Last summer my dear old hunt horse went where the good ponies go. I miss him every day. That left the younger horse alone. He did not like it and developed ulcers. His behavior showed up on hound exercise, though he’d been fine riding in the ring/pasture/trail. He got the month long treatment of Gastroguard Nov 2022. The behavior cleared up and he’s been great. The follow up was 1/4 a tube of Gastroguard before stressful activity-ie hunting. BUT as my vet warned me, if the stressor doesn’t stop-he’s still in the pasture alone-ulcers often come back.
I was doing my usual between the hunts riding last week (walk, trot, turns, very low key), had been riding about 30 min, was just doing a final trot around the ring, when he suddenly jumped sideways, turned and plunged forward. I stopped him and he started, I guess the only way to describe it is hopping in place, slinging his head so high he hit me in the face. I tried to sit still and told him to “stop it”, and he did. We went right back to the spot and continued the trot. Then I stopped him and was walking on thinking “what on earth?” when (at a different spot) he whirled and scuttled off again. No hopping or head throwing. Made him go back and walked around a bit and got off.
The next day got our huntsman, who is an excellent horseman, to check him out-back, etc. and he found nothing. He said he was sure it was his stomach acting up again. He hunted fine behavior wise but was a bit lame about an hour in so I went home.
Gave him 1/3 of a tube of Gastroguard each day after that, also gave him 3 days off because of the lameness. Rode him and he was fine. I thought yay the daily 1/3 tube worked. Rode the next day 30 feet after I got on, spook and whirl. That time I fussed at him and sent him back the way he’d gone, rode for the usual between hunt time-about 30 min. no more incidents.
He has never ever done stuff like that. Not when he was 4 and green.
Is the 1/3 a tube every day enough to do anything? As I type it seems like probably his ulcers are acting up. I am working on a pasture buddy for him. He is obviously still unhappy to be alone-very looky in the pasture, leaves his food to peer around. Til he does get a buddy (if in the end that’s what the issue is) what can I do to make this better?
So far none of this is too awful, but I do NOT want it to escalate. The sudden whirl is something I really hate-I had a horse 20 + years ago who did this, much more violently with super unpleasant results for me-I definitely have some post traumatic stress over it.
Anyway, any of y’all delt with post ulcer issues? How did you solve or at least get them to a livable level?
All help appreciated!