Persil Beaucoup was my special little man.
He was an Australian Stock horse and a horse with whom I formed a unique bond.
I rescued Persil from an appalling situation. Originally bred for Polo, he played only a few games before he was chased through a fence by motorbikes and injured himself so badly he was turned out for a year.
The day I saw him I was shocked, he had been herded into a large round pen by motorbikes and was in the process of being abused by a bunch of 'cowboys' who were angry at him because they couldn't catch him.
I couldn't get him home fast enough. From the start he seemed to trust me though he was always a nervous type.
No one except me could get near him and when I introduced him to a new person, he would stand behind me gently holding on to my fingers with his lips.
I rode him in CTR and endurance and we did fabulously well. Persil loved being out in the rough country back and beyond where there were no people.
Not long after he arrived, I had a series of accidents on him.
Every time he shied at something, he would then go absolutely bezerk, throwing me and galloping off only to panic because I was not with him - I used to find it amusing that he would always come back and get me no matter how large the paddock and how far away he had galloped. I knew he didn't mean to do this and that there was something wrong.
I figured it must have been a pain issue in his back and had a series of chiropractors/massage people and vets inspect him - no one seemed to make any difference.
Finally after a particularly nasty fall, in which everyone was telling me to 'get rid of him', I discovered a wonderful elderly man who called himself a 'Bone Setter'.
He worked on Persil for about an hour and from that day forth I have never had this issue again HOWEVER other trouble was brewing.
Persil was becoming very tight and tense in his movement. He would look after me when I rode him but if anyone else hopped on him he would go bezerk.
I put it down to his past abuse and turned him out for a while hoping his movement would come back and the tenseness would right itself.
Then I moved down (from Hawkes Bay) to North Canterbury and out to Eyrewell.
I was appalled to see Persil absolutely drop all condition despite 2 hard feeds (Fibreezi and a Broodmare mix on the advice of a 'feed guy') a day and plenty of grass!
I began to doubt my ability to 'keep horses'. I thought he should be OK as I had a mineral block in the paddock and he was being fed enormous quantities of sweet feed!
His condition dropped more, he looked as if he had a heavy worm burden despite having been wormed. A vet who came out to look at him said he just looked like a horse who had been turned out and wasn't too worried - I was panicking.
I had a worm count done which initially came back with almost no worms but fortunately as I was so worried I had it done again a few weeks later to find he was riddled with Strongyles. ARRRGGHH!!!
I wormed him specifically for strongyles but still he did not pick up condition, not only that but his movement was stiff, he couldn't track up, in short - he was a mess. I hadn't a clue what to do and was even tossing up trying to find him a home with someone who knew what they were doing as I clearly didn't.
It was around this time that time I met Jenny!
Persil, in the middle, gallops around with the young Zephyr and Merlot. Persil would have been around 29 years in this photo.
She took one look at him and said "oh well he is a clearly a 'grass affected horse'".
"I've been feeding him a toxin binder" I said, and, when she said he needed some quality minerals,I thought - oh Gawd here we go - hugely expensive stuff that probably won't do squat.
HOW WRONG I WAS & WHAT A LEARNING CURVE!
As I had nothing to lose and was ready to try anything I did everything Jenny suggested - Persil went onto a diet of Speedi Beet and crushed barley to which I add Premium NZ Horse Minerals, Alleviate C, 2 Tbsp of Salt, GrazeEzy and ToxDefy.
Within 6 weeks I had a different horse. His condition - well you can see for yourself in the following photo.
What is interesting to me now, looking back as I update this story is that, although his condition went from ghastly to fabulous in the first six weeks, he was still very tense across his back and he wasn't tracking up.
You can see in the photo above that he is extremely tense. His dung was the consistancy of cow pats... You may also notice the grass he is on - fresh green and growing!
It was not until I 'got it' about the grass aspect that everything came right for Persil. Once he was off this grass and grazing the far more suitable old crappy grass, with the minerals and plain feed, he really came in to his own.
He was much more relaxed out hacking - even walking sensibly - unheard of before this.
Persil was retired at around 28 as he developed arthritis. He was still very perky and playful and turned out to be an incredible and hilarious fun 'Uncle' to Zephyr.
The two of them spent many hours playing together
Calm Healthy Persil Beaucoup at 30 years. Still muscular and fit thanks to Calm Healthy Horses Minerals.
Sadly at the grand age of 31, I had to make the sad decision to have Persil PTS. Arthritis had finally taken hold and spread to his hips making getting up after lying down perilous.
I'll always miss this grand old horse who taught me so much about how diet affects a horse in so many different ways.