Sudden unexplained bucking in mare...ideas please???!!
Hey everyone! I am new to the COTH forums but have quickly found that you guys have a lot of experience to draw from. I am looking for some input on some sudden behavioral changes in my mare that I am trying to get to the bottom of.
She is a 9 or 10 year old mare who was a pasture puff til I acquired her in 2008 and started her undersaddle. She is an opinionated, fairly bossy mare who is very expressive - tosses her head a bit, etc. However, she has never offered to come off the ground ever. She bucked one time after starting over crossrails, just got excited. Other than that, in the two and a half years I have been riding her, she has never come off the ground.
We have been doing great work this past winter and made some HUGE progress in her flatwork. Everything was going really well, working consistently 5 days a week. Flash forward to the last couple weeks. Came out to ride one day, and she started crowhopping around anytime I asked her to trot. Got a few good steps and quit. Checked everything I could think of, couldn't come up with anything. Next day, same thing. Two days later, she popped an abscess in her front hoof, even though she never took an off step. We treated the abscess, it is now completely healed, and she went back to work this past weekend. We figured the behavior issues were tied to the pain in her hoof, even though she wasn't off. Same thing happened. As soon as I asked for the trot, she started hopping, kicking out with her back feet, and finally threw in a BIG buck - enough to nearly unseat me, and I am pretty secure in the tack.
I am desperately searching for ideas. There have been no tack changes, she has been off for a few weeks with the abscess, so it couldn't be soreness from work. Doesn't appear to be in season, and have never had problems with her being in season in the past. Her grain was increased a little a few weeks ago, but she was doing her best work after it was first upped. No feed changes as all, just increased as her weight had dropped a bit over winter. Help me out here - what am I not thinking of? Have not called the vet out yet, chiropractor/acupuncture vet is coming Monday to do my gelding, and I may add her to be checked out....
I had the same issue with my 4yo OTTB mare over the winter. I went through everything trying to figure out what was wrong. I thought maybe it was the cold weather that was making her touchy, since she basically had no winter coat and TB's are known for being nutters when it's chilly. I have had the vet, the chiro, the massage therapist, and the farrier look at her. I finally had her teeth done and she's a different horse. I noticed you didn't mention teeth, so check that out if she's due.
Might be she pulled something (muscular or otherwise) that isn't much better in the few weeks she had off. Might be that all of her good work has changed her back musculature, and the saddle doesn't fit well anymore. Could be any number of things since horses are terribly clever at hurting themselves.
If the vet can't find anything, maybe it's just an avoidance tactic, but I wouldn't push the issue or provoke until you are sure she's not in pain.
Get her checked out for pain. My TB does this when his back hurts, but it could be a number of other things. Horses don't usually start kicking out and bucking just to be jerks, when they've been going well and consistently in work. If she'd had the winter off and came back fresh, maybe, but in your situation? Something's amiss.
tack should be regularly check once a year if howeve you have brought a horse back into work then it wise to have it checked out again as for fitment as thehorses mussles have changed since it was last worked
oftne people miss the obvious check that your saddel doesnt need reflocking or adjusting also get someone to check you from behind to make sure your sitting centeral to the horse as it will effect it way of going
Definitely sounds like pain. I've known mares that have had alot of pain when in season and they act like that. Can be controlled with Regumate, sometimes with some of the herbals like Moody Mare or Mare Magic. Talk to the vet, rule out some other pain, but it could be her cycle
I too have a somewhat opinionated mare that I love to death. I totally agree with checking out her teeth and ruling out any potiential pain issues.
I would also get her on a regular chiropractic schedule. I know some people think they are phony but I believe if you find a good chiropractor they are worth their weight in gold. My mare can get a little girthy and fussy and as soon as I have her adjusted she is back to her wonderful self. I have her done every 6 weeks during the competition season. I would way rather pay for regular adjustments than start sticking needles in her joints. Which is what a Vet I took her to recommended. No thanks.
Check her teeth. My normally placid Fjord went into a bucking fest after each jump at an unrecognized HT. It was quite abnormal behavior. It turns out that he needs to be floated every six months, not annually. It has made all the difference.
I personally know 2 horses recently who went from pasture puff to work... both started bucking... both were shortly thereafter found to have arthritis in their necks... It is something that in my experience, has been somewhat overlooked (both horses had thorough PPE's) and doesn't always show up until in work... hopefully this is not but I have heard a number of other stories and my vet/chiro has mentioned that he is seeing a number of them...
You guys are the best. I actually did not think of teeth. I am calling the vet this morning to stick that on the list. That's a really good recommendation.
I did order some Smartpaks with a mare supplement, and we will add that in as well. The chiro/acupuncture vet is coming out next Monday, and I will definitely add her to the rotation as well. I am especially interested in how that will work out - she can be fairly uptight and tense in general, so I think it may work wonders for her (hopefully!!!)
On the acupuncture side - she is a freak about needles. Spring and fall shots are always quite an ordeal. Are acupuncture needles a similar deal? Someone once told me they were so tiny you could barely feel them. I am curious how that will go over....
I know the temptation is to do everything except a full workup with your vet but...
Just last year, very nice TB mare (unraced) pulled out of a field about a year previously and put in a regular program. Started behaving erratically-in less polite terms that would translate standing on her hind legs and bolting, started stopping at fences. She'd be fine and then just inexplicably blow or hit the brakes in front of a fence.
Couldn't find a thing wrong with her-until they went for the full work up with blocks. The blocks revealed a very slight irregularity behind and ultrasound revealed she had a HOLE in a back suspensory that was working it's way to a tear.
Not off at all, no funny steps, no NQR. They wasted alot of money, and time, on alternatives when every step she took made that hole grow. Off for a year.
My own mare was just like that last year, minus the rearing or blowing up but she was erratic and just not right. Never lame, just some behavioral changes I tried to treat with hormones and Oxypromazole (which did help but...). DDFT. Off for at least a year but she is now retired and will not be coming back at age 22.
When you have sudden behavioral changes? Smart Pak is not the first call.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
No worries, it's not my first call. It's just a piece of the puzzle. Two vet calls now scheduled for Monday. 10 am for a full evaluation and teeth floating, and afternoon appointment pending for chiro/acupuncture.
Not "avoiding" a vet call by any stretch. I never neglect to call the vet when it appears to be necessary. Just getting a multitude of ideas to look into.
I know folks have already offered a slew of ideas, but I had a mare that suddenly changed dramatically in behavior, and by trial and error, we discovered she had ulcers. She was not what I would consider the most easy-tempered mare, but was very workmanlike, and suddenly started bucking, stopping at fences, etc. I would agree with the above posters that it is most likely related to pain, just have to figure out where! Good luck!