Making that decision not to throw in the towel, climbing out of bed and out of my wallow of self-pity despite a poor prognosis is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I had an obese Shetland with pounding digital pulses, and no idea what to do. As a starting point I took him to my nearest equine vet. Who nearly fainted when confronted with 36” of Thelwell-esque pony. After a cursory glance down his “if-it’s-owned-by-the-Aga-Khan-shoot-it” nose, he diagnosed “too fat” “pounding digital pulses - be careful he doesn’t get laminitis”. No exercise advice, no nutritional advice, nothing.
Home we went, frustrated, angry, and not knowing where to start. And not knowing what questions to ask.
Logic says what works for fat humans will probably work for fat ponies: reduce calorific intake, increase calorific usage.
Reducing intake proved simple enough; our paddock and garden were strip grazed then free-range grazed until bare. Wet weather soon laid waste to anything foodlike in the paddock.
Daily walks were taken on the “long acre” as we call roadside verges in Northern Ireland. Good for my own fitness level; good to introduce the pony to traffic whilst distracting him from huge scary tractors, trailers and lorries; good to include herbs and variety to his diet.
Once we established basic “walk on”, and “stand” commands, I felt we were “ready to begin”. Introduction to the lunge line followed.
Rule 5: the first step is the hardest!
© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2021
Treating your horse with care, connection, curiosity and compassion