The New Diet Plan

Thanks to a recent dip of the mercury, Foster has already started getting that lean-winter kind of look to him. After getting his mini-vacation, I had hoped I would return to a happier horse who was ready to get back to work. Instead, my first ride back included walking around, starting to trot, immediately getting off, grabbing the hoof pick, grabbing the lounge line, and lots of analysis of why my horse was all-of-the-sudden not quite right on his left hind leg.

Video still from Sunday, leaving left hind behind

Video still from Sunday, leaving left hind behind

Not quite right enough that the next morning I called the vet, who was able to come out the next day for a lameness evaluation. Foster was actually much better and the stiffness/soreness that I saw Sunday was actually almost completely gone. Instead, she theorized the lameness could have been due to his inability to metabolize sugars correctly, an issue that becomes more prevalent after bouts of inactivity (Foster spent 2 of those 5 days in a stall due to rain, plus his normal stall schedule). His weakly developed hind end could also be indicative of such a disorder.

Cheerfully waiting for the vet

Cheerfully waiting for the vet

Luckily the treatment is an easy fix, and as readers know, is one I have been considering for a while– a change in diet. Namely, to get him on a high fat, low sugar feed that will promote muscle growth, with the ideal results being that he will travel straighter and develop those hindquarter muscles that he is currently lacking. The feed best suited to his need is Purina Ultium, and potentially add Vitamin E and Magnesium supplements as well. Considering how many times Purina Ultium has come up in my prior research and by recommendation, I feel confident in that direction. With the additional recommendation that we get a chiropractor out to see him, Foster should be feeling like a million bucks with these changes.

Better eats for this kid!

Better eats for this kid!

It will be interesting over the next few months to see if Foster does indeed improve behind, and what benefits he reaps from nutritional changes. I’ll be taking Foster’s ‘Before’ photos on my next barn visit, and will monitoring him on a monthly basis for progress.

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Prepping for Clinic # 2..

Or this post could be called, “Attack of the Wind puff”.

Foster developed some swelling in his back fetlock while I was in Savannah, and after having several people who are much smarter than me (i.e, the vet who did his shots, another vet looking at pics, and a former vet-tech) all diagnose it as a fresh wind puff, I haven’t been too concerned. It had a minimal amount of heat it in, which again I wasn’t terribly worried about since it is so fresh.

Of course Foster doesn't care, all he wants is more grass.. yay spring!

Of course Foster doesn’t care, all he wants is more grass.. yay spring!

A few days ago though, this poofy blemish took on a little more heat than I was comfortable with. So I’ve been poulticing the crap out of it and hoping it goes down. I’ve worked Foster only a few times since the last clinic, and kept our rides pretty simple- lots of stretching, some basic transition stuff, and given him a gram of bute after each ride to reduce the swelling. After not seeing much change, I’ve gone the next step and started applying Surpass, a DMSO based cream, to it.

Fetlock a week ago

Fetlock a week ago

photo 3 (3)

A couple days ago

Technically, Foster is sound and ready to go, but I’m being a total helicopter mom and watching his leg like a hawk. Nothing shows up lameness-wise when I ride him, and if anything he feels more forward than ever. There was a wee bit of tension in his back last night, but I put that down to us not working on transitions recently and insisting that he not use his neck to pull himself into the next gait. So, my hope is to ride him and apply more cream Wednesday, and check on him Thursday morning and see what it looks like. Rinse and repeat for Thursday night/Friday morning. If the heat really has not gone down at all, I’ll consider scratching.

thank you, google, for the pic of Brendan riding

thank you, google, for the pic of Brendan riding

If you’re wondering what the clinic is about this weekend- it’s a dressage clinic just 15 minutes up the road, with Brendan Curtis. I’ve seen Brendan ride many a time beside Jim Koford when they both trained at a barn I used to board at. I never got to take a lesson from him, but I have a friend who has become a beautiful dressage rider who highly recommends him, and I’m very curious to see what he would do with us!

So, our preparations this week are mostly focused on easing my mind about Foster’s leg, and if it gets better we will just have to see what happens at the clinic. He should at least be able to rock a stretchy trot and some lateral work! I’d love to have the opportunity to ride, but Foster comes first. We’ll see what happens.