A Smitty Update


You may have noticed it’s been a little quiet on the Smitty front. No worries, all is well. Well, mostly.

I was kept pretty up to date while Smitty was in bootcamp, and sadly while in general things were good (he’s super brave with new fences, very smart, great mover, etc etc), there was something niggling at the trainer that had also been niggling at me.


Smitty started becoming less and less enthusiastic to move forward, even on a lunge line. He was grinding his teeth more and more during rides. He wasn’t gaining weight despite increasing his grain.

Thanks to my experience(s) with Foster, I’d been wondering for a little while if Smitty was experiencing ulcers, but when you don’t have an established baseline or history of behavior as with a new horse, it was hard to really know. But after getting these reports from his trainer, we both agreed that it was a very likely potential diagnosis.


This morning Smitty was scoped, and low and behold, we found some ulceration, paired with no-the-happiest of stomach conditions. Just like Foster, Smitty’s ulcer, though mild, is in the lower part of his stomach, which of course is the hardest part to reach with medication.

So today we start a round of Omeprazole and reassess after 1 month. Hopefully after a couple weeks I’ll start to see a change in my guy’s behavior, and get back to smooth sailing and happier work.

21 thoughts on “A Smitty Update

  1. Poor guy. Good for you and the trainer for being so on top of things and hopefully catching it early! Fingers crossed he feels better in a month (or sooner!).

  2. Poor guy, but at least you got it figured out and can move forward. I know this puts a pause on the training but when he gets better and can be happy and healthy I think things will move much faster for you two.

  3. aw i’m sorry to hear this. tho like you say it’s maybe not the most surprising. i don’t have any specific reasons to suspect similar issues with my new guy too… but anticipate exploring eventually anyway, just bc… well.. it wouldn’t be totally surprising for him either

    • You know, it’s just so common… I like to give horses the benefit of the doubt- if they are acting weird, they likely aren’t feeling right. I hope your new guy is 100% though!

  4. Can I ask what you mean by the lower part of the stomach being the hardest part to reach with medication? I was under the impression that omeprazole worked by entering the blood stream and down regulating proton pump activity systemically. So (hypothetically) as long as it makes it into the blood stream, it should affect all regions of the stomach equally. Though I do know that the secretory region of the stomach is weird because it has many more proton pumps in general… maybe I just answered my own question, but I’d love any insight you (or your vet) have to sate my curiosity!

    • I think, if I also understand it correctly, that you did indeed answer your own question. The ulcerated area we saw was in the pyloric region in the glandular part of his stomach. So to dumb it way down for myself I understood it as- the part that makes the most acid makes acid buildup (and resultant ulcers) the most difficult to treat?

  5. Well at least you picked the best time to treat ulcers- who has time to ride consistently during the holiday season anyways?? Hope Smitty’s stomach feels better on the sooner side!!!

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