Moose and I have had quite a ride this year (no pun intended), especially in regards to his Cushing’s. Definitely not what any horse owner wants to hear but it happens, and we deal with it. It was quite a blow for me; Moose has always been pretty healthy and happy up until last summer, and then things started to change for him.
Moose had dropped a ton of weight since September. After his Cushing’s diagnosis this past May, he immediately went on Prascend and things have been steadily and drastically improving ever since. He began gaining weight, shedding his coat, and started to look more like his old self. Recently, his food got switched to Tribute Senior Sport and he started gaining even more weight and looking better overall.
I decided to put front shoes on him this fall. This is mainly because I want to hold off laminitis for as long as possible and maybe even avoid it altogether. It’s also because his feet are becoming more brittle as he gets older and going into winter I don’t want to take any chances. I’m currently considering rear shoes for him as well! I didn’t think I would have to put shoes on him for a while yet until the Cushing’s; he’s been barefoot ever since I bought him seven and a half years ago.
We recently just started riding again. I don’t love that we’re starting our program at the beginning of winter but I’m incredibly thankful that he’s happy and healthy again and that our barn has an awesome indoor arena! We’ve done about four rides so far, and each time it astonishes me how much he remembers and responds after over a year off. Although his topline isn’t quite where it should be, that comes with building up his muscles. So far, I’ve been starting out with two walking laps in each direction on a long rein. After that, I generally collect my reins a little bit and starting doing more laps around the arena, picking points to do circles as I go. I don’t expect perfection from him right now, it’s been a long time, but he’s still responsive and ready to work.
We have done some trotting work, especially circles, but I’ve been building it up slowly as he still needs time to build up the appropriate muscles so he doesn’t hurt himself. I’m also being cautious with myself because of a shoulder surgery I had this past summer. We’ve been recovering together and ended up being ready at pretty much the same time.
Prascend and Tribute completely turned his life around. He was a miserable mess when I moved him to our current barn, and now he’s as happy as he was pre-Cushing’s. One of my concerns after Moose’s diagnosis was that the Prascend would make him lethargic, but he’s still as energetic as ever. As much as Cushing’s is incurable, it’s definitely manageable. I’m excited to see how he continues to improve on his program, and I hope that our story helps other people with Cushing’s horses have hope!