I’ve had Liam for over 8 years, and I’ve never been able to brush him without cranky faces, chomping teeth, swishing tail, and back legs threatening to kick. I get those same responses every time I put a saddle pad on, put a blanket on or off, or even squeegee water off of him after a bath. I don’t take it too personally because the massage therapist also gets the same treatment. But, it did bother me that his skin was SO sensitive that even a well-intentioned pat was irritating.
Reading on a bulletin board, I came across a thread about a supplement called MagRestore ( http://www.performanceequineusa.com/magnesiumtherapy.aspx ). It is a magnesium supplement that is supposed to help the nervous system, settling horses that can’t stand still (Liam, nodding his head, then shaking it, then nodding it again, or running back and forth in front of the gate frantically waiting to be brought in from turn out hours early). Another symptom of magnesium deficiency is super sensitive skin, which Liam clearly demonstrates. There are a variety of others as well. As I read through the list, Liam certainly didn’t display all the symptoms, but enough of them that I thought it was worth a try. It’s a $15 supplement anyways, it couldn’t hurt.
Well, after being on it only 3 days, a miracle happened. Liam let me brush him. I thought for sure it was a fluke, but now it’s been about two weeks, and I’ve been brushing him every day. He lets me pet him too! He still gets pissy when I’m about to do the girth, but if I go slow and wait for him to settle, he will actually let me girth him too! It’s the anticipation that’s getting the response now instead of the actual girth. I’m so amazed. I’m hoping in time he will stop even anticipating the discomfort, but even if we never get there, I am just thrilled with the change already!
The even better improvement is that he seems to have stopped running back and forth in front of the gate when he’s done being turned out. He will walk back and forth, or stand by the gate and nod his head enthusiastically at anyone who walks by, but these behaviors are not destructive the way the running was. Hopefully this helps him stay sound for another show season!
I think this sensitivity is a somewhat rare issue, but there’s another ottb in my barn that displays very similar behaviors so I know Liam isn’t alone and I had to share my success with this one. The company has also been wonderful to work with, responding to my questions and shipping very promptly. Two thumbs up!