Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not Ready To Give Up

There are so many thoughts and feelings flying around inside my brain right now that I'm not even sure I can translate it all into words. The last few days have been crazy to say the least, and I've been seeking out opinions on what to do with Lilly. Some opinions have been seeking me out as well, and some of them are opinions I don't want to hear, but they find me anyway! None of you are included in that, by the way... I really appreciate all your comments on my last post. They have given me a lot to think about.

First let me share with you a few extra details about my vet appointment last Thursday. As I expected would be the case, the BM just happened to be there fixing a fence the cows knocked over when my vet arrived. She made sure to check in at different times during my appointment, and pestered my vet with a LOT of questions. I shared in my password protected post that the BM had her farrier look at Lilly without my permission and his "expert" opinion was that she needed to be shod with pads ASAP. So while she didn't actually come out and say it, most of her questions were geared toward confirmation of what her farrier had told her versus what my trimmer had told me. After my vet recommended shoes and pads, I had to listen to the "I told you so's" and "I guess your trimmer doesn't know what she's doing, so you should use my farrier" speech.

At one point when we were alone, my vet asked me why the BM was acting like Lilly was her horse.

Rewind back a few days prior to my vet appointment and you'll find my BM and I engaged in another conversation about Lilly that I didn't want to have. She really hates the feed Lilly is on, which is Enrich Plus (formerly Enrich 32). My vet had me put Lilly on this feed last September because Lilly was gaining too much weight. She was on supplements only, paired with a "handful" of grain, which eventually ended up being way more than a handful. So to take the guesswork out of the equation, we decided to ditch the vitamin and mineral supplement and put her on the Enrich product. Lilly has been doing really well on it. The BMs main concern is that it contains 32% protein and not a whole lot of fiber, which she thinks is contributing to the loose stool Lilly occasionally still has. She's been hounding me to switch Lilly over to Nutrena SafeChoice Special Care. It's a new product made for easy keepers, and has a low starch formula. The SafeChoice has an NSC value of 15%, and the Enrich is 15.5%. The SafeChoice does have a lower protein and higher fiber content, but you also have to feed more of it. Lilly would need to eat at least 2.5 lbs per day, where with the Enrich, she eats only 1 lb.

I could write a whole other post about this crap, but let's just say I wasn't keen on switching feeds for a number of reasons, and the protein isn't what's causing the occasional loose stool. That was an issue way back before we started her on the Enrich, and it was many barns ago as well. Since she wasn't making any headway with ditching the Enrich altogether, the BM also suggested mixing the Enrich with the SafeChoice, but I didn't like that idea either. When she brought it up, I told her I'd give it some thought and discuss it with my vet when she came, and left it at that.

So when my vet was there and we were alone, I told her what was going on with the BM and Lilly's feed and she said she didn't want Lilly on anything but the Enrich. She did say that Lilly has put on weight since she saw her last, and she would prefer that I cut back her turnout time and possibly also the amount of hay she's getting, especially since we're having issues with Lilly's feet.

Near the end of the appointment, the BM showed up again to pummel my vet with questions about the feed Lilly's on and why she wants to change it. My vet said flat out, "no... you leave this mare's feed alone." So while I was upset about how much the BM interfered with my vet appointment, I was happy she was there to hear my vet tell her no switching feed. Now I can say, "sorry... my vet said no." Case closed.

After speaking with my vet about Lilly's weight and perhaps cutting her back a bit (and she also suggested the muzzle again), I was curious about how much weight Lilly has put on since moving in to the new place. I found the earliest picture I have of her, and the most recent, and here they are for you to compare.

July 9th
September 5th
I wish they were posed similarly, and I wish piggy wasn't eating in the second one, but it's pretty clear she's put on some weight since moving. She doesn't get as much turnout at this place as she did at the other place, but she moves around a lot more in the pasture and has more room to run around. Add in more grass and more hay and she's bound to pack on a few extra pounds.

All this nutrition stuff brings me to the point of this post... finally, right? After getting in touch with my trimmer and showing her the x-rays, she still thinks there's something metabolic going on. Either a deficiency or insulin resistance that's leading to mild laminitic episodes which are causing her to "sink" and creating/maintaining the thin soles that we've been dealing with. This would explain why Lilly seems ok some days, and other days she acts really sore, and also why she was much happier at the other barn. Even though she still had thin soles, she wasn't having any episodes and was more comfortable. I am on a mission to find out WHY she still has thin soles, and WHY she is more uncomfortable here at this barn. I need to fix it.

So, the game plan. Priority one is getting Lilly comfortable. My trimmer suggested shoes for 6 months, work really hard on getting any nutritional issues under control, and then pull the shoes, but I just can't get excited about shoes. They will do nothing to help the issue, and could possibly set me back a bit as well, so as easy as it would be to slap some shoes on her front hooves, I'm not doing it. I'm not ready to give up yet.

I need to do something for her while I try and figure out what's going wrong metabolically, so after some more discussions with my trimmer (and another great trimmer!) I've decided to go with casts. The last time we casted her, we did an open sole technique because we were going more for support, but this time we're going to try using Equipak CS or a pad (EasyCare or Thinline) to give her some cushion, but also try to stimulate sole growth.

So that's the plan... love it or hate it, I haven't tried everything yet and I want to try everything first. I don't think boots are a good idea because they just don't hold up during turnout, so casts seem like the best shoe-less option out there. I'm hoping she'll be sound enough in the casts that I can ride, but if not on the first set, maybe she'll feel better on the second or third set. While she's in her casts, I'll be frantically researching nutrition and hoof articles, and working to get her metabolic issues figured out.

22 comments:

  1. Here is a link to Dr. Kellon's website - she is an expert on metabolic issues. And here's a link to her Yahoo Equine metabolic forum. You have to join the forum, but it's worth it for the info and support you can get there.

    I took care of a gelding for several years who suffered from persistent diarrhea issues (among other things) who it turned out was IR. These resources were a godsend to us.

    (I want to smack your BM)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! This is exactly the kind of stuff I'm looking for and it is very much appreciated! How crazy would it be if it turns out her loose stool was from IR... that's something I never considered. That could explain why it's worse in the summer, better in the winter, and why she'll go weeks without it and then suddenly have a couple days where she's messy.

      (You and me both!!)

      Delete
  2. Oh my goodness this has been going on with me with as well! Text messages complaining about my supplements, arguing about being barefoot, turning her out 24/7 on tall green grass. I finally walked in on her bad mouthing me about keeping her barefoot and I moved 2 days later. We are now dealing with sore feet from a mix of things brought on by horrible weight gain but we will not be putting shoes on. I keep her boots on when for when she has to walk across the hard driveway and out in her turnout until the rain starts back and softens the ground so far she has been walking sound. Good luck with her!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only imagine what is said about me when I'm not there... oh to be a fly on the wall. They very clearly want me to shoe my horse, so they'll be extra excited when I tell them I'm casting instead. I'm glad to hear your mare is doing well. Fingers crossed she stays that way. It can definitely be a challenge having a barefoot horse!

      Delete
  3. Sounds like a plan - get her comfortable and then deal with the metabolic issues. Shoes and pads would do nothing to solve the problem - at best they would conceal the issues that need addressing. Dr. Kellon's info is very good. I've got two horses that are borderline IR, and it is something you can manage. Getting weight off her, and getting her comfortable enough to exercise, is a high priority as it will help with her comfort and also benefit her metabolic issues. Your BM sounds well-intentioned but beyond annoying - and to think I was just complaining to myself about how easy-going our BM is - it's good in that I can pretty much do what I want, but it's bad in that she doesn't supervise the guys well and the horse care is on the mediocre side - her standards aren't very high. Fortunately I'm around a lot to take care of my horses. I think I'd have a harder time with your situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kate, and thank you for all the ideas on my other post as well. I'm going to check into the zinc and copper specifically and perhaps try to find a better supplement for her if she's lacking. I'm thinking I might even need one that isn't specifically for hooves if I'm going to get her everything she needs.

      The BM is definitely well intentioned and that's probably the only reason I haven't totally lost it. I know she's doing this because she cares about Lilly, but she is doing nothing but frustrating me and pushing me in the opposite direction. It would be nice to have someone to bounce ideas off because she's been doing this for a long time, but it just doesn't work very well with her.

      Delete
    2. Here's an interesting post on mineral analysis and deficiencies - might give you some leads:

      http://mustlovemustangs.blogspot.com/2012/12/nutrient-deficiencies-in-hay-and-pasture.html

      Delete
    3. I put my mare on California trace and the change in her hoof growth was amazing. Of course it went to heck when the barn owner wouldn't feed them consistently but now she's getting back on track at the new place.

      Delete
  4. Wear an armor of thick skin.... who REALLY cares what people who aren't really your friends say about you. Be pleasant and in the end, if you are right, well... they will know it too. It's about Lilly. It should like you are doing your best and following a plan. It is tough as sometimes we learn in hindsight - but I hope that moving forward everything works. Can't wait to see how the new casts work! Hang in there. (I have no advice, just offering support).

    One thing, though, is if you can't ride her, honestly ground play is so fun. I'm not talking lunging. I'm talking that "nasty" word but Natural Horsemanship I suppose is what many call it. I have Oberon backing up and all I have to do is raise my hand. He walks, trots, canters at a raise of my arm and transitions down by a raise of my arm. He side passes in a straight line away from me beautifully know and he also turns and bends on front and back. We are working on freedom now in a round pen... HE LOVES IT! It is something that is fun when you can't ride and great exercise. There are cut backs, and then I do something where I walk the length of the arena and he is going back and forth around me and NOT moving his shoulder into me but pivoting and reversing direction. He really works up a sweat and he has fun. Just a thought, if you can't ride her.

    If you are interested I might (or others here) might be able to direct you to some videos or books or something. If Lilly is going to be in her stall more and you can't ride, she will need exercise. And lunging does get boring and horses tend to go on auto pilot...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm usually pretty good at letting criticism roll off my back, but it seems as though since moving to this new barn, I'm doing everything wrong, and at the expense of my horse. You hear that over and over again and you start to believe it. Thankfully I've snapped out of it, and I'm not going to be talked into doing something or changing something that I'm not interested in. I know what's best for Lilly and that's what I'm going to do. Thank you for the support!

      I don't have a round pen at this place, but we do have that nice indoor arena! Lilly is quite good at groundwork and we've done a lot in the round pen before, but I'm sure we could improve on some things, as well as learn something new. Lilly is a smart girl and she enjoys that kind of stuff, and she'd much rather do that than longe, I assure you! I'll check out some videos and see what I can find. If you have a video example of that last exercise you're talking about with Oberon, I'd love to see it!

      Delete
    2. Oh. My. God. If I had a BM like that it would completely drive me insane. I hate how everyone else always knows whats best for your horse after they have known them for months, not years. Drives me up the wall.

      Delete
  5. Ugh. I sure hope you can find some answers soon!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Geez that would be so annoying to have a BM like that! I'm sure they mean well, but still. I hope the casting works out for you, I think that sounds like a good solution for the time being!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Besides the very good info on lame horses that I got from this post, there is another message I took away from this which is waayyyy more important to me today.

    I have decided to take on a few boarders to help supplement my meager income (I have the room and the time right now) But since I have never boarded horses before or had to board myself, I want to make sure I do it right. This post was a fantastic lesson in "What not to do"

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL at the fist poster, I want to smack your BM too! Good grief, she reminds me of my sis in law always running around saying my daughter is 'her baby' and telling her what to do an not to do RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. GAHH!

    Anyway, sorry, really hope all works out for you and your girl!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oohhhhh....I knew you were having some problems with the BM trying to change your program, but WOW!!! Unbelievable that they KNOW there is a problem and are still only interested in doing what they think is best AND trying to get the professionals that YOU pay for to agree with them. (smack!!)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think the casts are a good idea? Do you follow Laz and Kristen's journey? She casts one of Laz's hooves and has huge success with it. I think you are doing a good job - you are a good horse momma! I'm sorry you have to deal with that BM. Are there any other farms you could consider? Life is too short to deal with her BS!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm glad your vet backed you up on the feed. Hard to argue with a vet recommendation :)

    I have had great success with casting. Both with Ozzy and with client horses. It sounds like a solid plan to me!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't know much about bf vs shoes, but your horse - your decision. Your BM sounds nuuuuuuuuuuts!!! Sorry you have to deal with that.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Good for you, R! And good for the vet, shutting the BM down (temporarily, no doubt.)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I haven't commented much as of late (though still reading!), and so didn't feel right to ask for the password to your protected post...but I think I got the gist of it from your this post. I'm sorry you're dealing with this! I admire your determination to try all options. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  15. The BM was concerned about the 32% protein? Sounds like your BM didn't know how to read a feed tag. Glad you were able to get out of there.

    ReplyDelete