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Review Details



Product Review (submitted on December 31, 2016):
Several years ago I was shopping for a pony for my 12 year old Pony Club daughter--not a project horse! A Welsh-Quarter pony advertised about 5 hours away looked perfect, calm, laid back, been there-done that, but only 7 years old. Could jump a little, and took the owner's beginner to a show. We drove up to see Taffy and my older daughter rode him, he was all good. We were in our car so would return to pick him up. We stuck around for awhile to see him participate in a birthday party. I didn't tell you, the owner operated a lesson barn and also hosted pony ride birthday parties.

After the birthday party, my 12 year old wanted to ride Taffy, but she had a bad time with him, he kept trying to bite her foot, and would back instead of going forward. My older daughter hopped on again and this time and he wouldn't go for her either. She took him on a long circle around a pond and it appeared that he wasn't being mean, but something was making him very uncomfortable. When the owner led him in the arena, and he reached out to bite her back, I knew he was not going home with us. To her credit, the owner told us she could not sell him, that she needed to take him completely out of her lesson program and figure out what was going on. I was concerned he was coliking and called that night to check on him. She told me he seemed okay, but she was going to have body work done. When I checked again a couple weeks later, she was having an experienced older rider school him, but he was still having issues. We found another Welsh Pony a month or so later and we forgot about Taffy.

Several months later I was at a barn and met a woman who was bubbling over with joy at "having her horse back." She'd taken him for a gastric exam and treated him for ulcers. Now he was the sweet boy she'd had before. As she described his behavior, it reminded me of Taffy. As it happened, Taffy's owner was once again listing him for sale--but she was very honest and said he was not suitable for children, he had some kind of issue that she couldn't figure out. He was also listed at a substantial discount.

In my mind, I went over the details of the day we looked at him. It was the first very warm day of spring and Taffy had a winter coat. He'd been tied when we arrived, and during the 3 or 4 hours we were there, I didn't see him watered. After my older daughter rode him, he was put back in the barn aisle and the other horses were fed their lunches while he stood there with nothing to eat. He did not throw a fit or anything, but just stood there. When the party children arrived they were invited to give him treats from the bucket nearby, but I noticed that each kid that tried was a little too nervous to actually let him eat the treat. After that, he was led around the pond, with a different child hopping on every 50 feet or so, until all of the dozen little kids had a few rides. He was tied up again. Then was when my younger daughter tried to ride him, and he reacted badly. Thinking of all of this, and reviewing causes of ulcers, and his owner's very obvious surprise over his behavior, I thought there was a real possibility that ulcers might be his problem.

I contacted his owner and asked if we could lease Taffy for the summer for $100 and decide at the end whether or not we wanted to buy him. She was happy to do this and then I looked into ulcer treatment--oh my God! Not even counting the gastric exam, which doesn't show hind gut ulcers, it was simply out of the question for a project pony. Thankfully I did look further than Valley Vet and found Abler, which was selling a generic version of the ulcer product. It would have seemed pricey before, but now seemed very reasonable! There is a You Tube video that shows an ulcer diagnosis exam done externally, and Taffy seemed positive for ulcers. We tried the $15 starter and then ordered the full course. After the treatment, for the next year, prior to hauling him anywhere, we gave him the preventative dose. Changing riders seemed especially to cause him stress.

But, being a very smart pony, after the episode during the pony party he'd learned some behaviors that had worked for him during the time he was at his prior owner's barn, when he didn't want to be ridden anymore. Distinguishing those behaviors from those caused by pain was tricky, but eventually we concluded he was in pain no more, and he was convinced to give those behaviors up. He still does not like being ridden by children. In his mind, all those kids getting on and off had caused his belly pain, when it was actually a combination of an empty stomach, dehydration, thinking he was going to eat multiple times and being frustrated, and the exercise, that caused or exacerbated his ulcers and pain.

My older daughter put him through Boz training (John Bozanich, certified student of Monte Foreman) and he can whip around a 360 that would throw an ordinary rider off! He can do some amazing things-he is the real deal, smart, athletic, and a quick learner. Abler's ulcer products saved him from a life that was bound to be less desirable for sure. As I type, he is out the back door on 40 acres of pasture with 5 of our other 15 horses.

The reason I'm on the Abler site again, our 20 year old retired Arabian race horse (national track record at the 1-1/16 mile", who is being used for lessons for young children as well as jumping 3' and preparing for my daughter's C2 Pony Club rating, might have ulcers. For the past year each time we've trailered him somewhere, he's developed signs of mild colic that resolve with a dose of Banamine and hand walking. The last time was after a 50 mile slow endurance ride, he ate and drank, pooped and peed like a champ, great gut sounds and hydration at every check. After the finish and during the night, once again mild signs of colic. My daughter took him to the ride vet's camp, who checked him out and said everything sounded and looked normal. She'd already given him Bute after the ride, so couldn't give him Banamine, so just hand walked him until he seemed recovered. In thinking about all this, it occurred to me that his colic signs, not being from impaction or anything obviously serious, might be ulcers. Thank you Abler!!!