Two years ago Tommy was diagnosed with IR (Insulin Resistance) and Cushings disease. http://www.myequineclinic.com/equine-cushings-disease/ it has been a long road to recovery. With the work I’ve done on diet and with the help of my vets, Jeannie Waldron DVM and Lynne Johnson DVM, and of course, my wonderful trimmer Suzanne Warsinsky, we have Tommy on the right track. It was summer 2 years ago when I noticed that Tommy was not shedding and seemed so round. Big red flag, he had foundered twice since he came to live with me 9 years ago. Too easy of a keeper I guess. Eek. He was an ex100-mile endurance horse that had trouble staying sound. So, I took him in. He has been a wonderful horse in my life that anyone could ride.
After getting his diet right, dropping the weight, and Suzanne getting his feet is the right shape, we were able to start slowly riding him again. Having the right fitting saddle made him comfy and free moving, aFreeform Classic BTF.
Thanks to my good friend, Mike, Tommy found a partner! He was interested in learning about conditioning a horse; I had the perfect horse for him to learn on, Tommy. He started him out slow and worked up to riding 2-3 times a week. About 30 miles a week by late fall. This helped Mike gain the confidence to get his own horse and helped Tommy get back into shape.
Early this spring a wonderful young lady Jaclyn Fulk came into our lives. She started riding Tommy several times a week. She was so into riding and helped me get back in the saddle after my accident. This was her first experience on a trotting horse. She had been riding her grandma gaited horse for years. She just loves riding Tommy. When I would look back to check on them she was always smiling. Way too cool to have such a neat lady riding with me.
Tommy made his first endurance-limited distance ride in 5 years this August. He did great, and so did Jaclyn. She took the best care of him. Feed, meds and heart monitor. By the way this was her first endurance ride too! They both did fantastic. The Ride Between the Rivers. It was not the easiest of rides out there. Amazingly enough they vetted through the end of the ride with all A’s. Yes, all A’s! And the vet told her she didn’t ride him hard enough. Then we told the vets that he was a Cushings horse. They couldn’t believe it.
We head out this week for the Virginia Highlands ride. Fingers crossed he’ll do just as well. I’m sure he will with Jaclyn’s great care.
So there is hope out there for the Cushings horses, with the right care and love they can have a wonderful life too.
When Paulita first told me she had the perfect horse for me to ride, followed by he’s an Arab, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. When I pulled into her driveway I couldn’t believe that Tommy was actually an Arab because he really didn’t look like one, but looks can be deceiving. Then she tells me that he has Cushings, and I thought oh my goodness, is she crazy? She is putting me on an Arab who has Cushings, she has completely lost her mind. I didn’t realize at the time the endless lessons that riding Tommy with Paulita would teach me, nor did I realize that I was helping him with managing his Cushings. Eventually Tommy finally taught me how to post, a skill which I will be forever grateful to have learned. We continued riding several days a week and I was having a great time, but I never imagined that in a few short months we would be trailering to The Ride Between the Rivers, my first endurance ride and Tommy’s first ride in several years.
Pulling into the endurance ride, I was a little overwhelmed. The morning of the ride Tommy was ready to go. He was dancing around so much I could barely get his saddle on. Tommy being an old pro I knew he would take care of me, as he always does. Once I got in the saddle, my nerves settled a little. We had prepared for this for months, and now we were ready. The ride was a blast and we vetted through with all A’s which made me so happy. I worried that I had not prepared him enough or that I would miss a sign that something was wrong, but once again Tommy had taken care of us both and pulled us through to the finish. I couldn’t have been more excited with him vetting through with all A’s. I was not only proud of Tommy, I was proud of myself for making it through the ride. Of course doing a ride like that is easier when you have the right equipment and feel safe and secure on your horse. The Freeform Classic saddle that I ride in is great! I love that I feel in tune with Tommy’s movements and I can feel him under my leg. The seat is just perfect, as it is not so deep that I feel sucked into it and not so flat that I feel like I’m sitting on a plywood board. I realized after this ride how important it is to have a comfortable saddle that helps you feel connected with your horse. When you are doing a ride like that, there are too many other things to worry about besides being uncomfortable in your saddle.
I am so blessed to have met Paulita when I did who welcomed me right into her home and her barn as part of her family. I couldn’t be more excited with the progress Tommy has made thus far and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us.