Monday, August 9, 2010


Just a minor one thankfully, but it could have been worse. But isn't that the way, you make a plan that involves a horse and invariably something happens that will disrupt all your hard work.

I got to the paddock after work after on Friday, Fox was standing on the top of the hill in a bit of a strange place not moving. At first I thought he was stuck. He wasn't moving an inch. I got close enough to see with relief that he wasn't stuck, not a scratch on him in fact. We were due to go out for some handgrazing so I haltered him and attempted to lead him down the hill. He was acting rather strange, like he didn't know where his feet were going and kept trying to go back up the hill. Eventually we made it to the flat and when he started barging around me shaking his head and stamping his feet that's when I realised. Staggers. I honestly hadn't been expecting it this early but the grass has started growing at a rapid rate so I should have known.

As soon as I let him loose he hurried over to the corner of his paddock where there are a few bushes. Fox has rather atypical symptoms, so much so that the first time this happened the vets didn't think it was staggers at all, they thought he was in advanced stages of liver failure. This was only a few months after I had bought him and I was terrified that I was going to lose him. Luckily someone suggested I try a toxin binder and what do you know, after a few days he came right. As well as the typical twitchy neck and shoulder, Fox also gets hypersensitive which leads to stamping and charging around when you try and do anything with him. He also likes to hide in bushes and in corners. No one has any idea why, but if there is a bush handy, he will literally stand in the bush if he can. But now I know his early warning signs I can nip any further deterioration in the bud.

I haven't got a toxin binder yet, wasn't planning on getting any for a few weeks yet so I didn't have any to give him straight away. I could however move him off the rye grass and onto one of the paddocks that have been resown with horse friendly grass. I also gave him the weekend off. So a wee bit behind but yesterday he was looking back to normal so we will resume our programme today providing he still looks ok.

I also did a bit of a scavenge around the orchard and sheds and found 3 PVC pipes of similar thickness and one log that is about the same length and width. So now I have 4 handy poles without having to go to the arena.

My wonderful boyfriend also got me a bareback pad. Not the one I was looking at but I'm not gong to tell him that. It's a Zilco one and it has pockets. I'm quite excited about the pockets, no more worrying about where my phone is going to go and I can fit some snacks and a water bottle in there. Sweet. It's nice and cushy so will make the bareback experience for Fox and I more pleasant, I wont have to worry about my bony bits digging into Fox's back or his bony bits digging into me. Won't get to ride in it for a bit but it means I don't have to use the saddle at all until Fox bulks up a bit.


  1. One of the symptoms of staggers is photophobia/fear of light. He might be trying to shade his eyes by sticking his head in the bushes.

    If I were you, I would keep him on a toxin binder all of the time. I do that with my horse because the weather is so changeable you never know what the grass is doing. Try some of the different brands and you'll probably find one that won't bankrupt you. Let me know if you want to know what I use.

    Good news on the poles and bareback pad. Onwards!!!

  2. Oooh thanks for the Sharon. Explains a lot! Good tip too.