Slap me upside the head

Some days I’m surprised I can get through life at all.

As long as I’ve owned Ava, she’s thrown her head up. She’s been doing it since the day I bought her back in 2011. Example:

It was always explained as a training problem to me.

2018, this thought popped into my head, “What if it’s the bit?!”

Switched her to a french link and…

she’s sooooooooooooooo much better.

I feel like the densest person in the world!

Been riding her in it for a few months now, and the head thing has almost completely gone away.


My Winter Laminitis Struggles

I mentioned in a much earlier post, I had asked the vet to test Ava’s blood for iron levels…

The results of the Iron test:

Ava’s levels: 305 mg/dl.

Normal range is: 105 – 277

Below are links for information on iron levels and laminitis:

“The role of iron overload as a risk factor for IR (Fernandez-Real et al, 2002; Jehn et al, 2004), and therapeutic effect of lowering body iron levels (Fargion, 2005; Piperno, 2004), has been documented in man”

More links related to high Iron/laminitis:

I was told by another vet that although Iron and laminitis show a correlation. No causation has been proven. But high iron has other issues, so needs to be addressed either way.

Nutrient Requirement Calculator:

No Iron added Supplements:

Vermont Blend – $72.00 (60 day supply) $1.20 per day.

U-BALANCE FOUNDATION – $159.95 (60 day supply) $2.67 per day.

California Trace Plus – $70 (40 day supply) $1.75 per day.

All have free shipping. Vermont Blend will send a free sample.

Ava loves the Vermont Blend. She will eat it straight. Joy isn’t quite as fond. She doesn’t hate it, she just doesn’t really care either way.

Since I’m not feeding grain, and neither horse likes beet pulp, I’m looking for a supplement, or ration balancer, with no iron that both will eat without requiring additional prep.

Agricultural Extension – Use it!

To find your local Agricultural county office, check this link:

Or do what I did, and Google “agricultural extension office [your] county”.

What can you use them for?


Why you should use them?

They’re free!

Most of the extension offices also have facebook pages. I’ve checked out several of the FB pages of neighboring states, and they offer everything from courses on equine senior care to assistance with health insurance.

My experience:

Since I’m easily confused and was having difficulty finding an answer to a specific question (how to get free water testing), I simply emailed the main contact email address on my county’s agricultural extension web page.  This was during a holiday, so it did take a couple days for them to respond (I assume gov offices were closed).

I was then put in touch with a person who works with the top veterinary college in my state. Within a few days, we had set up an appointment for him and an equine veterinarian from the college to come to my house to check out everything (from what grew in my pasture, to what I was feeding, right down to the health and condition of my horses).

They walked me through what I was feeding (hay and supplements) and suggested some tweaks to ensure I was providing all the minerals/nutrients that the horses needed.

They answered the billion questions I had about how to test hay, where to send it for testing, and how to interpret the results. They brought out a hay corer to get samples of my hay, and helped me package it up for shipping to be analyzed. They then gave me a direct contact to a equine nutritional expert to help me interpret the results.

In addition to this, they sent me resources for more information on iron levels in horses, gave me instructions on how to build my own hay probe (because I refuse to pay $200 to buy one), and discussed best practices for how to manage my IR horses with my existing set up.

I’d strongly recommend that you take advantage of this resource. It’s completely free, and is beneficial to both beginners and the knowledgeable horse folks out there.

Hay Testing:

  • Fast-Track = $18.00
  • Equi-Track = $28.00

They’ll email, or snail mail, a copy of the report to you.

Hay Report Sample

Hay Report Sample

You may need to research how to interpret the results, or contact your Ag department for help.

There are also some good websites with information on interpreting results:


Hay Probes:

List of Hay Probes:

You can also make one from a golf club, or ask your Ag department to bring one out when they come out.


Overall, absolutely the best resource to have available. It’s completely free. They’re wonderfully nice, helpful, and a joy to work with. I think every one of you should take advantage of these services.

And if you can’t find what you’re looking for on their website, contact them!


Hiatus Over

I think I’m past the worst of the crazy events this year. Time to get back to.. *drum roll*.. . blogging about horse adventures!

First, I’d like to introduce you to my new farm dog, Polar.

9 week old, Great Pyrenees.

I got him last week, and have heard nothing but horror stories about the breed’s independent streak since then.

He’ll out weigh me in a few months.

This’ll go great! 😂

Ava and Joy are doing better, and we’ve got some fun activities planned whenever the weather improves again.


Ava thought it too bright out

I have a post I’m working on about the ag department and hay analysis (as soon as I get the rest of the info i need), and I’m hoping to have some more entertaining posts coming soon.

So, stay tuned. And I hope you’re all having a great time riding!