Thanks to a recent dip of the mercury, Foster has already started getting that lean-winter kind of look to him. After getting his mini-vacation, I had hoped I would return to a happier horse who was ready to get back to work. Instead, my first ride back included walking around, starting to trot, immediately getting off, grabbing the hoof pick, grabbing the lounge line, and lots of analysis of why my horse was all-of-the-sudden not quite right on his left hind leg.
Not quite right enough that the next morning I called the vet, who was able to come out the next day for a lameness evaluation. Foster was actually much better and the stiffness/soreness that I saw Sunday was actually almost completely gone. Instead, she theorized the lameness could have been due to his inability to metabolize sugars correctly, an issue that becomes more prevalent after bouts of inactivity (Foster spent 2 of those 5 days in a stall due to rain, plus his normal stall schedule). His weakly developed hind end could also be indicative of such a disorder.
Luckily the treatment is an easy fix, and as readers know, is one I have been considering for a while– a change in diet. Namely, to get him on a high fat, low sugar feed that will promote muscle growth, with the ideal results being that he will travel straighter and develop those hindquarter muscles that he is currently lacking. The feed best suited to his need is Purina Ultium, and potentially add Vitamin E and Magnesium supplements as well. Considering how many times Purina Ultium has come up in my prior research and by recommendation, I feel confident in that direction. With the additional recommendation that we get a chiropractor out to see him, Foster should be feeling like a million bucks with these changes.
It will be interesting over the next few months to see if Foster does indeed improve behind, and what benefits he reaps from nutritional changes. I’ll be taking Foster’s ‘Before’ photos on my next barn visit, and will monitoring him on a monthly basis for progress.