I Nearly Gave UpCajoul and me

I own a Thorougbred-Appaloosa Cross gelding named Cajoul.

He has now grown into the most adorable and reliable boy you can imagine and I enjoy riding him on various outings. This has by no means always been the case. Since I got him as a weanling he was having a hard time.

Neglected by his previous owners he had to battle a heavy worm infestation and several concussions, until at one year he had to undergo surgery to correct his front feet which were box shaped due to his bones growing too fast.

Until he was 3 years old everyone commented on how very laid back he was and untypically calm for a young horse. Until then we had some minor problems with him which we just put down to ‘not enough training’...



The Problems...

Like for example, when he was loaded in the float he would out of the blue, violently pull back and thrash about until he was out of the float.

Before that episode he was very calm so you wouldn’t have predicted it. What followed were countless hours trying to train him to be on the float without an episode. It came to the point of downright dangerous unpredictability.

We moved then and he was running in a herd on dairy grass. His behaviour did not improve but instead worsened to being very lethargic, where I had to get spurs just to get him to trot.

Every attempt at cantering resulted in a bucking episode, riding across some varied terrain he would spook at things like patches in the grass or holes or simply colours apart from green.

Pig jumps became increasingly common, a shorter stride and anxiety and panic when separated only a short distance from his mate as well.

I put it down to him being a young horse and that he needed to learn how to be reasonable.

Until one fateful day we were cantering on the roadside and he was spooking at something in the grass and he bucked and I fell off resulting in some injury and loss of my confidence.

I was ready to give up riding since I never fell off this horse before. I believed I was an unfit horseperson and decided to sell him to someone more knowledgeable.
This would have broken my heart for sure since I had him since he was a baby and my true dream horse.


The Turnaround...

Then one evening I did some research and came across Jenny Paterson’s website. I was curious and gave her a call, thinking that she might be able to help me. And she did, more than that, she saved me from selling my lovely horse and turning away from my passion forever.

I tried out the salt, Premium NZ Horse minerals and Alleviate-C, and put him on brown top hay for two weeks.

After only 1 week a remarkable change was evident. I now was able to ride him without an episode of spooking ever occurring, he was not herd bound anymore, very reasonable and reliable.

That’s when I realized that that must be his true personality and I was astounded at how much the personality of a horse is influenced by his diet. Cajoul is now rising 5 and I can even take him swimming in the sea by himself without any problems.

The Lesson...

Since then I have researched a lot about the grasses that aren’t good for our horses and I also have come across a lot of people that don’t want to hear a single word about this issue.

It is easy to turn a blind eye to the whole thing, believe me my whole world turned upside down when I realized that for some horses the grass they are eating is the real problem. So it is nevertheless important to be willing to make a change in the keeping of horses and manage their access to grass so that it doesn’t adversely affect them; our safety depends on it as well as the health and happiness of our horses.

We owe it to them to give them the best possible care, including diet.

The whole idea seems very inconvenient at first because grass is so easy and available, but before you sell your horse, give Jenny’s ideas and products a go and see for yourself!

Annemarie Rickertsen, Hamilton