Thursday, 9 December 2021

Slightly More Detailed Pony Update

 With all the bigger picture things going on, I've kind of been slacking on the in depth pony status updates. Which, for my lovely readers is probably just fine :) For my future self, though, I do like to keep more detailed notes and thoughts here to refer back to later.

Sophie:

Riding was limited last week due to weather and general chaos. 

I've been trying to take a long lunch break and exercise her while it's light out, but my plans still get cancelled when it's raining really hard. This was a 'stay warm and dry in the truck while Sophie just eats lunch' day :)


I've been good about longeing, but with limited daylight hours, I have been not good about tacking up and using side reins. My gut says that's not a huge deal - I think they've served their purpose. She's got a pretty good idea of where her feet and balance needs to be these days. She spends most of her time using her body well or stretching without the reminder of side reins or vienna reins. If she goes back to wanting to be inverted and holding herself like a giraffe, I'll revisit. For now she still lacks balance in the canter but it's coming.

pre ride longe

Clinic - as mentioned, went very well. We had a very similar lesson as last time. A lot of walk/trot transitions and back and forth in the gaits, followed by some leg yield exercises, followed by a little 'jump' course that was just poles and grids on the ground. She's absolutely fine with poles, but I am guilty of just trotting over random ones if someone else sets them, they're not something I set up or regularly work her over. Even so, she was a lot more confident with distances that didn't quite work for her and way more willing to adjust and figure it out. I think she'd probably be a careful little jumper if I ever went that direction.

In general, she was very spicy and forward and leaning on me, which took a lot of getting used to. She's normally very light in the contact and while forward, it's in a rhythm, not dragging you and accelerating. So, I feel like I got too handsy as she was blowing off my seat and running through me. In other circumstances I would have gone back to transitions and spirals, but this was a good experience - it was good to know where the holes are (I may have resorted to using the fence a few times to stop her).

We finished with a little canter and zero bucking into it. So, that was exciting. Unfortunately I had to miss the second day, but maybe it's just as well - she felt very tired by the end of day 1.

I got so many great shots of my friends riding, but haven't been pulling out the fancy camera and lens for myself. I need to do that!

Vet: We're waiting on more bloodwork to come back. The basic results were normal but we're waiting on a mineral panel too. Vet agreed she's not looking as well as she should be, especially given what I'm feeding. She's also very low on energy as compared to last year. While I appreciate quiet and well behaved, I'm not entirely sure that's who she really is. So she's likely not feeling the best and probably not using her food efficiently, but it could be for any number of reasons. The vet mentioned that with these gradual changes it's often it's a combination of small things rather than one specific big fix, so we start with the easy things (higher protein diet, blood work, mineral panel) then progress. We're currently trying new grain and a supplement for a month, then if the lab results come back normal and she still hasn't made improvements we'll likely investigate ulcers.


I bought a hay net that holds a whole bale and put it up today so hopefully she'll never run out of hay. BUT with Bridget accessing it too, I'm a bit skeptical this is a good idea (or that it will even last 24hrs).



I was given this to try, too. It's active ingredient is spirulina, which I was also feeding Sophie. She finds this much more palatable, but it is also 2x the price for equivalent grams/day of plain spirulina so unless it works miracles I'll have some reservations about using it long term :)

Bridget:

I just haven't had time and daylight to keep two horses in work. Thank goodness for the Bridgets of the world who happily go for a ride whenever you can fit them in. I miss her and feel guilty about letting her sit, but she seems pretty happy to just eat dinner and be groomed most days. I cross my fingers next winter we'll have a lighted riding space and this won't be a thing.


Was pretty excited for the giant hay net. May need a grazing muzzle before this experiment ends.

More interested in flirting with her neighbour, of course. Not like she's stressing me out by being thin or anything ;)


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7 comments

  1. I hope the feed changes help! Seeing them everyday, it's hard to see changes, especially small ones, so if you can take pictures weekly, that might help you compare condition. But also, I'm finding it's definitely trial and error to find what works for each horse! Nay would prefer free choice alfalfa and at this point, 50% of his forage is alfalfa. I'm going with it as it's working, but it's more alfalfa then Subi's ever needed. And it appears certain supplements/additives upset his stomach, not the same way soy does, but just make him less comfortable so he eats less. With out those, I feed less and he looks better? Who knew? Anyway, this process of trial and error would be SO MUCH EASIER if horses could talk and just say, "when I eat this I feel bad." Or, "I actually like all the food and nothing makes me feel bad but I really don't like eating that much so give me something higher calorie so I can eat then spend the rest of my day watching the birds." Life would be easier if horses spoke English...

    As for Bridget, I have a bale out in a feeder with a larger hole net. Jiminy basically stands at the bale and eats all day. But, he wears a muzzle and it really slows him down. Jiminy will tell you they can learn to eat hay with a muzzle. He has no issues at all. My 3 take 2 days for a bale, but they're only out for 12 hours and Subi and Nay both like to watch birds/tree/wind/nothing for good portions of the day. Eating is boring.

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    1. Love alfalfa for their tummies! I can't get alfalfa hay here this year, so I'm stuck feeding soaked cubes once a day. Better than nothing, but I'd rather just have some hay. S loves hay but is fussy about pellets or cubes, plus I have to worry about keeping the bucket feedings to a digestible size :( B had a muzzle at one point. She's a genius at breaking and/or removing them so it got easier to keep her separate and feed her alone. I don't have that option this winter, unfortunately! I really wish they could talk. I had a 'conversation' with B yesterday re: her weight and the health risks of consuming too much, but I don't think it worked lol

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  2. I used the Myoplast on Annie - I have a review somewhere on my blog, actually. It made a MASSIVE difference in her for the short-term. I found it was much less effective the second time around when I used it, but it definitely helped her fill out properly. I would recommend doing 60 days of it, as I saw some differences after 30 days but not the full potential until 60 days.

    I did repeat the Myoplast nearly 6 months later and found it did absolutely nothing - so results may vary depending on what the horse needs at the time.

    Those bale feeders are fabulous - I feed from nets 100% of the time and I enjoy the fact it gives them 24/7 hay. Hopefully B doesn't pig out too much, haha.

    With the alfalfa cubes/pellets as someone suggested, I feel ya because Annie is also fussy as hell, too! I had a hard time keeping her engaged enough to eat 4lbs of alfalfa and it was PAINFUL.

    Another option might be doing the off brand omeprazole - its "cheaper" (although what medication is cheap in the grand scheme of things lol). I had Maizey on it this summer and it did a world of a difference!

    It's hard tho... finding what the magic combination is. I'm sure you can attest to my struggles with Annie and her weight... I sympathize for you!

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    1. Oh, I thought I remembered that and was hoping it was the same thing that worked for Annie! I’m crossing fingers. Thanks so much for commenting!
      Unfortunately the hay net is only lasting from 4pm to....sometime overnight. They’ve been getting more hay at 8am breakfast because they’re “starving” by then. The math of two ponies eating a 50-60 lb bale in 12 hours or so and needing more is a bit mind boggling, but B is a machine. Her new muzzle arrives this week ,lol. At $17 a bale I just can’t.
      The bucket feeding for S is painful too. About 1.5 hours for her to casually pick through and eat it. I have no excuse not to have immaculate paddocks and very well groomed ponies while I wait ;)

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  3. Fingers crossed that there isn't anything wrong with the banana pony

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