Abbey is a prime candidate for ulcers, in my opinion after reading countless articles and opinions online, and applying some common sense to how nature intended horses to live and thrive versus how my horse is kept:
- Anxious personality
- Sand paddock for turnout with some hay fed, but no access to pasture-
- Stalled from 5:00 PM to 9:00 AM each day, some days with no turnout
- Ridden 4-5 days a week most weeks, sometimes twice a day
- Ridden on an empty stomach, or one that has consumed only grain and little to no hay within an hour of work when I ride in the evenings
- Not always fed hay before grain is fed
- Had a change in routine from being turned out with other mares to solo turnout - change occurred mid-June
- Injured leg (bone bruising to right rear canon bone) from stress of change in turnout - June
- Traveling to shows once a month since June
- Reinjury of same leg in trailer (not sure what happened) - July
- Administration of Banamine for second injury - July
- Administration of antibiotics for second injury - July
- Inconsistent access to forage, not always having access to it 24/7
- Grass hay with no alfalfa
Things I can't change
- Horse personality/ tendency to be anxious
- Type of turnout
- Stalling/turnout routine (herd sour/amount of riding done - better attitude with stall kept and individual turnout)
- Injury - she's just clumsy
- Drugs - when she needs them to treat an illness or an injury, I will use Western medicine, but I will talk to the vet about better supporting her during these times with supplements
- Showing - this is a goal I have for us. It may not be forever the life she has, but it is still something I want to work towards and have in my mind for next summer
- Access to hay
I am going to start feeding alfalfa/timothy pellets, beet pulp, and rice bran to Abbey, along with the HP1 supplement that is supposed to be "organic", all natural, and free from fillers and additives that are found in grain that are possibly contributing to the ulcers. Abbey will be taken completely off grain and the grain replaced with one pound of the new mix for each pound of grain. This diet should cost about the same amount as the Tribute Kalm n EZ that she has been on forever. A 40 lb bag of Standlee alfalfa/timothy pellets is about $14 from Tractor Supply, the rice bran pellets (stabilized) Natural Glo 40 lb bag is about $30, and the beet pulp pellets (no molasses added!) is about $15. BO will be purchasing this stuff going forward.
The supplement from EHP will replace the vitamins and minerals that are found in fortified grain so she is still getting what her body needs. This supplement is certainly not cheap, at $75 per month, or $900 for the year. But that is the cost of one month of treatment with GastroGard (we are using the less expensive AbPrazole, but that is still a few hundred bucks each time).
I am also going to purchase a second NibbleNet http://www.thinaircanvas.com/nibblenet/nibblenetframe.htm, the Double Nibble 1 and 1.25 inch openings to hang in her stall with the first one I bought this past winter when she had her first bout of ulcers. My reason for doing this is so that hopefully she can make it through the night and the morning always having access to some hay. That will cost me about $130 to order, and the first one has held up amazingly well, so I should not have to replace it any time soon.
She still gets sand clear, which is about $20 a month for 7 days of treatment, and she won't get it once there is snow on the ground in a few months (ugh).
I have a detailed instruction sheet I made up with how to measure the correct amounts of feed for the transition from old grain to new program, and I hope my trainer will tolerate my extreme micromanagement of this process. It helps me cope with being stressed to write it down and see it on paper. That, and hopefully it will help assure that everyone feeding her will feed the same way.
This year has really stretched me in a lot of ways: as a rider, a horsewoman, a person with a budget, a wife, a friend, and a person in general.
Next post is all about the Benjamin's.