From Dangerous to Docile

Hi JennyLeo and Michaela

Thought I would drop you a quick line to say a big THANK YOU and let you know of another success story, being myself and my TB boy Leo.

Leo is a 6 year old TB gelding that I have now owned for 2 years – I’d like to write off the whole of last year though and start again! 

The first year I had him (we’ve been at the same grazing place the whole time) everything went pretty smoothly – he was my first young horse and first ‘off the tracker’ .... then in year two things slowly but surely deteriorated over the course of the year without me really knowing why ....

 

Overview...

It started with him beginning to spook at jump fillers – odd as he’d been brave and inquisitive rather than scared prior .... then our flat work began to feel a bit ‘flat’.
I just couldn’t get him to work and stretch over his back like he could do.

Then during one session my foot slipped out the stirrup and he totally over-reacted, freaked out and within half a circle I was flying through the air and into my first ever concussion (not bad for 25+ years of riding, but looking back, not necessary!!!!)

A couple of months later we had the first horrendously spooky day, just leading him up from the paddock there were ‘monsters’ everywhere.  So I dosed him with liquid magnesium, thinking this would fix everything – interestingly two days later I got bloods done and he was still under the recommended dose for magnesium, which unfortunately just made me think all the issues were mag related! 

My Vet Physio checked him out, to see if we could find anything wrong with his not wanting to relax and work through and over his back – no real answers could be found .... then came mid November 2010, and my horse that I had previously hacked everywhere and anywhere without a care in the world turned into a napping monster that ended up ‘exploding’ in the paddock and leaving me on the ground battered and bruised and with a badly broken wrist (my first bone break ever!!).

 

A Sad Decision...

I decided I wasn’t cut out to bring on young horses (saw this as being the issue!) and Leo was put on the market.

I managed to free lunge him to get some work into him, as I had a cast on my arm and had no real desire to sit on him again.

One session in early January 2011 he absolutely lost the plot and I was really at my wits end - so he got yarded with only hay. The next morning he nearly fell asleep being shod!

A lady came to try him that night, and although he was still fairly tense the change was remarkable as she rode him; we had a fantastic talk about grass toxins, as a result of which I started googling and came across your website .

After reading this, I kept yarding him - a few days later I was back on him myself, popping over very tiny jumps (had sworn I’d never ride him again, let alone jump him!) and having schooling sessions where I could actually use my legs without disappearing to the back of beyond and I actually had a smile on my face !

I began to change his diet and followed the principles on your website and my horse was off the market and I was eyeing up dressage comps and working out times for lessons to get stuck back into the jumping again, the change was amazing to say the least, I was just dumbfounded!!!!

A Hiccup on the Road to Progress...calm again at last!

 

Unfortunately, I only had a week of my lovely horse back as he was then kicked in the paddock and ended up requiring surgery to scrape away a patch of dead bone on a front leg .... this has all been done and was successful and on Saturday just gone I was allowed to start the process of bringing him back into work .

Over the past 8 weeks he had had no work, he had been confined for 6 of those weeks and after an initial lead around the arena I hopped on, horse was as good as gold!  Last night we had our first trip down to pony club to do our walking out (where I came off in November!), it was adult ride night so a lot of horses around.

I had one chilled out horse, I hacked him out alone, I did, however get off twice when I felt him get a bit uppity ... but a short lead around to stretch out and relax and I was back on and off we went again, calm, relaxed, happy . In the past he would not have been able to unwind once the tension started, now we pass through it!

I am now feeding him twice a day with your suggested feeding regime: Eezy-beet, extruded barley, meadow hay chaff, Alleviate C, NZ Premium Horse Minerals,  and loads of salt (previously he’d had Fibre Pro included in his diet!).  He gets ad-lib hay, he’s still confined in a small part of the paddock over night and yarding during the day until his leg is 100% recovered - although as I am now a whole lot more aware of everything, the day yarding will continue whenever I feel he’s not quite right.

Basically, I am amazed, and just hugely grateful I found your website and I still have my boy and we’re moving forward – it certainly opened my eyes to a whole lot of things!  Unfortunately my grazing is not good horse friendly grass, but I’m pretty sure with some careful management, use of day yards, nice ‘boring’ high fibre feeds and the toxin binder (he didn’t even have a toxin binder last year!!) I’m looking forward to the future and now have my eyes set on producing a, hopefully, pretty good eventer J

My short email has turned into a mini novel, but I just wanted to let you know how my eyes have now opened up and the difference you have made!

Thanks heaps!
Michaela (and, a happy, calm, relaxed Leo!).