Tuesday 4 June 2013

Dr. Lana is going to PAMP YOOOU UPPP girly horse. Legs and all.

Almost immediately, parts of Ms. V did begin getting a lot fatter.

Two specific parts - her hind legs. Ever since her bout of scratches back at Muddy View Acres, she had always been predisposed to stocking up in her hinds, especially the (anyone, anyone?) that's right kids, especially the white one.

However, this stocking up typically exhibited itself as a thickening through the fetlock and pastern that showed up after a night in the barn, and would be barely noticeable were her legs not thin little twigs at all other times of the day. An hour or so of turnout or riding completely eliminated it.

Not on the new Dr. Lana diet. She suddenly had cocktail weenie legs. All the time.

"You know" said Dr. Lana. "You should really have that checked out".

The stupid thing is, I really didn't immediately make the connection between diet and the weenies.  And when  a vet looks at your horse's legs and tells you that you should get them checked out, you do start to worry. The "good horse owner" fairy starts poking at you saying "if you loved her... you would..."

But then, the "good wallet owner" fairy speaks to you and tells you what a raging asshole you would be to spend money having your horse's legs examined when she is 100% entirely and totally sound.  There are people with dead lame horses who spend gobs of money trying to figure out why they are dead lame who can't get to the bottom of it. What on earth would you fork over cash to have someone probe around to find out why your horse is just so stubbornly sound?

But maybe the horse communicator can convince her to only shit in one spot in her stall!  Think of how nice it would be...it would be money well spent.  

These two fairies battle it out on a regular basis when it comes to horse care.  I think no matter how logical you are, any time you are having an issue with your horse and some other horse owner says "well have you thought of trying (insert something that you know in your heart of hearts is totally stupid here)", that fucking good horse fairy does whisper in your ear "what's the harm...maybe you should try it?"

Lucky for me, I am a skeptical and crusty curmudgeon, and the wallet fairy can usually bludgeon the little bitch into submission before I am convinced to try anything too stupid.  I would say the furthest out I have gone on the "stupid" limb would be trying Bowen Therapy on Ms. V, which to me sounded pretty much like massage therapy tramped up with a better, sexier marketing campaign.

Bowen Therapy treats the whole body, and its holistic effects are apparent in patients who find resolution to problems above and beyond those for which they have sought treatment, for example lack of energy, stress or emotional issues

For the life of me I don't remember what the specific reason was that Coach Ritenau decided we needed to try Bowen, but I do remember it set me back close to $600 for a series of treatments and I thought it made not an ounce of difference.  Ms. V still had lots of energy - enough to cause me plenty of stress, and relaxing with a glass of red when I got home from the barn generally took care of my emotional issues, for the sort term anyways.  Think of the wine cellar I could have started with that $600?  Or, I could have spent it on good training, which would have done more to fix whatever the underlying problem would have really and truly been at the time. Because thinking back, I am 99.9% certain it had nothing to do with problems of her fascia storing negative energy or memories or whatever it is that Bowen people say they are resetting as they do their little thumb circles and whatnot.

The legs Curmudgeon - what about the cocktail weenie legs

Ooops, I am off on a tangent again, aren't I.  Long story short, I came home, googled "stocked up legs" for a while, and read many an informative post on the subject... Oh, here is one...

WWYD - Rein Lameness. Hi readers, hoping you can help - I went to see the horse of my dreams the other day, who is - amazingly - in my price bracket. I think the stars have finally aligned!! I am so excited!  (will post pics soon).  However, when I rode him,because I am new to dressage, I immediately made him rein lame. So frustrating! How long do you think it will take for me to be able to ride this horse properly? I am taking a lesson each week with a good coach and do pilates.  Oh one other question - his front left leg is huge and hot. The owner says it is just stocking up and is nothing to worry about. Should I wrap his legs at night?

(Ok...This isn't real. I made it up. But would not be surprised to read something equally as stupid).

However during my googlefest, I came across something interesting - some horses stock up when fed Alfalfa. Rich beautiful green alfalfa that you might feed to a heavily lactating dairy cow.

Of course, Curmudgeon!! How did you not KNOW this.  

I swear to God, even in all of my years at school - I had never come across this issue in practice or in writing or anywhere.  How could that possibly be?  Did I skip that class? Was I asleep?  Both very valid possibilities, however I think the true answer is because...it is nuts. Textbooks and profs barely have enough time to hammer the things that matter on a day to day basis into your hangover addled 20 year old brains at school, there is no time to waste on "Unit 14 - Bizarre things overzealous owners might feed to horses".  Even one Unit would not really be enough time, it would have to be a whole course - Bizarre feeds 101.

Who the hell would feed straight alfalfa to a normal, everyday horse?  Horses just don't need that kind of rocket fuel.

Well, I bet you can all guess.  When I checked out the hay supply, there was normal - and their was weight gainer plus Alfalfa rocket fuel - for "bone racks" like Ms. V.

Don't you want to tell the 15 year old boys buying this stuff  to just give it some time?  Don't worry, young lad - soon you will be fat and 40 just like the rest of us. Weight gainer mission accomplished. 
Sigh. If she isn't wallowing in mud, she is wallowing in excess nutrients.  Why is middle of the road so hard to find in the horse world... ?  And so, with this information in hand - I planned for my non confrontational, good spirited talk with Dr. Lana - underlying message "just feed my fucking horse the way I want her to be fed".


  1. Your blog cracks me up!!! I always smile when I see a new post in my inbox. Thank you!

  2. I have one of those skinny 15 (actually 17) year old boys, and he has mentioned purchasing a bucket of that "build 'em up" stuff a few times. Haven't caved in yet as gosh, is it expensive. Maybe I should just get a bale of alfalfa??? :D

    (As you say, Boy really shouldn't worry. His father was the same way until he hit, oh, about 35, and now the spare tire grows ever larger... sucks getting older!)

  3. In the "weird reasons to stock up" category, mine stocks up whenever she is fed flax; even a tiny amount in a supplement will set her off. It's wicked difficult to find supplements and grains without flax, because for most horses it gives them shiny coats. Well, OK, mine gets a shiny coat on flax, but she also gets thick legs. Exercise/turnout takes care of it.

    As for alfalfa... lots of places in the western US feed alfalfa exclusively; in fact finding good grass hay can be very hard. I am just happy to live in a region where grass hay is the norm, because I think alfalfa would make my mare crazy!

  4. LOL I had a horse with food allergies which would manifest as... you got it... stocked up legs! Don't feel bad, it took an allergy test for an unrelated issue to figure it out.

  5. I think I have settled on the fact that in the horse world, there is no happy medium. At least not in my area, and not if you aren't willing to shell out $1000+, and even then you run the risk of a crazy barn owner. Then again, that wouldn't change the fact that having heart to hearts with barn owners is still ridiculously awkward and uncomfortable.

    Keep it coming! Your stories are entertaining beyond belief.

  6. Oh man, I hear you. I just went from a barn where it's hard to get the horses fed enough to a barn where the "food is love" mentality runs deep.

    PS: What's your opinion on coastal hay?

  7. Am thoroughly enjoying the blog. Nice work! Not to back seat drive, but feel free to hit the following:

    People who think that trail riding and/or cavaletti are a panacea.

    Obsessing over bits and saddles instead of learning to ride with quiet hands and a decent seat.

    The belief that all dressage must be done in a snaffle... even at PSG and above you only put them in a double to show. (this one I find particularly annoying)

  8. In the area where I live (California) virtually everyone fed their horses straight alfalfa when I was young. I actually don't remember there being many problems. But everyone I knew had QHs. Nowadays most people around here don't feed straight alfalfa, but I do feed an alfalfa grass mix that gives me great results with five QH's of various types (ranging from hard keeping old horse, to very easy keeping younger horse). So in my fifty years of horse keeping experience alfalfa isn't always a negative. Depends on the horse and the situation. I have a few friends whose horses are allergic to alfalfa, and then, of course, it is a negative for sure.

  9. IT'S BEEN OVER A MONTH. You can't leave us hanging for this long!! :D