Sometime around 12 years ago, a young stallion managed to escape his paddock and find his way into the mare’s pasture. This resulted in the only surprise pregnancy on this farm and Baby (Mostly Moshun) was born in the usual time thereafter. Baby is a healthy and sassy little mare who has spent the last 11 years competing with her sisters and cousins for attention from anyone who dropped by for a visit.
Baby has been ridden some, with no objections from herself, but would mostly be considered green broke. (Although we clearly need to have a discussion about blankets.) She is very sweet and loves spending time with both people and other horses. At the time we began taking care of her, she was unfortunately tremendously overweight and had some chronic laminitis with some rotation beginning in one of her coffin bones. Additionally, her feet were incredibly tender and thin-soled. We immediately put her on a diet to get some weight off, added some vitamin supplements to strengthen her hooves, and had her insulin levels tested which came back moderately high. Her vet then started her on Thyro-L and Metformin to help reverse the insulin resistance and get some weight off. We also applied pads to her feet so she could comfortably get some exercise every day.
Laminitis and founder are scary words to horse owners, if it gets too bad, the horse will often have to be put down. However, most experienced horse owners know that this is a condition that can be managed and many horses recover without any drastic or long-term disability.
Well, its been two and a half months since we first intervened and a full month since she started her medication and Baby is doing great. Her feet still get tender from time to time, but she has been able to go outside without pads on her feet and get some exercise. She has been trotting around her paddock and the larger field when we let her out for an hour of “recess” every day. She has lost a good amount of weight and is a much happier girl in general. We will have her insulin levels tested again next week and two weeks from now we will see if she can have some shoes put on.
Because Baby has developed insulin resistance once, she will need a home where her weight will be managed. She may need to be in a “dry lot” paddock and/or have her access to fresh grass controlled with a grazing muzzle or by limiting her turn out time, especially in the Spring and Fall when new growth is higher in sugar. Basically, she needs regularly exercise and to have her weight closely monitored.
Baby is new to the whole “being ridden” business so needs some work with someone who is patient enough to teach her how it works. Working with a qualified trainer will certainly help this process. Because her feet did go through some changes with the laminitis, she will likely not be a high level performance horse. However, this lovely girl will make a wonderful partner for someone looking to have lifelong friend and riding buddy.
We are looking for a forever home for Baby where she will be loved, her health condition is appropriately managed, and she will not sold or rehomed. Arabs can live a long time so this may be a 20-25 year commitment. We understand that life changes and sometimes we can’t keep our horses, we simply ask that if this becomes necessary, it is done in the same manner, ie find her a home with someone who will love her and manage her health condition.
Update: Baby has a forever home!
For more information on insulin resistance in horses, see this linked article.