As anyone who is around horses a lot knows, they are walking potential disasters; American Curly Horses are no exception. In over a decade of owning Curlies we have experienced disasters, both small and large. One of the most extensive problems, although having occurred over four (4) years ago, still attracts attention. I thought in today’s blog on my Curly horses I would talk about it again, and bring you up to date.
My long time readers will know that way back in October of 2007, my daughter’s Curly gelding, *Red Running Star, developed a case of stringhalt, seemingly over a matter of hours. He and *Beau had been in their pasture. At noon when lunch hay had been delivered, all was fine. It rained a bit in the afternoon, and when Chuck went down to give them some hay a bit after 5 o’clock *Red could barely walk. We were devastated and brought both boys up to the arena, and stalls, immediately.
Over the course of the next week or so we consulted with, or were visited by, our regular veterinarian, Alison Cornwall; an herbalist Kelley Robie; another vet who specializes in lameness, Randy Franz; and a biochemist, Linsey McLean. On Linsey’s recommendation we began to video tape *Red to better see the progression of his recovery. His first video is here on YouTube. There are a total of six (6) videos, but the first has had over 32,600 views! In fact, that first video has been referenced by websites with questions and/or answers about stringhalt. One was a site written by a long-time vet to help veterinarian students study for their tests (unfortunately I didn’t bookmark it and have now lost the site) and just recently I found this reference.
We never did find out exactly why *Red developed stringhalt, but we think that it was a combination of injury and possible malnutrition due to malabsorption. We learned that stringhalt can be triggered by a lack of, or inability to absorb, magnesium. So, besides just giving him time, our primary treatment was a change in diet. We still follow this diet. I touched on feeding in this recent blog.
Over the course of time, *Red has had some small relapses. I learned that by increasing the magnesium he would stop “high stepping” rather quickly, and so for him, he gets the vitamin/mineral supplement I use with everyone in the morning’s feed and then in the evening’s feed I give him a bit of extra magnesium. I’m happy to report that in the past two (2) years he has not had even one incident of that high stepping gait.
I have had many, many people contact me and ask what we did for *Red; how we cured him. I always caution them that what we did may not work, but that it is worth a try. I am happy to be a resource of information and a source of hope that their horse may be cured as well. This is why I chose to re-visit the topic, as well as to say “thank you” to the vet student who recently stopped by that first video and sent me a message telling me how good the video was and that she was happy to hear he was better.
If you are interested in reading the original blog entry it is here.