Need some advice on a calmer?

LaurenBobby

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17 July 2018
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72
Hi Everyone,

So I'm after peoples advice and experiences on calmers?

Background -

My horse is usually chilled, but can sometimes be a stress head. For example when we go to competitions/clinics. He also does this weird muscle tremoring thing that is worse when he is more stressed. For example on a normal day he will be a bit 'shaky' when we arrive at the venue and then relax and eat his hay within about 2 mins. However, yesterday he was awful. He literally shook the whole time and did not calm down. Pood pretty much constantly for the first half hour. He is not a naughty horse so he wasn't particularly naughty but I just know he's not himself. When he is like this he will not eat. Was fine when we got home.

He has had blood tests done by vets, all normal. He has been scoped for ulcers, all normal. He is 100% worse shaking when he's stressed. When he's not stressed there is not shaking. Awaiting PSSM test results. Vets are stumped as to why he shakes, even top vets at leahrst. I'm convinced its to do with stress.

This shaking started Aug 2018, after a fun ride. It is now almost every time we go out. However we are doing lots more these days than we did previously to the first episode. No loss in performance, in fact getting better! No muscle loss, weight loss etc.

Feeding wise he was on hi fi molasses free, and hi fibre cubes. Ad lib haylage through winter. I have recently (last month or so) started to give chaff before each ride. However he will take or leave the hi fi molasses free. The only thing I can get him to eat every time is apple chaff. Which I know contains sugar, but which is the lesser of the two evils? He has seemed much better having chaff before traveling and at competitions. Yesterday however he would not eat a thing when we were out because he was too stressed.

Supplements wise he has turmeric, I've started him on a gut balancer (last week), he also had magnesium oxide. Which I didn't think helped so I didn't buy another bag once this one ran out (about 10 days ago), but now I'm thinking it had more of an effect than I thought?!

A few people have mentioned vitamin e? Does this help reduce stress if a horse is lacking vitamin e? I have ordered some anyway. Also ordered more MgOx.

So basically I'm asking if anyone has any thoughts on this? Or any calmers that have worked for them? He's a strange one because he always does as he's told, and I don't feel like he's going to explode or anything like that, but he's just a bit tense sometimes.

It really upsets me because I just want my old calm horse back. All ideas welcomed, at this stage I think id try anything.
 

Bellaboo18

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3 October 2018
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335
I note you say scoped for ulcers and all normal but in your last post you says he's got grade 1/2 ulcers that you're treating. Anyway if you are treating them don't forget to look after the hindgut.
I'm not a fan of calmers but appreciate you're willing to try anything and one might help while you get to the bottom of what's going on. I can recommend James Hart V calm. It's valerian so isn't competition legal but I'd say this is because it works. It's got a very strong smell but if you add it gradually you should be fine.
 

LaurenBobby

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17 July 2018
Messages
72
Sorry yes by all normal what I mean is the vet would be very surprised if the one ulcer he had at grade 1/2 was making him that stressed or shaky. He said most horses would have this level and he's seen a lot worse! I've tried valerian root and it had no effect, also a fussy eater, need something competition legal ideally, has it worked for you? When you say you're not a fan of calmers can I ask why? x
 

Bellaboo18

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3 October 2018
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335
Yeah I must agree I've not heard of shaking being a sign of ulcers before but definitely worth treating as it won't be helping his anxiety. The scope won't show the hindgut so that could be troubling him. In my experience horses with ulcers can show different symptoms but the majority are on edge and anxious.
Re calmers, ideally I like to get to the bottom of a problem but I appreciate that's sometimes easier said than done. I think calmers are sometimes used to try and mask problems but I don't think that's what you're doing :)
I started the v calm a week before a yard move and continued a week after to help a stressy mare. If definitely worked for her, she was noticeably chilled through the whole experience. This is the kind of time I'm happy to use them, one of(ish) situations to make their life's easier. Anyway she is also a fussy eater and I think it tastes OK as she ate it no problem but I was surprised at the smell.
If you want something competition legal how about horse first relax me? I think that'd be my pick for him.
 

LaurenBobby

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17 July 2018
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72
That's pretty much what the vet said, we are only treating his stomach ulcers currently, is there a test for hindgut ulcers?

Yes I understand what you're saying re calmers :) Id love to get to the bottom of it but the top vets are even stumped (cry). I cry even more because he was the most perfect horse to take anywhere before all this. Im now thinking something missing in his diet? Looking for a calmer in that sense if you get me.
I have looked at that one but I can only find it in big tubs that cost nearly £100! Haha I'll keep looking
 

Bellaboo18

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3 October 2018
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335
There is a test but it's not very reliable. The problem is if you treat stomach ulcers with omeprazole it reduces acid which is great for the ulcers but has a negative impact on the hind gut. There are different ways you can support the hindgut and some are very pricey like equishure but worth trying some cheaper alternatives like yea sacc.
Blimey I hadn't realised it was that expensive.... hmm I was just thinking that one has vitamin e in and should support the gut. I've not used any others I'm afraid so run out of help really.
I hope you get to the bottom of this though, I bet you will. Horses are such a stress sometimes!
 

LaurenBobby

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17 July 2018
Messages
72
yea sacc I'll have a look at that, hes on the protexin gut balancer which was recommended on the ulcer fb group. I think that is for a massive tub, but id like to try a smaller one to start with! Ill try adding the vit e to his feed alongside the gut balancer and hope it works in a similar way?!

Thank you I really hope so :)
 
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