Tuesday 23 January 2018

All Tied Up

This year, I decided to be cheap not give Phantom the Chaste Tree Berries that I have put her on for the last four years after Christmas. Apparently, that was a bad decision.

Phantom has a history of tying up. She did it for about 3 years in a row, only between January and April. The rest of the year there were no indications of any issues.

I never figured out why or what triggered the episodes. During that spring period, she might tie up only a couple of times, but I would sometimes see a bit of stiffness behind after riding, just not full out not wanting to move. It would last for the first few steps after standing and then she would walk out of it.

I had bloodwork done on her once (a couple of days after an episode) and she came back high on two minerals - one was selenium, the other was copper or zinc - can't remember. Lack of selenium and vitamin e is one thing that can cause it, but that apparently wasn't her problem.

Since it appeared to be a seasonal thing, I always wondered if it was hormone related. I had asked this of at least two different vets, who both told me that hormones aren't usually related to tying up, and at that time of year they aren't really in strong heat cycles anyways.

But I decided one year to go with my gut and try a supplement that was geared towards hormones. Red raspberry leaves was ideally what I wanted, but I couldn't find a supply of it that wasn't super expensive in Canada. So I tried Chaste Tree berries.

And that first year, we had no issues with tying up.

I only gave the supplement to her for the spring. Then next year, after Christmas, I used it again. And continued for about 4 years with the same routine, and didn't have any problems with tying up at all.

I've never confirmed that the Chaste Tree berries have cured her tying up. It could all be coincidental, and not at all be related. So this year, when I went to order the supplement, I decided I would not use it. Why? Because it went up in price. By quite a bit - almost 50% more expensive than the last time I bought it.

The last couple of times that I have ridden Phantom I have been wondering if I have been seeing subtle signs of tying up once again. Really, the only symptom that I have seen is that she keeps stopping when I am leading after riding. She has been walking with big steps behind, and no problems walking off after standing for a while. Obviously, I'm just being overly paranoid.


Tonight, during my ride, I had a feeling it was coming. On one of our walk breaks she walked around with her nose on the ground, like if she wanted to roll. Totally uncharacteristic of her.
My face was cold during my ride tonight.
Then, on the last trot set that we were doing, she just didn't feel the same as she had earlier. I can't really describe what I felt, just that it was different. So I brought her back to walk and decided to call it a day.

She walked a bit pokey, but wasn't too bad. I decided to hop off and hand walk her for a bit.

So I jumped down, loosened her girth, and asked her to walk forward. And she crossed her front legs for the first couple of steps.

We walked straight over to the barn. I knew what was coming.

I gave her some bute and let her chill loose in the barn aisle. She wasn't going anywhere.

She would shift her front feet around without moving the back feet so that she could reposition herself. Mostly to try to knock blankets off the stalls. It took over an hour to get her to walk into the stall she was going to stay in overnight. I wasn't pushing her, I wanted to wait until she was ready.
Pony jail for the night. She be pissed in the morning!

So she is staying in for the night, and if all is well will be turned out Tuesday morning. If not I will use one of my lieu days at work and get the vet to come out. Every other time this has happened she has been okay by the next morning, so I am hoping her history repeats itself.

And first thing on Wednesday morning I am going to pick up some more Chaste Tree Berries. I don't care how expensive they are!


  1. aw, poor Phantom! hopefully she's feeling 100% better in the morning, and that the chaste berries help again! tying up is no fun at all!

    1. Well, I haven't gotten a call from the barn today saying that she can't move, so it boxes well!