Step by step

The last few weeks have been very focused on trying to get Charmer more comfortable and get a handle on his arthritis again, and have been a bit of a rollercoaster of steps forwards and back – but we’ve just been taking it one day at a time, making breakfast and dinner a cocktail of supplements, using his new magnetic bands and trying everything we can – and I’m now very, very hopeful that we’re getting some real progress!

All his many feed additions with a sprinkle of the sweetest treats to put him off the scent of them all!

After starting on a new supplement Nutraquin+ at the vet’s advice a few weeks back, in addition to his usual Danilon at a slightly increased dose, and going back on turmeric back then too which he had been on in the winter last year; in the last week or so we’ve also started No Bute at a recommendation from a friend and also switched the turmeric to Turmeraid, with added black pepper, at another’s recommendation – all of which seem to be contributing to a comfier boy.

I’ve always been glad to have the support of others with more experience than me throughout my life with Charmer, but have never been so grateful as now for friends at the livery yard. In the last few months, especially with juggling the littlest baby at home and lockdown schedules, I’ve had a lot of practical help from Charmer’s fieldmates’ owners, managing the bringing in and turning out, who have been wonderful; and there are also a few of us on our lovely yard with horses at just exactly the same age all of whom are navigating arthritis, and some of the things that have worked best have been recommendations from them or other friends either at the yard or who I’ve known from the past. It’s wonderful being able to share ideas and try out new things and when Charmer was struggling most and I was so upset, the kindness of the people we share the farm with was overwhelmingly lovely and such a big help as we moved slowly forwards.

As well as the feed additions we’ve built his magnetic bands, which I started him wearing a couple of weeks ago, up to full use, so he now has these on while he’s out, about 16 hours a day, and just has them off while in his stable for his 7-8 hours in. Got him on a new routine at the moment of coming in for breakfast at 11ish with his fieldmate, having some hours in, and then when I arrive at either 5ish or 8ish in the evening (depending on whether pre- or post- bedtime here at home!) he has his second feed, and we walk back out. It’s always hard to know how to play it in terms of time in and out as I know he does better out for keeping moving and not stiffening up but with needing two feeds at the moment for the staggered Danilon didn’t want to have him walking in and out twice, and he seems to enjoy some downtime in the stable at the moment and not seem too stiff when it’s kept to under 8 hours or so – so going with it for the moment, although I hope maybe when I see the vet next week we might be able to combine everything in one feed and then he could be in for a shorter time.

Watching the ships on the water with him on our wanders out

Walking back out to his field has been the most difficult thing to manage over the past weeks – we can either make it a very short walk straight from his barn to his field gate, but on a slight slope which he seems to find really difficult, or a longer walk around the yard but more on the flat. He definitely seems to prefer the long way, but although some nights he’s managed fine, others he’s been really struggling whenever on the concrete, although managing fine on grass – and managing absolutely fine on the grass in his field too. One of the other owners at the farm had suggested Scoot Boots hoof boots for him, and my lovely friend let me borrow hers to see how they worked out. After two nights of using them to walk back out I’m very very hopeful we might have found a bit of a breakthrough for him, as they seemed to make the most incredible difference to how he felt – basically just letting him walk with shoes on without the trauma to his legs of being shod.

Still want to stay just cautiously optimistic as I know we’re battling a difficult thing here and it’s taken a long time to see the improvements we have but I’m absolutely over the moon to see some (sometimes quite bouncy!) strides forwards in the last couple of days. As we walked round to the field last night he almost broke into a trot to follow my friend walking a little ahead with an apple, and was ears forward and happy all the way – such a welcome sight!

He seems to be doing well and be comfy at the moment both in the stable and in the field and he’s otherwise in such good health for his age, so it’s just the movement between we’ve got to master, and I really hope we’re getting there.

Enjoying the field life….
…and our quiet nights in the barn together 🥰

Hope you’re all having a lovely week. X

4 thoughts on “Step by step”

  1. What a handsome chap!

    I’m only just catching up with things now but how nice you have reliable, solid support from others at your yard. That’s not something you find or hear about often although we should really.

    Can’t offer any suggestions or advice but just wanted to stop by and say my old horse loved a good massage on his back end and legs with peppermint oil before bedding down for the night. Could see him partially melt and lose an inch or so in height from the big deep sigh and contented “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh that feels good”

    I agree it’s better to try and encourage daily stretch out and exercise even if only for a couple of hours but as you rightly say it’s a case of playing it by ear, taking each day as it comes and adapting to Charmer and how he’s feeling. At least you have good support at the yard though that’s worth its weight in gold.

    We used to have ours live out most of the time (24yrs and 29yrs) but this time of year when it started getting colder, darker and not safe to keep them out in pitch black fields for that long, I’d close off the larger summer turnout fields, bring them up into the smaller paddock and turn them out in there but two or three times a week they came in for the night, were bedded down all cosy and able to have good kip and be well rested.

    Crushed a small handful of lavender buds into a brush and ran it over them, gave a good massage with peppermint and rubbed some into the palm of my hands and rubbed the excess quite hard with both hands on their legs to warm up and relax muscles. Threw a nice clean stable rug on, switched on fairy twinkle lights and the radio playing away quietly and they were well away. Pair of them snored, swayed and farted peacefully all night.

    Amazing what you can do for the body if you do for the mind 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Another thing I forgot to mention but it just came to me now cos my daughter has started gathering up old clothes – DIY stable rugs and blankets are a great way to keep Charmer toasty and cosy warm in winter using lightweight fleeces, old blankets or patchwork quilts etc.

        My daughter’s old loan horse is murder for ruining and ripping rugs to bits but for some reason he’s happy to keep on a nice warm homemade blanket so she stitches old stuff together and just adds Velcro straps and a clip buckle for the front.

        That horse is murder honestly. Bought him a brand new full winter turnout rug and it lasted him one night before he’d ragged it all off, ripped out the stuffing and left a giant poo on top just to really make sure I knew what he thought of that rug.

        I nearly ordered him a new one from Amazon then thought I must be mad spending money on what I know he’ll trash.

        The one she’s making at the minute is a lightweight one from old fleece jumpers and dog blankets. She’ll make another from patchwork quilts and throws but it’s the same thing – just varies in thickness.


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