By Jennifer LaVallee
I have owned my horse Amiric for almost three years now. He just turned 18 on August 3rd! When I purchased him I did have him vetted, he passed the vet exam, but there were some positive flexions on his upper hind limbs. When Amiric came to us, he was being fed Triple Crown senior grain and getting oat bran with every feeding. He was underweight, and lacked proper muscle development. He wasn’t the easiest horse under saddle, as he always had extra energy that he used in a very non productive manner.
A friend of mine who is a large animal vet, recommended putting him on a grain with less sugar, so I switched him to Performance LS. Due to the extra energy and unnecessary spooking, I also put him on Smart Calm Ultra. Through these changes, he became more ridable.
Over the next year and a half, I started feeling like he needed additional support for his joints, and my supplements began growing and growing! It was a joke at the barn because when my order arrived, it looked as though it could have been for the entire barn! He was on a joint supplement, MSM, Vitamin E and Selenium, Smart Calm Ultra, a coat supplement, and getting two Adequan shots a month. With all these supplements I wasn’t feeling like I was getting the results I had hoped for and I started to think: well he is 18, maybe this is what he is going to feel like. However, I did always notice a difference in him after he got the Adequan shot.
Last winter, he started looking really dull, he wasn’t eating his hay, his coat looked terrible, and he lost a significant amount of weight despite efforts to keep it on him. I also noticed he was a bit off on his right hind. I had the vet come out and he flexed positive on his right hind. We did an ultra sound and did X-rays on his stifle and made the decision to inject it.
Around this same time, my trainer Carolyn Tulumello, had started her young Dutch Warmblood on a whole foods diet, and BioStar supplements. Her horse had issues with his gut since he was quite young and, once he began work under saddle, he had a difficult time building a top line with consistently good quality work. She saw results almost immediately. Given the results she saw with her horse, I figured I would try it out; what did I have to lose?
After discussing Amiric with Tigger (who was beyond helpful) we had a plan! Amiric stopped getting his supplements (with the exception of the Cosequin and Adequan), and started with beet pulp, alfalfa cubes, whole oats, and flaxseed. I also started the Furnace EQ supplement, Colostrum (only for a month), Equilibrium, and Empower (hemp oil). About a week after being on this diet I saw a huge difference in the way he was moving, he seemed happier and more comfortable, he also started looking like a dressage horse again.
Amiric has been on BioStar’s recommended whole foods diet since December of 2011, and I am thrilled with the results. I was able to remove the Equilibrium from his daily routine of supplements, although I do keep it handy and use it for horse shows, and clinics that are off site where he is more prone to get stressed. I have added the Star Maker and Comfort Zone to his daily routine, which has proved very helpful in keeping my older guy comfortable so that he can develop proper muscle. Since the diet change, I have been able to reduce my Adequan injections to once a month!
We just completed show season and I had my vet out last week to do repeat flexion tests to determine if Amiric needed maintenance. His flexion tests have actually improved since I first purchased him and the vets just are amazed how great he looks for 18!
I am constantly evaluating his progressing on this diet and I am just thrilled with the results!