Pics are about 10 months apart - when his head flick was really bad and yesterday so soft and just lovely out riding in the paddock".
After returning to riding after 20 odd years, I found and bought a horse to suit my needs in September last year, and for the first 3 weeks he was everything I had hoped for.
At the start of week 4 some cracks started to show when he became a bit spooky and a bit explosive, he seemed quite agitated and wore some serious tracks fence walking.
He was losing significant weight which was of great concern so I started pumping the protein into him to help him hold some weight. When things got worse I managed to work out that the problems only started when he went out into the herd and started to wonder if it was a grass problem so pulled back off all grass to see if it would help.
Poor Dan became worse and worse and was virtually unrideable - I had advice from a lot of corners mostly along the lines of "knock the sod into line" or "shoot it - its mad" or “send it off for schooling”!
He had no spatial awareness and there were times when he was having a serious panic that he ran into gates, trees, across the road or down slopes.
I was fast approaching the time to seriously start thinking about putting him on the truck. He developed a head flick and hit me in the face several times, he became hollow backed and very very angry even in the paddock.
Someone suggested I feed him Mag, which I started to do but although it helped it didn't make the significant difference I was expecting and needed to see.
At the end of January I sent a plea for help to Jenny at Calm Healthy Horses and I discovered just how much I had done wrong and exactly how big the risk was I had taken by riding him.
It was through plain ignorance, and all the Lucerne and sea weed based products thinking I was doing the right thing but actually was just seriously compounding the problem I created.
It was such a relief to discover that I hadn't bought a rogue horse - it simply wasn't his fault and once we got ourselves onto Jenny's feeding regime, SOS, MVA minerals, GrazeEzy etc. things started to calm down significantly but it was a long and slow process over several months.
I had bloods done every couple of months to see what was going on - after 3 months on Jenny's regime everything was looking a lot better - except his potassium levels. (Normal range is 2.5 - 5.0 ours was 8!)
Grass in spring or autumn is off the menu in our paddock but a dirt track system, soaked hay and hard feed works well for us.
So now we are 10 months down the line from starting on this regime - Dan looks great and although we still struggle to keep the potassium levels down (usually because he steals grass under fences on his knees - you know the nice short stuff) - I am much better at reading the warning signs early and it’s a case of a bit more SOS and salt till he settles down again and it's very rare that I can’t ride him.
We will be on MVA minerals, SOS, GrazeEzy and a low potassium feeding regime long term - it really works. I can't thank Jenny (and Val) enough - it has been a long and difficult journey that would not have happened without Jenny's calm, helpful advice and products. I can't thank you enough for giving me my horse back."
Gaye Scott, Canterbury
A big thankyou to Gaye for taking the time to describe her journey with Dan to overcome his issues!