Every Woman Loves A Baby

May 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Honey Pony, Horses | Leave a comment
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Please don’t ask me why I adopted this pony. I can’t explain it. After all, if you heard of a pony with chronic Lyme Disease, Cushing’s Disease, laminitis and any other of a number of lameness and health issues, wouldn’t you just have to have her? It’s just that I have known her for years, and she is SUCH a wonderful pony. So sweet and great with kids and, let’s face it, completely adorable. As my mother-in-law so wisely put it regarding puppies and ponies, “Every woman loves a baby!” She is so, so right. Just look at her. And since I have sooooooo much time on my hands between runs back and forth to both kids’ schools, 4,000 loads of laundry per week, hunting down “that red car with the yellow flames and black wheels. No, not THAT one!!!!”, and conducting endless dissertations on such important subject matter as why cats have tails and we don’t, well, I just HAD to HAVE her!

And so, enter Honey Pony, queen of cuteness, princess of problems. It’s been an interesting road trying to contain her chronic conditions, but it seems like we are finally getting the best of them. My wonderful barn manager, Linda, and I have been researching the management of Cushing’s horses, and since we share a philosophy that tends away from drugs and toward the all-natural, it’s definitely been a foray into uncharted territory.

Of course we had to start with diet. Cushing’s horses and ponies need to be on a low-carb diet. That’s right, you heard me. A low-carb diet. For a HORSE. You know, the ones who live on carbs? Well it, turns out this actually can be done. We found a great chopped hay product – Equi-Safe – that has nutritional pellets added and very low sugar content. She gets that plus a half a flake a day of the coarsest hay we can find, which we soak first to remove even more of the glucose.

Because of her dietary restrictions, Honey gets no grain and very little access to grass. If the grass gets too long in her small turn-out, we have to resort to a grazing muzzle which, even though it is bright pink, is the saddest thing EVER! That pony just stands there staring at us, bravely wearing her muzzle, and makes us all sob just looking at her! So we try to keep her on sand or very very grazed- down grass, just to preserve our sanity.

Needless-to-say, these types of horses require a lot of time and management. Did I mention how cute she is?? Once we got the forage part right, it was time to think about supplements. Apparently you can’t give Cushing’s ponies just ANY vitamin/mineral supplement. They have special low-carb needs! Again, we found a great product called D-Carb Balance. Vitamins and minerals, check. Next, we tried to address the chronic diarrhea these little darlings seem to have. As if I don’t have enough poopy butts to wipe at home, now I was cleaning my pony’s hind end at least once a week! Priobiotics helped, but in the long run, soaking her hay has done the most good.

Then we started to get a little crazy. Linda told me about a blue-green algae product she had used on her horses to clear up allergies, help with chronic Lyme Disease and also address Equine Metabolic Syndrome. It’s called spirulina, and it really does work miracles. There’s so much information on it out there I just can’t go into all of it here, but suffice it to say that sweet Honey-Pie is now getting 4 teaspoons per day and really thriving. I still have to monitor her closely and some days she looks a little off, but overall she seems to be glowing with good health. And miracle of all miracles, this year she shed out her winter coat – something she has not done in two years!

When I brought Honey home a year ago, she was skinny, dun-colored (her coat was once the color of honey), on Pergolide (a drug to treat Cushing’s), on Previcox (an NSAID), and was limping with every other step. Today, she is off both medications and getting the right hay, vitamins, spirulina, and MSM (to help with joint pain/inflammation and the uptake of the antioxidant glutathione). Her coat color is back, her dandruff is gone, her feet are never warm, and she’s got a lot more energy! And while she still does take the occasional lame step, we’ve certainly come a long way. I’ll be posting more if we decide to try additional supplements and therapies. And please, do not start sending all of your hard-luck cases to me. I am a sucker, but not THAT much of one. Or perhaps I am. Just don’t do it, it will put me over the edge.



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