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Cushing's Induced Aggression In Horses

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Hello, Marv.

I have received and watched your video on dealing with agressive horses. After viewing it, I am surprised that you have gotten bad feedback.

Yeah, me too. Can't please everybody. Some swear by you, some swear at you and some just swear. But I rest secure in the fact that out of the thousands of videos I have sold on eBay I've gotten so few "negative feedbacks" that for all intents and purposes, I really don't have any. A 99.7% positive rating (as of this date anyway) for a bunch of Wartznall Videos suits me just fine.

Anyway, thanks for the video. Since I've never used a round pen, you can imagine that I learned a lot. I regret that the owner of the horse in this video didn't seem to "get" the process. I hope that after viewing it herself, she will see how she can improve, too.

Actually he is out in California doing a spectacular job both as a competitor and a sire. I don't link to his site anywhere or reveal his identity because I don't think it's fair to saddle him with his past. I'd rather not have my past on my back so I'm giving him the same courtesy.

If you have a chance to answer a question: I've had my horse for 20 years. I bought her when she was 6 months. I've worked with her off and on for all these years. She's always been "strong-willed" and apparently I have not taught her that I am the leader of the pack, although I have never sensed this level of aggressiveness in her. For the past 16 months, I have worked with her for several hours each day...grooming, etc. She has developed Cushings disease which does affect hormones. She is on herbal treatment and has lost the symptoms of the Cushings. All of this is to get an opinion on this. Last week, while saddling her, she lunged at me and visciously bit me in the chest. That's what initiated the purchase of your video. I intend to fix a round pen of some sort and go through the exercises with her. Once I have established my leadership with her, will her aggressive biting cease or is there something else that I need to do? I have had a "major hurt" on now for several days. I realize that I will always have to be alert but I am both hurt and saddened that this happened. There is no desire to get rid of her but to change her behavior by improving my processes with her.

Bear in mind that I'm not a licensed vet no matter what people think. I decided to get my "vet degree" without paying all that money and attending all those pesky classes.

It knocks your hat in the creek when you get t-boned by something beyond your control. Feeling hurt and saddened is natural but you have to remember it was beyond your control to salvage as much as possible from your situation.

Cushing's produces an over abundance of cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that appears when we experience stress. A little is good, a lot is not. It can cause depression, aggressive outbursts, lethargy and a bunch of other negative conditions.

Apparently she was stressed by the saddling and lashed out. Perhaps the increased vigilence you suggest could be used to watch for ear pinning, teeth gritching, excessive foot movement, head tossing and the like.

There seems to be some anecdotal benefit to administering seratonin, the opposite of cortisol.

I'm not real sure that I'd do a whole lot of showing her who is boss. The herd dynamic procedure I used in the video, while perfectly natural and is the stablizing influence in the herd, may aggravate her stress levels more than in a non-Cushing's horse.

I applaud your determination to keep her regardless of how things work out. We have about a half dozen of old pensioned horses ourselves. Horses that have served well deserve their rest even if it means they displace more capable horses.

Thanks a million, Marv.

You're welcome. I just wish I had more for you.

Best wishes and good on ya!

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