Looking for advice and experience with a horse that is hit and miss on the pattern. I have an 11 year old seasoned gelding, previous owner rodeoed a bit on him but ran him a lot. He is seasoned and has been out, always warms up good. One run he's locked in and hunts the barrels and has a perfect run. The next he's looking every direction and acts like he's never seen the pattern. He's sound and checked regularily by performance horse vets, runs on lasix, adjusted regularly etc. I know it's not a pain issue, it's a focus issue. It doesn't matter if he's been to the arena 100 times or it's brand new, some runs he goes in and is perfect and some he's not. Is this just how it is or is there anything I can do to fix this? He has ran on natural calming/focus drugs as well as cp, ace and guanabenz, and it's still hit and miss. I'm just at my wits end not knowing what I'm going to get in a run.
Have your horse scoped, may have a ulcer.
I was going to suggest guanabenz but you've tried it. Does lighting make a difference. Maybe it's vision. Good luck.
I'm not thinking ulcers, he's somewhat prone to ulcers and you can tell immediately when he has them. Always run on ulcergard and give him a good daily preventative. Will definitely ask my vet next appointment though!
I don't think it's lighting either :/ he can run in the same arena at the same time of day with all the same lighting and one run is perfect and the next is not.
Have you ever compared videos of you running at home and rinnning at an arena OR videos of a good run and a not so good run? Could very easily be something you do. A friend told me that her futurity horse was working so perfectly at home but when she went to the arena that was about to miles from her house the horse made nice runs but not the stellar runs she did at the house. She asked herself "What do I do differently?" She realized at home she ran in split reins and at the arena she ran in barrel racing reins. My horse was shaking his head furiously in the turns. My trainer realized that he just needed the tie down dropped a little. It can be some tiny little thing that you may be doing snd comparing videos is a good way.
I have a seasoned 1d horse that became like this over a years time. Ended up being EPM at the root of it. He is now EPM & pain free, but still dealing with the mental effect it had on him. IDK if that's something you've looked into or not, but it can definintely change their behavior.
I think you hit the nail on the head with this! I treated him for EPM about a year ago and saw a huge difference. His only real symptom was difficulty gaining and keeping weight, and extreme spookiness. After treating, those things went away. Thanks for mentioning it, I hadn't thought about it.
Haley1996 - 2021-11-28 6:10 PM
I don't really know if it was the reason or not, but I just had to retire (and then sold) my 10-yr-old good barrel horse this year. Discovered this spring that he was born with crooked vertebrae in his entire neck and it was most likely compressing his spinal cord.
I owned him since he was 6 months old and hauled him everywear as a buddy as a 2 year old. I finally got him past not having to do exhibitions at an outdoor jackpot when he was 9, but he still always struggled with indoors. And we tried going to a few rodeos, and it was very slowly getting better. He never spooked. But he would LOOK. Which would slow him down b/c he was gawking at everything instead of running.
I've never had a horse that just couldn't get over looking at things. So it does make me wonder if it was the neck issue all along. Have no way of knowing, of course.
If you've already had yours looked over with a fine tooth combo, it's hard to say what to do. I guess if you want to be really exhaustive, if you haven't already, xray his neck and back for the heck of it. And have someone really experienced interpret the results. Might be absolutely nothing there, but it's definately a new thing that will always be on my radar from here on out.
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