Utter Failure

I could not feel more of a failure to my Shetland ponies.

Yesterday, I took Tiddles and Albie into the small paddock where they will now live as they were walking with a very stiff gait. I was sucking my teeth while my waters were churning.

Today, Waffle joined them.

It seems that whatever I try to do for my ponies is the wrong thing.

I had put all my hopes into track-life being the way forward for them.  The winter weight was coming off beautifully and everyone was running around happily and then suddenly three of them weren’t.

It is a constant juggling act – trying to keep the weight on Vitamoo, while making the others lose weight and stay sound.

Tiddles isn’t even very fat.  Waffle was but has lost weight but Albie is rotund. To suddenly find them getting all the signs of laminitis is incredibly depressing.

How did Albie get fat on the track, while the others are losing weight eating the exact same thing?

I do think, however, that their hooves are all in a desperate need of a trim and the only thing we can do is wait for our farrier’s next visit. I don’t scrimp on trimming, I don’t ever miss a visit – the spring grass makes hooves grow and they could just all be very uncomfortable.  Maybe after a good trim, they will walk better and everything will be alright. We just have to wait until the end of the month for our appointment.


So it is back to soaking hay, monitoring everything they eat and worrying constantly that they are managing with no colic and not in pain.  I am so upset with myself.  I thought I was doing the right thing but obviously I wasn’t.

11 thoughts on “Utter Failure

  1. Susan Veal

    Don’t feel a failure I battled it for years and sometimes you get it all just right and other times you don’t there isn’t any rhyme or reason it’s just a total ball ache your doing everything you can and that’s enough no recriminations pick yourself up dist yourself off and try a different tack. I would say on the whole the track is a good idea as it encourages movement but sometimes laminitis sneaks in the back door. Love and hugs as I know how your feeling xx

  2. Lisa

    Have you tried grazing muzzles for those that tend get stiff? They could still eat-just not as much.

  3. judy l shank

    More than a month ago, I asked you what ‘laminitis’ is & you were kind enough to explain to me. Today, I read your blog & thought, ‘Oh no! Frances sounds like I do in chastising myself for so many issues.’ I immediately started reading about the condition & just about every article cautioned that once a horse gets laminitis, they will be susceptible to get it time after time. Of course, I would react just as you have, but sometimes I think that despite our best attempts to take care of our loved ones & our environments, there are just some things that we can’t control. You do an amazing job of taking care of your little ‘herd’; give yourself the credit you richly deserve.

    And do remember that I am a hypocrite because I would react just as you have, but then I would do just as you have done & try to arrest the further development. I say, “Well done for your amazing commitment.”


    Hi, my lot are prone to Laminitis, so I do know how you feel. A very wise aged Horse Man told me years ago, if you have one that is prone to “Lammi” restrict them all, bring the ones that need a feed in, put soaked hay down in the field, and if misty rain cometh, get them all in for the night, I have done this and so far so!!!!!!!!! I’m not going to chance fate and say it, good Luck

  5. Colleen McNamara

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Your logic was sound. BUT it seems that the genetics of Shetland ponies is geared to be able to exist on very little. (just air?) So this works against them. Your track for them to exercise is good, but even an extra blade of grass seems to be put to set their metabolism to
    putting on weight and laminitis. Not sure you can monitor their intake unless each gets their own feed bag, ( or do the individual bowls work without stealing someone else’s ration?) but ponies like to graze it is natural to them so??? Does Daisy have any ideas? I wish I had some magic solution. Does look like a trim will help . Sending warm thoughts and fingers crossed.

  6. Jacqueline

    Oh dear, yes very worrying and extremely annoying. But now I’m going to be annoying and say let’s put it in perspective. Ducks, cat, dogs, children, OH, everything else you feed, all good, just ponies not quite so.
    That 6 v 1, if I could find my calculator I’d work out the percentage of your success and it’d be very high.
    I know this doesn’t help but it shows you aren’t all failure. Chin up and as my mother used to say, Save your worries until it actually is confirmed as L. ( can’t bring myself to type the dreaded word).

  7. Judith Garbutt

    Definitly don’t feel bad, Frances. Getting the balance right is so difficult. I’ve been envying your track system – it’s simply not possible where my pony is so he can only go out with a muzzle on. You are so good at noticing even the slightest change in the way any of your little herd moves or behaves so, hopefully, and with fingers well crossed, you’ll have caught it in time to prevent any full blown attacks.


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