Category Archives: Mama Tess

A Regumate experiment: will it help my laminitic mare?

Well this was interesting today…

My mare, Mama Tess, seemed slightly off about 10 days ago.

At that time I put her in the barn.  She’s been totally off grass, has had anti inflammatory medicine daily and I’ve had her on Omega Alpha’s Anti-Flam.

That usually does the trick.

And, she seemed to be improving – in fact, she seemed almost normal – but I kept her in the barn to be safe –  with no green grass and on a restricted diet – for the past 9 days.

This morning, the 10th day, she was dead lame on the fronts.

Ahhhhhhhhhghhhh!  What tha?

I gave her a loading dose of Banamine, deeply bedded her stall, iced her feet and called the vets.


This has never happened before – where she got worse for no reason – except when it was an abscess.  Yet, I could feel no heat and she hoof tested ‘not sore’.

I know, it could still be an abscess up high in there…  but in both fronts?  Could be…

Luckily, I got a call back from one of my vets.  She would come right over (love that).

After taking Tess’s temp and pulse, it was clear she was in pain but not infected.

We tested her hooves again.  Nothing.

We felt for pulses.  None.

But Tess would not move her fronts.  She was like a statue.

Even the Banamine had no effect… it had been two hours since I double dosed her and it was not doing anything.

Wow.  I was becoming frightened.

I told the vet my regime over the previous 9 days.

“Hmmmmmm”, she said.

“Let me tell you a story…”

I went back into the barn at 9pm and she seemed much brighter.  I gave her the Regumate at 6:30pm.

I went back into the barn at 9pm and she seemed much brighter. I had given her the Regumate at 6:30pm.


The vet proceeded to tell me about a few mares she cared for who foundered last Spring and a few more who were presently foundering/laminitic like my mare.

She said that in her mind, it seemed that this type of laminitic episode only happens in mares – where you catch it early, do all the right things and they continue to worsen, or get better then worsen for no obvious reason, or they worsen overnight when there are no triggers – and none are helped by non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.

She hadn’t experienced this with any geldings.


She said she was thinking that there might be a hormonal component to this kind of laminitis.

“I mean,” she said, “why is it always in April and always mares?  April is when their heat cycles kick in… right?”

She then proceeded to tell me that on a hunch, she dosed these mares with Regumate to inhibit their cycles.. just in case the heat cycle was the trigger.

All 4 mares got better within 24 hours – and continued to improve.

As you can see, she is leaning on her fronts.

As you can see, she is leaning on her fronts.


I cannot stand to watch Mamma Tess suffer.

This episode was very odd.  I could not find a reason for her to be sore like this overnight – especially since I had been controlling her every move for 10 days.

I thought the Regumate was worth a try….

Couldn’t hurt, could help.

So, we gave her a dose.

By the time I write to you all tomorrow, it will have been 24 hours.

We shall see…

As I was leaving, I gave her some beet pulp and she moved over to get it.  I'm crossing my fingers that she will continue to improve.

As I was leaving, I gave her some beet pulp and she moved over to get it. I’m crossing my fingers that she will continue to improve.

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



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

Polishing up the Old Mare.

FIRST, FOR ALL OF YOU NORTHERN CALIFORNIA READERS:  National Equine Resources Network has a very successful low-cost gelding clinic program working year round throughout California.  NERN is currently looking for facilities in Northern California for their Spring Clinics.  Ideally they want a venue of 10 stalls and a covered area/arena with convenient highway access.  If you know of any facility that would donate their grounds, please let me know.  Many thanks!!  THIS IS A GREAT PROGRAM that takes a proactive stance on the plight of homeless horses.

And… HORSELOVERZ is having a ‘make an offer’ sale on all of their saddles.  I just thought I’d pass this along in case anyone is looking for a saddle that HORSELOVERZ carries.  Seems like fun and potentially a great deal.  Here is the link.

Now back to the blog!


No, not me…

My old mare, Tess.  She probably gets the least attention of the entire herd.

It isn’t because I love her less that she receives the least attention.  It is just because she was pampered for so long in her show career (she used to be HVK Noble Heiress), she’s made it known that if no one ever messed with her again, she’d be OK with it.   And, she is THE QUEEN around the barn so what she says generally goes…

To be honest, I indulge her because she is so well mannered and behaved that she is hard to resist.  She has Hubby wrapped around her little hoof…  I swear she flirts with him.

Tess (seeing Hubby near the barn): Hhhhhheeeehhh  heh heh hey!

Hubby:  Are you referring to me?

Tess:  Oooh yes.  You are sooooo handsome and I really think a cookie from you would be better than a cookie from anyone else.

Hubby:  A cookie from me?

Tess (giving her best Barbara Eden eye bat):  Oh yes, Master!

Hubby:  How many cookies would you like?

Tess: Coming from you, every cookie would be a celebration!

Hubby:  Wow. OK, would you like the whole box of cookies then?

Tess (smiling inside):  If you could…

Hubby (giving Tess everything she wants…): You are the best horse, we communicate so well!

Tess (smiling inside): Oh Yes, Master!

Tess in her glory days. Spit-shined for sure.


I’ve got to shout out for the older horses.

I know that many people think older horses are worthless.  If they cannot hold a job, all they are doing is eating up owners’ finances.

I see it totally differently.

Older horses are so wise.  They’ve been there done that.  They are calm, grateful and introspective.  They thank you.  They appreciate you.

They calm and teach the young horses.  They calm and teach the humans.

And it doesn’t take much to make them happy… It’s like taking Grandma to the mall or for lunch.  The LOVE that you thought of them and they love getting out and they love being with you.  Simple.  The older ones concentrate on what is important…

Companionship, life and appreciation.

It kills me that the older horses are dumped and overlooked often.

(To that point, if you’d like to look after and sponsor an older, abandoned horse, click here.)


OK, well, back to Tess.

She may always be the QUEEN, but she doesn’t always look the part.  Ahem.

Yesterday she appeared rather shabby.

Her coat was filthy and muddy, her eyes had some goop and her mane looked tufty and clumpy.

She was due for a fluff and fold.

So, I brought her in.

Tess last week. Matted, dirty with eye goobers. She doesn't care but...


It is actually quite easy to bring her in.  That is what I love about the older mares.  They create a wide berth.  No one messes with them and everything happens at a slow and steady pace.  In fact, I could swing open the barn gate and sit there – and no other horse would dare to walk through before the QUEEN.  Love that.

So I opened the gate and called to her…

All the other horses:  We’ll come in!   How about us?!

Me:  Teeeee  esssssss.

Tess:  Yes.

Me:  I think you need an overhaul.  Whaddyathink?

Tess:  I think I’m fine.

Me:  Well, your tail is matted, your eyes are goopy and your mane is a mess.

Tess:  And…

Me: C’Mon, let me fix you up…

Tess (walking through the gate, grandly):  If you must.


The Grand Dam Tess entered the barn will full fanfare.  All the other animals scattered as she pranced into poll position.

As with all celebrities, she has barn demands written into her contract…  (I’ve long since agreed to her demands and provide accordingly.)

Tess demands to be tied up in front of the third stall.  She likes to have a clean pile of hay in front of her and she likes to sniff the kitties.

Since Tess is such a good girl all the time, I give her what she wishes – contract or not…  I tie her up by the third stall, I give her all the excess hay from all the bins so she has a nice potpourri of different hay samples and I let the kitties mill about.

Spoiled.  Probably.  I have a hard time denying her anything she wishes… that’s always been her charm.

But, as I sit here, I have to say that guilt might play a part here.  I do have guilt for making her perform for so many years.  Part of me knows that she loved being the center of attention.  Another part of me knows that she will suffer joint and ligament pain for the rest of her life because of the intense and stressful job of showing as a Park horse.

Yes, I spoil her.  She’s no bother and she’s earned it.  Spoiling her is the least I can do.

The barn kitties that she loves to watch


Next, we start the ‘procedure’ of bringing the QUEEN back to her grand dam state.

Since it is too cold to wash her, I use this incredible product called Grapefruit Coat Refresh (if you want some, get it now because they are having a sale).  It is like a dry shampoo without the mess of dry shampoo.  It makes her smell fresh and look clean without a bath – Love it!  All I do is spray it on my brush and then give her a good once-over.

My arsenal.


OK, well, some mares love udder washing and some hate it.

Tess loves it.  I swear she rubs her tail just so I will notice and clean her udder.

‘Nuff said…  (I use this to clean her udders.)

Anyway, if you have a mare who rubs her tail when there are no worms, flies or midges, you might want to make sure her udder is clean.

"That feels good!" face. (It looks like she is eating hay from the bale, but actually, she is raising her head and making that face they make when you are itching a good spot!)


I don’t know about you… but tail detanglers that I’ve tried can be really nasty, gooey and slimy..  I hate it when the tail is so sticky from the detangling that it picks up entire bushes of stray leaves and sticks the next time they walks through the paddock…

I didn’t have a detangler so I used the Grapefruit stuff here and after some tricky finger futzing, I had her tail looking good.

The best part?… I could tell that SHE FELT GREAT because she lifted her tail in that ‘show’ stance.  She felt Foofey.   I loved it!

She is strutting and feeling FOOFEY! I caught her at the tail end of her strut, but she was definitely showing off to the crowd with her tail up!


Sometimes, older horses are more sensitive to dust, flies and the sun.  So, they have constant eye goop.

Tess is that way.  She really needs an eye mask at all times.

And even with an eye mask on all the time, she still gets eye goobers.  So I wash her cheek and apply the gel (from the vet) into her eyes.

Now tell me, what youngster would stand there, without a halter, and let you dissolve the goop and add drops?

Yup.  You gotta love the older ones…

Me:  Let me clean out your eyes there.

Tess:  If you must.

Me:  I must.

Tess:  OK, just get it over with.

Me:  OK, close your eyes.

Tess:  For how long?

Me:  I love you. You are perfect.

Tess:  I know.


I swear.  If you groom them, they will strut.  It may not be an award winning strut, but it will be a strut nonetheless.

And yesterday, Tess strutted out of the barn as if she was THE SHIZZ!

She didn’t get far before she buried her head in the grass, but for those moments, I did see her as she used to be.


I love the old ones…

Here she is, settled down to graze - but you can see that her tail is still held high. She loves being pampered again - even if she won't admit it.


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