So many owners have experienced or are currently experiencing what Dubri and ourselves went through when she was first diagnosed with Laminitis and EMS. Feeling guilty, overwhelmed, and confused was just another Monday morning for us back then. 15 years ago, Dubri’s quality of life was poor, we were terrified of losing her and despite going above and beyond when it came to following the Vet’s advice, it felt like time was running out for our little pony. Regardless of what we did, Dubri’s condition began to worsen which ultimately left us with a decision to make.
There really are so many differences between these two very separate points in time which I really could spend all day talking about. To put it simply, the top photos of Dubri, 15 years ago, represent a time in our lives where we really didn’t know any better. We followed the same traditional practices everyone else did and we did as we were told by the professionals, no questions asked. We stabled then turned them out onto small box shaped paddocks, rich with sugar-fuelled grass. We shoed our horses, put rugs on them when they didn’t need them, restricted their hay and further restricted contact with their own species. We followed the ‘normal’ because what reason did we have to question these methods otherwise? We practiced horse care this way until the ‘normal’ failed Dubri.
The images on the bottom show a very fulfilled, healthy, and happy Dubri. They also represent a time in our lives where we now know better and so we can do better. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and disheartened when, as an owner, it feels like you’ve done everything you’ve been told to do and more yet it still wasn’t good enough. It is through accepting that no matter how experienced we are in horse care or how long you’ve been doing things the ‘traditional’ way, keeping an open mind and being willing to learn is going to benefit your equine more than any shoe or ‘miracle cure’ supplement will. Dubri is with us today because we were willing to admit change needed to happen and so we listened.
It would be really easy to beat ourselves up about how we used to do things and maybe even sit in the guilt that often comes with keeping Laminitic equines. It’s important to remember that even though these images represent two vastly different points in time, we WERE willing to make the changes needed to improve Dubri’s situation. If you’ve experienced this or are currently going through something similar, I think it’s important to remind yourself that despite past ‘mistakes’ or things you think you should have done differently, if you’re actively working on doing better, being better and providing your horse with a better life, then that is what is important. The little track you’ve set up on your livery yard or the research you conduct and the questions you ask – they are more important because you’re actively making those changes now.
I say this time and time again but keeping an open mind and doing your research really is crucial. Don’t be afraid to break away from what feels safe if it’s going to provide your equine with a life they can truly thrive in. Here are just a few of the changes we made, allowing Dubri to live her best life.