potions class

A few more rides and lunging sessions later, Murray’s NQR is invisible and I’m quite happy about it.  Sure, it could come back, but if it’s intermittent or related to being stiff from being stuck inside, then that worries me a bit less.  I plan to keep an especially close eye on him, and we will play it by ear and continue to evaluate as Winter progresses.

jan-play3Unfortunately, while Murray’s body seems fine, his brain seems to have gone awol.  I had a jump lesson Friday that was just an exercise in Murray antics and opinions — he was generally uninterested in going anywhere near the chairs in the corner of the arena, which have been there for a solid two years, or near the gate which we had just come in through, or over any part of the footing that had been smoothed or looked in any way out of the ordinary.  My insistence that he actually do these things resulted in some mild body flailing, a tiny bit of screaming and, of course, many tail swishes.  He took a really hard look at one of the fences, tried to stop, decided he was going to go, LAUNCHED himself over it, bucked upon landing, and somehow I managed to stay in the saddle.  After convincing him to just go forward over a few more fences I called it quits as clearly something was up.

I have a few theories.

It is vaguely possible that whatever magnesium product I am using right now is not really working or I need to feed more.  But given that I’ve had problems on this batch of magnesium before, I think it’s time to give another brand a try.  I’m going with Performance Equine’s MagRestore and — just for shits and giggles — I’m going throw in some Focus too.  Focus promises to “Promotes a willingness to please and a winning, confident, cooperative mood. Use prior to and during competitions, workouts or rehab. Useful in any stressful situation. Decreases excitability while maintaining energy for work.” (straight from the manufacturer’s website)  It sounds like witchcraft to me, but with a money back guarantee on a 7-day trial… why not!  (If that doesn’t work, I’ll try Quiessence, a fan favourite at our barn.  If that doesn’t work, we’ll move on to SmartCalm, or even SmartCalmUltra.  If that doesn’t work… we go digging for a hidden testicle.)

Murray could also be intensely sore from our dressage work, and letting me know the jan-play1work load is a bit intense in the only way he knows how.  An insane amount of spooking doesn’t seem to be the most straightforward method of presenting this fact to me, but it certainly is one way of expressing feelings.

And then there’s the turnout situation… We’re going on three weeks of no turnout at this point, and with a flooded outdoor arena we can only rotate horse through the indoor for as long as we have before someone wants to use the indoor to ride in.  I had turned Murray out alone in the indoor a couple of times to absolutely no positive effect —  he just wandered around, rolled, and then chatted with his friends stabled near the arena.  But on Friday I turned him out with one of his besties, Connor, and it was a completely different story.  He and Connor have, as Connor’s owner puts it, “a deep understanding of one another” and played pretty constantly for half an hour.  The next day they played for an hour.  And then I had a couple of really nice rides.


I’ve always know that Murray isn’t exactly a good-on-no-turnout kinda guy…. but for some reason this year he has really managed to keep it together in the barn.  In the past, when he’s been locked inside he has struggled to mind his manners inside the barn, so I would lunge him or turn him out before even attempting to tack up.  But this year I have a strangely reasonable horse inside the barn, and then this super unreasonable horse under saddle.  Maybe Murray just really, really, really needed to get out and get some playtime and excess energy done away with?

We will see.  I’m basically throwing everything I have at him — such a good scientific method — to see if that improves anything.  Then I’ll start to eliminate things and see where it leaves us.

12 thoughts on “potions class”

  1. I’ve tried every combination of Magnesium and other witchcraft out there and it didn’t do anything but waste my money. I hope you have better luck! I TRULY understand the “losing brain” problem you’re running into. Truly


  2. Even Pig can be a retard without turnout, so I wouldn’t rule that out. Sometimes they learn they HAVE to have manners but really have this need to act out somewhere, so you see it in rides. Plus, no turnout/play can mean a pretty stiff pony.


    1. I really feel like this is what has happened. Also, the things that happen in the barn are less stimulating to him (possibly since he how has a much more central stall where there is a lot more activity), whereas JESUS CHRIST THAT CHASM IN THE GROUND OH MY GOD THE DRAG WENT UNEVENLY HOLY SHIT THAT IS DEATH are still… stimulating.


  3. Haha. So it goes with an OTTB and no turnout in the winter, sadly. I contemplated dumping money into magnesium, but ultimately, that only helps if the horse is magnesium deficient to start with and since I don’t think C is deficient/wild in the summer and he MOST DEFINITELY is without turnout… occam’s razor suggests perhaps a turnout situation.

    Courage sometimes plays like an idiot by himself and sometimes not. I find it’s most useful to interact with him (sometimes encouraging him with either a lunge with or lead rope, just to see how he’s feeling) if/when I have the opportunity for indoor turnout. We also lunge A LOT (not my fav, but I want to live) and A LOT of my rides at the the walk with minimal trotting and no cantering, because while he can keep it together walking and SOMETIMES trotting, canter has been a hot button issue for us and an otherways-ok ride can be derailed VERY quickly if we add canter.

    It’s El Nino. We’re surviving. I miss my summer horse, haha.


    1. That’s how I feel right now — we’re surviving. And it’s not all bad, I’ve had some REALLY nice rides in there, but I’d like to figure things out for Murray’s state of mind, at the very least!


  4. Oooo I need to get mine on one of those supplements when he comes home I think. Let me know which one you have good luck with!

    Poor Murray, life is rough with no winter turnout. He’s so cute with his friend!


  5. Hey, I just wrote about giving the MagRestore a try today as well! I notice a difference when Bacon is off of magnesium for sure. She is flinchy and loses her mind waaaay easier and just seems irritable. I would like to try the Focus, but I think I am going to wait to see how she does with just the MagRestore, especially because I can’t ride for a couple more weeks (I am assuming, winter weather in Idaho and all).

    Plus, I think the horses are probably just as done with winter as we are.


  6. I have to keep Dijon on Magnesium per vet recommendation. The cheapest source I’ve found is actually Animed Remission. It’s a founder supplement. Dijon doesn’t have founder, but it has 6,000 mg of Magnesium per scoop. The MagRestore has 2,000. If I buy the big container it’s 15c a day for Remission. The MagRestore would cost me 1.07 per day to get the same 6000mg. And the remission has biotin and other good supplements in it. I don’t sell the stuff and I don’t do affiliate links, but I thought I’d share since it took me a long time to find cheap Magnesium.


  7. I used to feed my last horse quiessence. I had positive feelings and it’s a supp with some of the highest doses of mag around (or was at the time on Smartpak). Best of luck finding a solution- no turnout with drive plenty of horses a bit mad.


  8. No wise words about magnesium, but the “deep understanding of one another” cracked me up. Maybe Murray and Connor can have playtime together more often? (Of course…indoor traffic allowing…)


  9. i’ve also heard good things about quiessence, and a fellow barn mate has very very young ottb on vitacalm right now and feels like it’s helping (tho she’s also currently treating for ulcers, so really either or both could be contributing to the improvement). anyway good luck and let us know what you find out!


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