Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Evening Ride

I'm a little more positive. Went out for an evening ride on Cowboy and there wasn't much head-shaking and no stomping at his face. I exchanged his fly mask for the one with ears, too. All of it seemed to help.

The other suggestion for this syndrome is night-time turnout and stall during the day. After our ride and a little grooming session, I released him to pasture and that's where he is now.

There is an issue--physical problems creating behavior problems and knowing which is which. Tonight he pulled back again when I approached him with a brush...a little brush. I had to saddle him in the round pen. I just couldn't let that be it and teach him that pulling back is okay. I figured I'd better head back to the trailer afterward and loose "tie" him (rope braided through the ring, but not tied) and present him with lots of goodies from the trailer. He was much better after a while. I sat and he stood and relaxed and we spent a good deal of time like that until he went half to sleep in the "tied" position.

I feel like I'm starting again with him in some ways, trying to figure our way as we go, but I saw a little bit of the old Cowboy tonight--not entirely back--but getting there, I hope.


  1. There is a possibility that the vision thing- pulling back when you approach with different objects- may be totally unrelated to the HSS. If his neck is out right behind his ears, it puts pressure on the optic nerve, which affects how he sees things. An object might look normal to him on the right side, for example, but on the left side he may not see it until it is right beside him. Which could startle him. The way to check this is by checking his peripheral vision for a "menace response".

  2. Thanks, Shirley. The thing that made me think this is now behavioral is that he was watching me face-on and I wasn't doing anything that should have been frightening. It seemed he was conditioned to pull back at my approach. He was very tense and had a hard eye. Also, I tested out his vision the day before with a number of things. I can't tell if he sees them clearly, but he did see them coming and tracked them.

  3. What a mystery! I hope you have it figured out soon, Linda. I'm sure Cowboy is really upset he hasn't been feeling well, too--if you don't know for sure what's causing his symptoms, I'm sure he doesn't know either.

  4. Fetlock, very true. He probably blames it on me. :/


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.