Sunday, 10 August 2014
So from my last post about the old dude, Zeb was diagnosed with arthritis in his cannon bones, pasterns and soft tissue swelling in his coronet band. As you know, he was terrible on daily bute turning him into a zombie and I really feared for his future at that time.He was so poorly there was the awful nagging thought of whether to put him through a winter, with all these painful ailments he was having.
After the vet's visit, I decided to put his shoes back on and see how he was to hack out, seeing as he was brighter being off the chemical painkillers. The farrier told me it would be a few days before he could get to me, so I had to wait. In the meantime, I had been reading on Haynet where a lovely member told me a while ago about the benefits of feeding turmeric, especially for arthritic horses. I decided to join the Turmeric User Group on Facebook and then had a good read up on turmeric which was used for a variety of conditions in horses, dogs and humans. There was so many success stories and being a natural substance, what was there to lose in trying it?
So when my 5kg bag arrived just over a week ago, I hot footed up the yard to feed it to him. I mixed it with some olive oil and freshly ground pepper which was the advice from the Facebook group. I made it into a paste and added it to his feed. Well he took two mouthfuls and then threw his feed bucket across the field.......Not to the greatest of starts then! I decided not to make the paste and just sprinkle it in his feed with a smaller amount. This worked a treat and he ate the whole lot. I then increased it each day and he now has a whole heaped tablespoon and he licks the bowl clean.
So has there been a difference? Well in my opinion a huge difference. He is so much perkier and upbeat and has been seen cantering around the field this week - yes cantering! His shoes were finally put back on Friday and yesterday I could not put it off any longer - I needed to see if he was fit to ride. I was dreading it.... Dreading it because what if he was still lame after all the rest, care and attention I have put in over the last three months to make him better?
He pulled his usual faces when the saddle came out and played with the bit when putting on his bridle - these were very good signs as this is the normal 19 year old Zeb that I know! I hopped on asked him to turn in a large circle, which he was totally at ease with. I hacked out with my friend Sue and Zeb's buddy Flick for a straight, flat walk for about 20 minutes. I tried to keep him at a slow pace, but he was marching out. Totally forward going and on a mission. This is truly unbelievable - he has been so poorly over the last few months so it must be the turmeric?? It was a joy to be back riding him and I have had such an emotional and turbulent few months worrying about him.
I will hack him out this week, giving him a few days off in between. So for now, we have hope. I have read up so much about arthritis and I am now armed with this information to make him as comfortable as I can. He is not a horse to be retired and he does suffer in the winter. However, we are now staying at our summer grazing home which has more acreage which means he can be turned out far more through the winter than previously. Keeping him moving is vital.
So with turmeric and better turnout, I hope this will keep my Zeb happy, sound and out of pain. Long may it continue!
Sam and Zeb