Monday, September 27, 2021

That time of year, Laminitis edition

~ Riding at Equestrian Park, amongst the cross country jumps ~

 I don’t know if you can even say that this blog will revive again, as it seems I manage about an average of one post a year currently…

However, I have been missing writing down my horsey adventures and guess what? I have been riding, like, a lot. A-lot-a-lot!

Since moving to Illoura a year and a half ago, Copper and I have really settled in. We’ve had some hiccups along the way, the first winter was really rough on Copper as a lot of paddocks were still recovering from the drought and there was hardly any feed. His arthritis hit him pretty badly and he was loosing weight like crazy until I figured out that he is actually pretty old now and needs a cozy warm rug on throughout the coldest months of the season (as of 2021, he's 20 years old!).

But thanks to some adjustments I made to his diet the following spring (2020 still) he’s really bounced back in terms of physical wellness. I added Mitavite Performa 3 oil, as well as MSM and Glucosamine powder to his daily (or almost daily) hard feed and that’s knocked years off his joint aging and those additives together have made his joints supple and flexible again, as well as reducing all the swelling. He wasn’t stiff this winter (2021), can move freely and isn’t in so much pain anymore when he has to be yarded or does some hard work.

Oh yeah – yarding. That’s a whole thing.

We had a too close a brush with laminitis previous spring of 2020 ~ the grass and clover was absolutely bonkers with non-stop rain. Copper got very, very well padded so quickly, I really hadn’t noticed how much weight he was gaining. It was SO even all over, but you could still feel rib!

But I realized belatedly that he was suffering from sub-clincial laminitis – all the symptoms where there:

- He had non-stop abscesses in all his feet for months

- His white line was starting to stretch out in his forefeet particularly, but the hinds where also experiencing that as well.

- He was foot sore, even on soft ground (Although he wasn’t lame)

- He had digital pulses on and off for ages

So I discovered even into the summer, he needs a lot of management in these paddocks as pretty much all the paddocks but two have been re-seeded in the past which means they are no longer native grass. The land used to be farmland for dairy cows – aka, the grass is EXTREMELY rich, designed for making fat! It really could have been a total disaster if I hadn’t caught it in time.

~ Mr. Very Not Impressed With Being On A Diet ~

Copper also had to get used to a muzzle for the first time in his life – two words from him – NOT IMPRESSED – but we are using the Green Guard muzzle, which is miles better than any other muzzle on the market. It's breathable, yet tough, with a nice open design that doesn't make him sweat too much, while also doing an excellent job of restricting his grazing.

However, this spring I’ve had to take him off the grass as much as possible – even with the muzzle. The sugar content is very high again, probably worse than last year simply because this winter, the grass never died but just. kept. growing. and. growing.andgrowingandgrowingandgrowing….

Copper started showing heat and swelling in his digital pulses very early this year – it was the end of winter before spring really even started. I just went – it’s not worth the risk. So he’s in a diet yard with low sugar teff, soaked lucerne and daily hard feeds except for either one day a week out in the paddock with a muzzle on, or if it’s raining and cold he’ll be in the paddock without the muzzle.

He’s also been on Kohncke’s Trim for a good six months or longer, which has turned out to be another crucial component to his diet as I think that’s helped him metabolize the rich grasses a lot better. Having him on that supplement has helped us to keep the paddock as option when necessary.

It’s not ideal to turn out on grass when dealing with sub-clinical laminitis, but being in a basic agistment situation like this, you have to work with what you’ve got. The yards get extremely muddy and slippery in the wet and Copper injures himself every time he’s left in there during the rain so out he goes.

He thankfully hasn't reached the sub-clinical laminitis stage this year. So far, the extra yarding and management has worked well – his pulses have stayed right down, he’s been much sounder than last year, and his hooves are far healthier – indicating good things. He also quite trim and not really as fat - he would tell you he's simply withering away to a skeleton of course, but I think he's at a good weight right now and I aim to keep him there if possible.  

But now that he’s in the yard, he needs daily exercise or he gets stiff and sore which means I have been riding A LOT! I’ve also been learning a ton of new things and I can’t wait to write about all of that which is why I’m back again.

Until next time – see ya,


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