Feed / Behaviour: The Belly

August 2, 2017

Trial and Error feeding Mr Sensitive
















Coffee aka the Ginger Ninja has been with us for six years and it's not been an easy journey.

We have had several false positives along the way and several red herrings but I think we are finally getting into a routine that works and that allows us to get to work


We know things are not happy in the gut department.

We know gut and feet are very much related

We know back and gut are very much related


But which one do you try to fix first and which one is a result of the other?

We have spoken to many vets and we have tried several treatment options ranging from simple massage to veterinary chiropractic. We have had lots of opinions but none have really got to the problem until now.


Hindsight is wonderful, and I am certain the poor man's needs were forever changing, but I am rather relieved we seem to have reached stability or at least seem to be on the road to a stable recovery.


If you have visited our previous Sway and Blogger pages you will have seen our journey up to the present day.

So what have we changed.

  • We have made sure all feed is as low in starch and sugar as possible. Even simple feeds like hay cobs that we were told were a fabulous feed to use pushed him over the edge. He is now on Speedi Beet as his base feed.

  • We have stopped being silly, yes he is allowed a few carrots and apples, the ratio of sugar in them to the quantity feed is nothing compared to the main feed.

  • We have started using a supplement that is Calcium Carbonate based, this seems to be helping him settle and relax

  • We are continuing with the Magnesium Oxide Supplement for now, he doesn't seem to have an issue with it irritating his belly. We will monitor this and move onto a different form of Magnesium if needs be.

  • We have kept him on a Bespoke Supplement for feet and joints but we have removed the Turmeric and increased the Boswellia

  • We have found a local supplier of common land haylage. Its a dry haylage. It has helped with his stable cough and saves me having to soak the hay. At the moment he isn't eating enough to allow me to open a large bale without it spoiling, so we are on hay until they spend longer in the stables.

  • He is having regular sessions with Back 2It Chiropractic. We have been lucky to have Victoria join us on our journey through the LegUpForTalent programme. Victoria has a good eye for assessing the movement of the horse and we are very grateful to her for picking us.


Where do we go from here ?

  • We are looking into glue on shoes or a new boot to try that he can keep on for longer that doesn't rub or spin when worn for longer periods in the field

  • He feels quite clumsy ridden in his current hoof boots so when he looks a little bit footie I use a pad held on with duct tape.

  • The pole work has increased, we have even managed a ridden three part canter grid and put the last part up to a small fence, all of 2 ft 3 inches.

  • The lunging is looking much more balanced and the work load has increased to include canter.

  • Come Sept we are hoping to start a few instructed training sessions. Held at the yard in his field to start with so he feels comfortable, and then we will move the sessions to the trainers yard.

  • I must get my hay tested so I know exactly what I am feeding

  • Keep the assessments going with Back 2It Chiropractic, keep an eye on his back weakness, and keep up the core exercises on the lunge and in-hand.

  • Carry on with turnout. He is definitely a grass affected horse but some days he has no problems with the green stuff and other days I think, gosh why did I let him eat that. We can only take each day as it comes. Keep an eye on his bio-chemistry and hope we are doing right by him .


To quote Calm Healthy Horses: (Check them out on Facebook)

''Horses can be muscle sore, stiff, tight, move incorrectly, even be lame, not be able to get canter leads, behave like they have a sore back plus many more signs that ‘seem’ physical but turn out to be a bio-chemistry imbalance for which there is no physical evidence to explain the symptoms.
When horses are subjected to chronic mineral imbalances from an inappropriate diet, their self-regulating mechanisms struggle and the mineral content of the blood and body fluids have trouble maintaining equilibrium.

This sets off a cascade of problems affecting how our horses see, how they feel, how they move, how their gut works, how they breathe, how they reproduce, causing them to become hyper-sensitive, over-reactive, aggressive, claustrophobic, clingy, allergic, itchy, laminitic and more.
Understandably affected horses cannot think straight. Sometimes it’s like they can’t think at all! They ‘react’ rather than
‘respond’ and are in no state of mind to be able to learn.



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By Gaelann East
The Wacky Racers Dressage Team
England UK

© 2017 Gaelann East

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