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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Investigation #1 - Feed/Exercise

I am looking for feedback!!!!!!! If you notice any trends, please let me know. This is exactly why I keep detailed records - if I have a problem like this I can go back and know exactly how and when I did what.

Anyone see any significant differences? (observations are at the end)

Recovery schedule - Tevis
  • 7 days off (only hay fed)
  • 4 days of light riding (20 min walk/trot arena or 30 min walking hack). Fed a combo of stable mix and dried fat.
  • 5 days off (only hay fed, except for 2 days when she got beetpulp and fat).
  • 2 days riding (first time she felt perfectly normal, ready to go, since tevis). Fed combo of beetpulp, stable mix, and fat.
  • 4 days off (just hay)
  • Tye up

Recovery schedule - Wild West (no problems with tying up)

  • 3 days off (fed LMF gold and beetpulp)
  • 2 days light riding (fed LMF gold and beetpulp)
  • 2 days off (just hay)
  • 1 day ride (LMF gold and beetpulp)
  • 5 days off (just hay)
  • 1 day ride (stable mix, beetpulp, LMF gold)
  • 1 day off (hay only)
  • 4 days ride (LMF gold)
  • 4 days off (got some stable mix on day 4)
  • 5 days ride (stable mix)
  • 2 days off (beet pulp only)

Recovery - 20 MT (no problems with tying up)

  • 8 days off (first four days beetpulp and fat, after that just hay)
  • For the following days, beetpulp and fat were fed every day:
  • 1 day light ride
  • 1 day off
  • 2 day light ride
  • 1 day off
  • 2 day light ride
  • 1 day off
  • 2 day ride
  • 1 day off
  • 2 day ride

What I see:

  • I am more likely now to NOT feed anything during her days off. I no longer feed LMF gold on a regular basis. This is obviously the right direction, so continue this trend. I think beetpulp and oil would be OK, but nothing else, no matter how low I know the sugar is.
  • During the Tevis recovery she got longer periods of time off. Maybe the key will be to do something that looks more like the 20 MT schedule - give her a week off, but then limit any further time off to no more than ~2 days at a time for the next 4-6 weeks.
  • I know for sure that the grass hay being fed at each of these 3 time periods was different, and the alfalfa may have been too (one load of alfalfa lasts 3-4 months). Will be looking at the hay as a seperate investigation.

Farley Update

Farley got to come home from the vet last night. Six liters of fluid throughout the day, and a blood test confirmed that muscle enzymes are still elevated, but she is now hydrated.

Ate and drank well while she was there - if fact the vet exclaimed "she ate ALL day!". That's my pony.......Peed several times and it was clear.

When I picked her up I pointed to her swollen hard muscles on top of her rump and expressed concern, so he gave me some muscle relaxants (for the horse, not me!) in addition to bute and I am to update him every day or so with her progress.

Plan is to hand walk her daily (5-10 minutes) until the muscle looks normal, then stop the bute, retest and recheck, then start riding. She's a pacer that moves on her own in the pen, so the 5-10 minutes isn't contributing anything significant beyond letting me keep an eye on how she's moving and to spend time with her.


  1. fingers still crossed for Farley's recovery, still checking back with your blog frequently...

  2. It means more to me than I can possibly express that you'all are keeping me and Farley in your thoughts. I know the prognosis is good, it just a matter of how much time it's going to take. My trainer (Janelle Dunn) has been absolutely fabulous and I even got to ride one of her horses yesterday and it was GREAT. More on that later (on how I think it's important that I keep riding right now).

  3. I agree. It is essential, in my opinion, to ride other horses. Just riding one horse for years and years can keep you from becoming a better rider for that one horse. Just my personal opinion. It's good to ride that "other" horse with a trainer as well.

    Keeping my fingers crossed. Also, I feel that all horses are the same and different... Maybe it's a genetic preposition that Farely has towards tyeing up. (the conditions all became just right and bang, she gets it) Because at the barn when I experienced the tie-ups with that gelding, there were 2 other riding horses. They were fed the same diet. They weren't rode as much as he was but they never tied up.

    Really off the subject but going towards those genetic predispositions - are my grandparents. Both of them smoked heavily. My grandfather got lung cancer and died. But my grand mother never got cancer. She eventually died from heart-failure, which I'm sure the smoking didn't help. But she didn't get the cancer because MAYBE she didn't have the genetic predisposition for cancer and my grandfather did. I don't know I'm no doctor. Just things I think about.

    Maybe other horses can have alfalfa but she can't because she has the predisposition towards tying-up. I don't know but I do believe it was something about the potassium levels in the alfalfa that are a lot higher than in grass hay. I thought sugars caused insulin resistance problems? Do they cause tie-up problems too? Good to cut them out as much as possible anyway though. I'm sure you are in the process of studying all this and I'm just trying to remember what I've heard, and researched over the years.


  4. When you say "beet pulp and fat" what do you mean? Beet pulp and oil?
    I don't know if this will help, but I've been learning a little bit about equine nutrition lately and one of the things that keeps coming up is the horse's ability to produce the correct bacteria to digest their food. We all know that when we introduce a new feed we should do so slowly, well the reason why is because the horse's bacterial flora must adjust to the new levels of: sugar, fat, protein, structural carbohydrates(fiber), and non-structural carbs(sugar), etc. that are in the gi tract. So, I don't know if this has effected Farley, but your schedule of feeding beet pulp and ? are inconsistent; she's not ingesting the same amount of fiber, protein, fat, sugar, etc every day. I have no clue if this could play a part in tying up, but it's an observation worth noting I think.
    Just a personal experience here, but we don't 'use' our horses nearly as much as you do, probably because we're not as diverse in our equine interests as you are.=) For instance, we rode three of our horses at Eastern High Sierra last weekend. All three of them are supplemented with beet pulp and rice bran every day, but they won't be ridden again until at least next week and probably not for two weeks post ride. They are just out to pasture doing nothing (well, hopefully gaining weight.) I guess my point is that regular riding doesn't necessarily seem keep a horse from tying up. I've found that regular light or pleasure riding of an endurance horse only does one thing....make them lose weight. Our horses that are fit and regularly attending rides are only ridden every few weeks on long (15 mile +) fairly difficult conditioning rides.
    I've also heard that tying up is very similar to "compartment syndrome" (sp?) in humans. You might look that up as well, as if you're not going crazy enough trying to figure out what's gone wrong already. Farley is a lucky girl to have an owner so dedicated to her well being.

  5. I say "fat" instead of "oil" because I got sick of the mess and switched to a freeze-dried soy oil about a year ago.

    I've been doing a lot of research today on the hay and there are no easy answers. Alfalfa "tends" to have a lower NSC value than the grasses but I dont' want to feed 100% alfalfa for other reasons (protein, Ca:Ph, etc.). I'll more into what I've learned and my plan to manage this risk when I post my next investigation!

    Farley's not in a pasture situation and since there is a risk between a stalled horse (Farley's not in a stall, but the dry paddock isn't big enough to call a "pasture" either) and tying up depending on diet, I can't discount the amount of time off she got.

    I go back and forth between wanting to be really consistent with the feeding and not wanting to feed any "extras" on her days off. After rides (which is the schedule I posted) I tend to be very very conservative 3-4 weeks after a ride and not feed much "extras". Once she's back in work and we are riding ~5 days a week, I don't worry as much because I know what I'm feeding is low in sugar (except the hay which is still unknown). So....I guess there's risks either way.

    Personally, I think the biggest culprits right now are selinium and the hay (sugars), which have probably always been present, but with a "perfect" storm like convergence of breed, gender, fitness level, and activity.

  6. When you say for 7 days after Tevis you fed only hay - did you feed anything else?

    Usually after a 100 (or multiday) you want to replenish and help the recovery process, so hay by itself is not enough. So right off the bat, that would be my first question about what you did post ride to enable recovery after Tevis versus other rides?

    What was your electrolyte (salt?) replenishment protocol, for example?

  7. I had to suddenly leave town on Monday (work related.....grrrrrrr......)so I wasn't at the boarding stable to give her any of the "extras". She got free choice salt those days (she always has access to that). Can you do a post on post-ride electrolyte replinishing? I give 1/2 a dose after a race, and then the next day give 2-3 1/2 doses througout to encourage hydration, but after that I just depend on her to "self-regulate" through the free choice salt....

    Another question for you - One reason my feeding program is so inconsistent is because I'm leery of feeding anything but hay when she's off because of the risk of tying's not a big deal when she's in regular work because I ride etc. ~5days a week, but in a situation like after Tevis this creates problems because she goes long periods without the "extras". Is Beet pulp and oil OK to feed a horse off work, every day?

    I'm comtemplating a radical change in how her hay is fed that I'll talk about in my next post and it may eliminate the need for me to give beetpulp etc on a regular basis for weight gain. It's going to REALLY piss off my boarding stable, but I'm going to have my vet's backing on it, and if they can't deal I'll ask him for a recommendation of where I can go for self care boarding that isn't really scary (I don't have many options in this area, which is why I want to make this place work if I can). More on that later.....

  8. Just wanted to say I'm glad she's home!

  9. This was from last years' 20 MT 100:

    I think you are okay with beet pulp every day, esp. if it is being rinsed of the excess sugars. Sometimes I get batches that require rinsing two or three times. Keep an eye on the color of the rinse water.

    I haven't fed Bo or Chief oil or fat before so I can't really comment on that.

    I've been using the low carb complete feeds this year. The horses really like them. I think it is really important to replenish post-ride for at least a couple of days. I think I kept shoving stuff Bo's direction until Wednesday after Tevis. He hasn't done an endurance ride since but he has done over 100 miles of trail riding.

    Good luck getting this all sorted out.

  10. Thanks Karen, that's really reasuring.

    Have you noticed when you dump a bag of beet pulp into a container and you breathe a little "dust" it's either sweet or not? I've found this correlates closely to how many times I'm going to have to rinse it. too bad the feedstore won't let me do a "smell" test on the BP before feeding it!

  11. Last week I went to the feed store with a friend. She bought a bag of shreds, and I got a bag of pellets. I like the pellets because they are cleaner, and because I can fit 100 pounds in my container in the trailer.

    In one scoop (of shreds) she found at least a dozen pebbles and small rocks~! I kept them in a baggy to show the feed store next time I go. Another friend stopped buying shreds because they were getting a ton of "junk" in there. I hope yours is better than we are getting here.


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