5/1/09

Weighty Matters

First, the good news: Indy and Ami have both lost a significant amount of weight. There is still a ways to go for both of them, but it's a visible start. Both of them even seem to feel more energetic, especially Ami. Not only is she sound, she's cutting up almost as much as Indy. And that's saying a bit since he's been pretty hot to trot himself - even more than usual I mean. It's wonderful to see them tagging each other up and down the paddock!

Now, the bad news: This is so damned hard. They are hungry. And we had to start keeping them in the paddock early as well. Having been an "easy keeper" all my life myself, I can really empathize with them. I know they would be able to eat more if they got more regular exercise, but that's easier said than done.

They know so much more about maintaining easy keepers these days. There has been an explosion of knowledge in just the last few years, but the bottom line is KEEP THE FAT OFF. If allowed to become or remain obese, these horses can develop a metabolic syndrome similar to Type 2 diabetes in humans.

Of course, not all fat horses fall into the high risk category, but those with, among other signs, a cresty neck like Indy and Ami, are among those that do. They are at high risk for developing insulin resistance because this was an advantage to their ancestors, allowing them to survive on very poor forage. That advantage has become a liability for today's horses because of the high sugar grasses in modern pastures. These grasses were developed to fatten cattle, not graze horses. Even cattle can easily founder on it though, so imagine what it does for horses.

Anyway, Matt and Tyler were here yesterday and they both noticed Indy and Ami had lost weight. In fact, Tyler was staring at Indy in disbelief, "Wow! He's lost weight!"

I guess a bright spot in all this is that Indy's saddle should fit really nicely - if I ever get a chance to try it that is. I still haven't gotten to ride even once so far this spring. If it's not cold, it's raining and/or windy enough to blow me off Indy's back. It's beginning to be extremely frustrating.

Another problem that's bugging me is the pain I'm having in my left leg. It's hurting worse than the right one ever did. I guess - I hope! - it's coming from my back and that my left hip isn't going on me. That would probably push me over the edge into total insanity.

I don't plan to have hip replacement surgery again - at least not the same kind I had before. If they can improve on the post-op pain and rehab time I might, but the same thing over again? No way. My right hip is great, but going into that one I didn't know what lay ahead - now I do. Nope. Not unless it gets so bad I can't ride at all will I even consider such.

If it's my back, they still can't do anything about it, but it probably won't hamper my riding any more than it ever has. I've had lumbar stenosis all my life after all. Sure, it's getting worse over time, but it's never been a real factor in riding. In fact, a reasonable amount of riding seems to actually help. I think it's because much of the pain comes from spasms in the muscles in the area, and when I'm riding is the only time I must relax those particular muscles, and they seem to benefit from that, as well as the general rocking motion of following Indy's back. Good for his back and mine. Now, I ask you - who could ask for more?



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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra