Changing plans

Sad face Moe.
Sad face Moe.

Moe hasn’t been himself for the last few weeks- he’s been lethargic and reluctant to move very forward under saddle. Usually, he’s a hard worker who tries his best even if he doesn’t completely understand what he’s supposed to do. Lately, he’s been half-dead in the ring for both me and his lesson kid.

Nothing has recently changed in his diet or routine. His appetite is as hearty as ever, he isn’t sore or stiff, he’s drinking well, he’s pooping well, and he isn’t exhibiting any unusual behaviors except for being really, really lazy.

When the vet was out last week, I had her check him for ulcers, do a fecal test, and do some bloodwork on him. ย I heard from the vet earlier this week: Moe’s bloodwork is completely normal and his fecal egg count is zero. He had no ulcers, and while his teeth need to be floated, they aren’t so bad that they’d cause major problems with his ability to eat or work.ย I was relieved to hear his bloodwork was normal; I was terrified he was anemic from kidney disease or cancer or some other horrible thing.

Interestingly, she suggested he might have sand accumulation in his gut. I was surprised to hear this, as the barn isn’t on particularly sandy soil and he isn’t eating his grain from a dirt floor or anything. My vet suggested putting him on Sand Clear for a couple of months to see if it makes a difference.

I rode Moe yesterday after dropping off his Sand Clear; he was lethargic and kind of sour again. There’s no way I’m taking him to next week’s schooling show- he’s obviously not feeling 100%, and I can’t ask him to go gallop and jump. I’ve given some thought to how to change our training plans. I’ll have his teeth floated in the next month or so. (I can’t afford to have them done right away, as my recent vet bill was appalling thanks to Moe’s bloodwork and Gina’s breeding soundness exam.) Moe started Sand Clear today, so I’m hoping that between that and floating, any physical issues will be cleared up. I’m also going to give the dressage a break for a while. It’s never been his favorite activity. I’ve been gung-ho to work on it because itย needs work, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was getting a little burned out on it. So over the next few weeks, we’ll head out to the hay meadow to hack, and we’ll go over some mini courses in the outdoor arena. I’m hoping that giving him a mental break and addressing some physical concerns will have him back to his normal self soon!

And if he continues to act lazy and unhappy? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it; Moe’s certainly earned a retirement if he wants one!

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

26 thoughts on “Changing plans”

  1. If you can swing it, have your vet do a Lyme titer on him. NOT a Lyme test, a titer. It will count the antibodies in his blood to see if he’s fighting the disease. Many Lyme tests will give a false negative. Horses (and people) all react differently to Lyme which can make it hard to diagnose. It’s REALLY prevalent in my area (named after the town next to mine where they discovered it, not really something we’re proud of around here ;)). Some horses will act like Moe, some can be lame, some can even have neurological symptoms. It’s easy to treat though, so if that’s the cause it’s fixable. It won’t show up in regular blood work checks unless you’re looking for it.
    Hopefully he’s just feeling a little ring sour from being stuck inside though! Feel better Moe!

    1. You know, when I was frantically Googling “WHY IS MY HORSE SUDDENLY LETHARGIC” Lyme was something that came up! It is not very common in Oklahoma, but if he doesn’t improve after a few weeks, I might have the vet run a Lyme titer on him.

      Hopefully a change in routine will help him!

    1. Well, to be fair, I’ve had him so long that it’s really easy to spot changes in his behavior! But I am most definitely interested in his well being, and if he doesn’t improve and seems happier being a pasture pet, that’s what he’ll do.

    1. I think it will help. He’s such an easygoing horse that I forget about changing it up regularly. He knows how to jump, he doesn’t need to be exposed to new places or new situations (because at his age, what’s new?!), I don’t like to gallop him often because a) he’s old and b) he’s crazy, so we just hang out in the arena and dressage all day err day. And he’s got this “well okay” attitude! I am optimistic that he’ll bounce back with some variety in his work.

  2. Well I hope he gets better. I’ve never heard of sand causing work issues, but I suppose it could be a problem. Maybe he just wants to jump and gallop instead of dressage? Have you tried different activities?

  3. Sand in the gut is SUCH a hard conundrum. Drives me insane — you don’t know if sand coming out in poop is because the sand is passing, the sand is being driven out by a supplement, or there is sand accumulation, or because your horse pooped in sand. I mean, geez! There is just no reliability or validity on what observing sand in poop even means! Can’t stand it.

    Good luck with the Moe-town! I hope he feels better soon.

  4. poor Moe… maybe he has Seasonal Affective Disorder? good luck getting to the bottom of it, it’s always so unsettling when a typically gung ho bright-eyed and bushy tailed horse suddenly goes dull… i’m another voice for the lyme test just bc that tends to be the very first thing we check in my area (it’s SUPER common here, and can be responsible for all kinds of issues in horses).

Leave a Reply