Dulce has been here officially one week, and he seems to be settling in fine. He eats like crazy, and he could sleep through an earthquake. Harley seems to love him, and Chaco is figuring out he isn’t at the bottom of the barrel anymore.
Dulce, as you know is a bit thin; okay really thin. What happened is it appears while on the track his teeth were never floated. Horses can develop sharp points on their teeth, which can make it hard for them to eat since they can’t break the food down properly. Because of this, they can’t extract the nutrition they need, and it leads to weight loss. Bad teeth can lead to ulcers. Horses are constantly producing stomach acid as compared to humans who only produce it when they eat. If a horse can’t masticate their food properly, that stomach acid isn’t appeased, and it can create ulcers throughout their digestive tract.
Dulce had one hindgut ulcer and two on his tongue. When I brought Chaco home from the track, he kept biting his tongue. I took him to the dentist, and he had one sharp point. If I would have ignored that, he probably would have developed an ulcer on his tongue like Dulce did. While he was at NTWO, they took care of the ulcers in his mouth and the hindgut. However, he still hasn’t put weight on. If you hear anyone tell you that you don’t need to get your horse’s teeth floated until he is much older, don’t believe it. Get them done every year; you can look at Dulce to see how much bad teeth has affected him. He just turned five.
This is worrisome to me obviously. I’m a barefoot trimmer, and I believe what we feed our horses can cause all sorts of problems like bad hooves. My horses are on low sugar and low starch diets, which means they don’t get any oats, corn, sweet feed, or anything with molasses on it. Dulce now gets two medium meals and two small meals a day to slowly add calories throughout the day and to keep his digestive tract happy. He is on flaxseed, beet pulp (molasses free), and timothy hay pellets that he gets as a mash. He also gets Copra, which is a low sugar, low starch feed made from coconuts. It is filled with good fats and protein. I am also waiting on GastroMend to come, and in the meantime he is on aloe vera gel and marshmallow root to heal up ulcers. I’m hoping this will help him gain weight. He also wears a blanket at night, because I don’t want him to waste any calories trying to stay warm. Hoping this all works!
He has gained weight, 16 pounds since he got here, however it is all probably water weight that he gained back from his long trip here. He drank a lot of water on the trip, but I’m sure he lost more water than I was able to get into him along all of those miles.
He also has two bad front hooves. He developed solar abscesses probably because he couldn’t absorb any nutrition from his feed. Also, he was on well water, which often is high in iron. Iron in high amounts can block the essential minerals that a hoof needs to maintain its health. He is off well water here, and I put him on California Trace, which is meant to balance those high levels of iron in water, feed, etc;, and it creates a good, strong hoof. Chaco’s and Harley’s hooves are so healthy and strong now because of this.
Dulce is in the process of shedding the old sole on the right front hoof as the new one develops, and I just got his left front hoof to stop draining. It is already closing up and starting to develop new tissue. Each day I go out and clean it, put sugar/betadine on it, cover it with a diaper, and then boot him with EZ Boot Clouds.
He sure has some moves. He can corner on a dime, and he has some good speed to him. He loves to play with Harley and Chaco over the fence. I can’t introduce them together until I get the sole grown in on both front hooves first, so the fence remains until his hooves have some support. He walks up to me each time I go into his run. He loves to sniff me up and down, and while I work on his hooves, he loves to lick my lower back. It tickles. He is the sweetest horse with a good mind. I’ve yet to see him spook at anything, and he ponders everything he sees around him; he’s definitely a thinker. All he wants is a relationship with those around them, and he’s getting that. Yesterday while soaking his hooves, I did some Masterson work on him, and he loved it. He totally relaxed into it, and we got a few releases. I spend a lot of time with him, and after this storm moves through and since he seems to have adjusted to the altitude well, I’m going to start walking him 20 minutes a day. This will help those muscles develop and hopefully help release some of those muscles and put some weight on him.
Dulce is a happy boy, and we have a long journey ahead of us. It could be several months before I even think about putting a saddle on him. It all depends upon his weight and muscle gain. In the meantime, there are a lot of things we can do together, and I look forward to each minute of it.