Laura & Indy
After so many issues and frustrations, many investigations, not to mention a serious accident Laura could have been forgiven for just giving up!
"Indy is a 12yo ex-racehorse. I was offered him 6 years ago as he was no longer happy in training. I very quickly realised what a lovely temperament he had an decided that he would be staying with me.
Initially he progressed very quickly in his work. We had a house on a yard with limited grazing. I took him barefoot without any issues and we were just happy having lessons, hacking and starting jumping together.
After a while we lost the yard and I had to put him, and my other 3 horses, at livery. We moved to a specialist barefoot yard with 24/7 turn out and good facilities, it should have been a move that was to benefit them all but it was quite the opposite.
Within a couple of months we had started to see issues. Weight loss, lameness, abscessing, footiness and gut upset.
Indy was affected very badly, he lost over 45kg despite being well fed and having unlimited forage. He was unable to be worked. He completely lost the ability to work in a contact, something we had started working on before and were making progress with, and had become withdrawn and difficult to handle.
My vets were unable to pin point the issue and after one particularly bad spell he was in the Vet hospital and was found to have inflammation of the hind gut.
I realised at that point that there was a pattern to this and that the symptoms were worse with the grass flushes in spring and autumn and particularly bad when he grazed a certain field on the yard.
We moved from the yard as soon as we could and started to limit exposure to grass. Unfortunately this alone didn't fix the issue and I was badly hurt that winter when my lovely boy became so difficult he threw me off!
With my vets we started working through possible issues and I moved yards again to somewhere I had more control over his management. Over the last 2 and a half years his behaviour gradually got worse despite several vets visits, scoping, x-rays, kidney scans, physio, lameness work up and tests for PSSM.
When I rode him he was tying up after, couldn't take a contact, he ran backwards, bucked, kicked at the leg and was grumpy and clearly unhappy. On the ground he had become resistant to being touched, groomed or rugged. He struggled to build any topline and my physio commented on how tight his muscles were.
None of the vet tests showed a definitive issue and any changes in management we tried would only show an effect for a few days and then we were back to normal.
He would occasionally have a good week where he was obviously more comfortable but I could never find a way to manage this.
I knew the issue was related to grass and realised we had a large amount of clover, but I didn't know its effect or what I could do about it.
After the PSSM tests came back negative my vet suggested a mineral imbalance and I started looking online for information.
I had read the Calm Healthy Horses website previously though I hadn't put two and two together!
Whilst looking at the CHH facebook page I saw a video of a horse 'before' treatment. His behaviour and actions were just like Indy's. I decided to really read through the website and look at the products to see if this was something to try. I emailed Sue Dawson from CalmHeathyHorses.co.uk to ask for advice and she recommended starting him on AlleviateC straight away while waiting on GrazeEzy arriving in. We tested his urine Ph at that point and it was high at 8.5 so we knew then there was an issue.
Within a week on AlleviateC I could see an improvement, he was just more relaxed and softer in his body, after 3 weeks I was able to lunge him and he was looking more comfortable.
I started GrazeEzy too and after 3 weeks on both I went for a lesson with my instructor. Indy was so much happier in his work, forward, able to take a contact and using his neck and body much better than any time before.
By now his urine PH has gradually dropped to 7.25, he is carrying more muscle than before, his feet are great and we haven't had any issues with mud fever or lymphangitis which he would normally get over Christmas each year. The tying up after work has lessened loads too, it's not only very occasionally and I do expect it to stop completely.
He likes to show me how much better he is feeling too by having a good buck and gallop around his field, as a horse who never did this and was always so stiff and quiet it makes me really happy to see that he is able to move himself in a way that he hasn't been able to before.
He's also a dream to handle again, and everyone on my yard has commented on how relaxed and cheerful he is. It's like having a 17hh dog!
I plan to keep him off the grass until we are into summer and will continue to support him with AlleviateC and GrazeEzy. My vet is incredibly pleased with his progress and 100% behind me using the CHH products.
This time last year I had decided to semi-retire him to just some plodding about when he felt ok, now I am booking in lessons and hoping that with the right management we can have a summer of having fun, getting back into jumping and maybe some dressage. I'm so happy to have my lovely horse back!"
Laura Tofts, UK