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Horse problem Options
#1 Posted : Monday, May 19, 2003 7:42:22 AM
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I would say "old age" is the biggest problem with the App. Horses can certainly live that long, but seldom at that age are they in physical condition enough to do anything strenuous.

If the present owners were starving the horses, they would both look bad. Often-times, the weaker of the two will get whipped-off the feed and that horse''s condition will show it. Try to be there when the horses are fed and observe their behaviour, could be they need to be separated during feeding.

Have a vet check her teeth (both horses teeth). Horse''s teeth grow continuously. What keeps the tooth length in-check is the grinding action against the opposing teeth. Wear patterns are created by the circular grinding action. The teeth don''t wear evenly and so a tooth (or teeth) can get too long, or can create razor-sharp edges that can cut the tongue or the cheeks.

These conditions can cause sores and pain and certainly will inhibit proper feeding/digestion...would you feel like eating if your mouth was cut-up?? Bad teeth will also affect how a horse responds to a bit...the first thing to check if a horse develops a handling problem.

Regular maintainence of a horses teeth is called "floating" the teeth, where a special rasp is used to better mate the two surfaces...a job to be left to someone with training. It''s not unusual for a vet use a bolt-cutter to break off a long tooth.

She might also be wormy. There are a variety of orally-administered paste wormers available...be sure to follow the instructions, a follow-up dose of wormer may be necessary to completely break the worm life cycles.

Your vet may want to send off stool/blood samples to find out exactly what worms might be present, but that probably isn''t necessary at this point, `cause the paste wormer will kill them (the worms) anyway.

Also observe for signs of "cribbing". Cribbing is when a horse will hook the upper front teeth on a fence rail or other sturdy surface and apply pressure down on their teeth. This causes the esophagus to open and the horse sucks-in air that enters their stomachs.

I don''t know a lot about the mechanics of how this happens, but a cribbing strap, applied around the throat/neck just behind the head will help keep the esophagus closed.

A cribbing strap leaves tell-tale signs of use on a horses throat and hair as it is worn continuously, except for when the horse is being worked. You don''t want a cribber unless there is a compelling reason to put up with it.

Lastly, a horse can develop a calcification growth in their stomach. It is simply a calcium deposit that grows (like a giant kidney stone) and impedes gut function. I suspect this could be detected by x-ray, but I think your vet would advise you there is no remedy.

Hope this helps.

#2 Posted : Monday, May 19, 2003 2:49:27 PM
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Thanks for the reply and the great info. We will just have to get a Vet. out there to look at both horses before we agree to anything. Thanks again
#3 Posted : Monday, June 02, 2003 5:51:34 AM
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I''d definately get a vet out before doing anything- 23 is certainly getting on past prime, but it''s not exactly ancient, either. ''my'' horse (she was given to me for my 12th birthday by my grandad; she lives at his farm and he uses her for working cattle, ,she''s a grade QH) is 23, eats hay, and has lived in the pasture her whole life- and she''s not even beginning to slow down at 25.
#4 Posted : Monday, June 02, 2003 6:19:00 PM
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Good for your mare! I had a friend who was playing fairly-hard polo on a 22 year-old gelding. Some horses can take it, but I think it comes from many, many years of proper maintenance and steady, consistent physical conditioning...horses are not unlike people in this respect.

It would be difficult, and most-likely impossible, to take an old, out-of-condition horse and "leg `em up" to be a working horse.

I learned long ago that a good horse doesn''t eat any more than a sorry horse, and that if I was going to invest time in a horse, that it should be a good horse that has many years of potential use ahead of it.

However, older horses often-times work well for small, inexperienced children, and horses that are good with kids are fairly valuable.
#5 Posted : Thursday, June 05, 2003 5:19:22 AM
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We finally did get a horse, a 14 year old gelding. He is a bay, holds his head and tail up kinda proud. He is on the small side only about 14 and a half hands we were told. Guesses are he is arab and quarter horse and mutt. He is fun to ride but a little spirited for the grandkids (for the wife and I too). We are just learning about horses and bought him from a horse shoer that bought him to resell. The guy seemed pretty honest, he told us he did not know much about the background put the horse was in good shape and pretty easy to ride. I think I like the horse, think I''ll keep him.
#6 Posted : Thursday, June 05, 2003 8:47:51 PM
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Glad to hear it, Herb.

"Spirit", in many horses can be a direct reflection of their feed. Don''t make the mistake of thinking your horse needs the finest quality alfalfa, grain, etc. I''ve always had good luck feeding striped (not moldy) alfalfa, and it sells for less money than the prime stuff.

I had a gelding once that tried to buck me off everytime I got on him. After the first three minutes, he was a great saddle horse. I kept reducing the quality of his feed, thinking he must be over-fed. Wrong. I then started to feed him better, and the better I fed him, the less problem he became...completely opposite of what some knowledgeable horse people had told me.

Come to think of it, I work better when I''m well-fed! :) Don''t be afraid to experiment with his feed...just make the changes gradual, abrupt changes in a horses diet can be disasterous.

And there is absolutely no substitute for "wet saddlepads"...and more is better!

Hope you have fun with him!

#7 Posted : Thursday, June 05, 2003 11:15:50 PM
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Good for you, can''t wait to make a full time move to the farm so we can enjoy a few horses. In my post about companion animals you can see I have read and been told that a lone horse is not a happy animal. At the Kentucky horse park they put a goat in with the older horses as a companion. If you only want to keep one horse a goat would make a good companion. Don''t eat much and they prefer different forage in the pasture. Good luck and have fun.
#8 Posted : Friday, June 06, 2003 6:33:18 AM
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I think you are right about horses not wanting to be alone. They are herd-oriented by nature - safety in numbers mentality. If you have read Monty Roberts first book, then you know that the herd instinct and how to manipulate it is the secret Monty uses to "break" a horse...fascinating stuff!

That being said, there are few things more aggravating than trying to hunt elk and be riding a horse that has never been out in the woods "by himself". They whinny (loudly) about every 20 seconds, stumble and run into trees because they''re so busy looking for their buddies that they aren''t paying attention to where they are going.

And you never feel easy about tying them to a tree while you hunt on foot `cause they''ll do their best to free themselves, tear up your saddle in the process, etc.

I don''t know if there is any hard proof, but I''ve always heard that a goat will also help prevent distemper in the horse.
#9 Posted : Friday, June 06, 2003 1:24:49 PM
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Apparently, I cursed Tas by saying that. She hurt her foot last week and nobody wanted to tell me. So she''s out to pasture for now. Heading down to look at a new horse (keep fingers crossed for me, please!) tody

We''ve always kept ponies as pasture buddies for our guys- mostly ones that are one step away from the dog food factory.
#10 Posted : Saturday, June 07, 2003 5:36:12 AM
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He doesn''t buck but does move around when you try to get on him, it''s a riot. My wife is 5''3" and jumps around quit a bit on one leg trying to get on.
He is on about 1-1/2 acre pasture all day and then a mix of oats corn barley and molasses at night. We will suplement with alfalpha in the winter.
Elk hunting is of course the dream, but would like to have another horse and a couple of pack mules too. Hope to be able to do some wilderness camping and fishing this summer on him.
I''m thinking of changing his name to Barney if my wife doesn''t stop spraying that purple horse medicine all over him.
And what are "wet saddlepads" and how do you use them?


Thanks, now I have an excuse to get a goat. I had one years ago, he used to sit in my chair with me and watch tv at night and would run to greet me when I got home from work.


Sorry to hear about Tas, hope she is recovering ok.
#11 Posted : Saturday, June 07, 2003 3:27:18 PM
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A wet saddlepad is just that...saddle your horse and ride him `til the he breaks a good sweat and gets the saddlepad wet. :)

In other words, ride him a lot.
#12 Posted : Saturday, June 07, 2003 9:50:47 PM
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When they don''t shed out, I always suspect Cushings. Your vet can run a test for you.
#13 Posted : Tuesday, June 10, 2003 4:13:04 PM
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hi after a friend and i read you topic we believe that the appy has cushings diesease. this is a diesease that the horse looses the ability to not loose it winter coat and actually has to be shaved. it has something to do with the pituarity gland. i would call a vet though and ask him/her to look at the horse before you get it.
George Parsons
#14 Posted : Wednesday, July 09, 2003 3:05:03 AM
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Streetlegal was correct right off the bat. Check the teeth. It could be the pituitary gland I hadn''t heard of that affliction but I do know that some horses develope the inability to shed. Could be several things combined and some TLC along with a good vet could fix.

Horses are a responsibility but if you''re wanting them this might be a cheap investment. But you know what they say, "the cheapest part of owning a horse is the purchase price".

As far as age I had a 27 yr. old Thoroubred/quarter horse cross. I bought him for $100 when I was in High School. He was 14 months. He was a hell of a horse, 16 hands, athetical, speed, handled like an Italian sportscar. I roped on him, picked up at rodeos on him, my sister barrel raced on him and taught him to jump. I did Civil War re-enactments on him, he was a great cavalry horse, one of the best. I could lay him down & shoot from behind him. He was still going strong at 27 when another horse I had, kicked or bumped against Mac & broke his leg. August 19,1996. I had to put him down (& they say cowboys ain''t supposed to cry). Even with that broken leg & at 27 Mac still had that fire in his eye that said I can outrun anything anywhere. Because of his age the bones wouldn''t heal.

Anyway I''ve rambled on about a good horse. Mac is buried on the farm and I hope to be buried right beside him someday. My point is that age is not a factor but care is. If you look at the program for the NFR (National Finals Rodeo). The program will have a little info on the cowboy & a short blurb on the horse. A lot of those roping horses are 20, 21, 22. They are still fit & settled. They have experience with a little speed and a competitors heart, that''s what''s important.

Check there teeth, if eating grain and a lot of grain falls back out their mouth they probably need their teeth floated. Get a good vet, one that cares. When I had to put Mac down my vet cried along with the rest of us. It was a bad day. Give them their innoculations & shots. Worm them regularly, even if they''re fat as butterballs. Read up on horse care.

Morgans can be as hard headed as mules but not as smart. You know why the indians rode appies - so they''d be mad as hell when they got to the war. Actually every horse has it''s good points and it''s bad ones. A good horseman (or woman) will recognize those build on good points, try to change the bad points or at least tolerate them if the horse can''t change.
#15 Posted : Thursday, July 10, 2003 4:53:07 PM
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I''ve owned lots of horses, but only one that I cried over when he died. He was in his mid-twenties. Cause of death is unknown...probably cholic. I didn''t live at the stable area where he was kept, so I wasn''t there to help him.

Like your horse, this guy could and would do it all. He had total trust in me and I in him. The biggest test of that trust was one night when I donned a white sheet and carried a lit torch (official KKK uniform).

We rode to a house where there was a Halloween party going on and with the help of a friend, burned a cross in the front yard.

When the party-goers came outside to see what was going on, guys were laughing, women were screaming, everyone was drunk. I heard one guy ask another "Who is that?". The other fellow said "I''m not sure, but there is only one person I know who has a horse that would tolerate this!".

That horse taught me a lot and provided many years of fun and excitement. He established a "horse-flesh standard of excellance" in my life...as a result, all horses since then have (probably) been judged somewhat unfairly. :)

#16 Posted : Thursday, July 10, 2003 4:53:07 PM
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We are looking at two horses, they are in the same pasture. No grass just fed hay and grain. One of them appears to be fine and fit, the other however appears to be sick, long shaggy matted hair, like she didn't lose her winter coat, also just stands around most of the time but will move to the feed. She also stinks bad. She is supposed to be a 23 year old Appy. and does look like she could be where the hair has fallen off. The other is a 15 year old Morgan and except for needing foot attention (They both do) looks pretty good. The owners are talking about giving both horses to us, but we must take both of them. Anybody have any ideas on what could be wrong with the Appy.?
Thanks. Herb.
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