Last week was a roller coaster week for OCEN, LLC. I celebrated a big victory with one client and mourned the loss of a horse with another.
Text messages like "I'm really happy with how [my horse] is doing!" or "We completed our first event since tying up!" make my day- or actually my entire week! But then, I also get the news that a severely laminitic horse has regressed, and there's nothing else that her owner and team of professionals could do. During that call, I simply sat, listened, and enjoyed hearing about the 17 year history between horse and rider. In my heart, I truly believe in the power of nutrition, but I also try very hard to have realistic expectations for its limitations. Sometimes that even means telling potential clients "I'm sorry, but I don't think that I can help you" during the Discovery Call. Anyway, all of this is a reminder that sometimes nutrition works and sometimes it doesn't.
The innumerable interactions between a horse's nutrition, management, and genetics make for perfect and imperfect results. Allow me to introduce to you, Luna- a gorgeous purebred Andalusian filly as an example of PERFECT results! I've now watched (from afar) this horse grow up from a fuzzy yearling to a sleek and superb 2-year old specimen of her breed! I've swooned over the results of our targeted nutrition and shared great pride with her owner in Texas. Her owner and I have no doubts that she will win her first in-hand breed class in November. This is a great example of nutrition-management-genetic perfection. Her owner has done an outstanding job of regulating all aspects of this mare's health, and I give her ALL the kudos!
I also give ALL THE KUDOS IN THE WORLD to the owners who fight hard for their horses health and don't win. Sometimes Genetics slaps us all in the face and says "I don't care what you do or how much money you spend!" I've seen this to be true for many laminitic and myopathy horses throughout my consulting history. It really, really sucks to do all the things by the book and still not have a healthy, happy, winning, or pain-free horse. The so-called "Rules of Feeding" don't always apply, because horses are individuals as diverse as humans. It's why a product works for your trainer, but not you. Or why your friend's horse looks great, but yours doesn't on the same program. I call this job security, because it implies that there are no algorithms for which one could build an app that tells you how to get perfect results every time.
If you are struggling and nutritional changes are not working, I feel you. Sometimes our nutrition toolbox doesn't contain the right tools or strong enough tools to overpower the other factors. I know that you are doing everything that you can.