The accident prone horse…

Does any one else have an accident prone horse? I am at a loss of what to do with my now 11 year old gelding. We bought him as a 3yr old, my first horse actually, and I did everything with him. Over a 4 year period of time I had shown him in-hand, Hunter Pleasure, Classic Pleasure, Pleasure Driving, English Pleasure and Dressage, locally to World level and always did very well. Yes he was one of those versitile Morgans we all dream of, I even have him broke western and over small fences though never got a chance to show him in either division.

My problem is he is a thinker, and if he is bored somehow always finds trouble. In 2004 he kicked through a fence and ripped open his back right leg right under his hock (down to bone and tendon), and after 2 months stall rest kicked out a 1 1/2″ board in his stall and re-opened it. So had to be on a few more months stall rest. That healed up (although scarred) and he started to go back into light work, mainly riding around the property and that bored him to death. This past spring (’07) I found him in his stall with a giant gash down his left front cannon bone (again down to the bone) and not a single thing to speak of that could have caused it (no blood anywhere, nothing sticking out of the walls, I pretty much hand picked through his shavings and found nothing). That has very nicely healed up, very tiny scar, and I used him more or less as a babysitter/pasture ornament over the summer and fall (the vets idea) to let him build up the leg naturally, along with a handful of 30 min. walk/rides. Well now I’m noticing that he isn’t completely sound, with two good legs how could you expect him to be. My question is what do I do to occupy him?? He’s miserable with no job, but with soundness being an issue what can I do to keep him happy, healthy and comfortable? The last thing I want is for him to hurt himself again. In the nicest sense he is like a 4 year old boy with ADD, he has to be constantly stimulated or he’s off in la la land.

5 Responses to The accident prone horse…

  1. Black Eye Beth says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how much trouble horses can get into (I thought your ADD analogy was pretty good since they don’t mean to do it). I don’t have a real good answer for you but I do know that my trainers go through a lot of “Jolly Balls”. Some horses play with them and some don’t. I think they make big ones for the pasture too. Just a thought. Maybe someone who has gone through this also (and I am sure they are out there; you’re not alone) will respond.

  2. skyloft says:

    The jolly balls are WONDERFULL! My one stallion goes through about 1 a month. We chain it to the back wall of his stall and he chews and flings the thing around. He has even managed to get it uncahined a few times and then bashes the walls with it. He’d be very cranky boy without it. He does play with it in his pasture too. He actually will play so hard with it that he’ll tear holes in it. He’s a puppy dog otherwise!

    My younger stallion has a cocky little Shetland gelding to occupy him and fuss with him. Seems to keep the boys happy!

    This may give your gelding something to play with- if he will. Is he trail sound even? Or completely unsound? Maybe light riding or driving on good days would help him feel useful?

  3. erikarose says:

    He has no interest in jolly balls, that was my first attempt (2 of our other horses love them to death though). We even got 2 goats to try to entertain him, but they only half help.

    I do have an update though! Last week we did some blood test, as we have been having a harder time keeping weight on him, and his hind end has become dramatically weaker. Hopefully today I will get the results in, but so far it looks very much like a classic case of EPM. If the blood test come back positive, we are going to go ahead and get the spinal tap to test that fluid, as something like 50% of the horses who test positive with blood are carriers but not affected. I will let you all know when I find out.

  4. KarenL says:

    clicker training! Teach him fun games- he’ll feel happier to be learning something, especially if he’s recovering from EPM.

  5. erikarose says:

    Thank you! I hadn’t even thought of that. I always said I could train him to be a trick horse he’s so eager to learn, I will most def. look into that!

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