Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Captain Destructo and the evil villain: McNasty!

We had a pretty good lesson tonight. He seemed really relaxed in the stall and was really good through the lesson. KAT was highly complimentary on his jog and he was really good about the lope. We worked on slowing him down but maintaining the impulsion from behind. There were only two of us in the lesson so it was a short one, but we ended by doing a pattern (jog, halt, pivot, lope R lead, halt pivot, lope L lead, halt, back) and KAT was surprised at how much he's improved on his pattern work. During my rides this past week I've been working on halting, pivoting, and then trotting or loping off, trying to keep his weight off his front end by showing him it's easier to halt if he does so. I've already really seen an improvement in his frame and his quick halts. His pivots are much improved, too. He still wants to move his back feet too much when pivoting to the right but still showing improvement. He still dances around, anticipating the next move, so I wait until he's still before I ask. Luckily the last show we're going to this season has only rail work for Equitation and Horsemanship but his halts on the rail will still be improved. KAT also said we might want to do the "balanced rider" class which is with a saddle but no stirrups. I was kind of excited that she thought I could do that! I do work without stirrups occasionally and feel pretty confident that way.

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but sometimes I catch him cribbing on his feed tub. KAT said she's heard it a few times too. He puts his teeth on the back corner of his feed tub when he does it. Last week he finally got his old feed tub off the wall. He'd been working on that for a while, both pulling on it with his teeth and banging up underneath it with his knees. The barn replaced it with a new tub this week but they used the same beat-up holes in the concrete block so it's already coming loose. He broke his Stall Snack a few weeks ago, too. I think he pulled on it hard enough to break the hole in the top of the little green stick so the rest of his Himalayan salt probably got scooped up with the manure. He'll get a new one this weekend. I really don't want him cribbing, obviously. First I'm trying a good coating of McNasty on the sides and back corner of his feed tub. I doubt it will prevent him from eating his grain, but that stuff really is nasty! I caught a bit of it when I was spraying it and my eyes watered and I can STILL feel it in my throat a little! I guess I should've stood further back! He put his mouth on the tub after I sprayed it and he didn't crib, but lifted his head up and curled his lip back a few times then went to get a drink. I didn't hear him do it again before I left the barn. I know there are other options, Quitt, Miracle Collar, etc., but I'd like to start with simple solutions and see if they work...

I think I'm going to put him on SmartCalm which has Magnesium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Inositol (a relative of the B vitamins) and Taurine. There are a few horses in the barn who are on it and KAT said she has noticed results in them. I was reading the testimonials and people respond that it works well for "ADD" horses and I definitely have one of those! Any thoughts?


  1. He might have ulcers - a lot of horses with ulcers crib. I've used Miracle Collars with success - you may need the fuzzy cover set to keep it from rubbing. Other than damage to the stall/fences - which can be considerable - I don't worry too much about cribbing - people used to think it caused colic, or that other horses would learn to crib by watching, but I think both of those ideas are pretty much disproved. My old gelding used to be a terrible cribber - we put his water buckets on the floor and gave him a feed pan on the floor instead of a corner feeder, and the problem pretty much went away. He also used to crib on the fence, but really doesn't anymore now that he is on all day turnout.

  2. you gotta pick your battles.. sigh... i'd go with what kate said with miracle collar

    then it's one less thing you have to be "overanxious" about.. trust me.. another type a here :)

    happy trails