Mara: A New Lease on Life!

(loading photo March 26th 2019) Please read below for March 2022 update!

From March 2019

My granddaughter Adi is learning to ride Mara. It’s been almost a year since Mara joined our herd and we had a lot of issues to overcome. Not just bad arthritis, and body pain, but mental issues as well. She was obviously well trained, and equally obviously overused and treated like a tool. Her knees were quite literally shaking with fear on her first couple of rides with us last month, but very calm, gentle children alleviated that fear and now she is being a pretty typical pony...pushing boundaries!

You can see all the knotting on Mara's coat that pop up overnight. You would think she is never brushed but I attack her nearly daily with a brush while waiting for my new clippers to arrive (which were a week late!) Mara now looks like she was run over by a drunk lawn mower as I didn’t want to completely body clip her yet. We are still having pretty cold nights so I'll keep the knots shaved off, and I trimmed up the bridle path, her face and whiskers where the hair was getting pulled by the bridle, and the girth path, which was very knotted up!

The nice thing about Mara being a senior, slightly broken pony is even if they are being feisty, I don’t have to worry about her getting too out of control. Even though my grandkids have been around my horses since birth, they haven’t had much chance to ride as most of my equines have been rescues, not safe rides for kids. When I found Mara, I was purposely trying to find a pony for them to learn to ride on, and it just happens she was also a “free” horse, with issues that needed my attention as well as being yet another horse I could learn new things on. Though I have helped other people show progress with their Cushings horses, that is not the same as having a hands on project! The most common direction to take a Cushings horse (limited food, low sugar) just does not jive with how I feed horses…though I do feed all my animals low sugar/low starch diets. With Mara I had to re-evaluate the “common” method of addressing Cushings issues, (as a whole disease) and had to break it down to its individual parts…pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, hormone levels, and sugar levels. When I addressed ALL of these compartments, that is when Mara really started making progress.

UPDATE ON MARA: March 7, 2022

Rather than creating a new post about Mara, I wanted to update about her here and link this blog into the products that have helped her. Mara is the reason our Cushings Calm came about and because of her we know how effective it is. While Mara's cushings will never be "cured" because of her age and how advanced it was when she came into our care, the Cushings Calm certainly addresses and helps her with the issues caused by very advanced Cushings. We had a very touch and go year with Mara last year and I actually thought she was at the end of her life but this year she is actually much improved. Our vet believes Mara is around 30, and its much harder for the body to overcome issues but she is holding her own. She no longer has a cresty neck but after having a very hard time shedding out last year, I put her back on the Cushings Calm blend and within a month she was shed out. This winter I have kept her on a half dose with Sugar Down and a half dose of Cushings Calm and while she grew a pretty hefty coat, she is shedding out nicely this year. She is mostly on a bucket diet now as her teeth are wearing out but she does have some graze time and does eat some hay, though more of it is being spit out as hay balls than last year. She is no longer a riding horse but is Grace's companion. She is also experiencing the heavy itching again with the shed out so I've added back in MSM and Apple Cider vinegar to her diet with seems to be the most help with the itchies. Fortunately, while her coat is pretty heavy, its not the four inch long hair that is in the picture below. Though still shy, when I pick up a hairbrush to brush out that heavy, itchy coat, she is RIGHT THERE wanting a good scratching. She also is getting a bit of Eye Boost to keep her eyes strong as they started to cloud up a bit this last year. 

Mara's current diet (which is about double of her original diet to make up for not eating enough hay)...dry measure, everything is soaked before feeding.

6 cups teff pellets 

1-2 cups rice bran depending on temperature

1 cup Copra Meal. Iron Horse is too oily for this old lady. 

Haystack Special Blend (local product). Im not crazy about all the ingredients but it seems to help keep weight on the old folks. 

1 tbs AM Sugar Down

1 TBS PM Cushings Calm

1/2 TBS Eye Boost AM

1/2 TBS Tummy B Calm PM

1 tbs nutritional yeast (helps keep muscle weight up)

1 tbs MSM

splash of organic apple cider vinegar

Pain herbs as needed. The cold weather makes an old body hurt!

In the spring I usually test all the horses and put them on some of their own herbs until winter where I usually only use mixes. However, I always use some mixes through the year so I can really target big issues like the Cushings or digestive issues. 

When to use Cushing's Calm: When Sugar Down isnt giving your horse strong enough effects. When your horse has a super cresty neck, long hair, hard time shedding out, high ACTH levels. Can be paired with Sugar Down (as shown above) If you need further help on which product to use and how, please contact us via our Contact page. 

 Super detoxing while shedding!

Mara shedding process Jan 2019   

Progress, but not quite there yet...(April 26th 2019)

 more updates coming!

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  • I have a 20 year old National Show Horse he was recently diagnosed with Cushing but his glucose is normal he’s on 1/2 cup Speedi Beet Pulp twice a day and 1 cup of rice bran twice a day served wet he is also on grass in the early morning and eats 20 pounds of hay per day. I’m not sure which of your products works best for his particular situation. Can you help me?

    Michele P on
  • I have a 22 year old warmblood. Diagnosed with Cushings. Shedding great on his own, very shiny. He can’t tolerate Pergolide. He is a big horse, but is having a loss of muscle. Fed a very low sugar diet and gets APF PLUS each day. What would you suggest?
    Thank you

    Deborah Moore on

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