February 2016

Rude and flashing: a case of Borax

by Vicki Mathison

Marty is an eleven-year-old thoroughbred with magnificent conformation and presence, making him a very successful show hack. However, his behaviour falls into disarray at Agricultural/pastoral shows, where he becomes almost uncontrollable with what appears to be profound fear response.

The strange aspect to Marty’s case is the fact that it is ONLY at A&P shows – and never at straight horse events - that he loses the plot.


Marty’s history is hazy with the only definite piece of information regarding his show behaviour being: “He has always done that.”

In general, the horse is reasonably calm and able to cope with the tensions and pressures of a competitive life. He could be described as easily irritated and is not keen on being brushed or touched. This has led to teeth flashing and rude faces on many occasions!

He is not particularly enthralled with dressage or showing (towards the end of the day), as he is quite quickly bored by repetitive work.

Marty is quite happy to walk up the ramp into the horse truck but reluctant to walk down the ramp – he prefers to back down.

Marty was given Nux Vomica 200 and had a very positive response in terms of his irritability and face pulling. The remedy, however, made no difference to his alarming behaviour at the next A&P show. 

I suspected Marty may have stomach ulcers, hence the dislike of being touched and his angry nature. His fear of shows would have triggered the ulcer response so the maintaining cause was still there.

At the next show, we took particular notice of noise and which particular noises were apt to set him off. To add to the puzzle, Marty was very casual about the Scottish pipe band, sudden bursts of applause, and other loud noises. Then, in the distance, came the sound of the axe choppers competition. It was not loud – quite muffled – and nowhere near the Equestrian show rings. Marty immediately lost control and stood on his hind legs. He then was totally distracted, as though waiting for the next bout of chopping.

Considering the rubrics:

- MIND; sensitive to slightest noise

- MIND; sensitive to noise, loud but not

- MIND; irritability, general          

- VERTIGO; descending on

….there was strong support for Borax veneta.

Marty responded extremely well to Borax with absolutely no notice taken of the wood-chopping. His reluctance to walk down the ramp of the horse truck disappeared and he was less irritable.

Given Marty’s attitude to dressage and showing, his owner decided to try another career path for him! Marty is now a very enthusiastic show jumper.

Shutterstock: Horse teeth flashing; Pavel Hlystov

Categories: Cases
Keywords: sensitive to noise, irritability, vertigo on descending


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