Don’t Know What I’m Doing

I will be honest, I have absolutely no idea what I am doing with Fivla.  There are so many factors to think about:-

Should Fivla be on her own?
Pros: She can eat at night her own food without Shetland vultures stealing.
Cons: She is on her own and can only see the others. She does like mutual grooming very much.  If she is with the others at night, she won’t eat anything, just chewing hay and spitting it out – for 12 hours solid.  She can’t eat the soaked hay and the others will bully her off her soaked hay replacer and ad lib fibre block, all of which they don’t need.

Should Fivla go on the track during the daytime (about 10 hours)?
Pros:  She would be with the others moving around and socialising.  She does not have laminitis (certainly another possible symptom) yet.
Cons:  The Autumn flush has come and any short grass is full of sugar.  I would worry this could trigger laminitis.

Can Fivla manage on four meals of fibre and hay-replacer a day?  I will weigh it (bought scales today) so she will have 1.5% of her bodyweight (1.5% of 228kg = 3.42kg) in dry food divided between four meals in 12 hours.
Pros:  She is eating and I can make it very mushy, so she is also drinking.
Cons:  She just stands in her paddock, waiting for her buckets and eats. No movement, nothing.  I am tied to home totally and have to be there four times a day to give her any food at all.

Things to consider – Fivla’s mental health.  She is very depressed.  She is not really interacting with the others much but will groom them.  She is, however, wuffling (a little neigh under her breath) when she sees her bucket, which is a good sign.

So much to think about. Nothing is written in stone.  I am thinking Fivla is in the paddock for a couple of weeks, or at least until the autumn flush finishes – it is getting colder next week with plenty of rain.  If she can manage doing 12 hours by herself, then she gets an even smaller section and she can have night-time food too.  Or I leave her for the night with the others chewing and spitting out hay wondering if any is going in.

It is good to write this down but I am none the wiser.

13 thoughts on “Don’t Know What I’m Doing

  1. Suzanne Kelly

    I feel for you you are in a very difficult position.

    My own gut feeling in case it has any weight for you is that her mental happiness will impact her physical happiness and to me and every animal I’ve ever known happiness is the most important thing there is. I would bring her to the others. X

    But you will do the right thing and make the right decisions. I am sure of that.

  2. Lisa

    There must be a forum or FB group for Fivla’s condition and the group would have all sorts of info and wisdom available.

  3. Carol Wood

    There is a lovely friendly group on Facebook – Equine Metabolic Syndrome Friendly Chit Chat – who will probably be able to help you with a lot of your questions. We have a pony with insulin irregularities and it is a constant worry that we’re doing the right thing! We feed him Metaslim from Simple Systems to get and keep his weight down as part of his regime. It might be worth having a look at it as it is very palatable and would be suitable for an older pony with fewer teeth as it’s soaked before feeding. Good luck!

      1. Carol Wood

        I order mine on Internet direct from Simple Systems. A 20kg bag lasts about 60 days. My pony is 10.2h and has 180grams daily. How much you feed is directed by the end weight you want to achieve – at the moment we’re aiming for 180k. It is not cheap but is very palatable.

  4. Judith

    Of course I am in no way qualified to say; just some ideas.

    I have looked up “insulin dis-regulation” and found it means a pre-diabetic condition and I also agree that her state of mind is really important. I wonder if exercise might be almost as important as diet to offset the amount of calories being taken in. So I think Fivla might be better off being with the others and moving more, even if she’s eating a bit more rich food. I don’t know what to suggest about how to give her access to mushy food that the others can’t knick from her. Perhaps she wouldn’t need it so much if she had access to grass (?) It seems diabetes in horses is rarely type-2 so may not usually be caused by too much sugar. It may be that she’s always had borderline type-1 and if she hasn’t really suffered from it before then maybe she could continue life as usual. Is her depression a new thing?

  5. Judith Garbutt

    What a dilemma, Frances. What about putting her on the track with the others at night but keeping her on her own during the day with two larger bucket feeds that she can munch on when she’s so inclined? I hope you manage to find a solution that works for both Fivla and you.


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