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Help! Still have a grumpy horse?

hi! I currently have a 5 1/2-year-old off the track thoroughbred, he came off the track February 2019. He is now starting up his career as a hunter jumper and I will be taking him to his first shows this summer!

I got him in June 2020, he had no behavioral issues or anything. I would say in the October/November area he’s gotten significantly more grumpy when I am tacking and grooming him. I have struggled to find him a correctly fitting saddle but now I have a custom saddle coming back to me in a few weeks so hopefully that will eliminate any back problems. he has been in a somewhat well fitting saddle for the past month. I have had the chiropractor out and he hasn’t found anything in his back. He just finished his 30 days of ulcerguard, with about a 10 day break on day 20 due to miscommunication with the grooms. He was on a half tube. I never had him scoped. He still seems very sensitive when I am touching around near his girth
area, and he is still very grumpy when I am grooming his back flank and stomach. I do have a neoprene girth for her so I wonder if that is what is causing a lot of his sensitivity near his girth, I plan on trying a fuzzy girth on him tomorrow.

my question is, what else can I do to stop his aggression? I hate having an aggressive horse and now I can’t tell if it’s just behavioral or if he’s in pain.

thanks in advance!

The treatment dose for gastroguard is a full tube a day for 30 days. A less than full dose plus a 10 day break in treatment could definitely prevent any present ulcers from healing fully. You may also have some hind gut acidosis/ulcers that need addressing. The symptoms you describe could definitely be a result of ulcers. If you can’t afford the full dose of gastroguard (which I totally understand), you may want to try the Nexium protocol (extensively described in a huge thread on here) but I would definitely add something like Succeed, Equisure, or even oat bran or flour to address the hind gut. Or you could have him scoped to know for sure if he has stomach ulcers (although that won’t help you determine if he has hind gut ulcers/acidosis).


Where did the horse live between the track and and you? What was his management then? What is it now? If you go in his stall to get him to just take him out to hand graze him is he still “grumpy” then? Or is it just tacking up that you see the behavior?

the directions from my vet along with the website (smartpak) was half a dose for horses over 1200lbs!

where could i get the stuff you described? how much do i give him?

i would totally have him scoped but my parents will not pay the money for it.

he was at a smaller barn after the track for a few months i believe, i’m not exactly sure. he is ridden 6x a week, jumping twice. he was ridden 6x a week before we got him as well. he is happy in and out of cross ties in his stall, but the minute i start grooming his belly he will pin his ears, shake his head, and bite at walls

Yes but how long is he in his stall for? How long is he turned out for? Is he turned out by himself if with other horses? At the smaller barn what was his living situation?

He is outside from around 7-4. I am unsure of his turnout schedule at his old barn. He is in a big pasture w/ access to hay with 5 other horses

The directions for ulcergard might be a half tube for a horse larger than 1200 pounds, but that’s the dose to PREVENT ulcers, not to treat them. You’ll need a full tube to treat, or more if the horse is large. Follow the directions on Gastrogard.

There’s a link to the Nexium thread on my user card, if you’d like to check it out. Clicking on my username will pop it up.


Simkie is correct - the tubes you were buying were aimed at prevention of ulcers, not treatment, hence the different dosing suggestions.

Nexium is an over the counter medication for human that you can buy at any pharmacy (CVS, Walgreens, etc) or big grocery store (Walmart, Target, etc). The suggested dose is 3 x 20mg pills once a day. You can put it in his feed.

The hind gut stuff I recommend can be obtained from SmartPak or other online retailers (Succeed & Equisure) or Amazon/natural grocery store (oat bran or flour).


oh gosh, so you’re telling me i wasted about $500!!!???

Yeah… you’ve been using a sub therapeutic dose. If the horse has a stomach full of ulcers, what you’ve been doing is pretty unlikely to be effective.

At this point, I’d scope, to be honest. Take a look and see what’s going on. Then put together a treatment plan.

Nexium is cheap, and has worked for a lot of us. But you’ve already spent quite a bit of time trying to fix this. Might be time to know, instead of guess.


i just really don’t have the money to spend on scoping, i’m a soon tk be college student who rides horses… what a great combo right :sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

do you mind telling me a correct dosage for a 17.2 tb? i’ve seen a couple changing dosages.

The correct dose of what?

How much does he weigh?

Poverty is owning a horse. $500.00 is nothing. It is really a drop in the ocean. If that is too much think about changing your situation now, before he runs through a fence or comes down with colic. You should also have the price for euthanasia at all times. If that is too much think of selling him sooner rather than later.

That is nothing compared to showing Fees.

If he is getting upset grooming his belly. Do not groom his belly.

It sounds like he needs a vet to find out what is wrong and to get the correct meds.

You sound like you need a trainer, you say yourself that he came with no problems and now you have problems. You call him agressive which means attacking you with teeth and hooves. This is a horse that has not neen listened to and is now screaming and yelling to be heard.

Take action now, one way or the other.


I do have a trainer. My parents pay for the majority of the horse, but since we already did a first round of ulcerguard, they are asking me to pay for this one. I am just asking for any solutions that may be cheaper than spending $1000 on gastro/ulcerguard!

Then try the Nexium protocol + hind gut support Leheath and Simkie recommended if it is really cost prohibitive to scope and treat with gg (which I totally understand) (and provide hind gut support with gg, too).

OP, there is no such thing as “behavioral”.

Whatever horses do, they do to communicate something. It’s up to us to figure out what the “something” is, but it’s never just “behavioral”.

While I can empathize with how expensive horses can be, that’s just reality. Cheap solutions tend to bring cheap results. That’s not to say you always have to throw thousands of dollars at a problem, but you should be prepared to do what is necessary to help the horse. That’s your responsibility as the owner.

Personally, I’d also scope. You can drop a few hundred bucks on a scope and get a definitive answer re: foregut ulcers (it will not show hindgut, which is always a possibility) and then plan a treatment with the vet, or you can throw a treatment regime at him and see if that sticks.

I would also recommend, however, that you take a good look at how he’s getting cared for. You say he’s gotten “significantly more grumpy” while tacking and grooming…which tells me there was some grumpiness already when you got him back in June. If so, it appears that was ignored and has now escalated. He’s trying to tell you something.

If he’s not already on a high forage, low grain diet, I’d figure out a way to make that happen. If he’s not already getting ample turnout, I’d find a way to make that happen, too.


So well put, Abbie.S!

@Sakey the reason several of us are advising you to scope is because there’s no reason to throw good money after bad. It’s really unfortunate you spent $$$ on a treatment that really couldn’t work, but learn from that mistake. If you scope and find straight forward gastric ulcers, you can choose to treat with Nexium, or something else less $$$ than Gastrogard.

But if you scope and find more complex problem, like delayed emptying syndrome, or pyloric ulcers, you can tailor your treatment. Treating those conditions as you would a basic case won’t be effective–different meds are needed.

Or, if you scope, and don’t find ulcers at all, perhaps the diagnosis is hind gut ulcers instead of stomach. Treatment there is totally different, and PPIs may actively exacerbate hind gut problems.

Given how long you’ve been dealing with this, it really is worthwhile to spend a couple hundred to gain info on what exactly is happening in the stomach, so you can treat effectively.

There’s a time for a “throw things at the wall and see what sticks” approach to medicine. When faced with a straight forward ulcer presentation, Nexium can be a great cheap and easy solution. But you’re really past that now, and it’s time, IMO, to get some solid info about what’s going on so you can tailor your treatment.


That would be the Nexium ( or the same in the store brand). I believe this is the recommendation on dosing. It is what I tried on one of mine and it did the job. That was when the Nexium thread first started and no grumpiness ever returned. If nothing else it was affordable and didn’t hurt her. She is 1000-1100 pounds.
(Some give more and I assume you would taper with more? This is what I did. I used the WalMart equivalent.)

I have never had much money either but I have managed to keep my horses happy and healthy for the last 40+ years. I got my first at 14 and have never been without them since. You can too.

3 pills once a day in the feed for a month.

2 pills a day for 2 weeks.

1 pill a day for 2 weeks.


Hindgut can be treated with misiprostol (sp?) Ask your vet. Calling it into a cvs wont hurt him and if it helps then yay! Sign up for the Goldrx program its easy and fast. A round of misprostol was 60 vs 120 bucks with goldrx for me!!! It is what OBs prescribe for women who have miscarried but have not passed the tissue, luckily my vet recommended it but not many people have heard of it. My mare was still barely eating with gastrogaurd but within a day of us starting the Mis, she was eating again full force.

Grind the pills up in a mini coffee grinder, add some warm pedialyte or gatorade, put it all into a turkey baster syringe, needle removed of course, and pop it down the hatch 2x a day! Good luck!!