Got Harry back a week ago today. Alarmingly thin with too long feet. Yes, I have felt incredibly guilty over this. Even having had a dozen reassuring emails from the guy looking after him I should have been down to check on him myself. Sadly, I believed the tales. And really, I think the dude believed he was taking good care of my horse. Only, horses are not dairy cows- you should NOT be able to see ribs or hip bones or spines. Ever.
Live and learn I guess. Will be taking care of him myself from here on in.
Anyway, he's eaten four bales of hay this week and is getting a feed of chaff, speedibeet, minerals and apple cider vinegar infused with garlic (Gourmet, I know) None of this is serious weight building food, mostly concentrated amounts of fiber with low sugar and starch contents. This is deliberate. I've been doing a lot of reading in the last year about the digestive tract of the horse and the effects of high sugar/starch feeds (not what the horse is designed to live on) on the bacteria of the hind gut and then on the rest of the body, especially the feet. Had he not put on as much weigh this week as he has I would be adding ricebran oil and barley. However, the tailbone and hip bones are disappearing nicely. He's still a little ribby, but they are less frighteningly obvious and looking at him now is a little more, "Hmmm Rather light condition." and a little less, "OMG! Skinny horse!!"
For a weeks work I was rather pleased with it. And today I got on. Hoorah! For a very short ride, only at the walk but on a variety of surfaces including grass, tarmac and gravel. For a horse that has been out of work since September he was incredibly forgiving and remained calm and relaxed throughout with the exception of a giraffe impersonation at what I thought was a man wandering through an orchard. I was reassuring him about the existence of orchards, sprinklers and people in this area when he let me know that he was, in fact, only interested in the smell of the horses at the race track about a km on the far side of the orchard.
Otherwise, absolutely wonderful. I spent a long while afterward just hanging out in the paddock. Love the way he lays his head on my chest and closes his eyes while I rub his forehead :)
I remain, Harry's most devoted fan,