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Question regarding inbred horses and "sudden explosions"
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Capparella
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Joined: Mon Nov 24th, 2014
Location: North Carolina USA
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 Posted: Sun Feb 24th, 2019 12:24 am
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Hi Dr Deb and all,

I just audited a clinic-the clinician is listed in the recommended reading list, but not the clinicians list so I will not mention his name.

One participant brought in a young mare (she wasn’t sure of the exact age), that she had gotten from a rescue-the mare had unknown history.

The participant said she’d had forty five rides on her, and she was going along fine, then suddenly she exploded. There was also an incident on the ground of sudden explosion.

From all that I have gleaned in my bit of horsemanship knowledge, my first thought was there is never an « all the sudden » meaning that there was trouble brewing all along but it was not noticed. So it may be out of the oblivious, but not out of nowhere.

The clinician however, said that what she described sounded potentially like what he’s experienced from inbred horses. He said that for a long while, many rescues have come from the pharma places that make premarin (where the mares are bred constantly to keep pregnant) and that these offspring are often inbred.

He went on to say that for many years, in nearly every one of his clinics he would see one. He advised the gal to stop riding that horse, as they are not able to take training. He suggested the horse might be fine just living as a horse, but recommended very little work, and only on the ground.

He said he has seen many inbred horses that seemed fine for a long while, then suddenly they explode, or they become incredibly aggressive and attack the human. They may seem like they are taking in the training education, but at a certain point, they cannot, and that’s when something occurs.

The mare definitely did not seem ok, as she seemed very agitated in the paddock she was kept in, and though she was calmer in the arena with her person, she did not seem to be with her person. I asked the clinician how would one definitely know the horse was inbred?-would there be anything noticeable in a DNA test? He said he didn’t know about that, but that they do not respond with normal horse behavior. It was left at that, and they did not work with the horse.

I have never heard about this from Buck or Joe, or any others, so I am wondering about it. He made it sound quite prevalent, but I figured as many clinics as those guys have done, they surely would have encountered it. Maybe they have and it just hasn’t come up for discussion while I was there.

I searched the forum on google advanced, but found no posts regarding this subject.

Thanks for any information!

DrDeb
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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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 Posted: Tue Feb 26th, 2019 11:18 pm
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Dear Cap: Our friend and sponsor Jenny Paterson in New Zealand, along with some of our Australian friends, has been researching this phenomenon for the last decade. They are now talking in terms of the horse being what they term "grass affected," meaning, the animal has taken in foodstuffs which contain gross imbalances in trace minerals and nutrients. When an animal that is prone to "grass affectedness" eats the imbalanced feed, it irritates his nervous system producing the sort of agitatedness and hyper-reactivity that you describe.

Inbreeding, per se, is not the cause, nor is it the cause when we have a horse that is prone to, or you might say especially sensitive to, the effects brought on by the "wrong" kind of feedstuffs. Not inbreeding, but just the genetics or family heritage of that horse; it does not, in other words, have to be inbred but just inherit, for whatever cause, a set of genes governing its metabolism which make a reaction to the "wrong" kind of feedstuffs more likely and more severe.

For details on this, I would advise you (and the horse's owner) to go to Jenny's business website at http://www.calmhealthyhorses.com and tell her I sent you. She will be glad to correspond and answer specific questions, and will also be able to point you to background literature. Depending upon which country you live in, you MAY (or may not) be able to purchase her proprietary trace-nutrient mixture, which I recommend.

Note that the object here is NOT supplementation, but rather to balance the trace-nutrient part of the diet to bring the animal back into the normal range. In other words, you are not "doping" the animal or feeding it a supplement to "make" it calm; horses are by their nature calm, and they desire to be calm. When they are not, of course it can be because of a lack of horsemanship on the part of their handlers, i.e. the horse is in trouble with its "birdie." However, I would no more want to leave out or ignore the dietary side of management if I was getting the kind of hyper-reactivity that you describe,  than I would, if I had a horse that kept tossing its head, fail to have the dentist come to check for sharp points on the teeth. So again, you are not meant to be supplementing, but rather managing the horse properly, something which may be difficult given the particular species of grasses growing in the horse's pasture or present in its hay, and also difficult at certain times of year.

Jenny will also educate you (and the horse's owner) as to what must be done to avoid the animal ingesting the "wrong" kind of feedstuffs, i.e. how to manage the horse on whatever pasture you have, in the future. Over the years her advice has been generally sound and of assistance to hundreds of horses. -- Dr. Deb


Capparella
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Joined: Mon Nov 24th, 2014
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 34
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 Posted: Wed Feb 27th, 2019 03:39 am
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Thank you for the information and resource!

Unfortunately, I don't know the gal with the horse in question. I will pass it along to a clinic participant who may know her and be able to get the info to her though! I think they were from North Carolina where this clinic was held.

My question was for my own curiosity, as I didn't know a horse with any condition could "go along just fine" for forty five rides, and suddenly explode, unless they'd had a sudden physical injury, which I would think would have been noticed as well.

Thanks much!

Katherine
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Joined: Thu Mar 29th, 2007
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 Posted: Tue Mar 5th, 2019 08:14 pm
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Very interesting website - thanks for highlighting this. I have no horses at the moment for a variety of reasons, one of which being that near every horse or pony I have owned recently has developed sweet-itch. I have long suspected that the soil conditions and grasses at my present property have been part of the cause, possibly creating a hyper-sensitivity, as no other significant reason presented.  Animals I owned back in the '80s and '90s at a different property (within a mile) never had this issue at all.
Would be interested to hear if anyone has seen a similar issue.

Thanks again,Katherine (Scotland)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Mar 5th, 2019 09:31 pm
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Katherine, I suggest you use the Google advanced search function (directions given in an "announcement" thread near the top of the Forum home page), entering keywords "poison plant", "mud fever", "sweet itch", "radiation burn" as this topic has been discussed several times here before.

I also suggest that you go to our Bookstore section (http://www.equinestudies.org) and purchase a copy of "Poison Plants in the Pasture: A Horse Owner's Guide". This is an encyclopedic work with maps, descriptions, and great photographs to enable you to accurately survey grasses and weeds growing in your pasture. Your horses are, as you suspect, almost certainly ingesting something that is (1) slow or impossible for their livers to remove from the bloodstream and that (2) fluoresces upon exposure to sunlight, creating a radiation burn from the inside. This is discussed at length in the abovementioned book-on-CD.

There are lots of "home remedies" for treating the red, raw, weeping (burned) skin associated with "mud fever" or "sweet itch". The skin lesions are the result of the skin being burned from the inside; in other words, the treatments to the skin are temporary, topical, and do not address the cause of the condition. Removing the poisonous plants is the solution, although of course the skin burns should also be treated. The condition will recur year after year to horses pastured where they can ingest plants that contain the particular alkaloids that are unmetabolizable and that fluoresce.

The sooner you get out there with the i.d. photos and the weed killer, the better. And beware that the plants may also be in the local hay; see if you didn't also change your hay supply/supplier/point of purchase when you moved. -- Cheers -- Dr. Deb



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