Not Himself

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  • ShaeStuart Original Poster ShaeStuart
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 5

    I recently moved my 8 year old to a new barn. When we moved him a while ago to my old barn, he settled within a few days and I he was perfect when I rode him for the first time (about 4 days after the move). Now we moved him a second time to a little bit of a bigger barn and he’s a completely different horse. He was spooky and fresh the first 4ish days (which I expected) but now its been a week and he hasn’t calmed down a bit. He almost hurt quite a few people when I brought him inside from being in a lay-up pasture. He spooked and pulled me into the barn, knocking down buckets and running into a horse. He has never acted like this and some of the things he is doing are starting to scare me. He’s hurt right now and we are rehabbing him so he can’t go out in a big pasture and I can’t lunge him to get him calmed down because he’s not allowed to do much yet (riding wise). Does anyone have any tips for me? I am in desperate need of help. Thanks.

    "The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears."

    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 4

    I know this might sound different, but try to think like he would…could there be something in this barn that wasn’t in his old barn that’s spooking him? Maybe it’s something he doesn’t have. Just tips, but i sincerely hope they help. Good luck!

    Speak your mind but ride a fast horse. -Anonymous

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    My horse went through something like this. Turned out his new environment stressed him out and he was developing ulcers. Whenever he starts acting “hot” and ignorant I start him on a round of omeperazole and he calms right down within 2-3 days. I haven’t had him relapse since starting smart combo.

    Our last move we moved countries and from a frigid climate to a warm one. In preparation I gave him a month of omeperazole before and after. He did the move like a champ and didn’t have a single grumpy day during or after.

    ShaeStuart Original Poster ShaeStuart
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 5

    I totally understand that, but is there anything I can do, especially since he’s injured, there isn’t much I can do to help him, unless you have any ideas. Thanks!

    "The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears."

    cruisecontrol cruisecontrol
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 11

    I have a Warmblood who came to me with anxiety and what I would call, ‘horsey anger issues’ and was very spooky and hot. He is prone to ulcers and nerve induced complications. Coincidentally, he is also injured right now. When I first got him, he spooked on the ground A TON! He had been handled roughly and was used to being shanked on the nose with a lead chain when he spooked. This resulted in him being afraid of facial pressure and when he spooked he would then go “OMG I SPOOKED!” and run from what he thought would be pain dragging me all over and causing him to freak more because of the added pressure from his halter. I had to develop the tactic of when he spooked I went with it. So when he jumped and started to run away I would calmly move with him to prevent him from coming against pressure and talk quietly and soothingly to calm him down. He eventually learned he wouldn’t be punished for spooking and trusted me enough that when I said something wasn’t that scary he believed me. Try to find out what is bothering your horse and create your own tactic like this.
    Because he is injured just take it slow and easy and try to avoid situations where he could hurt himself. If you sense him getting nervous just stop. Like freeze where you are and talk to him and rub his favorite petting spot until he calms down and then continue slowly with one hand on his neck to make him feel safe. Physical contact is the horses natural comfort. When wild horses are nervous the touch each other and young foals are almost always in contact with their mother because it makes them feel safe. Also, don’t hold his lead too tight with the other hand because he can feel the tension through the rope and will get more amped. A calm firmness should do fine and can be tightened if necessary.
    -Hope this helps, good luck!

    The triple threat of riding = EVENTING! 😉

    Pyper267 Pyper267
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 4

    he may not feel safe at this barn or something is scareing him like in his new stall its probley not like his old home you probly should try and make it more like his old barn and let him know that he is in a safe place there. Also if he had a friend and now isnt with him that could also be a probem if he is the only horse you should try to get another horse so he wont get lonely.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I have moved many times with my horse as I am a military spouse, and just wanted to say that I truly empathize with your situation. I do believe there is something bothering your horse, and drugs should not necessarily be your first option. I would first look into smells. Is your new place in the proximity of pigs, goats, or other odor-generating source that could be setting him off? I would also recommend you invest in spending a couple of days at the new place with your horse, from when he is fed in the morning to when he gets tucked in at night. How is his stall arranged? Does he get picked on by his stall neighbors? I would try to get a very clear picture of his surroundings in detail. Can you handwalk him more often and let him see his new environment? You might have to put a shank on if his behavior is super bad, but you want to make the handwalking experience as pleasant as possible. I guess what I am saying in the end is that you have a lot of ruling out to do…everything is new for your guy and the combo of being a bit laid up and his new digs is probably not helping.If he is bored and has pent up energy, try introducing clicker training. At least it will engage his brain and channel some mental energy on something new and fun…Good luck…I hope any of this helps. Remember that ultimately you are his rock, his safety, and his source of comfort. He needs your steady leadership, now more than ever.

    GoBaroque GoBaroque
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    My own experience moving my mare when she was laid up with a broken leg was pretty disastrous. I thought I was doing the right thing by moving her to a full-service barn where someone could look after her all the time, rather than me just stopping by morning and evening. But she hated it, got super-stressed, and ended up in an equine hospital with colic within a week. After a week at the clinic, I moved her back to her previous not-so-fancy barn (which fortunately I could) and her long recovery was pretty uneventful from then on.

    I don’t know what your situation is, but if none of the suggestions from other posts help, maybe you could find another barn more like his old place? Are the stalls smaller than what he was used to? Or was he used to being able to see more of his neighbors? Maybe even moving him to a different stall at your current barn could help. If he is bored, perhaps a stall with more of a view? Or if he is stressed, a stall farther away from the ‘action’? Or maybe his neighbors are high strung and he needs more laid back buddies? Maybe he is not being fed as much hay as he was used to, or as frequently, or a different kind (alfalfa vs grass, for example)? Too much, or different, grain? Is his lay-up pasture more of a dry lot with nothing to eat, and he thinks you are going to feed him when bringing him in? Nothing like accidents waiting to happen bringing in horses when it’s feeding time in my experience.

    That said, I think horses can truly like or dislike a place with accompanying behavioral issues. One of my horses used to break gates, stalls (basically everything imaginable), and be super spooky at other barns (without having any health issues). But since he moved years ago to where he is now he has just been Mr. Perfect. In his case, the fancier the barn, the more miserable (and hence ill-behaved) he was. Fancy places don’t necessarily make for what the horses consider excellent care and happy horses.

    Sometimes, but not always, calming supplements can do wonders.

    It sounds like you are doing the best you can, so don’t pull your hair out too much and don’t go it alone if you don’t have to. Having someone you trust (trainer, vet, friend) who can help you and your horse may make a big difference.

    Anything forced and misunderstood can never be beautiful.
    -Xenophon, 400 B.C.-

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    Have you considered a magnesiumn deficiency as a part of the underlying problem? The stress from the move may have triggered it, but magnesium deficient horses are far more prevalent than is generally known, and they handle stress very very poorly. The supplement that most people (including me) have had the best results with is the one from Performance Equine USA ( If you go to their website, they have a whole page of symptoms. Apparently magnesium is needed for the horse to handle stress without having major craziness issues, and some horses apparently do not get or retain enough magnesium without a supplement. You can test for it, but it is often less expensive just to try it for a month or so. Your horse could have been borderline, and the move pushed him into the problem deficiency. You may find that he cannot maintain his magnesium levels without being on the supplement daily, but it is still often cheaper than medical bills for you and him.

    TWH Girl TWH Girl
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 31

    What a tough situation. Have you considered a calming supplement? Maybe it’s a combination of things- rehabbing and not being ridden, wintertime, and then a new home too. Perhaps check hay and what grain they may be giving him to make sure it’s not sweet feed or something full of lots of sugars. Hope he calms down soon! My horse has done that occasionally and it’s embarrassing and unsafe.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Assuming you check his environment for ‘scary monsters’, smells, sounds, etc. A couple of things to consider. It is hard on horses emotionally to move. Moving them as little as possible to new environments is wise. If you have a good bond with your horse (trust), taking an article of clothing you have worn several days in a row (like a t-shirt) and tying it in his stall can help. The stinkier the better – as long as it smells like you. I’ve seen nervous horses in new environments stand with their nose in the shirt – it clearly makes them feel better. The next thing is that even though your horse cannot exercise to dispel those nervous feelings, you can do something with him every day. If he can move around at all, do some sedentary ground work, preferably twice a day. Spend time grooming him. If he can do so safely, take him for a slow walk. Establish a regular routine in the new environment – arrive around the same time every day. He’ll quickly look forward to your visits.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Alot of questions. How long has it been between moves? How many horses were in his herd before and how many now? Did he have a buddy before? What kind of watering system was in place before and now? How was your hay provided before and now? And feeding, was there a change in how and how much or type of feed? He may not be able to get to hay if there is a dominant in his field but after a few days he should be allowed unless the dominant is bully and he is low man. Maybe he could be moved to another herd. Is the waterer working properly, does he know how to use the waterers? Is is cold water, maybe electrolytes would help. How is the footing different? And then finally how are the folks that handle him daily for feeding and turnout? As important as all of the other answers this one is too. If their energy level is high, he has enough new stuff going on, this just adds to his stress. One of the other posts recommended spending time at the farm, check it out. Just observe the dynamics and interaction, you might find out what he is trying to tell you. Good Luck!!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    My suggestion is Probiotics. Smart Gut Ultra is a good one that will help not only protect your horse from colic and issues of the gut but has the Probiotics in it. One of my guys was a nervous traveler anytime we went camping I think he thought he was never coming home. He would be worried and have the “runs” the whole time. I would be giving him Probios the whole time we were gone. Now that he is on Smart Gut Ultra…all gone. He is happy and has healthy poos on our trips.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Also would just suggest with smart gut ultra the smart calm with those two supplements he should settle .

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Take him off all grain – lower the energy level and feed him only enough rolled oats to get his supplements in and only grass hay – no alfalfa — too high in protein and makes horses ‘hot’. All the suggestions for treating stomach ulcers are great too.

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