How do you get around the hole in their brains?
I’m an experienced horse person. This horse decides he sees something and just loses his brain. He’s 21, I’ve had him since he was 3. He’ll randomly just lose it and you dont’ want to be around. Gave up riding him last year when I realized life had taken too much out of me and I didn’t want to get hurt.
Last night was a prime example. In his corral, stalls open with overhang. About 1/2 mile away I heard ‘boom’ and knew it was time to sedate him or he’d hurt himself. .2 cc Dorm IV barely touched him. Half hour later I gave another .25 cc IV. Put him in his stall, fans & lights on and watched until midnight. He was stoned and fine and seemed to have settled. This morning, at 5:45 I look out and he’s pacing/ running back and forth in his stall. His corral mate, perfectly within view and <30’ away is sleeping in the cool morning air. My horse has lost it. I turn him out and he runs circles, about 30 yards wide about 4x before he decides whatever he was so frantic over is gone and finally settles to graze.
This has happened periodically over the course of the last 17 years. I am beside myself trying to keep him from hurting himself and having an ugly end. Ulcer medication made the behavior go away about 50%, but even then, if he decided something was worth getting frantic over, it’s safest just to lock him in his stall and deal with the sweaty mess in the morning. He lived on Depo for a while when in training. We’ve been through 5 trainers, 7 saddles, 6 boarding facilities. The behavior persists. One trainer gave him back to me and refunded me a month of board because she knew she wouldn’t make progress with him.
He was bred as 3 y.o. and my husband is convinced there’s something related to that. Stallion of his herd, smells a mare, hormones or brain chemistry. Whatever. He doesn’t live near mares (perhaps 2 properties over).
I’ve spoken to some old cowboys who say Impressives are ‘tough’. I thought it was hogwash. When this horse is good, he’s fantastic. When his brain goes away it’s every man for himself, need a chain to lead him and just stay out of his way until he’s either worn himself out or decides he’s over it.
It crossed my mind that I should put him down. These events only seem to happen about once a month or two, and last night was justified. This morning? In the clear dawn and no firecrackers anywhere? Unjustified.
Thoughts? He’s on TC Sr, decent pasture for 14 hours a day, coastal Bermuda (2 flakes at night), salt, garlic and Cosequin ASU.
Any suggestions on what else I should try? Since I’ve already had a long list of pretty accomplished professionals fail for riding, I’m thinking it’s just who he is and I need to change me, because this horse is never going to change.