Friday, March 18, 2011

Short Term Plan

Thank you for all your comments. You've certainly given me a lot to think about. The general ideas presented are here:

1) Some sort of internal infection
2) Hoof problem
3) Hock problem
4) Cycle/hormone problem
5) Ulcers


Based on my knowledge of Izzy, I would say that I think #4 or #5 is most likely. An infection is possible, but I would expect other symptoms, maybe general droopiness, dull eyes, more discomfort. Her feet look good. It's not just me saying that--every farrier I've ever had work on her feet (4 different ones) thought she was pretty ok, especially in the back. She's sounds and moves relatively well, which is also why I doubt it's a hock problem. She's sound and even. She is genetically predisposed to be sound (yay!), she didn't work hard as a young horse, and I've brought her on slowly. Those options are possible, but I'm not thinking they are most likely.

Which brings us to hormones and ulcers.


Izzy never gave me any trouble in her cycle until her last one last fall, which I mentioned in the appropriately named post, PMS Pony. She is also 7, almost 8, so she is in a prime time of life to be having these problems. Since her last cycle was rough, it's definitely possible that her first one this year is correspondingly rough.

The other obvious possibility which I had overlooked is that her ulcers are acting up again. Hm... this one strikes a chord with me. Specifically, Izzy's ulcer problem started last summer when she was confined to her run except for a few minutes a day when I was able to turn her out in the arena. We're at a much better place now, but all the rain and snow and yuckiness has seriously cut in to available turn out time. It could easily be that this nasty lil' problem is cropping it's head up again.


Ok, our current short term plan is as follows:

1) switch to the loading dose on her ulcer medication
2) try to maximize turnout as weather allows
3) tack change: ride in the western saddle outside the arena at a walk to see if there's an element of being arena sour going on--maybe she just needs out
4) continue to monitor for any signs of cycling. Her back legs were a little messy two weeks ago, but I haven't noticed it since and she hasn't been presenting herself to geldings that I've noticed.
5) I'm considering having a massage therapist out to work on her. That would maybe indicate any more specific pains and would rule out a serious personality conflict, which I don't think is the problem, but would cover my bases.

Any other thoughts? I'm thinking we'll stick to this for about a week and look for improvement. If she's still acting weird, the next step will be to call a vet, but that's expensive and my faith in conventional medicine is only so-so.


  1. I think this sounds like a great plan. My mare was horrendous during her cycles (rearing, generally difficult and resistant). It was like owning two completely different horses. Good luck, I'm this will all get sorted out :)

  2. This sounds like a very sensible plan. One thing I'd try to do is to change one thing at a time, so that you can "isolate the variables," so to speak, if you want to try to get to the bottom of it. You might disagree and just want to fix it, whatever it is, but if you change tack, and up her ulcer meds, and have a massage therapist out, it's possible that if she starts acting more like herself you won't know what the underlying cause was. I'd want to know, but that's me. Other people would probably do the opposite and just try to get it fixed as quickly as possible. Either way, good luck!

  3. Good plan - if she's had ulcers in the past, you might want to just keep her on U-Gard on a permanent basis - it's not that expensive and could prevent a reoccurrence.

    Have you tried Mare Magic? Very cheap to use. The first spring heat is often one of the strongest ones.

  4. Marissa--I hear you. It drives me nuts to change multiple variables at the same time, but I'm balancing that with wanting to get my horse back from the "broken" status she's at currently. My inner child is screaming "DO IT ALL NOW!!!"

    However... I will go out and ride this afternoon. Western, outside. If she's still sticky, I will then up her ugard dose. Massage therapist cannot be called until next week sometime at the earliest anyways (yay money!)

    Kate--I've considered mare magic on and off, but from what I've heard, the active ingredient in raspberry leaves is magnesium. She's been on magnesium for a couple weeks and I haven't noticed a change, so I'm not so sure I want to spend money on it.

  5. If ulcers is the culprit, I would definitely increase her hay, and maybe get a slow-feed hay net too, so she constantly has something in her stomach. Also, alfalfa is known to help with ulcer issues, so adding some alfalfa hay, pellets, or cubes would also help. As Marissa said, you don't want to change everything all at once, but maybe try all the tack issues at once for a while, then all the feeding issues, etc. That would certainly make the problem easier to isolate (one would hope!).
    It would definitely be a GOOD thing if it turns out to be ulcers, because that's relatively easy to deal with! Good luck and please keep us posted.

  6. If all you are using for ulcers is the feedthrough U-Guard, I might try treating with something a little stronger. While U-guard can be helpful, it's basically just a soothing herbal type thing. Actual medications like ranitidine and Ulcerguard/Gastrodguard inhibit pumps in the stomach and lower the acid level significantly so that if there are active ulcers, healing can take place.

  7. Yay for STP's!!!

    Sounds like a good starting point, and I'm on the Ulcerguard bandwagon.. It's spendy, but you see a difference within the week if it's helping...

  8. Sounds like a plan to me. And I tend to agree with the two items you selected as possible culprits.

    Once again, acupuncture. Do you have someone in the area who does it for horses?

  9. Sounds like a great plan.

    I have no idea what her feeding schedule is, but I agree with the person above that said having a little something in her stomach at all times is key...slow feeder nets and things like grass hay (lower in calories/energy, NOT quality) may help.

    Also, Spring just does funny things to horses, especially mares. If I were a betting woman I would bet you have everything figured out in a week or two with your approach. Good luck! Miles and I are pulling for you.


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