Today marks six whole weeks since Colin arrived, it feels like he’s been around forever. He’s starting to get a little personality, he shouts for his breakfast and dinner (man after my own heart), comes to his name in the field and is slowly learning that as a horse owned by a woman, kisses on the face happen daily.
On the day he arrived it was pretty clear that “turned away in a field for 6 months” was exactly that, he had a full winter coat, lack of muscle and was a bit skinny with some scabby skin and I knew I would have my work cut out a little trying to put weight on a horse at this time of year. So after a swift haircut I could really see what I was working with – I cried.
Now with everything you can’t just go in all guns blazing, you wouldn’t adopt a child from a famished country and straight away take it to maccies for 20 chicken nuggets would you? No, you would have to look at the foundation of a good diet and get weight on in the right way. Luckily my job gives me a good base knowledge of feeding but as with everything I totally doubted myself and checked my decisions with the lovely Nicola from Saracen Horse Feeds (who I swear by) she confirmed I was going down the right route – first smug face.
Fibre – starch – sugar + All the calories = winning combination
Good quality forage is always going to be a basis right? Horses are hind gut fermenters (unlike us carnivores) it takes a long time for them to digest their food and fibre takes the longest, also whilst the food is being digested they create their own energy to keep themselves warm, clever hay? No pun intended!
Calories? Now personally I think I’m very good at consuming calories, unfortunately chocolate and cake doesn’t quite do it for horses but Equi-jewel is a great way of feeding calories without bulk feed, I paired this with the low starch, high oil and super palate-able Re-leve. Re-leve smells like blackcurrant and made into a mash just seems like the dream feed, gives slow release energy and condition without fizz, after all I’m not completely crazy, I’d like to keep his brain cool and my bones all still intact.
Don’t run before you can walk
Along with all the feeding, low level exercise was definitely needed, he didn’t need to go be hammered in a school for weeks, lunged with his head tied to knees nor out galloping around the countryside to ‘get him fit’. He needed to walk, climb hills and enjoy the beautiful views at the top and that’s exactly what we did, two weeks exploring the Quantock Hills at a leisurely pace.
Patience is a virtue
Welsh people aren’t known for being the most patient FYI and after a few weeks I was disappointed that I wasn’t seeing huge differences, everyone kept telling me that it would come I just need to wait and stop staring at him constantly.
My friends, you were all right, he’s still slim but you can 100% see a huge difference, his demeanour has got brighter, he’s shiny and has some muscle. I’m thrilled. There’s still a hugeee way to go but god what a journey it’s already been.
So enjoy some pictures of the transformation so far and roll on spring grass 🥰