Trish Bradley

We are in Kent(UK) and have two horses, Millie a black mare 14.2 hh, Welch section C x Shire x anglo-arab co and Eddie a bay gelding 13.3 hh, Welsh section c x Exmoor (same Welsh section C sire as Millie). They came to us in August 2013 both a little overweight so set about controlling their grass intake and exercise to reduce weight. We wintered out on hay plus chaff and a vitamin/mineral balancer.


In August 2014 I decided after reading about barefoot horses,  that  was the way I wanted to manage my two horses. My barefoot farrier thought both could be IR and recommended soaked hay .. I was already being careful with grazing but they needed to lose weight still. Millie particularly had a large crest. We worked up to soaking hay 24 hours and introduced micronized linseed , unmollassed sugar beet and a mineral and vitamin balancer (forage plus winter hoof). The gelding Eddie took to barefoot very well. Millie needed to wear boots in front, but coped well with boots. Exercise was hacking out 3 or 4 times a week for  1 hour to hour and a half.


This winter we decided to stable them overnight as the mud in the field (heavy clay) was miserable. They were both out for 6 to 7 hours a day or stabled. We gradually  changed them over to being stabled as neither particularly liked being in. At the end of January Millie presented with what looked like laminitis, very stiff behind reluctant to move behind planting both hind feet pivoting around them. She had no heat in her feet and no digital pulses. Resps and temperature normal. The vet diagnosed probable hind limb laminitis but she also had sore muscles along her loins and back but the muscles were soft. Vet prescribed Bute and box rest 2 weeks .. x-rays of feet and blood test. The  X-rays confirmed laminitis changes in all four feet. Blood profile indicated normal glucose and insulin levels and general profile ok but AST and CK levels were both raised indicating that she had tied up. I am thinking that this was a case of tying up, the x-rays confirming  what we suspected that she had had laminitis in the past. Millie’s soundness did not seem to improve after 2 weeks box rest although she was less uncomfortable .. but getting her moving around ,gentle walking in hand on soft ground in the field seemed to help ... so gradually increased her time out of the stable on very limited grass...


She can be snappy when doing rugs, can be tricky with picking up feet .. she was not able to hold up fronts for the farrier this time for trimming even when placed on carpet .. (but was still being stabled quite a bit) .. so we decided to give her more recovery time before attempting to trim again. She can also appear to lack energy sometimes being reluctant to keep up. Have finally got her off Bute .... she is now only in for 9 hours  the rest of the time out on no grass ( soaked hay) or limited grazing. Will now introduce  short walks in hand . I am wondering if she could have PSSM? I have increased her linseed as she appears to have lost muscle and introduced half a tsp salt in her 3 feeds. She can get very stressed in certain situations so I have also introduced half tsp of magnesium oxide (v low iron form) in her 3 feeds.Working towards being out 24/7 again but managing grass intake .. Seemed calmer  generally.  We seemed to be heading towards moving again and maybe able to trim but she relapsed as far as mobility goes again when left out overnight ( am now wondering if electrolyte imbalance because of v short grass or too much movement??)and ended up on bute and box rest again this week .. progressing again now but stressy again today!!  Thinking she needs turnout but worried re grass intake .. have a long grass field and a very very short grass field .. so laminitis risk or electrolyte balance risk?? 

The muscles around her neck are particularly sore, she will now pick up all feet for me bar the RF which she snatches back (oddly Eddie has also started doing this!) but this improves after doing foreleg stretches.


Any advice would be very gratefully received.

thank you 

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