Sunday, 17 June 2012

Frustrating Pony-Mare.

My horse has a problem.

While she is generally a pretty calm horse, I think she does actually suffer from anxiety otherwise known as 'being a worry wort'. Her anxiety levels stay fairly low in the grand scheme of things but she worries about tiny things - like weather changes or having to go in the stable at night because it is pissing down with rain or freezing cold, or even something as stupid as swapping to the other night yard when they stay out.

In their little herd of two, Allie is the watcher on the wall. Gracie lies out flat in the sun, Allie watches for danger. Gracie grazes to her heart's content - Allie stares off into the distance on surveillance. The sheep herd across the road are on the move? Allie is the first to charge over to the fence and watch them to make sure they don't somehow escape their paddock, cross the road, leap the high fence and get in with my horses. (On a side note, my horse is a moron. She is from Goulburn for christ sake and she is scared of sheep?!?!).

Exhibit A - worry-wort eye...
But she doesn't stall walk much, she doesn't whinny and cry out, she doesn't stand trembling when she is scared. She is an internaliser. When she is stressed, she gets tucked up, a little figity and most frustrating of all, she goes off her feed. Remember when Natalie took her away to camp and she didn't eat her hard feed ALL FRICKEN WEEK? How am I supposed to take her away to shows if she won't eat?

Even with good weight on she gets tucked up - this was because the neighbors had their motor bikes out.

Again with the herring gut...
The latest saga of refusing to eat is a result of being stabled since lunchtime Thursday, then being taken to the clinic, sedated and clipped on Friday. We were home by 10am however she did not eat her dinner from the night before and refused to be even slightly interested in the lunchtime feed I gave her. Or her dinner Friday night, or breakfast Saturday morning. Treats hand fed? She no want. Hay? Mostly eaten but not finished.

Cue fuming Lisa.

HORSE! You need to eat - you are already light on - I need to fatten you up so you look like a proper dressage horse! So you don't freeze in winter now you are clipped! How do I fatten you up if you won't eat your bloody grain feeds?! How do  you get the energy to be ridden if you won't eat?

In desperation (and because it was pissing down all day. again.) yesterday I went to the feed store and bought vitamin B12 to stab her with and Apetite to shove down her throat. I gave her 10ml B12 and 30ml Apetite at about 4pm I think.

A couple hours later she was definitely calmer in the stable - she wasn't hanging her head over the door watching for horse stealing bandits, or madly ripping at her hay like a kookaburra with a snake. She was chilling in the middle of her stall with a soft eye and one hind resting. Huh.

Dinner was served at about 9.30pm. Her (tiny) dinner last night was stripped down to the bare essentials - one scoop each of oaten and lucerne chaff and two metric cups of whole oats. That is it - no water, no supplements, no copra or hygain or weightlifter.

It took all night, but she ate it - every last bit.

NB. I realise that if this continues I should have her put on a course of ulcerguard or something. Could be ulcers but unlikely.


Val said...

Is she the alpha mare? Harley is the alpha, which requires that he be vigilant. I think that the responsibility they feel does stress them.

I have my horse on prebiotics and probiotics, which I believe to be beneficial, but when it comes down to it, the food still has to go in their stomachs! As the owner of a light-weight horse, I feel your pain.

Keeping weight on is especially important, since...
...winter is coming.


Lisa said...

Baha Val!!

She is not the alpha, Gracie herds Allie around, but Allie just seems to sweat the small stuff and worry. Their herd dinamic is weird.

Kelly said...

No help to offer - my horses love their food. Allie has a beautiful face!