Feeling so sad for him, it can't be fun!
 
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redapple

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Has he always been a bit spooky or is this completely out of character?

I had a quite spooky warmblood who would settle only when really being mentally challenged but for some that blows their minds even more. Do things like raised poles distract him or will he run straight through?

Has the herd dynamic changed at all?

Sounds like it's quite frustrating and I hope you get your normal boy back soon.
 

Chippers1

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He has always been a bit spooky but this is like ten times more than the normal spooky levels!
I did some pole work last week and he kept tripping over them as he was distracted. This Saturday I took him out to jump and he was brilliant, sunday we went to a show and he was super calm but then wouldn't jump...(it's usual for him to be super calm if he's not feeling 100%) not sure if that is related but is unusual after being so amazing on saturday!

Not sure about the herd dynamic, we've not had any new horses join since last year and they are the same herd turned out in winter together.
 

Chippers1

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I think I will try cutting out the feed too, he only really has it now for salt and now the magnesium.
 

Chippers1

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Just Ease and Excel, just a handful really. It's one of the few feeds that he happily eats, he's very fussy!
 

ycbm

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If the food trial makes no difference I would scope for ulcers and test for hindgut ulcers too.

How old is he? Issues like this can start with PSSM, but if he is more than seven or eight I would have expected you to have seen it before now.

The weekend issue is very odd. Is there anything going on nearby that only happens on weekdays/nights? A factory nearb that has installed new machines that he can hear but you can? Building works? Something that makes a smell he can smell but you can't?

I hope you find an answer.
..
 

meleeka

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I think I’d wait until the weather settles before you panic and call the vet. In the meantime, I think it would be beneficial to do some in hand training with him rather than riding to teach him to respect your space a bit more.

Mine are currently grumpy and hungry when I arrive, despite having plenty of grass and hay. Their manners have also needed reminding once or twice.
 

Leo Walker

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soya oil can send some horses bananas so if the feed is new I'd knock it on the head. The magnesium is a good call though. Flushing grass tends to be lowest in magnesium. Otherwise dont panic yet. I'd work him quite hard and see if he settles when the weather does. If hes still a bit bonkers in a week or two then its probably time for further investigations.
 

Chippers1

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Ok some good suggestions, thank you all. I want to keep him on the magnesium but may find another feed to give it him in, difficult when he is fussy! Maybe coring some apples and putting it in there will do 😅

@ycbm he's 11. Ulcers are something that are in the back of my mind all the time, I'm quite anxious about his health but I don't want to scope just to ease my mind. If feed trials/magnesium/weather change makes no difference it'll be a route I will go down.
I don't think he has PSSM but you never know.
There may be building work going on, I mentioned on another thread about a gate being put on the path running next to their field which affected all of the horses, everyone struggled on that day! But he started before then and has continued. Funny that at the weekend there was a music festival nearby that we could hear from the yard quite clearly and he had no issue with that 😅
He does seem to look in a similar direction when he's alert and I struggle getting him out the field, then he walks up fine until he then has to turn towards the yard when he gets funny again - this is the direction of an air field (he has no problem with the light planes and helicopters) but there could be stuff going on there.

I have been doing groundwork with him too, also taking him to the "spooky" corners of the school to snack on some of the grass to help desensitize, he was better today in there. Also walking back to the field doing some halts, backing up and walking forwards again.

Thanks again :) I just want him to be his normal (mostly!) chilled self!

Screenshot_20190611-194014_Gallery.jpg

Edit: sorry the photo is massive 😅
 
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Chippers1

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I've just looked at all the feeds I've given him over the last two years (not many variations!) And all have either soya or alfalfa or both in and he's not been this bad on any of them 🤔 but then Ease and Excel does have a lot of soya in it.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Well the easiest way to work out if the feed is causing the problem is to stop feeding it. You will soon be able to tell. Give it 3 weeks, if necessary, if at the end of that time, you haven't seen a difference, it won't be the feed tht is the problem, although if it is, you will probably see the difference in a shorter time.
 

Lois Lame

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What was the weather like on that weekend that he behaved so well? Warm and sunny?

My feeling is that it's weather related. Most of us dislike wind very much.
 

Chippers1

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Both weekends were either sunny/warmer or a bit rainy but not windy so it could totally be a weather thing. Think I will give it a few weeks with no feed and hope the weather improves. I'll still try and get the magnesium into him somehow too :)
Thanks all for the reassurance.
 

OlderNotWiser

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My instructor said that several of her clients are having problems with extra spooky tense horses atm; she puts it down to the weather/spring grass. My daughter had a lesson Saturday (cooler windy day) and her horse was like a coiled spring, didn’t settle at all. She booked an extra lesson for last night as he was so awful (sunny and only a slight breeze) and he was like a different horse! Worked nicely, calm and listening to her once again. Hopefully this is similar for your horse too and just a blip.
 

DD

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i'd cut out all hard feed and try hacking out with a companion. He may just not like leaving his friends .Is there a mare in season ?
 

Sussexbythesea

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My elderly warm blood has been behaving out of character since Sunday he was fine on Saturday. He seems very anxious as soon as he comes in and neighs, box walks, poos a lot, won’t settle to eat properly keeps going to his door and staring at I don’t know what and can’t wait to go out again. He’s also being naughty when taking head collar off flinging it off his head then cantering off.

I checked his stable and all around it and could find nothing that had changed, no change of feed either. I can only put it down to the rain and flush of grass growth. Other younger warmblood seems unaffected. The only other change was that my sister had been staying with me for two weeks and left Saturday night and she’d been giving him special attention so maybe he wonders where she’s gone? Have any other horses left? That can make them anxious.
 

J&S

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This may be far too simplistic, but, is he just cold? He will be summer coated in rubbish weather, if you look at the thread re rugging you will see others have rugged even their natives. When he is in the herd he can position himself in the group to get shelter, when he is on the yard I dare say you tie up in a place to avoid being in the wind. the space in between field friends and yard will probably catch the full blasts and "get under his tail", likewise out hacking. In Devon we have narrow lanes and high hedges/banks and I always try to ride in the lee of these in windy weather, can you plan your hacks in the most protected areas?
 

BOWS28

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It may be completely off the mark but when i fed magnesium to my mare it blew her brain. She was on it for 3 weeks and she was awful. Ridiculously spooky, extra hot under saddle, horrible to walk to the field and back again (I have always prided her in her manners when being handled on the ground) She had changed field recently so i swapped her back and she was still the same. Stopped feeding the magnesium and after a week and a bit she was back to her normal self.
Of course every horse is different but it'd worth considering.
 

SpringArising

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How much exercise is he getting? I think we often underestimate how much they need in order to feel sufficiently content. If I give my horse a day off I know about it the next day.

That's not to say there isn't something else going on, but I also think we can be quick to make assumptions that it's a health issue when if fact they just have far too much energy and not enough release.
 

Chippers1

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He is rugged at the moment because he is a wimp, but only since the rain on Saturday.
This could be an option though as the walk up from the field is very open and on a slight incline so it gets pretty windy.

I do try and find people to ride with but it's difficult as I am often the only one there when I get there! On Friday I rode in with one of the lessons (livery so they were ok) and he settled down slightly but not to his normal self.
He is ridden 6 days a week and although not massively intense I do a lot to keep his brain thinking. I will admit he's not done so much over the last week or so because of his behaviour (aside from the weekends).
No horses have left the herd, they are pretty established now, last year he was picked on a bit but that has settled down now and has been fine for a while.
There are a few mares in season! His field is opposite the mare's field with a hedge and a path separating them but that could contribute.

I've only just started the magnesium so I'm not sure of it's effects, good or bad yet. Hard feed cutting out is my first step and I will go from there. It does look like the weather is going to improve too so that might help.
 

Chippers1

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A mix really - schooling most days either in fields (one large and undulating, one large and flat, one smaller with WH jumps but I don't always jump) or in the school. We are working on suppleness and lightness so do a lot of lateral work, which I have mostly had to teach him as he didn't know any when I got him. I also do some interval training in the bigger fields when I don't fancy schooling! I also try to fit in a polework session during the week and may have a little jump if i'm not jumping at the weekend. Schooling is normally 45mins - hour in the summer, half an hour in the winter due to not being able to use the fields so stuck for where we go. Hacking at least one weekday, again same time ish, there's a good large field I use for fattening work so we interval train around that often too.
At the weekends normally a competition or arena hire on one day (over an hour's work normally) then the other day hacking further afield for two or three hours.
I try to keep it as varied as possible for him, especially as we're both not huge fans of schooling :) which is why we go to different fields around the yard and of different things when I go in them.
Just at the moment he's decided he's never seen these fields or the school in his life so everything is scary!!
 

Tihama

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It may be completely off the mark but when i fed magnesium to my mare it blew her brain. She was on it for 3 weeks and she was awful. Ridiculously spooky, extra hot under saddle, horrible to walk to the field and back again (I have always prided her in her manners when being handled on the ground) She had changed field recently so i swapped her back and she was still the same. Stopped feeding the magnesium and after a week and a bit she was back to her normal self.
Of course every horse is different but it'd worth considering.
The same happened with my mare on Magnesium and also when I tried both MSM and Seaweed supplements on completely separate occasions.

Good luck in finding the trigger.
 
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