Dressage rider Lucy Pingree imported her old English Thoroughbred (1/8 warmblood), Dazzle, from England six years ago. Over the years, Lucy has dealt with a number of issues with Dazzle including problems with energy, weight and strangles. After trying several dietary changes, Lucy decided to try whole food after her trainer recommended BioStar and began to see the physical change and athletic development she always wanted for her horse. Now age 10, Lucy describes Dazzle as, “Love at first sight. My once-in-a-lifetime horse.”
This is Lucy and Dazzle’s whole food story:
After Dazzle was imported, she went to Lucy’s trainer. As time went on the mare got hotter and hotter. In the beginning Dazzle had been calm and forward, but now she was getting more tense and more hot. One day when Lucy was taking a lesson with a clinician, Dazzle reared up and then ran around the arena bucking.
The clinician suggested taking Dazzle off the feed and to just give her hay. Lucy brought Dazzle home, reduced her feed to 1 cup of a low starch feed. The mare indeed became more quiet, but she also had less energy; less desire to be forward. Dazzle also started to put on weight very quickly.
A year later, Dazzle was tested for thyroid and the results came back in the very low category. She started on Thyro L which helped her weight issues but Lucy recalls that, “she would still look swollen from eating hay or being on pasture.”
Lucy and Dazzle went to Southern Pines for the winter, to escape the cold and snow of Massachusetts. It was there that Dazzle was tested for metabolic issues, but the test results could not confirm metabolic syndrome. Her vet suggested that Dazzle go on a metabolic diet that had no molasses. Dazzle was also diagnosed and treated for ulcers.
Lucy put Dazzle on a low starch feed, but after three months the mare stopped eating it. Lucy says, “Normally, Dazzle is a hoover about her food. It bothered me she didn’t like her current feed at all.” Energy was still an issue with the mare. It was as if she had lost her “Go” button. Lucy switched to a different low starch feed, but the mare still lacked energy.
2011: Dazzle’s Health Crisis
In the winter of 2011, Lucy and Dazzle were back in Southern Pines. Becca Vick, who Lucy trained with, suggested that Lucy call BioStar for suggestions on a diet change. Lucy put it off, and then only a few weeks after getting to Southern Pines, Dazzle was diagnosed with strangles. She immediately went to North Carolina State University Vet School where she was kept in isolation for 7 weeks. Although one of her lymph glands still hadn’t healed, Lucy brought the mare home and created her own isolation stall at her barn. Dazzle had lost over 300 pounds at the vet school and according to Lucy, “she looked like a rescue horse.”
Lucy’s vet in Massachusetts suggested that Dazzle would heal better if she had her own turn out with her isolation stall. Lucy maintained the isolation protocol for herself including: rubber boots, surgical gloves, wore a decontamination suit, and separated the manure from Dazzle’s stall by putting it in it’s own isolation area.
She fed Dazzle a low starch feed with rice bran. “She started to improve, but she still didn’t look great.”
In April, when the blood work confirmed that Dazzle could start back into work, and no longer needed to be isolated, Lucy began taking lessons with Alix Szepesi, who suggested that Lucy investigate a whole food diet for Dazzle.
The Diet Change
In the beginning of May, Lucy changed Dazzle’s diet to soaked hay, and a mixture of Speedi Beet with alfalfa pellets. Dazzle didn’t like it all. So Lucy changed it again to Fiber Beet with some added chia seeds. Lucy says, “the mare just hoovered it up.” She started her on Optimum, Equilibrium, Colostrum, and Bio Flora.
“I was amazed at how she began to develop on the new diet”, Lucy says. “She has started to develop in all the places she didn’t develop before: around the withers and on her hindquarters. Her energy is perfect, and she isn’t bloated. And she has perfect focus under saddle.”
Dazzle’s heat cycles have always been challenging, Lucy reports. She tried Regumate and Dazzle broke through the highest dose. Dazzle becomes almost lame behind when she is in season. She develops enormous follicles that make her uncomfortable.
Lucy tried Depo: “Dazzle was a psycho on that”.
So on the recommendations of BioStar, Lucy put Dazzle on Equilibrium and Empower; the organic hemp oil. “Hemp oil has made a huge difference. She is less irritable, less sore. I saw a huge improvement very quickly. I give 1 ounce per feeding, and when she is in season I double it.”
A Visit to Tufts
At the end of June, almost 2 months from her change to the whole food diet, Lucy took Dazzle to Tufts to have them go over her after her winter ordeal with strangles. “The vets couldn’t believe how good she looked after everything she’d been through. I told them what I was feeding her and they were amazed.”
Dazzle’s Current Program
Dazzle has decided that Optimum is not for her, so she gets brewers yeast and almond flour plus Equilibrium, Star Maker, the hemp oil, Flex-Well and StarLyte. “I can really attest to Star Maker,” Lucy says. “It’s made a huge difference in a short time in how quickly she’s building new muscle.”
Lucy’s Thoughts on Whole Food and BioStar
“The whole food diet has helped reduce the amount of Thyro- L Dazzle gets. We are down to half the previous dosage. Dazzle was bred in England where she wasn’t on a diet of processed food and I think the processed feed she was getting here contributed to her metabolic issues. She is fun to ride again, and I feel safe with her. She has the energy to work and she is focused in her work. The diet change for Dazzle has impacted me and my own diet and supplements. I feel so much better now that I’m eating more whole food and taking whole food supplements myself.
“I don’t know where Dazzle would be without BioStar. Thank God I found BioStar, because it gave me back my horse.”