Focus: How to get the best for your horse out of the ECIR Yahoo outreach group

Nancy C

A member commented a few days ago that she did not receive the message being offered by the volunteers during a time of stress, trying to figure out what was wrong with her horse. This is not unique. When we are worried, stressed, angry and unfocused, things get missed.  

There is a tendency to go first to what we can immediately control which is usually diet and sometimes trim. It can take a while to see what the big picture is and to learn how critical all four legs of DDT+E are, especially for those horses in significant rehab. That certainly was me for many, many years.  Even now, almost 15 years later, I panic when Beau goes through a change or new issue and thinking straight becomes very hard work.

It is a fact that we are our horses best, and sometimes only, advocate. If we choose to advocate for their welfare on as deep a commitment as many do here,  we are often learning multiple new things that are completely foreign to us, under very stressful conditions.  To succeed, our horses need us to be strong with a determined focus on what is needed for them.

To help us help you, we ask you to focus in the following ways:

* Knowing or learning how to use your computer, iPhone, iPad, or Apple watch,
Google glass or whatever the next exciting device is.  Otherwise, we are dead in the water.
* Understanding the fundamentals of why the group does what it does.
* Understanding that this group is not a chat group.
* Understanding you will be asked to back up your statement of fact or opinion.
* Learning to do your own case histories.
* Learning how to observe and record symptoms.
* Learning how to identify and communicate with the best of your local pros
* Learning how to communicate with your suppliers.
* Learning how to take and submit good hoof photos.
* Learning how to take good body photos and videos.
* Communicating effectively.

It is okay to get frustrated.  It is okay to be confused.  Through this process though,  the owner needs to realized they are ultimately responsible for devising and sticking to plan of action. There is no magic bullet. With many horses it takes time, longer than others. Reporting your horse’s condition every day is honestly not the best approach.  Keeping records, keeping your History updated and reporting every few weeks in times of stress, monthly or seasonally  when questions arise, allows your hardworking volunteers to see the bigger picture.

In crisis, a step back and a look at the big picture is needed to hopefully move on successfully. That is where each owner can learn to use  DDT+E as a guide. To use DDT+E as your guide, ask yourself:

Diagnosis - Do you have one?  Is it correct? Was blood work taken and handled properly? Do you have copies or results? Are blood work reports updated in your case history?  Do you have other areas that need to be explored because things are not resolving as you had hoped? Could that involve other areas of DDT+E? What are your vet recommendations and why? Do you need better communication?

Diet - Is it as tight as it could be, including mineral ratios?  What is the ESC&Starch?  Are issues most likely thought as nutritional - like weight loss or gain or loss of top line - really in issue that falls under Diagnosis? Have husbandry issues been looked after as well? Deworming , teeth, etc?

Trim - Is it as tight and balanced as it should be?  Do you know how to recognize when it is not, both in hoof form and how your horse moves? Does your hoof pro? Are you sure?

Exercise - Do you have plan to work to what is healthy for your horse? Is the horse getting better staying the same, or regressing?  If so, how would DDT play into this?

With any case, the owner is the critical key to how successfully they are managed. There is a ton of support and experience here but in the end, volunteers and members offering support are not on the ground with any specific horse. In the end it is up to the owner to work towards understanding what is needed, why it is needed, and to make and work her or his plan and report back honestly, completely and specifically for input.

Horses like Jasper, Beau, Drummer, Blue, Alf, Tilly, so many others, will have good days and bad days, brought on by effects of season, physiological changes as they go through rehab, changes as they age, as drugs are administered, with changes brought on by a well balanced diet suited to their needs, their trim and more.

As members, we all want to jump in and help a horse we believe to be in trouble, especially when it appears to be without relief for many months.  Becoming all consumed with one case as we have this summer will happen from time to time. It is not always the best course of action. Posting every change on a daily basis is not a good idea. Instead,  an owner needs to focus, believe in the info and experience here, devise her plan and work it as best she can.

The collected knowledge of members reporting back clearly and specifically over the last fifteen years, has allowed the group to view in-the-barn experiences, spotting trends, testing out new protocols and much more for the welfare of all the horses. It can’t be done without focus.

Thanks for listening!

Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
Please join us at the 2015 NO Laminitis! Conference, Georgetown TX, November 6-8, 2015
NO Laminitis!

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