Difficult Day at the Office

Okay, I'm going to be honest. Today was actually pretty good. I had a good first day at my new part-time job, it's utterly gorgeous outside, and I'm pleasantly sore from my runs this week. Things are going my way, right? Right.

Well that is until I showed up at the barn this afternoon, and my barn owner decided it was time to tell me I am a cruel horse owner, and abusing my horse. This is the person who has horses in his barn with thrush so bad you can smell it in the aisle way. The person who uses a vet owning a horse that has to bend it's front legs at the knee to avoid putting weight on it's heels. These horses are okay though. Totally not being abused. Nope.

My horse, meanwhile, is sore on rocks. ROCKS. Yes, we have a rocky place. We have a barn surrounded by a gravel drive. We have huge rocks and portions of gravel in our turnout. Yep. Do I force my horse to walk across these rocks? Sometimes, because we have to cross them. But, he gets full choice to pick his way across. He stumbles sometimes, but mostly just goes slow and picks his way across. He's fine. He doesn't have any bruises or abscesses. The farrier was here today and confirmed that he has grown some sole. It's still very thin, but it IS growing. I think that's a marked improvement, and something that wasn't happening while we were in shoes. And, he's sound and running around like a fool on grass/soft ground. This validates the difficult journey we've been on.

In case it's not obvious, I'm very offended that someone would tell me that I am abusing my horse by trying to heal him. I'm offended that someone would think that it doesn't hurt me to watch my horse be sore crossing stones. Would I like to just slap some pads on and have a miracle cure? Of course. Do I feel that is counter-productive to healing? Yes.

The other thing my barn owner and I were arguing about was feeding and insulin resistance. Guinness' constant soreness (despite his feet getting much better, thicker, and harder), is leading me to confirm suspicions of insulin resistance. Not to mention his hefty appearance. I've been soaking his morning hay since January, and have slowly been cutting down his grain. It's an experiment, really, to see what helps. What I can say is the last couple of weeks, as his grain has been cut drastically (from 3 full 3quart scoops of "low carb" pellets a day to 1 1/4 3quart scoop of the same.), his feet have been less painful. He's been moving more confidently over the gravel driveway. There has been significantly less picking a place, and more speed.

This has made me examine his feed in even greater detail. He's currently on Rowe Secure Option Omega 14%. It's a local feed provider, and I figured it would be low starch. Especially since that is what it is marketed as. Well, the fifth ingredient is (of course) cane molasses. Well no kidding my horse is having an issue with this feed.

My barn owner thinks this idea of changing feed is crazy. He can't see why that little bit of molasses would be a problem. He thinks it's all breeding. It's interactions like these that make me want to eat lots of good Italian food and drink from an econo-sized bottle of wine. I myself have blood sugar issues (but am not diabetic), and I remember how when my horse was being starved, his feet were better. I don't want to starve him (ever!) but I can see the connection. So, I've been researching feeds.

That brings me to part 2 of this post. FRUSTRATION.

Seriously, why is it so hard to find a good feed for an insulin resistant horse? The Pig can be a bit difficult to keep weight on without grain. So I am not sure a simple ration balancer would be a good way to go. It might, but it could also be an expensive experiment. I like the idea of feeding a rice bran / low starch mix. But, I'm just not sure that's possible or economic. Right now, the plan is to switch to Triple Crown Low Starch and buy a small hole hay net to keep constant forage in front of the monster while stalled. This should help with the hay soaking (that isn't happening when I'm not there). I can always add a fat supplement like Ultimate Finish or Max-E-Glo if needed later for weight gain. For now, The Pig is fat and I need to go feed shopping.

What do you guys think?

P.S. Does anyone else think Ultimate Finish smells like chocolate chips?


  1. Contact Chris Marks at SMWC. If nothing else she can tell you what to look for in a feed, or at least the title of the book we used for Equine Nutrition (which I can't remember for the life of me, just that it was big and green lol :)
    Also, I need a good email address for you, cuz I wants your opinions on the horses I'm considering buying :)


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