Versatile Arabian senior citizen aided by slow feeding
5 August 2018,California ~ Dr. Susanne Lanini has not let Cushings Disease deprive her now 18-year-old Arabian Just In Kayce from a full, fun life. Since she received his diagnosis four years ago, careful management has enabled the versatile horse to continue and excel in dressage, trail riding, horse camping and serving as Dr. Suzi’s partner in volunteering for the Sheriff Department’s Mounted Patrol.
The small animal veterinarian from Southern California is especially excited to have qualified for the California Dressage Society Championships and USDF’s Region 7 Finals this September. Earning qualifying scores early in the year to avoid the hot summer shows is one of several steps that keep Justin healthy, happy and performing at his peak.
Limiting Justin’s diet and stretching out his meal times are keys to successful Cushings management. “Slow feeding is really what has helped the most,” said Dr. Suzi. Justin’s case came to light when his farrier noted telltale signs of inflammation in the hoof’s white line. Since the positive Cushings test that followed, Dr. Suzi experimented with several methods for getting him to eat small quantities throughout the day. “That’s what horses’ digestive systems were designed for and it’s critical for Cushings horses who require a restricted diet and are at risk if they gorge,” she continued.
After disappointments with hay nets, Dr. Suzi had a That’s cool moment when she saw the Forager™ Slow Feeder on display at a dressage clinic in 2017. On closer inspection, several of the Forager’s unique features inspired her to buy two for her home stable’s 30’ by 40’ paddock.
The design of the regulator that sits atop the hay was the first detail to catch her attention. The easy and standard grids mimic hay nets in that they require the horse to work a little to extract its feed. This restricts overall intake while stretching out their mealtime. “He is literally grazing and he has gotten a lot better. They eat everything they pull out of the Forager grid.”
Hay net hassles are in the past with stuff, stuff, stuffing, not to mention the human back strain of hanging the net, and the considerable waste and mess that falls through.
The Forager’s ventilation and drainage also appealed to Dr. Suzi. Vents allow air to circulate through the forage, minimizing dust, and light that invites a deep dive into the feed. That drainage also prevents rained-on hay from becoming the soup she found with other bucket-style feeders.
Regular exercise is equally important to keeping Cushings in check. “I have found that Justin needs trail rides for the mental break as much as I need to maintain his fitness and dressage work in the arena. He also really enjoys trot and canter pole work to break up our routine in the arena.”
Finally, a friend helps. “My other horse Kirby is really good about bothering Justin and getting him play,” she says. “It is so entertaining to watch the two of them interact.”
~ article by Kim F. Miller