What “fatigue” may mean
“Conditioning Lite” (Hands On, EQUUS 487) described the signs of overtaxing a horse on his first spring trail rides: He seems exhausted when you finish, his breathing doesn’t return to normal within 10 minutes after fast work, and he seems “ouchy” the day after you ride.
These behaviors and signs are also classic for Lyme disease! In almost 20 years of owning two horses in an area where Lyme disease is common, I’ve accumulated quite a bit of anecdotal information. I’ve also worked closely with my veterinarian and combined my behavioral observations with veterinary checkups and many, many blood samples sent to Cornell University for Lyme titers.
When either of my otherwise tough Morgans acted ouchy when groomed, seemed disinterested in going out for a trail ride and/or became out of breath as described, it always turned out to be Lyme. Within two to three weeks after starting a course of doxycycline, the signs vanish like magic.
I would encourage other horse owners to be alert to the many and sometimes baffling signs of Lyme disease. If something just seems “off” about your horse, it’s a possibility that might be worth investigating. Pam Harder Cropseyville, New York