Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘founder

The Diet

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Not that we want to compound the misery we put our horses through, but the weeks of indoor confinement they just endured have come with the added insult of decreased rations. If protecting them from the ravages of founder (laminitis) means we need to closely control what our horses are consuming, we need to do it regardless of how unhappy they act over the situation.

I am certain that the reason Cayenne was prancing around snorting when I freed her from the confines of her stall on Saturday was because she had grown so agitated over the lack of anything to eat in her “cell.” She had made that clear with the kicking of the wall and pawing at the floor when I showed up to greet the farrier and get Hunter some padded shoes.

The precisely measured portions I had meted out at noon were ancient history and she wanted more. Luckily, she settled down a little bit while Hunter was brought out of his stall to stand between both mares and be fitted.

Later, after the three horses were done thrashing around outside in the paddock, they settled down and took up stations over the hay boxes, where bonus servings had been made available to augment their celebration over the return to the great outdoors.

Now, even though it was a bonus offering, it was still a precisely measured meager portion of a bonus.

It didn’t take them long to show their feelings about the restrictions of this new diet still being in place, even though they have been released from confinement in the barn.

Yesterday, I spotted them grazing on the winter manure pile inside their fence line. It seems there have been a few morsels of hay raked up with the manure.

Cyndie fretted the other day that feeding our animals (and I might add, her family and guests) is one of the ways she shows her love. For the record, she loves me a LOT. It breaks her heart to see the horses stoop to digging through the manure pile for blades of grass.

I’m sure it’s not the first time a restrictive diet has brought on behaviors for which pride gets tossed aside.

In reality, they aren’t really that desperate. They were just checking out the pile for a brief few seconds. I thought it looked funny and snapped the photo. It makes for good story!

The diet is for real, and their adjustment to it is going to take some time, but we are optimistic a new balance will emerge and we will be back on a path to optimal health, soon.

Soon, in a relative sense of the word.

 

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Written by johnwhays

March 12, 2018 at 6:00 am

Gaining Experience

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It is not surprising that the horses experience a little anxiety about being surrounded by fields of fresh green grass they can’t access.

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We have to control the horses’ amount of time grazing on lush springtime grass to avoid the condition called founder, or laminitis.

For the second day in a row, yesterday we opened the gate to a small section of grass and let them freely graze for about 30 minutes. Cyndie had come out again to watch them, and I consulted with her about options for coaxing them off the grass and back into the paddock. I was hoping to avoid the panic response they demonstrated on Monday.

She suggested I try using a lead rope around Legacy’s neck to guide him, with the hope the rest would follow. Her idea was brilliant, because it worked like a charm. I figured it would be a challenge to even get the lead around his neck, so I brought a treat to encourage his cooperation. I approached respectfully, and he returned the courtesy by pausing his grazing and lifting his head. I rewarded him with a treat and he let me drape the rope around his neck. We calmly walked back toward the gate to the paddock, and without hesitation, the three chestnuts followed. Two of them came with us into the paddock, but Hunter stopped to get a few last bites of grass. I walked back around him and guided him the rest of the way through the gate.

They made me look like a pro, or at least, like someone who knew what he was doing. Obviously, I do know a little bit, it’s just that I have no previous practical experience to work from. I told Cyndie that my success with the horses is entirely based on confidence I gained from the one weekend of training I received at the Epona seminar where Cyndie, Dunia, and the other trainers did their “student teaching” at the completion of their apprenticeships.

It comes easy to me because the methods they taught for interacting with the horses make total sense to me and resonate with my intuition. The positive feedback of the horses’ responses serves to verify my perceptions.

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Written by johnwhays

May 7, 2014 at 6:00 am