Sunday, February 28, 2010

Geriatric Success

Sundance is my only truly old horse. She is probably in her thirties.Every calorie combination that I tried failed to keep weight on her. She was strong and healthy, just rail thin. She could not swallow hay because her back teeth have worn flat. She made no appreciable gains by adding corn oil to her senior diet.

Southern States senior feed has rice oil and bran and she has begun to put on a lot of weight. However, she missed the chewing pleasure that she got from hay. She found a replacement on her own and, oddly enough, she not only can chew it, she swallows and digests it well--tree bark.

Of course, bark and browse are part of a horse's natural diet, especially in the winter. This is another case of how letting a horse do what comes natural is beneficial to the horse even when it flys in the face of modern ideas about horse care.


DianneW said...

This may not be good for the trees. Unless the trees are expendable, you could try continuing to give her hay. My old pony liked chew on hay and then spit out the residue. We found ‘hay balls’ all over her lot. She eventually got to where she could not swallow grass and we found hay balls spread around the pasture, but she still liked to go out and ‘graze’. This was just to meet her chewing need. Her primary sustenance was senior feed.

wendy said...

Cannot imagine every calorie combination not keeping weight on me..maybe those years will be golden afterall..

Speaking of golden, Sundance was the first horse I rode in the woods. She was the first horse to take control for me..not of me. Yep, she was the first horse I "blew up" on!

She had endured enough that day with a kick in her aging chest and a fall to the ground. But then to have a partner inflate 2 dress sizes upon impact and hear what sounded like she had been shot, would make most geriatrics choose to stay home next time. Not Sundance.

Yes, if asked repeatedly to tolerate such nonsense, an equine would resort to "taking" control in a not so pleasant way.

But the beautiful difference between them and us is that a lapse in judgment or a mistake is not so quickly taken as an opportunity to dominate, or worse yet punish.

She reminded me that a "mess up" in a partnership does not have to be feared..just recognized.

My "HitAir" vest has not had O2 since that day. However, I did continue to ride Sundance.

Here is to eating anything you want, girlfriend!

virginagirl said...

You are so sweet. If I was a horse I would want you to be my owner. :)

wendy said...

And if I were a momma, Emily..
I would want a few of you to be my daughters!