Bonnie is doing so much better. She had a great day on Saturday, April Fools day. That seemed to be the turning point for her. Since that day she has been up and about, moving more and eating better. I’m so happy to see that! Since that day I have started walking her a little further and the last couple of days I walked her twice a day. After our little walks she moves much easier and is clearly less sore. I am so grateful for that!

The outpouring of love and support we have had on Facebook and the internet world has been so heart warming! All the stories people have shared, the things that worked for their horses and things that didn’t help, have helped me feel so much hope and kept me positive throughout this entire episode. I am simply amazed at the kindness! There is a Facebook friend that I have never met in person that is sending Bonnie a pair of Soft-ride Boots for her recovery. She is allowing us to borrow these until Bonnie is feeling better! I just want to say Thank you Thank you to you all that have offered suggestions and kind words!

I want to share what I am feeding Bonnie right now. I have had many questions about this on Facebook and through emails and private messages so I figured I would just share it here!

She gets hay 24/7. The same hay that I had analyzed. It is nice and low in protein (8.7%), starch and sugar (6.5%). It is high in iron (118) so I am balancing that with California Trace mineral. The magnesium (.11) is low in the hay so I am balancing that with some magnesium powder. I offer it loose in their run in shed, but am also top feeding it to both Sky and Bonnie. I give them about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon once a day. HERE is an excellent article about feeding magnesium and the kind you should feed for the best results.

I am feeding her 1/2 a cup of Crypto Aero Wholefood topped with about a 1/2 a cup of Standlee timothy grass pellets because I wanted to give her a bit more fiber with her feed. I top that with 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder, a small amount of Remission as I am weaning her off that product, and 1 scoop of California Trace. When I receive the Milk Thistle seed she will get 2 tsp of that as well. I wet the feed a little bit because of the grass pellets and she thoroughly enjoys her meal! I feed this once a day and make sure she always has hay in her slow feed net. Once a day, provided that we aren’t having hurricane-like winds, I put out one flake of loose hay as well. Before I started messing with the Crypto Aero I contacted Anna and talked with her about all the additions. I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t overload Bonnie with anything. Because the Crypto is a whole food you can feed a lot less and have wonderful results. I didn’t want to mess that up! I got a green light from Anna and altered Bonnie’s feed program.

When I purchase more hay I will have it tested and adjust the program accordingly. If iron is low and the other minerals, zinc and copper and manganese are better balanced I won’t have to feed the California Trace. I will always offer magnesium however I won’t always top the feed with it. I also will only feed the Milk Thistle for a little while, 3 weeks on and one week off until Bonnie’s body says she doesn’t need it anymore! I will get her back to the simplest program that she can manage as soon as possible.

I have also been using my essential oils on her. I oil her feet every day and her body every other day. On her feet I have been using Ortho Sport. The oils I use on her body vary. Some days I use Grapefruit Oil, Stress Away, and Valor II. Then other days I use Peppermint, Wintergreen, Lemon, and Grounding. Sometimes I only use one or two oils and other days I will layer on 4-6 oils. It all depends on how she tests that day! For her kidneys I have been layering Grapefruit, Geranium and Lemon oil over her kidney area. I always allow her to smell the oils before I put them on. Sometimes she will nibble on the oil bottle, sometimes she tries to eat the bottle! Sometimes she will turn her head away at first, then if I wait, she will bring her head back around and take some time to smell and smell the oil. Oils benefit when applied to the body as well as when we smell them.

How fast do oils work?

I am happy with how things are progressing for Bonnie. I wish I could snap my fingers and take away all her pain and make her IR free, but since I can not I will continue to study, read and learn more about this condition so I can support her the best I can. I have high hopes that I can cure her of this with wholefoods, herbs and oils!

Bonnie foundered on December 27th, much to my dismay. She has been lame since then. To counteract the founder I have been putting Ortho Sport on her feet every day and she’s been wearing her Easyboot minis, which have been a life saver!! I don’t know what we would do without them. I took them off for a day to give her a break and to let her feet air out and she didn’t move much all day long. It’s difficult with the frozen ground and the snow that builds up a bit on her soles. Both things that are painful when your feet are inflamed.

On January 11th I started Bonnie on Remission. She loves it. I top feed it, with a little warm water, on her 1/2 a cup of Crypto Aero Wholefeed. She licks the pan completely clean. And fiercely protects her pan from Sky, who hoovers her feed so she can run over and try to steal Bonnie’s.

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Bonnie loving her feed!

Two days ago I got some Comfort pads to go inside the Easyboots. The difference in Bonnie’s mental and physical bearing was nearly instant! The pads are helping her tremendously. They are thicker than I thought they would be and a bit firmer, but they are doing their job perfectly. And I was surprised how well they fit down inside the boot and left room for Bonnie’s foot. She’s back to eating well and moving all around the dry lot. Yesterday she nearly trotted to chase after me for her feed pan. I loved seeing that! And the tracks the boots leave are so cool. They are like little hiking boots! Perfect for this snowy weather…

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Easyboot mini track in the snow.

She is handling all of this like a champ. I don’t have to halter her to work on her feet anymore. She stands perfect for me and even offers me her feet. I know the Ortho Sport helps her feel better right away so that has helped me win that friendly game! When I had to trace her feet so I could cut the pads to the appropriate size she stood perfectly and allowed me to trace around her feet, also without a halter! Something I would not have been able to do a few months ago. I’m so proud of how far she’s come! Pretty soon I’ll be able to trim her feet at liberty!

So far so good. I am preparing to have to spray down my dry lot this spring so ZERO grass will grow in there. I need her to be sound so we can do lots of hiking this summer! My dry lot is so big that they always have a bit of green grass growing when the weather clears up and gets warmer. This year I’m just going to nip that in the bud for good… I can’t wait to be able to set up a Paddock Paradise someday!

Winter founder. Two words that you usually don’t hear in the same sentence. And yet Bonnie has foundered and my neighbor has a mini that has also foundered. Both within the last two weeks.

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Bonnie out on the pasture. She did have a good time!

On December 30th I let the girls out in the field with the boys to get some exercise and enjoy some pasture time. Neither of the girls has been out on the pasture since June. On December 31st when I went out to do chores, Bonnie was completely lame. She could hobble, but was clearly in pain. I quickly trimmed up her feet and put boots on her front feet. She is getting around quite well in the boots. When I take them off she is dead lame. There isn’t any heat in her feet at all and her neck is soft. I would even say her neck has gone down some since summer! The only change in her diet was the time they were allowed out on the pasture. So that little bit of old dead grass pushed her over the edge. I’m so sad. I’m totally heartsick about this. I know I caught it early and she is doing well with Ortho Sport applied once a day, wearing her Easyboot Minis. We have been -20 degrees out so I haven’t done a Raindrop Treatment on her, but I will as soon as it warms up to 30 degrees. I am so sad this happened after all my care this spring, summer and fall. I have been doing so much reading about founder and when the grass is ‘safe’. For Bonnie I have decided that grass is never safe, even apparently, in the dead of winter!

Before winter even I read this wonderful article called “When is dead grass safe to graze?”

quoteYep I’ve been doing that! Well Bonnie hasn’t had any grass except for when we were on our walks. I stopped even turning her out for a few minutes in early summer. I did NOT want her to tip over into the sore-footed-foundered-arena. And yet here we are!

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Hmmm. Sounds familiar! And I even read this article this fall! I’m sure this gal shared her story to help other people avoid the pain of winter founder. Apparently I am a slow learner. Sigh.

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The article does talk about a long hot summer that moved into a long hot fall with lots of wind and severe temperature drops which caused the grass to basically freeze dry. We did not have this happen though we did have a long warm fall. We had precipitation and we always get lots of wind. There isn’t ANY green left in my pasture, not even at the ground. And yet the grass must have too much sugar for Bonnie. The two boys have been out on the pasture since November. They are fine. No signs of founder, no sore feet and no cresty necks. Sky was out with everyone on the 30th and she is perfectly fine as well. This makes me think that Bonnie doesn’t digest her sugars well. I’m hoping she isn’t full blown IR (Insulin Resistant) like Chloe. Thankfully, she doesn’t mind being locked up in the dry lot. She doesn’t even mind if she is the only one locked up and everyone else is out on pasture. So that is a huge relief. The other positive is that I plan on driving her and she will be hiking with me this spring and summer so she’ll get lots of exercise. I can’t ride her 😉 so she’ll get all the benefits of exercise without the added stress of carrying extra weight! Stress causes the hormone Cortisol to spike which can also bring on a founder episode.

I have purchased AniMed Remission for Bonnie. It’s more affordable than the Heiro, even though I know how well that works, I just can’t afford it right now. I have started adding Magnesium to her Crypto Aero feed as well. I feed magnesium and white salt free in their shelter, but the snow blew in and covered the magnesium over and then froze so she hasn’t had access to it. I chipped away at it, but then decided to just add some to her daily ration until the Remission gets here. She is getting my first cut grass hay that was cut in the field, then it got rained on, then they turned it, let it dry and baled it. Hay like this has most if not all of the sugars washed out of it. It’s basically a filler! She is looking really good otherwise. So I know this hay is working for her. I do worry about what I’m going to do when I run out!

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Bonnie eating her daily ration of Crypto Aero feed, 1/2 a cup with about a Tablespoon of Magnesium Citrate powder.

(On a side note: My neighbor’s mini foundered so badly that we had to put him on Banamine. She is feeding him grass hay and he has access to pasture, but has been out on pasture all summer and fall. She thinks he foundered when she put a heavy-on-alfalfa bale in the slow feed net and he gorged himself. They don’t really have any grass left in the pasture at this time… He is also getting Crypto Aero daily right now. She is ordering him a pair of Easyboots to help cushion his front feet.)

I will keep you updated on how the AniMed Remission works — or doesn’t work! Horse ownership can be so satisfying and full filling and just like that it can become heart breaking. But no one has ever said it’s easy!!

**Edited to add: Winter founder can be a different beast than regular spring founder due to grass… And now that I know more about winter founder it’s likely that the weather change is what brought this episode on for Bonnie. When a horse is metabolic they will often have problems with rapid temperature changes. This is part of why it is so difficult to manage horses with metabolic issues. Now February 17, 2018 we went from 40 degree days to -20 overnight and that caused Bonnie to become acutely laminitic. She’s been up and down and extremely lame for the last week and a half. Her feet have been ice cold. I keep two pairs of wool socks on her, hand warmers and Soft Ride boots on her at all times.

 

**Remember to always use Therapeutic Essential Oils when working on animals!!

Animals respond to essential oils in much the same way as humans. Most animals are more sensitive to the effects of essential oils than humans and often seem to have a natural affinity to the healing influence of the oils.  – Essential Oils Desk Reference

Many people believe that the hair keeps the oils from reaching the skin when applying the oils topically. But actually the more hair follicles the more easily the animal can absorb the oils!

Animal sensitivity to essential oils may be due to the density of hair follicles on a particular animal. The more follicles per square inch of skin, the more enhanced the absorption of essential oils.   – Essential Oils Desk Reference

It’s best to start with small amounts of the oil or oils you are working with and then work up to more. Horses absorb the oils very efficiently so it’s best to apply a few oils and then give them a bit of time to work before applying more. You can apply the oils topically along the spine, on the poll, or on the hoof.

Rubbing oils around the coronet band will allow the oils to reach the bloodstream and travel through the nerves in the legs to the spine. – Essential Oils Desk Reference

Often when you offer a horse an oil they will smell it, sometimes deeply. Other times they will turn their head away. This does not mean they don’t need the oil it can mean the smell is new or unfamiliar and they just need to get used to it. If the reaction is more dramatic or you really feel the horse doesn’t like the oil, then choose a different one to use. There are many different oils that will help in similar ways. Oils are absorbed into the bloodstream even through inhalation, so they will benefit from just smelling them. This is especially helpful when working with a horse that doesn’t like to be touched.

There is no right or wrong way to apply essential oils. Every animal is a little different. Use common sense and good judgement as you experiment with different methods. Observe carefully how the animal responds to the treatment.  – Essential Oil Desk Reference

As usual, if you have any questions you can either leave a comment below or email me!

How fast do oils work?

This is a wonderful, natural and simple hoof oil to condition your horse’s hoof wall. You can use it on the sole of the hoof as well, but not at the same time. In other words, either put the hoof oil on the outside of the hoof wall OR on the sole of the hoof. Putting any hoof conditioner/oil on both the hoof wall and the sole makes it so the hoof can’t breathe!

This oil would be great for horses with fine sand cracks, foundered horses or just plain sore footed horses. You can adjust the essential oils based on what you will be using it for.

Fine sand cracks –> Rosemary, Geranium, Copaiba, Tea Tree

Founder –> Cypress, PanAway,Helicrysum, Peppermint

Sore Footed –> Valor, Wintergreen, Lemongrass, Relieve It , Stress Away

Soften the coconut oil.
Soften the coconut oil.

Soften the coconut oil then mix in the vitamin E oil, Argan Oil or Witch Hazel, lastly add the essential oils and stir!

Coconut Hoof Oil
Coconut Hoof Oil

I have a very basic and simple first aid kit for my horses. There are many places where you can find lists of things to include in your kit. Many are all inclusive. This list is short and sweet!

I bought an electrical bag with lots of pockets from Home Depot to hold all my first aid kit items. This makes it easy to grab and go when I’m traveling with my horses.

I filled my bag with:

My First Aid Kit
My First Aid Kit
firstaidkitessentialoils
My First Aid Kit Essential Oils

Diapers make a great wrap for those difficult spots – hocks & knees. I like to use white towels so I can see the dirt and/or blood that may be on an injury and then bleach them clean but rags work just as well. Vet wrap is obvious… As is Hydrogen Peroxide! I use the Saline solution as a wash for injuries and for eyes. Witch Hazel is wonderful for skin ailments. Mineral Oil and coconut are for tummy aches and to lubricate syringes. Syringes can be used as enemas or for giving medication orally. I like the roll on fly repellent and the swat because you can apply them right around the injury without getting them IN the injury. My little spray bottle is great for applying essential oils to the injury, inside the mouth or around the eyes.

Inside my first aid kit.

Tell me something that’s in your kit that I don’t have by commenting below… It may be something I need to add!!

The best treatment for a cold is to prevent getting one in the first place. But if your horse ends up coughing, having a runny nose and goopy eyes then you can use essential oils to help win the battle.

Antiviral essential oil, blends and supplements are very effective as preventative aids in avoiding colds as well as in helping the body’s defenses fight colds once an infection has started. -Essential Oil Desk Reference

Of course giving your horse a Raindrop Treatment is a wonderful way to boost their immune system. That is my go-to!

A list of some more specific oils that you can apply topically are:

Ravintsara: Great for lung infections, fighting viral infections, and the common cold.

Clove: An immune booster, provide relief from inflammation and stimulates blood circulation.

Cypress: This oil is a great oil for grounding, promotes healing and improves lung efficiency.

Hyssop: A great antiseptic agent, provides relief from spasms of respiratory systems and stimulates immune system.

Thieves: The Thieves blend is the most popular oil blend of Young Living. This oil boosts the immune system, can kill airborne bacteria, and helps combat the spread of germs.

Sacred Mountain: Excellent for the respiratory system, it’s great for grounding and is comforting and soothing.

Exodus II: Helps the body’s natural defense system and stimulates the immune system.

You can apply any two or three of these oils along the horse’s spine and also allow them to inhale them. Using diffusers in the barn is a great way to keep the oils in front of the horse all the time.

Feel free to email me or leave a comment below if you have any questions!