Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Diet

There is a lot of research that has gone into Katai's current diet and I am very happy with how her she is doing on it. I haven't always cared about diet as much as I do now though.

At one point my family owned seven horses which were all healthy, mixed breeds that were easy keepers. They had great hooves weren't being ridden that much or shown so as long as they were healthy we weren't too concerned about how shiny their coats were. They were all extremely healthy and had great feet and their only diet was grass during the summer and grass hay during the winter with maybe some sweet feed if it got really cold.

I'm sure it never did them any favors since their grass would have been deficient in certain minerals but they never seemed to be suffering any poor health so I didn't thing much about it. In fact, because they seemed to do so well with so little I had very little belief in supplements or fancy feed until I got Sora.

I started off simple enough with her and when it became apparent that she needed more than just grass and hay I added Safe Choice. It quickly became clear that it was not a safe choice for Sora when her attitude changed drastically so I researched other options and switched her to Purina Senior which, looking back, probably wasn't the best choice but I was working with what I knew at the time.

I continued to feed Sora Senior for quite awhile until I ran into some other horse owners who were talking about ration balancers and they sounded exactly like what she needed. Vitamins and not much else and just enough to balance out the hay or grass that she was eating. 

That is when I found Nutrina Empower.



Nutrient Level
Crude Protein 30.0%
Lysine 2.2%
Methionine 0.6%
Threonine 1.2%
Crude Fat 5.0%
Crude Fiber max. 8.0%
Dietary Starch* max. 8.0%
Sugar* max. 6.0%
Calcium 3.0% - 3.5%
Phosphorus 1.5%
Copper 250 ppm
Zinc 750 ppm
Selenium 2.5 ppm
Vitamin A 18,000 IU/lb
Vitamin D 1,800 IU/lb
Vitamin E 600 IU/lb
Biotin 1.5 mg/lb

I first started feeding it just because it was an available ration balancer but the more I learn about which vitamins horses need the more I realize that this feed is perfect. Everything from the level of Protein to the lack of Iron (which we already have too much of in our soil and interferes with the absorption of Copper and Zinc both of which are extremely important in hoof health) to the small amount you can feed and the extremely reasonable cost.

I had just started to feed Sora Empower before she left and then when I got Myshla and Katai I continued this feed. I was extremely happy with it and not really looking for anything else but when I got Katai and was worried about her feet and Founder risk I started to look into some of the reasons for those issues and found that Magnesium is very often lacking from horse diets. The lack of Magnesium can make many horses tense, jumpy and tight through the back but it also can affect insulin resistant horses and if fed in the proper quantities it can reduce fat deposits and help to reduce the risk of Laminitis.

Currently I am feeding Quiessence to supplement Magnesium mostly because the balance of vitamins and minerals is supposed to be especially helpful with horses (or ponies) that are prone to Founder but also because it comes in a pelleted form that is very palatable which is something that is tough to find in many Magnesium supplements especially when you are trying to feed it with a very small amount of ration balancer and not something sticky like a sweet feed.

 Active Ingredients Per 1oz:
Magnesium Oxide 7g
Magnesium Proteinate 1g
Chromium Piccolinate 1.25mg

Quiessence® provides 4.2 grams  of elemental Magnesium (4g from Magnesium Oxide and 0.1 g (100 mg) from more bioavailable Magnesium Proteinate) per 1oz serving.

 All in all I am very satisfied with Katai's diet right now. She gets about half a pound total per feeding which is not much more than a double handful. Just enough to make her happy and to make her feel like she is special but not too much :-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Yay! Boarding!

I found a place!!!!

I really love where Katai is now but with no arena, a sketchy pasture (used to be an alfalfa field 0_0) and nobody to ride with I have been seriously considering moving her. The problem is that the closest boarding stable and the most reasonable is also over crowed and has poor pasture spaces with many, many horses per field plus it is way more expensive just for pasture board.

This barn is slightly further away from home but almost exactly the same distance from work. It has a huge indoor coverall arena, an outdoor round pen, trails and a nice outdoor riding space, arena with grass footing. There aren't too many boarders and the woman who owns that place has exceptional horse keeping knowledge. She only deworms if she knows what the worm count is, rotates pastures and is willing to dry lot and manage turnout which is so huge for Katai!

















 Best of all the board is exactly what I will be paying now where she is for winter and only a little more expensive then I have been paying for the summer plus I can move in soon! It looks like I may be able to move her as soon as next Sunday although it will depend partially on Dan since I know I didn't give him much warning.

I can't wait to be able to ride her inside a nice safe space, ride with other people and be able to ride during the winter.

I was going to get more pictures but it was getting dark and its always a little weird taking pictures as the owner is walking you around. Next time I will get arena pictures :)

I can't wait!!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blanket Review

Unhappy pony face thinks that blankets are stupid but I really like this one!







 It is fully lined with that slippery lining material so that it doesn't catch on her fur and rub. It fits her great with plenty of room and all of the buckles are just what I would expect from a good blanket. I continue to love Saxon blankets :-)

















Plus, isn't the color just adorable on her!

I also received the really cute pink blanket liner hat I ordered but it was much too long so I pulled it apart, cut off a chunk at the end and sewed it back up. Its all set now and as good as new but I still need to add the hardware to the back corners so that it stays under the other blanket. I plan on using it with this sheet so the color combination may be interesting lol.

You can also see in this pictures that she has graduated to her leather halter. I bought it several months ago for her but I wasn't going to use it, its a really nice one, until I knew she wouldn't pull back and break it. I now trust her enough to stand tied that I've started to use it with her. I think she looks so adorable in her gear and like such a big girl :-)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blanket Season

Well, blanket season is fast approaching and this year that means shopping! I had three different weights of blanket for Sora plus a dress sheet and she was a huge blanket baby. I have never had a horse that loved blankets so much and she would get extremely tight backed and sore if she got cold without her blanket.

However, not only was Sora quite a bit bigger than Katai, she wore a 72 and that was nicely fitted, but I also sent all of her blankets with her when she left because it felt like the least I could do. I did keep one of her blankets from when she was still growing and that fits Katai fine although it’s just a bit long but it is a heavy weight blanket and since Katai is a fuzzy pony its really only appropriate for the coldest days.

Now I’m not much of a fan of blanketing when it’s just cold out but even with the nice shelter that Katai now has I will blanket if it is extremely windy, wet and raining and below 60 or if the temperature is in the low teens or lower. In those cases I have no doubt that a horse can stay warm but it burns so much energy and compromises their immune system to the point that I just don’t understand why we wouldn’t use the tools available to us to make them more comfortable. Sure the blankets do lay down their haircoat which means that you have to be careful about which blanket you are using for which temperature but I think that if you are educated on blanket use it is only a good thing.

Because of that I just have purchased two blankets from State Line Tack. My favorite brand has always been Saxon and I was happy to find a cute Saxon sheet, no fill that will hopefully fit Katai on sale at SLT. Saxon are fairly cheap blankets, at least as far as price goes, but I have yet to have one that has torn or fallen apart in any way. They are extremely water proof, I used to put Sora’s on in the pouring rain when it was cold out and even hours later she was completely dry under her blankie, and have all of the features of a much more expensive blanket. Plus they just fit well. I also bought a blanket liner for the first time and hope to use that and the Saxon for the in-between weather before it gets cold enough to use the heavy Weatherbeta. 

 

I will do a review and pictures when they get here! Hopefully they will both arrive before we get too much more cold rain so that I can keep my girl warm and toasty J

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Update


It has once again been an extremely long time since I updated this blog. This has mainly been because this dating thing takes way more time than I thought it would but is also because while our HR department at work is finally staffed there is a lot of training and still some stress that I’m just starting to get rid of. Feeling like a normal human being again is great!

Despite the lack of updates things have mostly been mostly good with Katai. She has always been so tender footed and with every change in living or diet or anything her feet seem to become sensitive. I was concerned that she was very insulin resistant and I was dealing with laminitic episodes so I had changed her diet completely and was monitoring her very closely including taking her pulse and recording when her feet were sensitive and everything from the weather that day, cold weather brings up the sugar levels in grass, to diet such as how many treats she had. I was having a really tough time finding any type of pattern and she continued to be sensitive randomly.

Finally about three weeks ago she started to shed her soles. It was a scary thing to see and I knew that I needed even more help so I got my previous barefoot trimmer/guru involved through email and text. I sent her a bunch of pictures and she said that the sole shedding was due, in this case, to the fact that she had really bad deep Sulcus Thrush. Her frogs have always been beefy and dry so I’ve never even thought about thrush but deep Sulcus Thrush is usually much more painful then the Thrush that most people hear about because it goes deep into the heel and even the hoof itself. Because of this infection her whole hoof has been compromised and that is part of what was causing her to shed her soles, as well as the dry weather we’ve been having.
                                                         Like this photo that I stole off Google

My previous trimmer than gave me a treatment regime that involved cleaning out all of her hooves, since it is in all of them L, every day followed by scrubbing them out with either just water or Dawn dish soap depending on how dirty they were. Then I was supposed to flush them out with a Clorox/water mixture and finally fill the middle crack and each side of her frog with a mixture of triple antibiotic ointment and athlete’s foot cream otherwise known as Pete Ramey Goo.

I have been doing this every day and so far the difference is amazing. Her Sulcus are going from tight cracks to much more open valleys, she is shedding off pieces of frog that were infected, and is already much more comfortable walking and trotting. Basically all of the changes that my trimmer said would occur have been happening on schedule. Slowly I have been weaning her off the Clorox flushing and just filling her Sulcus with medication after carefully cleaning her feet out. As soon as her Sulcus’s open up a bit more I will start to just clean them and then spray them thoroughly with Apple Cider Vinegar which kills bad bacteria while not damaging the good.

Overall, while I’m not happy that she has had thrush for so long, probably since I got her, and I didn’t know about it I am happy because it is something I can fix and it means that once it is better she will stay better as long as I follow some preventative care to keep it from happening again. It is a much better outcome than the laminitis that I’ve feared. It will take awhile for her frogs to literally regrow healthy tissue and as that happens her heels will continue to widen out and she will start to land heel first rather than toe first since she will be more comfortable.

When my trimmer told me what was wrong I asked her why I didn’t know to look for this. I told her how bad I felt that my pony had been uncomfortable and that I didn’t even think to check for Thrush. She said that almost nobody even knows about this type of Thrush and that she has found countless horses with this infection. Some are more stoic than others and it is only because my pony is very honest with me that I even knew that she was uncomfortable. She said that I had been going above and beyond by researching and changing diet, controlling her environment and recording all changes. I also asked why this would happen when she is never in a stall and has been living on sand that drains well for the past year and she said that she thinks that Katai probably had the infection when I got her and that it can happen even in dry, healthy conditions if their immune system is down. The best prevention, according to her, is to clean feet EVERY DAY or at least every other day and to not just pick them out but scrub them out whenever possible. They also need to move around as much as possible and work their entire foot in different surfaces. Finally, if they are out in the wet, or standing in manure or anything that could increase their chances you can help them out by following a good cleaning with a coating of Apple cider Vinegar.

This past weekend I was gone way up North for a wedding and had Dan, the person boarding her, clean her feet out for me. When I got back they looked even better and she was so sound! I decided that a little light riding would be good for both of us so I took her out in the beautiful sun to ride around the field. She felt great and we behaving so well that I decided to work on trotting. So far I’ve only trotted her a couple of steps just to build her confidence and keep things happy and calm. This time I pushed and ended up with four great, long, trots! She was brilliant for all of them and did nothing naughtier than toss her head.

Hopefully I can do some more soon!