Concerned and Seeking Advice


I have a 6 year old Welsh section C mare, Eden, that I am concerned about and I am struggling to get my veterinarian to take my concerns seriously.  I am seeking advice as to if this is something that I should be legitimately concerned about or not.  I posted photos and history in case files.

I have owned this pony since she was 3 years old.  She has always been a perfect weight and never one that leaned to fat.  She has lived on grass her entire life, supplemented with bermuda hay over the winter.  She gets a grass balancer when not in work or Triple Crown Senior when in heavy work.  She is a casual eater.  She is a driving pony and had been in intermittent work depending on the weather and if I had help. 

October 2019, I sent her to a professional trainer.  He was quite far from me and it made visiting difficult, so I was not aware of her condition until May 2020 when she had an accident and I went to assess the situation.  She was quite over weight, but very heavily muscled and fit.  She was working 6 days a week, but only getting 1 hour a day turn out.  She was fed free choice alfalfa and 6 lbs of Purina Impact.  I was not able to bring her home at that time as the vet said it wasn't safe to trailer her with her injury ... she had a huge hematoma at her point of buttock, had micro tears to her hamstring, and torn the top of her rectum.  She recovered quickly and was back in work in 30 days although she was having reoccurring abscesses flaring at her injury site.  She was never unsound, but after her injury, she quit sweating and would blow hard when trotting even a couple of minutes. 

I brought her home in July and put her out in her 1 acre paddock on grass and put her on Triple Crown Lite.  At this point, she had been on One AC for a month and still wasn't sweating, so had vet out.  All I got from them is that she was too fat and at risk for metabolic disease due to her crested neck and fat pads.  I started noticing other things.  Her throat latch is often very swollen, she is extremely itchy all over and rubs constantly, she at times has difficulty swallowing, at a trot she blows hard/loud and has a milky nasal discharge, she is jumpy to touch, she has a definite exercise intolerance which is extremely unusual for her as she is normally "hot" and forward, in the stall her hind legs seem to buckle and stumble but she is normal out of the stall, she is shedding quite a bit and she looks like she is already getting her winter coat in even though it is high 90s here.  In August, I took her back to the vet and they scoped her upper airway and deemed it normal and possible allergies.  They wanted to put her on Thyro L but I was hesitant to do that.  I asked them to run blood work for baseline for metabolic disorder and they only ran glucose which was high normal.  I scalped the grass in a 30' x 80' paddock to get her off grass and put her on Triple Crown Safe Starch only.  I also started her on Stride's Immune Health 30 day supplement program (to treat her microbiome) and Quiessence.  I did see some immediate improvements.  She is sweating now (not normally, but definitely getting sweat) and the roaring noise and milky discharge at trot are gone as is the trouble swallowing.  But, even though she is working 4-5 days a week for 30 to 60 minutes, she is quickly losing her muscle tone and getting a pot belly.  She struggles significantly to canter on a lunge line and under saddle.  

So, I feel like I am throwing darts at a board, but I also feel that my pony is really not right.  Any advice would be appreciated.  I have a veterinary that I greatly respect at KSU that I am willing to make the trip for, but would like to get some feedback before doing so.  

Thank you!

Barbara Sikkink


This is the Immune Health program -

Photos -

Barbara Sikkink

Sherry Morse

Hello Barbara,

Welcome to the group.

A bit of housekeeping to start - can you please add the link to your CH folder to your signature: as well as the link to your photo album:

To do that:

1) Go to this link:

2) Look at the bottom of that page for the window where you typed your name and location.

3) Add the link to your folder and then make sure you make it "live". Adding a space after your link or hitting enter on your keyboard will turn it blue.

4) IMPORTANT: Scroll to the bottom and hit SAVE!

Now as far as Eden - looking at your CH she is currently 115lbs overweight.  We recommend feeding either 1.5% of current weight OR 2% of ideal weight - whichever is greater - until ideal weight is reached.  That includes all hay and concentrates.  For horses suspected of being IR or PPID we do not recommend grass (more on this in the Diet section below).  So Eden should be eating no more than 15 pounds a day which appears to be the amount you have her on now.  Since you can get Triple Crown products we recommend Naturals Timothy Balance Cubes as they are mineral balanced and you won't need to provide any other minerals for her. The Safe Starch forage may or may not provide all the vitamins and minerals that she needs.  The other option is to have the hay you're planning on feeding her tested and then having the hay balanced to make sure she's getting all the nutrients she needs in her diet.

For a definitive diagnosis of IR or PPID (although 6 would be unusually young for PPID to be an issue it wouldn't be completely unheard of) you need to have a full metabolic panel run including insulin, glucose and ACTH.  Do you have an actual number for the glucose test that your vet did run? One of the most important things to remember is that you are Eden's advocate and if you want to pay the vet to run bloodwork they should do it, even if they think it will show nothing.  BEFORE doing that though, please read the "Diagnosis" section below and make sure you check the directions on the website - - to get the most bang for your buck.

As far as the injury - has she been evaluated to make sure that everything is completely healed internally?  Is her muscling now even on both sides - the picture you posted makes it hard to tell.  It would be really helpful if you could get a full set of hoof photo posted because she appears to have some pretty significant event lines on her hooves.

With all that being said, what follows is our basic welcome letter.  It's a lot of information so feel free to take notes and ask questions once you've read through it all.


Thank you, Sherry!  I will look through everything.  The Safe Starch is even lower in starch/carbs then the Timothy Balance Cubes and is in all in one timothy based feed, so she has not been getting anything (no hay or grass) in addition to it other than the supplements.  If I need to change her off of it, I am game for whatever I need to do.  I can see how the Timothy Balance Cubes could have an advantage based on being a limited ingredient product so less chance of a sensitivity to an ingredient.

I fill take the feet photos tomorrow.

Barbara Sikkink

LJ Friedman

Following along with your threads. Just a quick observation. With the advent of video etc. Tele visits etc. I  do my very best to avoid a long trailer ride. I don’t think it’s necessary often. Whenever I need an expert on Jesse, I often settle for second-best to avoid the trailer ride. And often second-best is usually good enough,especially  with the advice you’ll get here.
LJ Friedman  Nov 2014 Vista,   Northern  San Diego, CA

Jesse and majestic ‘s Case History 
Jesse's Photos


Lavinia Fiscaletti

Hi Barbara,

Just some more background for you on the ESC +starch values of these products.

The TC Safe Starch Forage ESC+starch analysis is a typical or average, it isn't a guaranteed one. The product contains added iron, higher fat (min 6%) than desirable and the omega 3 to 6 ratio is inverted.

The Naturals Timothy Balance Cubes are actually manufactured by Ontario Dehy in Canada, then repackaged under the TC name for distribution in some parts of the US. These cubes are guaranteed to be under 10% ESC+starch for every batch. Minerals are balanced, with no added fat. You only need to add plain white salt, vit E and ground flax for a totally safe and complete diet.

Lavinia, George Too, Calvin (PPID) and Dinky (PPID/IR)
Nappi, George and Dante Over the Bridge
Jan 05, RI
Moderator ECIR


Thanks ... I will check with my vet at KSU and see if that is an option.
Barbara Sikkink



With Eden being in moderate to heavy work (combined driving), do I need to reduce her work load?  I am already seeing a significant loss of muscle tone, stamina, and power since I changed her diet.  I know that there is going to need to be some sacrifices to get her weight down and healthy again, while still trying to maintain her fitness and ability to perform.

I will have the feed store order the Naturals Timothy Balance Cubes for her and will switch her over.  Do you have a preference on brand of ground flax?

Barbara Sikkink

Eleanor Kellon, VMD


It will make your feeding decisions a lot easier if you can convince one of your vets to test her insulin. On the current diet and in work she should test normal (work is the best insulin-buster there is). If it is still high, you will need to still be restrictive. If normal, she can move to the diet for EMS horses/ponies in work where she can get something to help  replenish her glycogen stores after work. What usually works well is a combination of 50:50 beet pulp and oats (by dry weight measure).  This should only be fed within an hour of stopping work, when muscle is very glucose hungry.

Do you know anyone who is diabetic? If you can borrow a glucometer, the easiest test for whether she needs her diet liberalized a bit as above is to check her blood sugar before and 10 minutes after stopping work. You only need a  drop of blood. If it goes down, she needs glycogen replenished.

Glycogen is the storage form of glucose in liver and muscles. When levels drop too low you see issues of poor work tolerance/endurance and power. Muscle bulk may decline because glycogen and the water stored in muscle because of it contribute to bulk. That said, most areas of obvious muscling, like the back and rump, have a generous layer of fat over them so simply losing fat can look like loss of muscle. The best area to watch for actual  muscle loss is the upper leg. Very little fat there.

She will still be able to lose fat if you liberalize her diet a bit as long as total calories are not too high.

She's a beauty!
Eleanor in PA 
EC Owner 2001


Barbara, I also have a Welsh Section C pony. When he arrived he was put in a small pasture. In four months he had gained 120 pounds. *A pound a day* There were also skin allergies. Fortunately through this group's protocol, that weight gain and allergic issues have been corrected. 
Your little beauty is in the right place to receive improved health. We will be following your progress!
Bonnie and Lad
North Ontario
Dec 2008


I don't use and recommend much, but, Triple Crown makes an AWESOME ground flax (nothing else just flax). 

It has a two year shelf life if stored appropriately.  And around here it is reasonable ($30 for 25 pounds I'm thinking)

Pal & Savvy
N. Alabama
Aug 2013
Case History