Sometimes there is more to it than just Ulcers!
Juliet said “This is something I have been struggling with for two whole years, trying anything and everything so sticking with the plan for a number of weeks is not really long in the scheme of things. The confusing part is his presentation is exactly the same as having ulcers and it wasn’t until they were fixed and he was STILL having issues that I had to start to look further.
I have a 10 year old 16hh Connemara/Irish Sport Horse gelding called Ailbhe. His primary discipline is dressage. We live in Tirau in the Waikato.
For the last 18+ months he has been grumpy to brush, cover and saddle up. Not girthy as such, just the putting of the saddle on and adjusting of the blanket. Grumpy to the point of swinging at me with his mouth open, never connecting because he is too polite. Ailbhe is one of the happiest most easy going horses I’ve ever had so not this was not at all normal. It started with being grumpy being brushed on his neck..."
Horses are Not Born Aggressive!
They can become aggressive due to any of the factors listed below.
Physical injury, ill-fitting tack or a dental issue which is causing them discomfort or pain
Usually these are obvious and the appropriate professional should be engaged to attend and eliminate
Mineral Imbalances causing Aggression
The horse’s entire skin is densely populated with sensory nerves enabling him to respond to the sensations of touch, pain, itch, heat, and cold. Mineral imbalances in the grass can affect these peripheral nerve endings in a way that causes aversion to touch, grooming, covering, saddling and girthing up.
When the sub-cutaneous muscles are affected you may observe quivering or twitching when you touch them.
Phyto-estrogens causing Aggression
Phyto-estrogens in Legumes –lucerne and/or clover
Aggressive behaviour is often associated with pastures which contain clover, especially red clover. Legumes such as clover and Lucerne contain ‘hormonally active compounds’ which can adversely affect normal hormone production.
These can cause geldings to exhibit stallion-like behaviour which can be mistaken as the horse being ‘a rig’. Or that the horse ‘has not being gelded properly’. The vet is called, bloods are drawn but results turn out to be clear. The solution can be as simple as removing all legumes from the horse’s diet.
This same forage can cause mares to be ‘hormonal’ or ‘moody’, have ‘raging’ seasons and fail to cycle properly.
Dairy Grass and Aggression
Dairy grass or any grass fertilised with high octane chemicals
Such pasture is completely unsuitable for horses and can cause any horse to exhibit ‘aggressive’ behaviours.
The communication between you and you horse is not good enough, he isn’t sure what you mean and you are making him feel wrong when you weren’t clear in the first place.