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Ask Dr Emily Weaver Your Own Question
Dr Emily Weaver
Dr Emily Weaver, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 34
Experience:  Equine Veterinarian with over 11 years experience in ambulatory practice
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Resolve this My 9 year old warmblood has recently developed

Customer Question

resolve this Hi My 9 year old warmblood has recently developed a habit of spooking at things only he can see . as he is a very successful competition horse i need to resolve this problem without complicating the issues of his jumping habits . His newly found habit is to raise his head ,cut out and spin .From research that i have done i think it my be a suger induced habit as he gets about a .5 kg of carrots a day .I am a proficient 1.50 jumper and need to resolve this matter with as little conflic as possible .any ideas ??\
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is the horse bleeding a lot?
Customer: No not at all
JA: What is the horse's name?
Customer: Callaho Finnigan ( For Joy X out of a Heart Breaker Mare
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Finnigan?
Customer: just that he acts more like a stallion then a gelding
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
had a problem looking and spooking as a young horse but which was resolved . Despite a a continued and regulated traing program he has suddenly ( after an extended rest period of 3 month) developed this problem . It is as though he has developed a visual dysfunction ( one which his binocular vision causes him to overreact .
Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 5 months ago.

Hello there, sorry to hear about your horse's spooking problem, I am sure that is very frustrating!

First of all I would recommend a thorough physical exam by your veterinarian. Paying especially close attention to his eyes. A change in his vision will certainly be a cause for spooking, but it is also worthwhile to make sure there is no pain, especially in the mouth or back, that could be adding stress or triggering your horse.

If he checks out physically, I would think this change in behavior is likely the result of having been put on the extended rest period. Behavior problems are often a result of stress and boredom. I would focus on reducing stress and boredom in his lifestyle.

He should be turned out as much as possible and with a companion that he get's along with. Horses are very social animals. and social enrichment is important. You may want to think about toys or other things he can play with while in his stall or turned out.

The other thing to think about is his diet. You are right, excess sugar and carbohydrate in the diet can cause behavior problems, so you are on the right track in eliminating the carrots from his diet. I would try and put him on free choice hay and/or pasture. If he is on free choice forage, he may not even need extra grain or feed. I would eliminate all sugary treats (sugar cubes, apples, mints etc), and put him on a low carbohydrate (low starch) complete feed that is high in fat, if you think he needs extra nutrients/calories that forage alone isn't providing. Avoid feeds that contain corn and molasses.

I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns,

-Dr Weaver

Expert:  Dr Emily Weaver replied 5 months ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr Emily Weaver