Jane's StoryAmigo before dietary changes

How Mineral Imbalances in the Grass Can Cause Inflammation in the Horse

Jane's story is particularly enlightening.

Since writing that article, it has become clear that of the minerals, electrolyte balances are absolutely critical to normal health and behaviour. In fact, I now believe, electrolyte imbalances caused by the cumulative effect of grass species, pasture management, the weather, plus various hard feeds, herbs and supplements are the cause of the wide array of problems experienced by owners, riders, trainers and breeders.

Whilst Jane's horse is an extreme case, remember that for every extreme case there are many more mild to moderate cases. Maybe your horse only has a 'touch' of Jane's horse's problem and is mildly inflamed. That would still be enough to cause him not to be his true self, not perform to his true potential or to exhibit behavioural or saddle-fitting problems.


Letter from Jane

Hi Jenny,

Thank you! I am so glad I ran into you and Emma at the clinic the other weekend. I was about to spend lots more money on further diagnostic processes for my horse's sore back and was desperate to get him sound for the coming show season.
He was inflamed in all his muscles, as shown in the thermography report taken on the 14th of August.

He was biting when being groomed, saddled and covered and was generally grumpy. Worst of all he was disuniting at the canter so badly that he could not be ridden at the canter at all. He ended up refusing to canter and reared and bucked instead.

amigo before

The thermographer said it was the worst inflammation of the loin area that she had seen. His whole back was inflamed as well.

The osteopath and vet could not pinpoint what was wrong apart from soreness in the sacroiliac area and muscle inflammation. The Bute he was given made no changes to his sore, swollen muscles or his demeanour. In fact, he had a severe adverse reaction to it and we are very lucky to still have him here with us today. That would have been tragic considering how easy this problem was solved in the end!

Following your advice on the day I saw you (and I then also read your article More Mysteries Solved on the effects of high potassium levels in horses) I immediately took him off all the grass and baleage he was getting at his livery. I eliminated the soya bean meal and upped his salt and highly absorbable organic magnesium with boron as you prescribed. He received only his usual blend of top quality, well balanced vitamins and minerals, ezy beet and meadow chaff, extruded barley and lots of brown top meadow hay.

As you predicted, after ten days he was completely sound.

The swelling in his muscles had disappeared, he no longer bites when being groomed, saddled or covered and he is cantering beautifully!

Thank you SO much! I will get another thermography report done to record the changes in the next week when the technician is in Auckland again.

I would be happy for you to use this case and this thermography report in your articles and talks. This was a serious problem and would not only have cost me a lot more money but also the coming show season and my horse's well-being. I hope his case can help to educate others in similar situations.
Jane Valentine-Burt - Auckland, New Zealand.

Thermography report for Amigo
This is Amigo's thermography reports - it shows the before and after changes.
Click on the image for a large view.


The Costs

Jane clearly wanted to do the right thing by her horse and sought excellent professional help.

She even listed the various investigations and treatments for us:

Treatment costs in the past 4 months:

  • 6 osteo treatments by two different equine osteopaths
  • 1 chiropractic treatment
  • Vet treatment
  • Back on Track rug
  • Devils Claw Free Mover
  • Equine massage "how to" DVD
  • Two different therapeutic pads
  • Sore NO more Liniment gel
  • 2 x thermography images

Unfortunately nothing seemed to work. It was at this point in early September I ran into Jane at a clinic. She described what was going on with her horse and, having seen all these 'symptoms' before I explained that her horse was definitely 'grass-affected'.

Some simple changes to his diet were suggested. Within ten days, her horse was back to normal and completely sound.

Amigo after dietary changes!

Here are the changes we made:

Within ten days Amigo was back to normal and completely sound.

Follow Up

Hi Jenny,Amigo after

I hope your talks are going well. You are doing such an important thing with your education!

There are so many more people to reach about the effects of grass on their horses. I now see it everywhere at the shows I go to. I thought you might like a further update on Amigo for your talks as a couple of big, positive changes have occurred.

We went to Woodhill Forest last weekend and did the big hill tracks. This is the first time EVER that he has been able to go down ALL the hills without bucking or crabbing sideways!

He was so relaxed and on a loose rein the whole time, what a pleasure it was! He and I both really enjoyed it.

Also, our show this weekend was a huge success. We won a horsemanship class which was great but I thought this horse would never be able to do Western Pleasure classes well (due to his previous show behaviour of hooning, bucking and throwing fizzy tantrums).

This weekend we were placed in three out of three pleasure classes with large class numbers and placed over some consistent winners of pleasure! How amazing! He was relaxed, slow, soft and lovely to ride. He transitioned into the lope smoothly with no bucking. I had lots of comments on how well he is going.

The trail classes were very tough and any tight or challenging parts of the course were handled calmly and recovered from immediately without anxiety or tantrums!

He really is so much happier, no longer sore or uncomfortable and is a pleasure to take out and show. I feel like I can finally really enjoy my horse at shows!
Thanks again.