New member in New Mexico ..... basic help/questions - thank you!

Sharon Bice

Hi there from New Mexico! My 14 year old mare was diagnosed with laminitis & Cushings this past month. I’m thankful to have found this group;I have no experience with either issue. I am not sure if this is the right group for laminitis questions, but will include this information in my post. 
I started noticing this year that she was resistant to being ridden, which she has never previously been. I ride often rocky and sometimes steep trails. Even after getting Cavallo boots for riding (I pulled her shoes in the beginning of the year) and a new nicer fitting saddle she wasn’t happy about being ridden. And then in mid-September (about 1.5 mos ago), after going on a steep smooth downhill part of a trail she was very choppy/short strided in her front. As well, she still likes to avoid some rocks while riding. So I took her to the local vet and he took x-rays and did the cushings/insulin tests. Her diagnosis: low-grade, early stage laminitis and Cushings. Solution: good barefoot trims every 4-6 weeks, and Prascend 1 mg/day. 
Here are my Questions:
1) I am not sure this diagnosis of Cushings is correct. My nutritionist wanted me to investigate. It was done Nov 1. Should I get her bloodwork done again? Do I keep her on Prascend?
2) Can I still ride her - how do I know? I can use padded boots (or no padding - the Cavallo boot brand padding isn’t much)? Do the trails need to be soft footing (no rocks) and no inclines/declines? 
3) Her diet: 
~ She is 15 hands, bigger build quarter horse. She was very overweight (my nutritionist estimated via internet photos about 990 but I’d say she was more, although no fat pads, cresty neck, etc).  I am now using hay nets for my tested Bermuda hay and she doesn’t like the nets so I am afraid/concerned she is now not getting enough of her hay - maybe only 10lbs/day, versus the recommended 15-18. It is hard for me to tell but when I put out the 15-18lbs/day in two slow-feeder hay nets and the barrel there is some still left after 24 hours. And my younger horse seems to be eating more often. She prefers the hay slow-feeder (porta-grazer) barrels. They are in a large 10 acre wooded pasture (no grass basically a wooded dry lot), and it would be complicated to feed them differently. Younger horse  is also on a diet. They are on some nutritional supplements to balance out a mineral deficiency in their hay as per Clair and Summit-Equine Nutrition. 
Here is the link to images of foot, photo of mare and vet report: 
Please let me know if you have any thoughts. My main wish is to keep her feeling well and be able to ride her. Thanks so much in advance - Sharon & Tailight
Sharon Bice, New Mexico,  2020

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