Finding the cause of behavioral issues (hindgut ulcers?) without re-creating the bad behavior and how to supplement appropriately

Hi! Longtime reader, first time writer. The TL;DR is can I take my horse off EquiShure; should I replace it with something else; and if so, what?

I have 2 OTTBs who I moved to a small, private boarding barn operated by an older woman. Daily turnout was promised, “weather permitting.” Came to find out this woman’s definition of “weather permitting” is basically “if there is weather, turnout is not permitted.” The horses were only getting out a handful of days a month.

Unshockingly, my younger OTTB’s temperament took a very bad turn. He went from sometimes-baby brained and annoying/goofy to actually vicious–rearing and striking, kicking, almost completely unmanageable. He was obviously suffering. I related the behavior change to the lack of turnout (and please trust me when I say I was actively trying to find a better boarding situation for quite some time).

Of course, stress and no turnout can cause ulcers. The barn owner talked to a vet, without my permission or consulting me, about my horse, and the vet recommended putting my horse on a month long trial of Equishure, and, if no improvement was seen, scoping and treating ulcers. I was fazed by the price of Equishure (and annoyed to have a vet I didn’t know consulted by a biased barn owner without my permission :grinning: :grinning: :grinning:) but I was willing to try anything to get the horse feeling better while we looked for new digs.

A few days into the Equishure experiment, my horse’s left knee blew up like a balloon and he was found to have a joint infection. My vet treated that and miraculously the horse has fully recovered. But to recover he needed to chill out, so he spent about six weeks on the tranquilizer reserpine.

In the middle of reserpine-taking period, we moved barns. My horses are now out 10 hours a day and their lives as horses are drastically improved in more ways than I need to get into. The younger guy’s behavioral changes were gone literally on arrival. He was not only NOT aggressive and dangerous, he was friendly and chill with humans and other horses alike. Of course, as the reserpine supply dwindled down, I worried his attitude would revert upon completion of the med…but it did not. Good, happy attitude remained.

The Equishure has also remained. Made no sense to take him off of it while going through a major medical ordeal and a move. We’ve now been at our great new barn for three months, two months post-reserpine. I may or may not have invented a few extra horses to get half-price “new” SmartPaks to stock up on Equishure when there was a special going on, but it’s beginning to run low and so it seems like a good time to evaluate whether he needs it. We never actually knew he needed it to begin with.

I suppose the quickest answer might come by taking him off the supplement and seeing if his behavior changes for the worse, but I certainly don’t want to make him uncomfortable or unsafe to handle. So I am looking for suggestions. Wean him off? Add something different? G.U.T.? Dac? SmartDigest Ultra? Outlast? Aloe juice? Probios? Any thoughts on all of this would be so greatly appreciated. Thanks for sticking with me through the long story. :peace_symbol: :peace_symbol: :peace_symbol:

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You can try reducing the daily amount before you stop completely. Since the instructions are in a range based on whether the horse is on grass or not, you can try feeding on a lower range than you are now. If that’s all good, then you can try to stop it.

I had a horse who did well on it when he was on pasture but for other hind gut support, he also did well with Succeed. But if the entire management program is good where your horse is now, I wouldn’t assume he needs other supplements.


I agree on the reduction in dose, with an eye towards stopping it. All supplements and medications should be “as much as necessary, but as little as possible”

I definitely wouldn’t stay on anything that’s “just in case”.

The fact that his temperament turned around so quickly when he moved, is a good sign!

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