1.17.2014

Fear



"Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins". -Charles Stanley


I got up to the barn today, a beautiful January day, the sun was actually out (it hasn't been out in what seems like forever), the snow has melted, and it was a warm 45 degrees. I had every intention of taking Finn on a short trail ride and hack around the property. My trainer said he was fantastic last night, she did a lot of canter work with him, and he is getting strong and confident. Usually when she rides the day before, I have a fantastic, willing, light horse the next day. I was really, really looking forward to this ride after a long week. 
    He was out in the paddock when I got there and he pricked his ears from the other end when he saw me. Brought him in and he was a rockstar on the cross ties, not dancing around and pawing like he usually does. When he saw the saddle, he pinned his ears. AND IT WAS ALL DOWNHILL FROM THERE. Girthed him, and he tried to cow kick me. Brought him in the indoor and he kept trying to cow kick, and was prancing around at the end of the reins like an idiot.Tightened my girth, tried to get on, he stepped away from the mounting block a few times, finally got on. Walked a few 20m circles, with his head in the air. He would not relax. Thought that maybe if I picked up the trot he would settle. Pressed lightly into his sides, no response, pressed a little more. After what felt like a lot of urging (not typical), he broke into a trot. BUCKED, SQUEALED, and tried to get me off. Just like that. I knew something was wrong. This was not my horse. This hasn't been my horse since June. 
     Walked him back to his stall, untacked him in there, and he immediately peed like crazy. I am hoping that he just had to pee...He will only go in his stall or out in the paddock, and he has cow kicked and acted like a jerk before when he needed to go. At this point I already had him untacked from thinking he was lame so rather than tacking him up again I decided to bring him in the indoor and watch him move. 
     Let him go, and he took off like a rocket. Galloping full force around the indoor for 20 minutes. This is a horse that is in work SIX DAYS A WEEK, is on practically NO grain, is on SMARTCALM ULTRA, and has ALL DAY TURNOUT in a giant paddock. Seriously, Finn, WTF?!!!! I don't get it. I just can't explain him anymore. 
    I have a horrible feeling that neurologically there is something wrong with him. I have had him tested for lyme very recently, which would be the first thing I would think of. It's like he will be totally fine and calm and willing, then a switch flips, and he loses his mind, and I can't get him back. 
    I'm terrified of my own horse. I don't enjoy him. I couldn't wait to leave the barn today. I spend two hours driving back and forth to see him and work with him and it just feels like a huge waste of time. I don't know why or how we lost our bond, but it's not there anymore. I have had vets, farriers, X-rays, chiro, massage, acupuncture, blood work, saddle fitters, thermography, feed changes, supplement changes, barn changes, ANIMAL COMMUNICATORS (crazy much?), everything for him and NOTHING that I've done has helped. All the while, thinking, shouldn't it be a little simpler than this? I know horses are a lot of work, and time, and care, but this just seems extreme. Is it? I've done everything aside from taking him to a clinic and getting a bone scan, which I just don't know if I want to do. 
    He wasn't like this when I got him. He was a sweet, willing horse that I could canter around no worries. Now, I won't even canter him. Ever. My trainer does, but I won't. I used to jump him 2'6, in the outdoor, with his ears pricked, and tell him he was a good boy when he cleared over 3', as his ears tilted back to me, and then forward, eager for the next jump. I can't even bring him outside anymore. I close the doors to the indoor when I ride. I used to take him down the trail and talk to him the whole time about everything, while he listened and looked back at me as if to say, yep, mom, I know exactly what you're saying. He was my escape. From work. From my toddler. From everything. He was a friend, and fun, and my confidence. He made me feel strong, and loved, and happy.  
    But now?
I dread seeing him. Because I know that it will be the worst part of my day. 

13 comments:

  1. Might seem stupid but have you checked him for ulcers? I was gonna say lymes but youve already checked him for that. I had days with my mare the first year where i was like" my god what did i do, i have 30 years of this crap, she hates me" After moving barns and coming off stall rest i started to get the horse i always wanted. Im chalking it up to the new farm where its pretty much as low stress as a horse can get. I also have her on the smart calm ultra and with a trainer. I think that helps. I have no good advice for you but hang in there and dont be afraid to take some time off horses. I did w/ her when it got really bad. I would just be like " be a wild horse, im gonna watch TV for 3 days" and i would pretend i didnt own one then go back to the barn with a fresh start. everyone has days like that anyone who says different is lying. Horses are hard. Im pulling for you guys.

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  2. I have tested and treated for ulcers. He is also on ulcer maintenance in the form of SmartGut Ultra and SmartDigest Ultra. I feel like I have all my bases covered. I have done the same thing as you, given time, and gone back up with a fresh mind and start. That will work, and then things get bad again. It's like he will suddenly, and unexplainably, without anything setting him off, lose his mind, and I won't be able to get it back. It's like you look in his eyes and they are just blank. But then I'll go up a few days later and he will be fine, and calm, and a different horse. I had him in a somewhat high stress (for him) barn over the summer, and then moved him back to the barn he was at before, in the country, and an hour away from me. It's the ultimate in horse happiness- lots of hay, all day turnout with buddies, a regular routine...And still, something is just off. Thank you for your advice!

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  3. I have a horse just like this, and I completely understand. It's so frustrating not knowing what's going on with them but absolutely knowing that there's something wrong. Do you feed any vitamin E? I was thinking about trying that with my horse. Hang in there - you're not alone!

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  4. Sorry - I'm not sure what I did there with removing the comment. It was the same comment!

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  5. I have tested him for both vit E and Selenium, as we live in a deficient area. He tested a bit low in vit E, so I did put him on a supplement. He's been on it for about 6 months or so. If you're looking for a great vit E supplement I recommend Elevate, easily absorbable, cost efficient, great product!

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  6. I have no advice because I am not a medical professional. I am a tenacious person and usually refuse to give up on anything but don't let yourself be hurt. :(

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    1. I know. I just don't know what direction to go in. I also generally refuse to give up. I may try him on something like pentosan to see if it helps.

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  7. I can hear the frustration in your voice and I am sad for you. :( But maybe it's time to let go. I had to with an ill and behaviorally difficult mare. It was partially easier because I hadn't had her very long and hadn't finished paying for her so I just let her go back to her owner who sold her. the mare seemed to get better with a new owner but then I've gotten two calls from the new owner wanting advice because she stated showing symptoms again. I think she had hormonal mare issues (an ultrasound showed possible ulcers and overactive ovaries. ) You are dealing with a gelding so this is different but like humans horses can have health issues that probably affect them mentally. They can't tell us what hurts they can only react. Do you think he is safe enough to sell, or lease to someone else for a while? Does he do this with your trainer? If he is under 13 yo I think you can submit him as a Clinton anderson clinic horse If he ever comes to your area. I wanted to submit my impossible to catch gelding but he's too old I guess they figured even Clinton can't teach an old horse new tricks. ;) email me if you want to chat more- I've been in a place where people thought I was crazy not the horse and it was one of the most stressful and awful things to go through. Ranchgirldiaries@Gmail.com

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    1. I got him from a rescue, so if I decided that I couldn't keep him anymore, I would have to keep him until the rescue found another suitable home for him. I just want to know what's wrong with him and if it's treatable, but I can't shell out 10k to do every test there is. He does act like this with my trainer, but she will push him through the bad behavior. I am just not confident enough to do that. Thank you for your advice, it's really appreciated.

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  8. You know, when I read posts where you debated what to do with this fellow and it seemed like a question of whether he could be exactly what you wanted as soon as you'd hoped...my basic feeling went in one direction, although I mostly didn't comment because really, it wasn't up to me. But when you say that you're scared and that you dread seeing him? Honestly, that's a whole different ball game. Sometimes life is just too short.

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    1. I know... I think what I'm having a really hard time coming to terms with is that he didn't used to be like this.

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  9. Fear can turn a good relationship bad. I had a lovely horse that everyone else loved, but I was scared of him and I hated thing. Best thing I ever did was cut my losses and sell him. Not saying you should, but that's my two cents based on experience.

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