This is a ‘learn about lucerne the hard way’ story…
A diagnosis of ulcers meant Tooey was prescribed a 100% lucerne diet. It was sad for Sarah and Tooey that no-one clicked on that his lucerne was the problem despite him getting worse and worse over the next 18 months. Hence it pays to be aware! Thanks to Sarah for sharing her stressful journey.
'Meet Tooey an incredibly bred Quarter-Horse. Tooey came into my life in July 2020, I had been very sick for over 3 years. He belonged to a friend that was stuck so she asked if he could stay with me.
He was probably the best quality QH I had ever sat on. He was a rising 7 year old stallion. He got me my life back and we spent many months riding and doing stuff I had only dreamed of doing.
We started doing a sport called ‘Ranch Sorting’. In our first year he won me the buckle for WA, we also went Reserve Rookie Australia wide.
At an event one weekend, on the Sunday he started to cough. Tuesday he went to the vet, turns out he had caught a virus and had a lung infection, He was scoped and put on antibiotics but it didn’t clear so he had a lung wash and was put on strong antibiotics which in turn gave him colitis.
It was touch and go for a couple of days but he came out the other side, that was early Dec 2020. He had been home about 2 weeks when a large lump appeared on his testes - back to the vet again for a scan. Cancer was also discovered on his sheath so he was gelded at the end of Jan 2021.
From that day forward he struggled with inflammation in the large bowel and gastric ulcers.
Straight away I was told to take him off any grain and he was only to be fed Lucerne hay.
He had needles for the ulcers - 1st course was 1 needle every 5 days for a month, then he had another 5 needles over 5 months. He was cranky, he was snappy, he didn’t want to be rugged. He became aggressive, explosive, anxious, was itchy, girthy, had canter transition issues, and he just couldn’t ‘move out’. If I tried to work him the ulcers would just 'reappear'. He was very miserable for the next 18months.
You name it we tried it. He was ok if left in the paddock with no work but even then he was still cranky. I had people tell me he is just a ‘cranky horse’, or maybe he has it over me but my gut was telling me he still wasn’t right. When ridden he had started to buck and the last event, when he went fully vertical on me, people told me to work him harder - but I knew he wasn’t right.
By this stage I had spent well over 10k on ulcer treatments, medications and various supplements and Tooey was still so unhappy. Then I came across an article on Facebook by Calm Healthy Horses - first thing it said was stop feeding Lucerne!!!!!!!
I touched base with them through the Facebook page and Jenny stayed up till 11.30pm NZ time to call me. From the day I spoke to her I stopped all his Lucerne hay and Fibre-Protect, putting him on wheaten hay plus I ordered the SOS.
While waiting for it to arrive I could see the changes in Tooey happening straight away. His anxiety was calming down and I could see a change in his eye. Every day I saw more improvement, he has now been on the SOS for coming up 3 weeks and WOW I am getting my horse back, his appetite is great, he is getting happier by the day and after what seems like forever - he is now back in light work.
The 1st ride he had been off all the Lucerne for 2 weeks - he was fresh and still a bit grumpy but by the 3rd week he rode out on the buckle. He is wanting to be with me and he is really starting to get that glow back in his eye.
I had tried everything for my boy to no avail and then to get these results just by taking out the Lucerne has been a game-changer!
I had done everything by the book that the vets had said and yet something so simple is changing my boy’s life by the day. We will be heading to our first event in 2 weeks time where he will just have a couple of runs on the cattle to ease him back into it.
Please be the voice for your horse. Take the time to fill out the form and speak to the ladies! Don’t lose nearly 2 years and so much money like I have!
Be prepared to think outside the square for your horse’s sake. I cannot thank these guys enough - Tooey will stay on their recommended diet for the foreseeable future. Watch your horse’s habits, listen to them. I can’t get back the time that he spent out of work and I definitely won’t be getting any money back, but hopefully our story will help some-one else!
Tooey is now working at Liberty for me and loving it. He is becoming my best friend again as he is improving every day. We spend time just hanging out together and he wants to be with me.
The improvement in under 4 weeks has been remarkable I can’t wait to see him in 3 months. Thanks to the team from the bottom of my heart'. Sarah, Western Australia
The moral of the story is if all is well with your hor
se then no need to change anything but when horses have 'issues' lucerne is the first thing to eliminate!