Jesse Doe's Story: by Crystal Leaman
Jesse DoeJesse Doe captured my heart the first time she ever so gently nuzzled my hand. She has it still. When I brought her home, I pictured long rides and sweet times together. We have those now but we have been through some heart wrenching places to get here.
In the Spring of her 3rd year, she foundered. She went from moving slowly behind the herd to being unable to move at all due to the gripping pain in her front hooves. There was so little we could do – keep her in her stall on a strict diet of hay, give her bute for the pain and wait. Slowly, she recovered with just some minor rotation in her coffin bones. Then and there, Joseph and I began to learn all that we could about this terrible condition. What we learned saddened us. So little hope could be offered to laminitic horses. For the most part, treatment for a horse in an acute phase is limited to bute and the use of Styrofoam pads to decrease the pain. Long-term treatment consists of corrective shoeing, with uncertain results, and confinement to a dirt lot with a diet of poor quality hay.
I have always loved the spirit of the horse and cherished their need to run free. But I had to face the fact that if I were to care for Jesse well, she would never have that kind of freedom again. To imprison my pretty red mare for life was just too hard to accept. So Joseph and I kept talking and studying and trying to understand what set her so apart from the rest of our herd that was healthy and running free. Slowly, some answers began to emerge. It became increasingly clear that this is a systemic issue and has to be treated by working with the horse's metabolism not just with the hoof – and not just with dietary restrictions. Keeping your horse off green grass may work initially but for a horse with this metabolic problem, after awhile, even that is not enough.
Out of this understanding, Joseph developed an herbal solution to help Jesse Doe's system deal more effectively with what she eats. And it does. She loves her herbs and can now be rotated out to be with the herd for most of the year. It is a joy to watch her run with them. As best I can see, she will always need to have special care regarding her management. But with these herbs, she still has a life she can love and I have my sweet Jesse Doe as my riding companion – sound and healthy.And so began For Love of the Horse