Annabelle, the 13.2 hand mighty Morgan, is our Equis Teff Natural poster child! Approximately 16 years old, she battles chronically with two conditions; Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and heaves (also known as Recurrent Airway Obstruction/RAO). As a morgan or morgan cross, Annabelle’s breed predisposes her to EMS which is a condition encompassing abnormal regional adiposity (cresty neck syndrome aka odd fat deposition), insulin resistance, and laminitis. Heaves further complicates Annabelle’s diet. Heaves is similar to allergic asthma in humans leading to decreased efficiency of the respiratory system and requires careful feed planning and control. Annabelle’s episodes have been severe enough to lead to hospitalization. It was during one such hospitalization, during the summer of 2016, at WSU Veterinary College that Annabelle was introduced to Equis Teff Natural.
Kylie Van Maren, a third year veterinary student at WSU, is Annabelle’s faithful owner. Kylie phoned me in late September 2016 excited to talk about the Equis Teff Natural. She was boarding Annabelle in Pullman where soaking the hay to remove dust and some water soluble carbohydrates wasn’t feasible. Kylie was looking for a forage based (but non-alfalfa), lower calorie pelleted feed that would provide all the nutrients that Annabelle needed without additional supplementation. She was hoping that the Equis Teff Natural with its high fiber content would allow the mare to eat more hours in the day. “It’s doing its job,” says Kylie! “It’s keeping her nice and full, because she often has some pellets left when I come in the afternoon.” Kylie knows as a veterinary student that pelleted diets are often as good or better than hay bales or rounds for horses with allergies. “It’s the pellet version of a hay diet,” she says over the phone. Now, nearly four months on Equis Teff Natural, Annabelle is doing very well. She is fed 6 lb of the pellet two times per day which equates to 1.5% of her body weight. “It’s holding true to the original calculation.”
Their story is nothing short of a Black Beauty tale- and yes, the mare is even black in color. Nearly 8 years ago, Kylie Van Maren serendipitously met her first horse, Annabelle, at a Girl Scout Horse Camp in Kansas City, Missouri. Annabelle had been rescued from an auction along with several other neglected horses and then donated to the horse camp where Kylie had been a volunteer for nearly a decade. Kylie describes the scraggly lot of horses as being divided into two groups- the group that needed work and the group that did not. Annabelle was firmly camped in the “needs work” group with what Kylie describes as a lot of baggage. She had the opportunity to purchase Annabelle from the camp. Later, like any horse girl would, she chose to submit applications to veterinary schools in part for reasons surrounding her horse. Kylie laughs thinking about her ignorant assumptions about Washington state climates! “I assumed that eastern Washington was just like western Washington- wet- and thought the climate would be good for Annabelle’s respiratory condition.” Even still, Kylie was so impressed with WSU’s hospitality during a visit that she moved herself and Annabelle in the summer of 2014.
Eight years into their partnership, Kylie and Annabelle are morphing their knowledge and experience in Natural Horsemanship to Positive Reinforcement Training (PR+). Kylie uses this reward based training to teach Annabelle a whole host of tricks! Their fun goal for the year includes improving their repertoire in between vet school studies. “I want to get Annabelle healthy,” Kylie adds. “We will start her on immunotherapy shots this year.” These customized serum shots may help Annabelle desensitize to her allergens, but Equis Teff Natural will be the majority of her diet.
Equis Feed was happy to find the dynamic duo and they were happy to find us. Kylie purchases Equis Teff Natural from CHS Primeland Feed in Lewiston, ID. For questions regarding Equis Teff Natural, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.