Thursday, August 28, 2008

new horizons

After nearly a year of mulling this over, I finally made the leap and bought beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and along with the rest of my supplements, will be making the horses' feed from "scratch."

As usual, the impetus for this is Salina. After reading that the soy in horse feeds is causing some mares to develop swollen udders and metabolic horses (or those on the border) to have laminitic episodes, I decided it was time to make the changeover.

This is not the first time Salina has led me into new territory, nor will it be the last, I'm sure. One of her missions seems to be to teach me all the things I need to know about horses.

So, as I type, there is beet pulp soaking in the laundry room, and tomorrow I'll begin the gradual shift from processed feed to something different. I have to admit, I'm excited, now that I've set forth.

On other fronts, I got the pony's kinesiology test results this morning. He has:

low digestive enzymes

low insulin

high blood sugar

a blocked meridian that needs acupuncture

low seratonins

Patsy had nearly NO information about the pony, and when she described the blocked meridian and where it is in the body, I nearly fell over. I was not writing fast enough to get the exact name of this meridian, but it begins behind the eye, goes down each side of the neck, behind the scapula, and into his left leg - and that's where the block is.

I immediately realized that this must be why he has always had issues with taking the left canter lead, and why he counter-bends traveling left. She said it is likely he has had soreness in the shoulder - guess what part of his body the massage therapist always finds tight and tender?

His 4-week herbal regimen will arrive in two days, and I have a call into an equine acupuncturist/vet who came highly recommended. Now it's the pony leading me into new territory.

It's also fascinating to me that he has the blood sugar/insulin issue - this time of year has always been a difficult time for him, and I have suspected the grass of late summer/early fall is just too high in sugars for his system. Hopefully (and Patsy thinks we'll really see a change) this course of treatment will give my daughter a great year of riding before she has another growth spurt and we have to look at training him to drive. (and won't THAT be an exciting new horizon to explore!)


Cheryl said...

Are you going to share the recipe with us??????? My cousin has a homemade recipe for sweet feed...I'll ask her for the recipe and if I can post it on my blog!

billie said...

Cheryl, I don't really have the recipe yet - but the beet pulp will be the base for everyone, and I'll add alfalfa pellets for those that need a bit more protein, and rice bran for the fat. If Salina needs more calories I can use a few oats.

The supplements I use are:

Dynamite Equine Vitamin/Mineral blend

a custom Glanzen Blend from Horsetech that has extra flax, no sugar, extra lysine, magnesium oxide, and selenium

black oil sunflower seeds for certain horses

and I rotate them onto Source several times a year

Now, with Patsy's help, they'll each be getting kinesiology testing 1-2x/year to make sure things stay in balance.

Grey Horse Matters said...

That is really interesting about the pony's meridian and his insulin, I can't wait to see how he starts to feel after being on he herbs for a while.
We feed out horses beet pulp too with their supplements and some grain, it seems to work for them.

billie said...

Arlene, I'm fascinated with this meridian thing. Fortunately our massage therapist recommended a local vet who specializes in acupuncture for horses and dogs, and I read over her info last night and was quite impressed. I hope we can get him "clear" quickly and my daughter can really enjoy the rest of her riding time with him.

jme said...

that's really cool that she could be so specific about the pony. wow!

alright, now you've got me thinking about soy again and looking for alternatives. i've also just read that the magnesium my metabolic horses are getting could cause enteroliths. have you ever heard that before?

i really like mixing my own feed, and i use beet pulp as a base for everything - it's a great all-purpose feed and it's also great for sticking supplements to... and by feeding it (esp. with the small amount of alfalfa) you'll help ensure they get plenty of calcium to balance the phosphorus-high grains and rice bran.

i like barley best of the grains for adding lbs, though it can be too heating for warmblood types... lighter types do well on it though - but a little goes a long way.

good luck!

billie said...

jme, I don't know much about those but am thinking there was a connection with eating lots of alfalfa hay? Which we don't use.

I am LOVING the beet pulp thus far. It is so clean and is not attracting flies the way the soaked Carb Guard does. It is also not so sticky and they don't emerge from their tubs with crusty noses!

I'm hoping that Salina will do well on this and I won't need to look at adding additional calories.

I have to say, Keil Bay seems absolutely delighted with the culinary goings-on around here. :) He really appreciates his food, and always finds a way to show his gratitude. Hilarious.

Janet Roper said...

Way cool post - from your announcement of becoming The Equine Chef to everything that's going on with pony. I love it when people share their adventures!

billie said...

Thank you, Janet. It's one adventure after another over here!

jme said...

yeah, apparently alfalfa (which i don't feed either) is high in both calcium and magnesium, which contribute to enteroliths. one more thing i really don't need to worry about! :-\ i have a nutritionist coming out next week, so i'll get all the gory details...

that's so funny about keil bay. i have a horse who so loves his beet pulp mash that he'll lick out his bucket for half hour after he's finished while he goes into this sort of trance... it's really funny :-)

billie said...

That's so great you're getting a nutritionist out.

I have a friend here who has studied equine nutrition for years and I run everything by her.

The scary thing to me is that with my other friend who is having the issues with the ration balancer and soy, her horses *looked* wonderful. But then she started seeing the udders swelling, had some laminitis in a number of horses, and is now seeing enlarged thyroids. So it wasn't obvious the diet wasn't working until the bigger issues emerged.