Updated feed and supplements

Some more changes to feed and supplements as I continue to refine things for Dante especially as I got the hay testing finished.

I’ve removed the Grostrong 13 from his diet because it doesn’t really provide him anything that I’m not giving through other feed and supplements. The sugar which commercial feeds provide, even “low starch” ones, is always problematic.

Because his current grass/hay is so low on protein, I’ve added two flakes of Alfalfa to his daily diet. This replaces his alfalfa pellets which are rather hard and remember he has old-man teeth so I don’t want to compromise his teeth any more with hard feed. I could soak the alfalfa pellets but I tried that and it takes quite of bit of soaking for them to soften.

Current Feed and Supplements:

1.) 2# of Beet Pulp shreds without Molasses – Soaked with excessive water drained off. Now that he is getting Alfalfa he is starting to ignore this! So I have to feed this and give him time to eat it before allowing Alfalfa hay access.

2.) Flax Seed (Omega Horseshine) – One cup. Added to diet 9.4.16.

3.) Salt, 2 ounce (4 Tbsp) – Table salt from the grocery store; just be sure to get the Iodine type. I blend this with the Ocean K for easier/faster measuring. Added to diet 7.17.16

4.)  Ocean K, 5 g daily – to supply additional Iodine; supplement goes a long way. Added to diet 11.28.16

5.) Zinc and Copper – 1500 mg of Zinc; 600 mg of Copper. I’ve switched this brand to Uckele’s Zinc and Copper pellets because once I got his hay test back he needed A LOT to offset the high iron in our grasses here in Oklahoma. Added to diet 6.28.16. Increased 1.16.17

6.) Magnesium (Oxide by Uckele) – 8-10 grams; little less then 1 Tablespoon (approximately 8 grams). Magnesium can acts as an anti-inflammatory. The good news is this stuff goes a long way. I’m blending it with his Phosphate. Added to diet 7.16.16.

7.) Monosodium Phosphate – because we need to maintain the balance between Calcium and Phosphate, this supplement needed to be added once the hay test was evaluated. 2.16.17.

8.) Vitamin E, liquid – 10,000 IUs, (4 teaspoons) in winter. Dr. Kellon recommends the liquid property to improve absorption. This is one of the most expensive supplements I buy. I will probably be changing this once the liquid is done as I’ve heard good things about Health E  and a powder will be easier for my feeder to do it. Added to diet 8.15.16

9.) Selenium – 2 mg. My location is on the edge of having enough selenium in the soil so I waited until the hay was tested to supplement as over supplementation of Selenium can actually lead to death. 225.17

For Medical Reasons:

1.) Glucosamine (Lubrun) for joint mobility – this powder is mixed with his Selenium-Yeast. Added to diet 11.28.16

2.) ALCAR or Acetyl L Carnitine  for PSSM – 1 gram for 100 pounds of body weight (this is about 1 Tablespoon with the brand I am using). Weigh it to know the true measurement, don’t trust the bag label. I’ve settled on buying it from Powder City as they add a silica packet in the bag which helps it stay not sticky. Added to diet 7.25.16

3.) L-Glutamine for PSSM – 1-2 grams per 100 lbs; 2 tablespoons for 20 grams.  Added due to his stiff, tight and sore muscles. Added 12.14.16

Posted in hay & feed, supplements

Waiting…

I know I’ve been absent from the blog here for a bit. Nothing wrong, I’ve just been waiting for Dante to heal and that is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

I am starting the search to find someone else to feed for me. This feeding every day is just wearing me down and not really encouraging me to stay engaged with the horses.

On some days, Dante seems to have improved and other days he just seems as sore as ever. I’ve put in calls to the vets and have received no answer. Vet #2 may be pissed I went with Vet #1 who the fuck knows? But I need to preserve and just get him some help.

I have paid for more fencing at the barn but don’t know when he be starting on it, which needs to be happening now as both ponies will need to be pulled off grass very soon. This mild winter means the grass will start greening even earlier and I didn’t spend a year trying to get Dancer’s hooves better to have all of that destroyed with a spring founder.

FYI – I did remove all advertising from this blog as the WP ads are just SO IRRITATING.

Posted in Horse care, Just Me Stuff

Hay testing results back

I finally got my hay tests results back and discussed it with the Uckele rep. There weren’t any real surprises. I expected the Iron in our hay to be high, but I guess what is surprising is how far off I am from what I need to be giving versus what I’m giving so I’m dramatically increasing the California Trace (Copper and Zinc).

Simply put, Iron binds minerals so the higher the Iron the more it binds the available Copper and Zinc. You have to increase both of these to compensate.

Another thing that surfaced about the hay was that I needed to add Phosphorus to balance the Calcium:Phosphorus ratio. Phosphorus can be found in Flax seed but most, if not all, horse products have already been balanced for the Ca:P balance so I’ll have to go with another product to add the right balance of Phosphorus.

Last, but not least, while the hay has a low sugar, it also has low Protein. A preliminary idea for taking care of this is to eliminate the Grostrong 13 and replace with Alfalfa pellets and the Beet Pulp (without Molasses), both of which I can get easily from Tractor Supply which is about 5 miles from the barn.

I’m waiting to hear how to add the Protein.

If this sounds all like a bother, it is rather but being a PSSM horse I need to make sure his diet is correct as this is the best way to manage this disease.

The dantes_master_pssm_diet  master spreadsheet.

 

 

 

Posted in Dante, hay & feed, PSSM

Finally back to some sort of work

Dante seems sound enough to get back to some basic work. I still think he seems a little off but I’ll need a helper to trot him off so I can view him from behind and lately I’ve been on my own at the barn.

Taking into consideration that he injured his muscles around his stifle when it locked, I’m hesitant to do any trot work unless he presents it of his own accord. He knows how he is feeling, and when I tried to get him to trot to see if he was sound a few weeks and ago and he was reluctant, sure enough once he did trot he was still lame.

Today, I was back to doing some simple exercises:

1.) Head down cue. He will lower to touch a target but he is not linking that to the verbal command of Down. So I’m back to trying to reinforce that. I am also looking for a longer duration of his head down before rewarding (Clicker Training).

2.) Halt, with weight back – Asking the horse to unload the weight on the front/forelegs and to shift weight to the hind without moving. Horse is standing square and from this square halt – weight back position, move into the Head Down with a Forward Stretch.

3.) Head Down with a Forward Stretch (at Liberty) – This is done at walk, using a target. I’m looking for the nose to be pointing forward and the head to be low – imagine the horse grazing and reaching out to grab grass that is just a little in front of the head’s natural, dropped position. He was super eager to get back to this and gave me trot of his own accord.

We are working on STRAIGHT LINES only until I get the okay from the vet that he can be worked harder. I’m looking for duration on this (Targeting, Clicker Training).

This is the rudimentary beginnings of Straightness Training and Art2Ride though without the bend. The bend (or working on a circle) might put too much strain on his recovering stifle, so until I get the all clear from the vet we will be doing straight lines only.

4.) Head Down with a Forward Stretch (in Cavesson, with one rein) – This is done at walk, using a Cavesson and lungeline attached to the center ring. I’ll be moving Dante into a Cavesson so I have more control of his balance, weight of legs, amount of bend and Stelling of the head. This will help him also start learning the signals via the lungeline connected to the Cavesson nose ring.

5.) Head Down with a Forward Stretch (in Cavesson with two reins) – This is done at walk, using a Cavesson and reins attached to the side rings (one on each side). Husband bought me these long 64″ reins from my Wish List for Christmas so I need to set them up with a clip so I can attach them easily when I want too.

I won’t be working on Haunches In until I know he is A-OK via the Vet.

6.) I need to review my Masterson Method info and start loosening his hindquarters. I should have been doing this through December but life gets very hectic that month and I felt overwhelmed already so just gave Dante the month off after his injury.

7.) I really need to take him on some nature walks. That is dependent on weather and time.

tinycarrot

For the Holidays, I bought these cordless clippers for myself. I love cordless over corded clippers sooo much but my old pair died some time ago and I never replaced them. When I bought him the trainer was letting his fetlocks go hairy trying to grow “feathers” and it’s obvious he doesn’t have any real feathers so I’ll be trimming off that hair come spring and making him tidy.

 

Posted in Clicker Training, Dante, Masterson Method MM, PSSM, Straightness Training, Training

Still lame and very cold

hoof_deer_snowprints

I thought Dante had recovered enough to be let out to the big pasture, but the next day it was obvious that no, he was still sore on his stifle, so back to stall rest. (this photo shows that we had a little deer visitor overnight)

Saturday it got extremely cold and while we had a cold drizzle and a very small amount of snow, I was lucky that I could still get out to do the horses (feed, check the water etc…). Dulce had ice balls packed into the hooves and we were fortunate enough that she stood still long enough to let us get them out.

Between weather and lameness there isn’t much to do at the barn except chores.

However, I am doing a R+ exercise that is different then what I usually do. For example, if I am training Dante to stand quietly at the mounting block, I use a target to lead Dante to the mounting block and then reward when he stands still. I am encouraging a certain type of behavior to happen through shaping and targeting.

This training exercise, is instead looking for a behavior that Dante spontaneously offers such as a stretch where he puts both of his forelegs far forward and then bends his chest down to the ground. He loves to do this on his own. He sometimes does this when I show up at the barn in the morning to feed as a feel-good-wakeup-stretch and each time he has done it I have given him big praise and a bonus treat.

I’ve been doing this for 8 weeks and probably have only caught him about 5 times. I am waiting to see how long it takes him to figure out that if he does this behavior on his own he gets a treat. I’ll know when he figures this out because he will start offering this behavior outside of his regular time and will do it more often.

It’s an interesting time-test on shaping vs.rewarding spontaneous behavior. What is particularly interesting to me is a comment I read that training in this way will stick with the horse longer (because he has to use his on intellect to figure it out) and you often see more motivation from the horse because it is a horse-offered activity. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

 

Posted in Clicker Training, Dante