Kicked

A month ago I got my ass kicked.

Well, not technically my ass, more my upper hip/lower waist area. It doesn’t really matter where it was, it hurt!

Naturally, I took pictures.


Turns out Newboy is a teensy bit food aggressive and it took me way too long to figure it out. I had noticed that he tended to get excited at meal times, but not the full extent of his behavior. The horses get separated at meal time, and Newboy had picked up very quickly that he eats in one particular stall and was very good about going right in it when he saw the feed buckets come out. The “incident” occurred when I switched up this routine.

He didn’t come after me specifically, he was going after Spots and I just happened to make a stupid mistake and end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Newboy and Spots were both headed for the same stall, so I moved between them to shoo Spots away. Unfortunately, at the same time, Newboy decided he was also going to shoo Spots with his back feet. He realized his mistake very quickly, since I screamed and threw a halter at him. It scared him so bad that he tripped, fell over, then ran and hid in the stall for half an hour. I would have felt bad for him, if my back hadn’t hurt so damn bad.

After getting kicked, I started watching his behavior at meal times more closely. I noticed he does a lot of posturing, ear pinning and mouthing before the food is dumped. He was treated for ulcers when I got him, but these are all classic signs of a belly ache. I decided to take him off the concentrated grain feed I had him on to see if that helped.

I slowly switched him over to strictly beet pulp and alfalfa pellets with a ration balancer and flax seed top dressing and his behavior improved. But, the problem with this type of diet is the volume of feed needed. Beet pulp shreds don’t weigh much, so it takes a lot of volume to get the pounds you need, and then you have to soak them in water. It doesn’t take long before you’re measuring feed in a 5 gallon bucket.

Eventually I got tired of mixing up massive volumes of alfalfa and beet pulp myself and looked for another option. I finally settled on Triple Crown Senior, which is pretty much just alfalfa and beet pulp but I don’t have to mix it myself or add water. We’ll see how he does……

Did you know TC’s website asks for your horse’s name and then customizes the questions?

Update: I started writing this last week, so all the paragraphs above are a week old. After a week on TCS, all the behaviors are back, plus now he’s standing in a stall weaving. He isn’t locked in this stall, he’s choosing to stand in it and weave. So, I think the new plan of attack is another round of omeprazole treatment, plus a switch to TC low starch. I might also put him on a daily calcium type stomach supplement like U-gard.

“It makes it really hard to weave when you’re looking at me like that.”

9 thoughts on “Kicked

  1. I never trust a group of animals in general around feed as its such a primal instinct to protect their food. When I feed my mare I tend to muck out the stable at the same time but this is because she is alone in her stable but I have seen people take feeds in to the field before at my last yard and all I could think is thats a kick waiting to happen 🙈 🙈

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    1. In this case the food wasn’t even out yet, they get loaded into their stalls before getting fed, but he knew why he was being loaded into a stall and didn’t want that pony interfering. This particular horse was a sort of rescue I picked up recently and there’s about 3 years of his life that are completely unaccounted for. We’re still learning some of his quirks!

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      1. He sounds similar to my mare when I first bought her I had no idea about her history and still have no clue but because of this I was so wary of her at the start because there were certain things she would over react to ect. On one hand I would like to know her past on the other maybe Im better off not knowing.

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  2. I love that you put “Asshole” into the Triple Crown questionnaire! I used to take care of a bunch of maniacs, who needed a firm but patient hand in the barn. I learned very quickly not to have the grain in the stall when I brought them in because they’d pull, prance, and generally act like a nut. There were some horses I could bring in pairs, others individually if they were food aggressive. Then for those nutters, I would not feed until I got the desired behavior. Moving to the back of the stall. They learned very quickly that I would not feed until they were polite, gave me space, and eventually did not touch their food until I left the stall. It took patience and time to train them, but now anyone can feed them.

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