Updates on Dixie & Grace – How horses traveled back then?… Nutrition Webinar


I saw this photo of Grace the other day and I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Look at Amazing Grace now!!

Let me help you with this refresher…   Grace was our Bucket Fund babe for the month of September.  Our Group raised the most ever for this poor, starved mare.  Giving to her was so wonderful because we could watch her fill out daily.  It was as if we were putting coins in a real horsey piggy bank that was actually getting fatter as the funds grew!  And, since so many starvation cases don’t have a happy ending, this one was especially dear to my heart because she fought against all odds.  This horse should not have made it…

Grace before, the skinniest horse still alive.

OMG!  Did Darla (Strawberry Mountain Mustangs) and Ms. Grace (she had a will to live…) do a great job or what?!

From this...

If you don’t know Grace’s story, you can read it here.  Basically, the poor mare was left with a few other horses who wouldn’t let her eat.  Her owners did nothing so Grace gave up.  When she was seized by Animal Control, no one thought Grace would live.  She was the skinniest horse still alive; a .5 on the Henneke Scale.  That’s bad.  Real bad.

To this!... in just a few months.

But lookey at her now!!  Wohoo! Give her some groceries and she’s a whole new mare!

If you click here, you can watch a news video about Grace.  And, if you listen really closely, you can hear Darla’s teeth chattering!…  It gets cold up there in Orygun (I lived there so I can say that…)!


Well, not so good news for one of our Stocking Stuffer horses, Dixie.  I just wrote about her on Sunday.  Her story is linked here.

Dixie, waiting to be rescued, calling after Theresa who visited for the first time.

Anyway, she was rescued because she was all alone in a field, very skinny with no shelter and she was coughing.  Her owners had her for 18 years but didn’t want to mess with her anymore.  So, this very sweet mare was brought to BHFER to be nourished and loved.  In the few days so far, she has blossomed, gained some weight, stolen hearts and found her true love in a gelding named Prince.

Dixie's cough is worse... they are giving her every medication known to help this condition.

All was looking good… except her cough is becoming worse.  The Doctor was out today and here is what Theresa said:

“Dr. Ryan came out to examine Dixie today – she started coughing over the weekend.  Her temperature was ok but her HR and RR were elevated.  A CBC was done.  We will be starting her on an AeroHippus aerosol inhaler system as soon as it arrives – it should be here tomorrow.  She has also been started on antibiotics.  She also gets Dex and Ventipulmin.  Dr. Das is coming to work on her on Wednesday.  Dixie could use prayers.”

So, if you were thinking of donating to Dixie (and receiving a certificate to give as a gift…), please click here.  With all the medical expenses, Dixie could use a helping hand or a sponsor.

Dixie and her new love... Prince.


Originally, today’s post was going to be about how horses traveled on boats long ago.

You see, I was reading the book, THE SOUL OF A HORSE which was just given to me.  One of the chapters describes horses on a Spanish ship which ran aground and the horses fell off of the boat and swam to shore.

That was interesting to me… and the way the author described the stowage totally peaked my curiosity.  He used the term, “sway”.  It felt as if he was suggesting that the horses were in harnesses in their stalls or whatever containment areas they had back then.  Hmmmmm.  So, I went a huntin’ – Google huntin’.

But, I found nothing.

I swear.  I tried every which way to come up with the correct search keywords and NOTHING.  Goose eggs.  I even asked Hubby how to search for what I wanted.  He suggested I key in “early vessel livestock transportation”.  Sounded good.  Nothing.

The horse looks to be in a hammock type sling...

I still have no idea how they transported horses back then.  But, I do know that the death rate was 50%.  And, the other 50% generally got eaten after they survived the trip…  Hard times.  It wasn’t until way later that the seamen figured out how to live off the land and not the horses.  Anyway, the success of the horse in sea travel was tied to man’s ability to survive and create better methods, obviously.  And, things got much better for the horse just about the same time that sea travel became more luxurious for the human as well..

I have no idea why I couldn’t find much information.  Maybe all the voyagers were just so dang tired that they didn’t want to remember any of it — ever.  I have no clue why there was no documentation.  Of, if there is, Mr. Google was keeping it to himself.  All I got was this one measly photo… which really isn’t that measly – I quite liked it.  You can see that the horse is in a hammock-like swing contraption.  I’m sure his feet touched the ground but I’m guessing this swing made it easier for him to maintain his balance without slamming into the walls of his stall.

The second photo doesn’t help much since it is from 1940 and fairly recent.  But, I thought it was cool so I put it in anyway…

GABRIELLE SUTTON, equine nutritionist

When Norma started suffering laminitis yesterday, I immediately thought of Gabrielle.  So, I contacted her and we chatted.  I was reminded how much I respected her wealth of knowledge and plethora of detail in the food/chemical/mineral arenas.  You can read my previous post about her here.

She came to my ranch last year to help with Aladdin.  I followed her around like a puppy with a notepad.  She could look at a horse and tell me what I needed to start feeding and what I needed to stop feeding.  At the end of the visit, she had all 14 of my horses on their precise and particular diets.  It was manageable and easy to understand — because it all made so much sense.

I still have her hand written instructions laminated on the barn refrigerator.  I swear.  I also follow her worming schedule (way less invasive) but that is for another day…

Click here to go to her site

Previously, Gabrielle was a human nutritionist.  She has since moved to equines and now has a large team of Researchers, Naturopath, Nutritionist, Veterinarians, Agriculturist and Consultants who are available 24/7.  Love that.

Anyway, while we were chatting, she told me about her FREE (Yay!) webinar.

Now, I’m not a big webinar person because I don’t like giving out my email address to people who are selling things…  However, I signed up for hers immediately.  It is on Dec 6th, 7pm Central Time.  Here is the link to register and the info.  If you are at all interested in equine nutrition and equine food/health relationships, you should sign on to be a part of this.  They are taking potential topics from all that join so this is possibly your chance to get that nagging question answered!

Here is the info:


Tell us what you want to know and become a Member of the KAM Equine Learning Circle

Join us for a Webinar on December 6

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Would you like to learn more about what can be done to help your horse with ulcers, EMS/IR, lameness, hives, colic, allergies, back pain, hoof problems, arthritis and so on? Do you struggle to determine the best nutrition for your horses and become completely overwhelmed by the vast array of feeds and supplements available? What about issues like conditioning, saddle fitting, shoeing, dehydration, long travel, legal use of supplements, teeth floating and the many other questions you need answered?

Join the first FREE webinar on December 6th at 7pm CST and participate in an “all around” Equine Wellness session that allows you to submit your questions and top picks of topics to be covered in the upcoming webinar series starting in early 2011.

Starting January 10th, every other Monday night at 7pm CST, KAM Animal Services along with staff Veterinarian Dr. John Hanover and guest “experts” will hold an educational webinar on various equine health topics that are important to anyone owning and caring for horses. These will be MUST KNOW webinars!

Each webinar will get into detail with topics that will help you help your horse. By you becoming an “Equine Learning Circle” member, you will become more knowledgeable and will be armed with the information you need to keep your horses healthy and happy.

The “Equine Learning Circle” topics will be expanded from KAM’s very popular “Tips of the Week,” which has been posted every Monday on www.dressagedaily.comwww.horsesdaily.com and www.horsesinthesouth.com.
Take a moment to visit KAM Animal Services website where all recent tips that have been published can be found.

Title: Tell us what you want to know and become a Member of the KAM Equine Learning Circle

Date: Monday, December 6, 2010

Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY!  Thank you for reading and if I knew what I was going to write for tomorrow, I’d give you a snippet here.  But, right now, I have no idea.  Doh!


Instant Do-Gooding. Click here!

HELP WITH PAYBACK!!   Donation Gift Certificates are here!  Yup, if you donate to help Tullie (the burned horse), Gump (the ugly horse), Dixie (the starved and sick horse) or the Wild Mustangs/Burros (the gathered horses), you can now get  “A Donation has been made in Your Honor” certificates to give as gifts!  You can use them for coworkers, family, friends or in lost pet’s names…  Yay!  For Instant Karma, click here! Your donation will immediately turn into a certificate for you!

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Donkeys DO suffer laminitis and founder. Getting them into the barn is no fun, either…

Don’t let anyone tell you that donkeys don’t suffer laminitis or founder. I’ve herd that falsity over and over.

Well, let me tell you, it isn’t true.  I know this because Norma, my donkey, has laminitis right now.  Very serious stuff.  Nothing to take lightly.


Yup.  Sure, donkeys are not prone to the same leg and foot problems that plague horse.  But, given incorrect foods (too many sweets), donkeys can and do succumb to laminitis and founder.

My curly haired Norma, after the rain...


I didn’t.  Well, maybe I did, indirectly, but I wasn’t there at the time.  You see, five years ago, I left Grass Valley for two years.   I could only take 5 of my horses with me so I needed to temporarily place Norma and the ponies… I knew my neighbor coveted Norma and only Norma.  But since they were a trio, she offered to take all three.  I was thrilled because this is the neighbor that already brought two horses into their 40s and presently had 9 cows in their upper teens.  I knew Sonja would take extra special care of my three.

What I didn’t consider in this fostering was that Sonja loves to feed — especially treats.  Since Sonja’s animals are very large, this ‘need to feed’ was no issue.  I mean, 9 – 2000 lbs cows can put it away, if you know what I mean.  But, my Norma, at that time,  weighed only about 400lbs and was as dainty as a teacup.

Norma became Sonja’s favorite (of course!).  She was brought into a lovely stall at dusk and received the full 4-Star treatment with special love, affection and a bucket of apples/carrots/donkey treats nightly.  Norma became a bit portly and then … suffered laminitis.

It was at that precise laminitis moment that I returned to Grass Valley.  Sonja called me in a panic to bring Norma and the ponies back to the ranch.  Norma was lame and I was flabbergasted.

A donkey, lame?  How could this be?

Sonja told me that the vet told her to quit the sweets and she would be fine…

She came back to me a bit portly. My farrier calls her, "Enorma".


Norma was willing to walk home to the ranch, very tenderly.  She wobbled like the largess donkey she had become and I was a bit frantic.  I had no idea how long this had been going on or if there had been any founder.  Immediately, I called out the vet and his Xray machine.

Luckily, no rotation.  We gave her some Bute, put her in a heavily bedded stall and waited.  Within a week, she was fine.


So, for the last three years, Norma has slimmed a bit (those last 50lbs are hard for a poor donkey to lose!) and she lives in a mostly barren pen that she and the ponies scrounge around, eating anything that dares peep its little green head.

About once a week, I let all three out to romp around the irrigated front lawns and other areas, just to exercise themselves and their little pony/donkey minds.  They love it!  And, for three years, no problems.

I didn't see the signs...


Except, there was a problem today…  I had let them out two days ago and the next morning, Norma was sore.  I actually didn’t connect the dots…  I cleaned out her hoof (felt no heat) and thought she might have been playing too rough with the boys. Since there was no heat and no swelling, I thought it was her shoulder.  It never occurred to me that the grass had gotten to her.

Yes, it had been raining this week and the grass had grown in a powerful, sugary burst.  I should have realized that it was more potent right now.  But still, they weren’t out on the grass for that long…  I missed the ‘green grass = trouble’  idea completely.

Today, she was worse.  So much worse that I knew it wasn’t her shoulder.  Either she had an abscess or laminitis.  Doh.  I felt so stoopid.


OY.  Trying to get Norma to the barn was a nightmare for her and for me.  Poor thing.  She wanted nothing to do with moving towards the barn and everything to do with eating more grass.  It went something like this:

You want me to do what??!

Me:  Norma, we need to go to the barn so I can take care of you.

N:  I’m fine.

Me:  No, you are limping and I need to help you now before it gets worse.

N:  Look.  I’m fine.  (standing upright and square)

Me:  No, you’re faking it.  C’mon.

N:  No.

Me:  Norrrrmaaaa, c’mon to the barn (in my singsongy voice)

N:  Nnnnoo (mocking me).

Me:  C’mon, I’ll give you a treat.

N:  There’s lovely gren grass all around.  Why would I go to the barn, silly human?

Me:  Puleeze.

N:  Uh.  No.

Me: I’m insulted.  I’m hurt (trying to lay the guilt trip on her) and I love you and let Mom help you.

N:  Ha! Nice try!  Nope.

Me:  (pulling like mad)  Come!  NOW!

N:  (digging in her heels)  The fact that you are puuuullling so hard AND YELLING makes me know that coming with you is a bad idea.  NO.

Have you ever tried to move a donkey that didn’t want to move?  Useless effort.


(I’m not making light of this.  I know laminitis is a solemn illness.  But, getting her to the barn was kinda funny…)

So, I had the great idea to let the ponies out and then rattle some grain so they’d follow me to the barn and she would follow them.  As I went to the barn to get the grain, Norma hobbled up, quite well, to where the ponies were eating grass and proceeded to join them.

Seeing her nibble on more green grass, I went berzerk.  NOOOOOOOOOOOO!  I went charging up the hill with my grain spilling everywhere… NOOOOOO.  All three scattered like Mom had just turned into a beast with three heads, which I had…

Both the ponies ran to the barn.  Yay!  I let them in.  Perfect!  Mission accomplished… except, not really.  Norma held fast, back out on the green grass.  She wasn’t falling for it.  (Donkeys ARE smarter than horses in many ways…)

Me:  Lookey, Norman, the boys are in the barn having treats (sometimes you have to lie to a donkey…).

N:  Fine.  I don’t care.  I have green grass.  They are stoopid to fall for your tricks.

Me:  Hmmmmm (me rubbing my forehead)   She’s right…

OK, now what do I do?  I have the ponies in the barn, which I don’t want, and Norma is outside the barn which I don’t want either.  I decided to drive Norma to the barn.  I threw some pellets to the ponies to keep them away from the gate (instead of putting them in the stall right there in front of them… you can see where this is going…).

Gently, I carefully walked behind her.  Since she knew exactly what I wanted the entire time, she sighed deeply, OH ALRIGHT,  and hobbled down to the barn.  However,  silly me, not planning this well, had not left the barn gate open and Norma took a quick veer left and ran/gymped back up the hill.

Sheesh.  I should fire myself.

Now I was really frustrated because I didn’t want her to irritate that foot (or the other one) any more by taking one more step than needed.   So, I gently drove her back to the barn and cornered her at the gateway.  Good idea.  Bad execution.  The ponies had finished the pellets and they were now both at the gate, blocking Norma’s entrance.  HEY, LET US OUT TO EAT GREEN GRASS.

Bad plan.

So, I left Norma to her own devices and muscled my way into the barn (past pony patrol) and put them both in a stall – like I should have in the first place.  When I returned to get Norma, all I could see was her donkey patootey.  Once again, I ran in front of her and drove her into the barn. OH NOW JUST COOL YOUR JETS… I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.  SHEESH.  STOP ALREADY.

Phew.  She was in!  But, so were the ponies…

After a Keystone Cop kinda shuffle, I got the ponies out and Norma settled.

Getting a donkey to go anywhere she deosn’t want to go is an incredible feat of trickery and bribe.  Even when she loves you.


At this point, we are both already exhausted.  But, I knew Norma needed pain relief, swelling relief (although I saw no swelling and felt no heat) and stress relief.  So, I gave her some apple flavored bute and proceeded to create cushy hoof pads for her night in the barn.

My left over blue foam cushy pad with the outline of her hooves.

You see, I’m fairly familiar with laminitis woes since my mare suffered with pregnancy laminitis during her last quad-mester.  I still had all the tools.  Blue foam, vet wrap and boots.  Unfortunately, all my boots were horse-sized, not the dainty size I needed.  But, I made do.


(This is what my vet had me do whenever my mare got worse and before he could arrive.)

First, I put Norma’s bad foot on the foam and drew a line around it.  I cut it out and vet wrapped the new cushy pad on her foot so it wouldn’t slide (or so I thought).  Next, I made a cut-out of the good foot based on the bad foot (since she wouldn’t put weight on her bad hoof).  I tried to vet wrap that on but she wouldn’t keep her foot up long enough so the application was not very secure.

It was on there but not on well...

Hmmmm.  I decided to keep the good foot wrapped poorly but secured in a boot.  I had no donkey-sized boots so I used the temporary lightweight trail fix boot that I used on Tess.  It is a flat cut-out with velcro tabs that allow you to “wrap” the hoof.  I did this.  It wasn’t pretty but it worked.

I wrapped the other foot, with the pad, in the flat boot. Not pretty but it did the trick.

I gave her some grass hay and left her for a bit.

Go Away! Leave me in peace, woman!

When I came back, the pad on the bad foot had slipped.  So, I Ninja wrapped it again and it seemed better.


I am hoping that some soft bedding, bute and no green grass will help the laminitis subside.

I Ninja wrapped it and went inside to study...

In the meantime, I’ve been scrambling to learn more about feeds/supplements that might help promote and strengthen the system against laminitis, if there is such a thing.  Or, a supplement that helps the circulation or something like that.  People have given me many ideas that I’ve stored in a folder for future use.  Well, the future is here.  I’m going to order something tonight and I will keep you posted.

For now, I’m sitting on pins and needles, waiting for the morning.  I sure hope she is better.  Laminitis is NOTHING to play with.  And, once it occurs, it can always reoccur.  Even in donkeys.


Donor Gift Certificates! Click here

HELP WITH PAYBACK!!   Donation Gift Certificates are here! Yup, if you donate to help Tullie (the burned horse), Gump (the ugly horse), Dixie (the starved horse) or the Wild Mustangs/Burros (the gathered horses), you can now get a “A Donation has been made in Your Honor” certificates to give as gifts!  You can use them for coworkers, family, friends or in lost pet’s names…  Yay!  INSTANT KARMA  Click here to go to the certificates page!  THANK YOU.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

November Bucket Fund, the gathered Wild Mustangs and Burros! Click here!

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Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!

Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!