After reading a post about this on Barnmice, I have learned the formal name of the affliction that has been creeping around barns and boarding stables this spring. Left undiagnosed or, worse yet, incorrectly treated, it can devastate a facility and the humans associated with it in short order.
O.C.E.A.N. Syndrome is doesn’t get much press. It is my hope that this post will generate interest from researchers and sports psychologists.
Upon reading the list of symptoms below, you will likely identify more than a few from which you have suffered. With identification comes the hope of treatment.
Obsessive Compulsive Equine Attachment Neurosis Syndrome (O.C.E.A.N.) is commonly found in females. It can manifest anytime from birth to the golden years. Symptoms may go dormant in the mid to late teens; however, the syndrome frequently re-emerges in later years.
Symptoms vary widely in both number and degree of severity. Allow me to share some examples which are most prominent in our stables.
The afflicted individual
1. Can smell moldy hay at ten paces, but can’t tell whether milk has gone bad until it turns chunky.
2. Finds the occasional “Buck and Fart” session hugely entertaining, but severely chastises her spouse for similar antics.
3. Will spend hours cleaning and conditioning her tack, but wants to eat on paper plates so there are no dishes.
4. Considers equine gaseous emissions to be as fragrant as Chanel No.5.
5. Enjoys mucking out four stalls twice a day, but insists on having a housekeeper mop the kitchen floor once a week.
6. Will spend an hour combing and trimming an equine mane, but wears a baseball cap so she doesn’t waste time brushing her own hair.
7. Will dig through manure piles daily looking for worms, but does not fish.
8. Will not hesitate to administer a rectal exam up to her shoulder, but finds cleaning out the Thanksgiving turkey cavity for dressing quite repulsive.
9. By memory can mix eight different supplements in the correct proportions, but can’t make macaroni and cheese that isn’t soupy.
10. Twice a week will spend an hour scrubbing algae from the water tanks, but has a problem cleaning lasagna out of the casserole dish.
11. Will pick a horse’s nose, and calls it cleaning, but becomes verbally abusive when anyone else picks his.
12. Can sit through a four-hour session of a ground work clinic, but is unable to make it to half-time of an NFL game.
Families of those suffering from O.C.E.A.N. Syndrome may also exhibit symptoms.
The spouse of an afflicted victim
1. Must come to terms with the fact there is no cure, and minimally effective treatments. The syndrome may be genetic or caused by inhaling of manure particles early in life.
2. Must adjust the family budget to include equine items – hay, veterinarian services, farrier services, riding boots, and clothes, supplements, tack, equine masseuse and acupuncturist, etc. It is suggested that, once a monthly figure has been set, the spouse never look at it again. Doing so can cause tightness in the chest, nausea, and occasional diarrhea.
3. Must realize that your spouse has no control over this syndrome. Confronting her is useless: denial is common.
ANYBODY WANT TO HELP FINISH WRITING THE SYMPTOMS FOR THE HORSEWOMAN AND THE SPOUSE?
Adapted from a piece by Scooter Grubb.