Allegro and Cadence are two of three ponies I adopted from Days End Farm Horse Rescue in June 2013. They were already seniors (likely over 20 years old) and had not previously gotten routine dental care.
I’ve treated Allegro for her equine Cushing’s disease with Prascend (developed through animal research) for all the years I’ve had her. Also, Allegro and Cadence’s senior formulated diets are developed though animal testing at Purina, ProElite, Triple Crown and Legends.
Allegro and Cadence currently have no job. They are happy, healthy pasture potatoes living their golden years in the loving care of me, who is willing to live by Allegro’s rules and satisfy their every need! They have taught me the reasons that “normal” people do not keep elderly equines, especially ones with special needs!
Rewind: When I Brought My Rescue Ponies Home
I needed a companion for another horse and went to look at one of the ponies. Since they were small, I ended up taking all three home! I don’t know much about their past. They were confiscated in a case of neglect, I believe.
Beethoven was the third pony, but I lost him in September 2018. Despite twice yearly dental care, he had a tooth root abscess that broke open with secondary osteomyelitis in his mandible. Surgery was warranted (and not out of the question for me), but I did not think all the post-op treatments were in his best interest. He was a shy pony, and I felt the stress of all the post-op care would impact his welfare and quality of life, so I decided to let him go. It was very sad.
Anyway, not long after the adoption, Allegro and Beethoven were diagnosed with equine Cushing’s disease, or pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction. They started a treatment of Prascend, and their bloodwork and symptoms improved. After a time on medication, they both shed their long winter coats and looked really good in the summer.
Sunscreen, Fly Masks and a Gourmet Chef!
Cadence is easy going and loves to eat and almost never stops. If she is not eating a meal, her nose is on the ground grazing. She has many missing teeth and not much left in the way of occlusal surfaces to process forage, but she still manages to. She is the dominant mare. Because she is a gray (term for a horse with a white coat), she has delicate skin prone to sunburn and melanoma. I sometimes put sunscreen on her pink nose, and a fly mask protects her eyes. She is also smart enough to seek shade periodically.
Allegro is a cheeky character. She makes up for in personality what she lacks in size. She has her own set of rules that must be followed. She will not hesitate to kick if you try to touch her udder. She does not care for having her hooves trimmed. She hates to be groomed and pins her ears and fusses the whole time. She does not like to take her oral paste dewormer, and she will not eat any supplements or medications in her feed. I have to give her the Prascend in a soft molasses and grain treat (not the best for a horse with Cushing’s!). (ALSO READ: Cleo’s Story of Survival)
Allegro also does not like to wear a fly mask or her blanket when the weather is bitterly cold. She does not like to give hugs and kisses, but she is small enough that I can still steal a hug and kiss her ear. Despite having been nearly starved, she is still a picky eater. I occasionally need to change her brand of senior food and bribe her to eat it by mixing in alfalfa pellets. She basically has no teeth now for grinding grass, so it is challenging to find the right mix of complete ration and forage and fiber to keep her at optimum weight and with a happy GI tract.
Over the winter I felt like a gourmet chef mixing daily meals with a little extra beet pulp, just the right amount of alfalfa pellets, etc. All meals must be soaked to mush for both ponies. Oh, I nearly forgot, if you add too much water to Allegro’s food and it is not the right consistency, she gets annoyed and will dump it out so the excess water can drain away. They have not been able to eat hay for years now, so providing forage fiber in winter is a bit of a challenge, but I’ve found products that work. Just another day at the farm!