Since Bonnie was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance I have been doing so much reading and studying. I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned.

Bonnie can not have fresh green grass. At all. If green grass grows in the dry lot then I have to lock her into a smaller dry lot where I can control those stray bits of green that stubbornly want to grow. (Why the green grass won’t grow in the yard where I actually WANT it to grow is beyond me!) One of the reasons I went ahead and built my Track System in my dry lot is because of the amount of green grass that insisted on growing in there last year. I’m hoping that because they have been trampling and tearing up the ground on the track, the grass won’t be able to grow there. I can already see green shoots trying to come up in the middle of my track. I will be adding a lower hot wire to my inner fence system to keep Mr. Zorro from reaching under the hot wire. He doesn’t mind that the hot fence snaps and pops along the top of his mane as long as he can eat that bit of green! I am also going to roach his mane this year which will also help.

Bonnie can be out in the pasture at the end of the summer when the grass is tall and dry, IF she has her muzzle on. I’ve had my pastures tested and the only time it is safe is in the late summer, in the late afternoon around 3. From maybe 3-5 pm. This is the opposite of everywhere else I have lived! She can be out there because I know the sugar/starches are low then AND she doesn’t yet know how to use her muzzle. She “pretend” grazes. I call it this because she looks very busy, moving her head and mouth, as though she is eating, but she isn’t getting any grass. I will go out and push some grass through the little hole for her once in awhile… this is what I did for her in the  photo above.

Bonnie has an averse reaction when the weather changes. If we are unseasonably warm, she seems sore. If we suddenly drop from 50 degrees to negative numbers she is nearly unable to walk. As I understand it metabolic horses often have very poor circulation in their legs and hooves. This is why when they are laminitic or foundering, they will not have heat in their feet or a bounding pulse and why icing their feet doesn’t help with the pain they feel. In fact it can make it even worse. The only time I iced Bonnie’s feet last year was when it was really hot and she was sweating and uncomfortable. Then I offered her a large tub of ice water and she stood in that tub until the ice melted, but she wasn’t lame then either. I think they cool water just felt good because she was hot! Now that the weather is changing so quickly and dramatically Bonnie is wearing wool socks. They are kids wool socks so they are nice and snug. She doesn’t mess with them so maybe she knows they help! I also apply essential oils to her feet to encourage circulation. Today I put Deep Relief and Valor on her feet. She is wearing her easyboot minis. If I have to put on a double layer of socks then she wears her Soft Ride boots.


Bonnie is very sensitive when I have to make changes to her diet. So far I can change the supplements a bit and that doesn’t seem to make her worse, but when I’ve tried a different type of hard feed or had to make a change in hay she became laminitic. So I have to do these things slowly so she can adjust.

One HUGE thing on her side is she doesn’t mind being locked in the smaller dry lot area, even though she is in there alone. Her small dry lot is inside the track system so the other horses are right there, but she doesn’t stress about this. She also doesn’t mind wearing her muzzle when things dry up some and she can be out in the pasture for short times during the day. Mostly for exercise as she hasn’t mastered the art of eating grass through the small hole in the muzzle. She doesn’t like to eat soaked or wet hay so that’s a problem and means I have to know exactly what is in my hay and what the starches and sugars are before I can offer it to her.

When I had my other IR pony, Chloe, she had similar issues, but reacted differently to the stresses of the life an IR pony must lead… living in a dry lot, wearing a muzzle, eating soaked hay, etc. She would stress so much that she refused to eat when in the dry lot. She would go for days and just stand in the corner of the small dry lot I made for her. She made me so worried. She wouldn’t even eat her hard feed when she was depressed like this. And every time she would rebel this way she would become acutely laminitic. The vet I was working with at the time said this is the hardest type of IR pony to manage as you have to balance their mental and physical health which is impossible when they are sure they should live like a horse and be allowed out in the pasture. She ended up foundering on all 4 feet with rotation and sinkage. It was awful. Her first founder episode happened in the dry lot due to stress. So I had to let her out. She had one thing in her favor and that is that she would eat the HEIRO. I do believe it was the HEIRO that kept her alive for those last 3 months. Once she went down and couldn’t get up I had to make the decision to let her go.

This isn’t my first go at this, but I do hope and pray it’s a much more successful go!

Bonnie has been struggling so much these last few weeks. I could tell the Thyro-L wasn’t really helping anymore so I went digging for more. More information. I have been studying a better way to trim her feet and I dug into that a bit more. I tried some new things to help her with her pain. Then friend of mine shared For Love of the Horse. She was hoping they carried an herbal formula that a friend of her was having success with and it turned out they didn’t, but I had already spent the day reading their website and corresponding with one of their wonderful office people, so I decided to ask them for help. Dr. Thomas was willing to work with me to help Bonnie. So I ordered her first round of EMS/IR Solution and have started her on that. To order the EMS/IR and the Hoof Ailment formula was too expensive all at one time so I have to spread things out a bit, but I am praying this works for Bonnie. I can’t bare to see her in such pain all the time, it takes such a toll on her. She loses the light in her eyes and she just stays in one place all the time. I also think she is losing her eye sight so some days are just too overwhelming for her… and me.

At this time I am slowly weaning Bonnie off of the Thyro-L. Dr. Thomas said to go from 1 teaspoon a day to 1/2 a teaspoon for three days and then 1/4 teaspoon for four days and she should be fine without. Thank goodness as juggling the Thyro-L and the EMS/IR solution is tricky. She can’t have the solution and Thyro-L at the same time so I have to spread out her breakfast and then her first dosage of the solution.

Right now I am giving Bonnie 4 scoops (1 scoop = 1/2 Tablespoon) two times a day until she starts to have some relief. Then I can lower it to 3 scoops twice a day. When I get the Hoof Ailment she is to get 4 scoops twice a day until her feet feel better and then I can lower her to 3 scoops twice a day. At first I am mixing the formula in a bit of warm water and giving it to her with a syringe which has already proven hilarious as she managed to get it all over herself, Zorro and Sky and Zorro tried to take off with the syringe! LOL! What a group I have!

Something that happens often with horses that have foundered is they develop abscesses which can make them as lame and sore as the founder or laminitis did. I do suspect this may also be going on with Bonnie. The Hoof Ailment solution is formulated to help with abscesses as well. I believe her immune system is also effected and of course her liver is stressed. I am interested in also starting her on their Liver Support. When I had her fecal done last year there was tape worm larvae found, but I couldn’t worm her because the chemicals in the wormer could send her into a laminitic attack. So I’m hoping to get her healthy enough that I can deal with her worm load and have her teeth worked on, all without any adverse reactions.

Metabolic issues in horses are not simple. There is no quick fix and just when you think you have things figured out they will show you that in fact you know nothing. It’s a bit like living on a roller coaster. It’s a time full of frustration and heart ache. I do feel like this is Bonnie’s last chance at beating this. How long can someone expect a horse to live in pain, battling every day just to get by? When does it become about me and not about her? When is enough, enough? These are questions that wake me in the middle of the night. These are the questions that are constantly on my mind. So say a prayer or keep her in your thoughts as we try this next option! There are many great testimonials on their website… maybe we can be one of them!

Finally! The post about the Sure Foot® pads. I know, I’ve kept you all waiting on pins and needles! I wanted to have some time to use them… to see if there would be any changes worth blogging about and may I say WOW! Definitely changes worth blogging about!

Here is a little blurb about the Sure Foot® pads from their website:

A unique, innovative way for the horse to be his own teacher. Developed by Wendy Murdoch, this revolutionary way of improving your horse’s balance, confidence, movement and performance shows that the horse is always present and ready to learn if we can only find ways to access his intelligence. This approach allows the horse to experience his own habitual patterns of movement and provides the horse with an opportunity to explore and learn new ways of standing on his feet and utilizing the ground for greater ease, comfort and confidence.  -Sure Foot® | The Murdoch Method

I wanted to try these first because of Bonnie’s laminitis and second because Sky has been ouchie on the road even with boots on. Sky has been acting off for about 2 months and I couldn’t pin point any reason for her to be! I’ve been keeping all the horses off the grass — except for the night of the 4th of July. Sky got spooked by the fireworks and busted through the electric fence, breaking several insulators, putting Sky, Captain and Zorro in the middle of track where all the grass is, all. night. long. Sigh. Sometimes I feel like they are trying to kill themselves. Anyway, I ruled out laminitis because she is eating low sugar/low starch hay and is not on grass. I figured the Sure Foot® pads wouldn’t hurt and maybe they would help! (I decided on the Soft pads after Wendy suggested them because of Bonnie’s laminitis. Both girls have been wearing boots with pads in them so the idea of a springy surface didn’t bother them at all…)

One of the things that intrigued me about them was the idea that the pads help horses have a new connection with the earth. They can find a new way to stand and move.

With SURE FOOT®, using a variety of stability and balance pads, horses discover how they are habitually standing. The pad gives under the horses’s weight bringing his attention to where he is placing his feet and providing new information to the balancing part of his nervous system. With this awareness the horse explores, shifts and alters his habitual patterns of standing and moving by himself, ultimately choosing a more secure and effective way to stand and move. The horse retrains himself to stand better without human interference.  -Sure Foot® – The Murdoch Method

I figured this would help Bonnie as well. While I know her soles are very thin and her coffin bone is rotated, I have been working diligently on the angles of her heel and toe to help alleviate pressure. However she was not changing how she moved very much. I wanted to try this thinking she may be conditioned to walk very carefully and be extremely lame. Whether that is true or not, since I started using the pads, Bonnie will now gallop around the track, bucking and rearing and racing. She is walking out completely normally when booted and has even started going without boots for several hours a day. She walks carefully when ‘barefoot’ but is not getting sore footed at all!

Bonnie falling asleep with both feet on one pad.

Another thing is Sky has been very spooky, barn sour and buddy sour and kind of a stinker when driving. This last month has been absolutely crazy for me and I haven’t been able to get her out much, except to brush her, file her feet a bit and put her on the Sure Foot® pads. She is a bit funny about her feet so she wouldn’t stand on the pads for more than a few seconds at first. And I quickly found that she only liked to stand on one pad at a time. (Bonnie will put both her front feet on one pad!)

Sky standing on one pad. This is how she liked it at first.

It took a lot of putting her foot on the pad, having her step off, me taking her for a walk about, then putting her other foot on the pad, having her step off, me taking her for a walk about, then putting her other foot on the pad, having her step off, me taking her for a walk about… Sigh. Finally on the second or third day of the pads, I put her foot on the pad and she sighed, dropped her head, licked and chewed and set to swaying. She spent quite a few minutes on the pad before stepping off and when she stepped off she gave a big sigh and YAWNED. Beautiful!

She has been using the Sure Foot® pads for about 2 weeks 3-4 times a week and when I was able to start driving her again on Friday, last week, she was a different horse mentally! I am totally amazed at how much calmer she is. She is more forward when driving. She offers the canter and can hold her beautiful extended trot for longer and longer periods. She is also starting to fall into her extended trot more readily.

In addition to reprogramming the balancing portion of the brain there is obviously an affect on the instinctive part of the brain. While it cannot be fully explained there is a calming effect, shifting the horse from the fight & flight reaction or sympathetic autonomic nervous system (ANS) response to the grazing or parasympathetic (ANS) response. Some horses experience an even deeper level of relaxation believed to be caused by a release of endorphins somehow triggered by standing on the pads.  –Sure Foot® – The Murdoch Method

I was intrigued by the above statement and wondered if the pads would help Sky let go of some of her anxiety. I would say they have!! We are able to go miles away from our house now. I’m driving her places I’ve only dreamed about because I couldn’t get her more than a mile away from home without her having a minor melt down. I didn’t want to push her too much and cause a problem when I didn’t really have one so I went slow and easy. Now I don’t have to do any online warm up. I harness her and hitch her right to the cart! We trot around the side yard once and she powers down the driveway in her extended trot, ears hard forward looking at where we are going instead of worrying about what the horses at home are doing! It’s amazing! She is pulling me up some pretty steep hills and just won’t stop. She puts her head down and leans into her breast collar. I have to jump out as she is going when the going gets too steep because she won’t stop. I am so impressed!! She is going to have muscles in places she’s never had muscles!

Sky's pretty face. -

I love looking at the pads when I they are done. The hoof impressions are pretty cool!

This is Sky’s hoof impression.
Bonnie’s hoof impressions.

Here is a video of the girls standing on the pads the first day. To get this video I had to kind of hold Sky on the pads. When I untied her and let her decide she started the one foot on, step off, walk, another foot on, step off, walk….

And this video is from yesterday! They both have it figured out. Now Sky will sometimes step off and then put her feet back on all by herself. And she will stand on both pads at the same time now!

Please let me know if you have any questions about the pads! I’ll do my best to answer them. I know when I was trying to decide, to buy or not to buy, I couldn’t find enough information! So I’ll do my best to help you make a decision.




Oh you guys. Bonnie was doing so GREAT! She was able to join us for short walks on the road and was so energetic, leaping and bucking and trotting around.


She got a hold of another pony’s hay net. I always tie them up but must not have tied it well or forgot to tie it at all and it ended up getting rolled up the dry lot to Bonnie where she was able to snag it under the fence and eat the entire thing. As acute as she is again, I’m guessing it was nearly a full net when she got it. I am so heart broken right now. She is as bad as she was 7 weeks ago. I have her back in the SoftRide boots, but she doesn’t want to move much at this time. I guess we are back to the waiting game again! I am treating her with Homeopathics to help with the pain and will start her on another detox plan soon. Zorro is getting gelded tomorrow, so I’ll have to save up a bit more money to get Bonnie the things she needs for the next detox.

Here she is trying to come to me. It’s absolutely heart breaking watching her try to walk…

So please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. I will continue to work hard to help her be better as long as she needs me to. It’s a tough road though.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. -

Just for fun… Google Laminitis. Just do it. It’s amazing how many different sources come up with information about Laminitis. It’s overwhelming.

In one article I read how bedding a stall with deep bedding will help my pony and then read another article that says she should stand on hard ground and deep bedding will make her worse. Some say ice the feet, some say that won’t help. Some say put a wedge under the heels to help alleviate the pressure on the coffin bone. Because in some cases the coffin bone has rotated and the wedge helps realign it, also relieving some pressure on the lamina. Other articles say DON’T put a wedge as that will put too much pressure on the extremely sensitive toes! Some swear by pain meds, Bute and Banamine, others say try to stay away from these as the side effects are too severe to the gut. Sigh. So what do you do?

I have come to the conclusion –> the most important thing to do is to listen to my HORSE.

Everyone I’ve talked to about Bonnie’s episode is a expert at treating and healing the laminitic horse and everyone has a different take on what is best for my horse. I’ve tried many of the ideas that people shared and had lots of different outcomes, some not good at all! I do understand that people are very passionate about horses and what is best for them. People are VERY passionate about what they feed their horses and will try to sway you into their court. I will admit that I am as guilty as the next guy of doing this! However you all have the right to click off this blog anytime you think I’m too crazy.

I’ve had people adamantly insist that the oats in the Crypto Aero are harming Bonnie and will not allow her to heal. So a couple of times I have stopped feeding it to her, just feeding the grass pellets and her Remission or the hay pellets and her California Trace with the magnesium and Milk Thistle and in one day she is back to laying down most of the day and when standing she will rest one front foot and then the other. Clearly in pain. Someone told me that this happens because the oats have interfered with the good bacteria in Bonnie’s gut because of the yeast in the oats. Hmmm. I don’t buy this at all because the other ingredients in the Crypto are anti inflammatory and build good bacteria! The day after I put her back on the Crypto she is up and walking around! That tells me that the anti inflammatory properties in the feed is what is helping Bonnie. She is benefiting from this feed. So I choose to listen to my horse.

Soap Box Time –> I find it so interesting that so many people see the ingredient “OATS” and immediately think it’s a bad feed – thinking ALL carbs are bad and oats are the worst. This is just a myth. Yes, some horses can not have oats because they have become so sensitive to sugar that they just can not handle them. However I firmly believe if their gut bacteria and inflammation get under control and heal, they can eat organic oats just fine. It’s not the oats people. Just like it’s not about the trailer or it’s not about the saddle. There is always an underlying problem and putting a band aid on it by feeding ‘traditional’ pelleted feed with wheat, barley and soy as the top ingredient will not help your horse. It’s not because of the wheat, barley or soy but because of the GMO, Roundup in the plant! It’s the chemicals.

A friend of mine loaned us a pair of SoftRide boots as they really helped her mini who was laminitic. I am not a huge fan of these boots as I don’t like how they cause Bonnie to stand on her toes all the time. And they are heavy! They have a big padded area for the frog, which I like as I think this has encouraged blood flow to her feet, but they also have a wedge in the heel of the boot that causes them to tip forward. And yet, it doesn’t matter how I feel about these boots as Bonnie loves them! They have helped her become more comfortable and able to motor around. She is walking better every day. So once again I have to listen to my horse!

On the left: Bonnie’s Easyboot Minis. You can see how they are level. This is her left front foot last summer. On the right: Bonnie in the SoftRide boot. You can see how they tip forward. In the video you will see it even more as she walks. This is also her left front foot.

I am wondering if I had a wonderful gel pad like the SoftRide pad in the Easyboots if she would be happy that way as well. I am saving up to get another set of very soft pads for the Easyboots so I’ll keep you posted.

As for the deep bedding. I don’t think Bonnie would have pulled through like she has without it. Because I was able to deeply bed her shed and the front of the shed she could hang out without boots on, airing out her hooves. She was most comfortable in the deep bedding for about a week! She wouldn’t even leave that area of her pen.

I have been using some Homeopatics to help Bonnie with the pain as well. I started her on Belladonna 200c once a day for 3 days. That was a big deal for her as she went from basically standing around to moving around her pen and actually slipping out of the gate if I left it open! Before that I could leave that gate open all day and she wouldn’t make the trip down the pen to escape. Then I gave her Bryonia 30c twice a day for three days. I tested her and she wanted 2 of these twice a day so that’s what I did! Today I started her on 2 Rhus Tox 30c for the next 3-4 days and then I’ll reassess. To come up with this I read “A Healthy Horse The Natural Way” by, Catherine Bird. That is an excellent book!! I highly recommend it.

I muscle test Bonnie every week to check her feed program. I adjust as needed. Right now she is getting 3 teaspoons of Milk Thistle once a day. She is off Remission and getting one scoop of California Trace in her Crypto Aero. I have also cut back on the timothy grass pellets she is getting. I give her a sprinkle of magnesium as well!

Once I quit listening to others, started being good about muscle testing Bonnie and listened only to her she has really started to come around!! So the lesson I learned here? Always listen to your HORSE. They know what they need and will tell us if we listen!

My whole world is about treating Bonnie right now. I have studied laminitis and founder many times over the years and dealt with a few ponies that had foundered and needed rehabilitation. I was very successful in helping those ponies. But none have been so severe as Bonnie, except Chloe and she gave up the fight. So the amount of stress I have been feeling has been great… so great that I worried I may become laminitic!

I want to treat this as naturally as I can so have been reading books and websites, looking into Homeopathics and treating her with herbs and essential oils. One book that I have borrowed from a friend and have been studying is “Feed Your Horse Like A Horse” by Dr. Julie M. Getty. I have been an admirer of hers for years!

She talks about the importance of feeding your horse some kind of forage 24/7 and thoroughly goes over the way a horse digests and everything they need to be as healthy as they can be in her book. It’s well worth the money! She also has a lot of information about the laminitic, IR and Cushings horse. I came across this list and found it very interesting so wanted to share it here.

Common causes of laminitis:

  • Hormonal disorders such as PPID and insulin resistance
  • Elevated insulin
  • Obesity
  • Genetic prelaminitic syndrome
  • Overfeeding of grain and sugar from sweet feeds (carbohydrate overload)
  • Endotoxins released from the hindgut (leaky gut syndrome)
  • Grazing on pasture that is high in sugar/starch/fructan
  • Physical stress to the feet (concussion founder)
  • Injury to one limb, leading to laminitis in another foot
  • Retained placenta after foaling, resulting in a blood infection
  • Colic
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics or steroidal medications
  • Bedding that contains black walnut shavings
  • Selenosis (Selenium toxicity)
  • Iron overload (causes insulin resistance!!!!)
  • Mental stress (leading to elevated cortisol levels)
  • Forage restrictions
  • Rhabdomyolysis (tying up)
  • Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (EPSM)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Toxic plants

I know that this started when Bonnie was out on the field in December, but after going over this list I think she was a ticking time bomb. I am so grateful to have so much information at my fingertips but can feel overwhelmed sometimes. I think there were several factors that lined up perfectly on that winter day and tipped her over the edge. And the acute laminitis episode that we are dealing with now was caused by the vaccinations overloading her already toxic body. I am so so thankful for my three other healthy ponies!


For the last three days Bonnie has laid either in her shed or just in front of it in the nice deep sawdust bed I made her outside of the shed. After being on her feet all day on Sunday, at the Nutrition Clinic, she was just plain worn out. And sore. On Tuesday I had my favorite equine body worker come out and do some adjusting to make her feel a bit better in her body. If only we could adjust some spots and do some energy work on her feet and have such an immediate change! She felt so much better after the body work in her back, shoulders and hips. It was obvious. Not only because she looked more relaxed, her attitude changed on Tuesday as well. After the body work she was brighter and more awake than she had been on Monday.

Bonnie in her styrofoam boots. -

This morning when I went out to feed at 6 am Bonnie was standing outside of the shed, on the opposite side of the pen from the shed, eating hay with Sky! So she walked a little distance. It made me so happy to see that, and to hear her nicker and nicker a greeting. Of course every day that she was laying down she would nicker and nicker and I would set her hay and her Crypto Aero right in front of her so she didn’t have to stand. I also gave her a bucket of water for when she wasn’t in the shed. I didn’t want her to have to work very hard for a few days, as she rested and healed.

Today since she was up, I gave her a quick little rasp on her heels and brought her toes back a bit. In order to do that I had to work fast because standing on three feet is hard for her. Last week I found a video on YouTube of a farrier applying styrofoam boots to the front feet of a very sore laminitic horse. It seemed to bring a level of comfort that I had been looking for, so I bought some styrofoam last week and just set it aside… in case I needed it!

Today I went ahead and applied them to her feet. The difference was immediate. Once I applied the 1″ styrofoam to the foot I was working on and set it down she immediately shifted all her weight to that foot, which previously was so sore she couldn’t stand with all her weight on it at all! So I was able to clean and rasp the other foot and apply the styrofoam boot to that foot as well.

styrofoam and duct tape boots -
Styrofoam and duct tape boots!

Then we took a short walk to get the blood moving.

Horses that have become laminitic because of IR are a bit different than a horse that is laminitic from grass and does NOT have IR. IR horses have constricted blood vessels in the hoof instead of too much blood pumping, inflammation and heat as in a regular laminitic episode. So having her walk around is a good thing in this case as it will help get the blood moving. In a regular laminitic case you don’t want to move the horse much during the acute stage as you can cause further tearing of the hoof wall from the laminae. In Bonnie’s case there is no heat in her foot, no digital pulse, very little to no bruising of the sole and no stretching of the white line. I thought that was so interesting!

I should get my California Trace tomorrow and can’t wait to get her on that. I have also ordered the Milk Thistle seeds so will keep you updated. I know we still have a long road ahead, but every little victory counts! So having her want to be a little mobile today felt so good! Maybe I’ll sleep tonight…

Most of the time when you are dealing with laminitis you need to focus on pain management– AFTER you’ve changed your horse’s diet and adjusted their living situation to accommodate for the laminitis.

So we will focus on oils that will help manage the pain. First you can apply the Raindrop Technique, once a week. Definitely do the entire Raindrop, including legs and hooves. This will also help balance the horse’s body. Most likely they have been compensating for their feet and will be sore all over.

Then you can move onto oils that will help the hooves. You can apply these to the soles of the hoof and even around the coronet band on a daily basis. Choose one or two or layer on 3-4!

Most people will not go above and beyond for their laminitic or foundered horse, and that’s one of the reasons that laminitis is the 2nd leading cause of death.

– Stephanie Krahl

Laminitis is very frustrating for the owner. Once your horse has tipped over into laminitic stage it can be very difficult to manage. The best thing is to keep them off the green grass completely, both in the spring and the fall. Look around for low quality forage so you can offer your horse access to forage 24/7. **Low quality does not mean moldy or dusty.

Taking some time to study good wholefood, natural supplements really pays off in the long run. Many of us have been there and understand the pain and frustration of laminitis and founder. Reach out to a community for support! There are some on facebook or you can join me here.

Feel free to leave a comment below or email me with any questions you have about dealing with this.