I may have scared a neighbor recently. Fact is, he gave me a scare first. I was walking on the old rail bed behind the barn where I board my horse. It was a warm day for January and I was testing out my front pack baby carrier with my 4-month-old daughter aboard. Along for the walk was my leashed Border Collie thrilled to get back out on the trail. I saw a man walking ahead of me and he turned off the trail onto my friend's farm. Then as I was walking past I saw where he was. He had gone down through the woods and behind my horse's paddock. I panicked. So here is this nice gentleman stopping to see a horse and out of the woods scomes a woman and a baby and a dog yelling "you didn't just give her a carrot did you????!!!!" He did.
It amazes me that someone will walk up to a strange horse and feed them. You wouldn't walk on someone's property and feed their dog... imagine the reaction if you walked on someone's property and fed someone's child, a child you didn't even know?
My horse is insulin resistant, a condition known to many horse owners as Equine Metabolic Syndrome. She needs very little grain to keep her weight and in fact eats a minimal amount of lite grain for nutrition and has to be kept off of Spring grass. Three times in her life my horse suddenly went very lame and needed her hooves x-rayed and needed long term pain medicine. Three times I wondered if she'd be ridable again. This time last year, when the snow was so deep she could barely move I almost had to put her down. Her shoes had to be pulled because she couldn't stand to be worked on. She developed an abcess in her hoof that had her pawing in pain until it finally burst through her hoof wall. By some miracle and some help from her vet, I waited it out, and she pulled through.
You see if you give high carbohydrates, high sugar and too many calories to a horse like Feather, it is much like giving the same to a diabetic. She has a physical reaction, her body slows down, her legs swell, and then a part of the foot called the laminea becomes inflamed (laminitis). The walls of her feet can actually separate form the sole and the bones in her feet can turn in a condition called founder. Feather has foundered and the rotation was 6 degrees once and then 13 degrees the last time. Carrots, believe it or not are high in sugar. The same with green grass!
So that poor gentleman who thought it was a nice treat to walk down to feed someone's horse carrots, could unknowingly be killing a horse with kindness. Not that a carrot or two will do it, but if it became a habit, if others did the same...
So I nicely explained this all to the gentleman and he just said "it was good that I ran into you then." Yes, it was good that I ran into him. So happy I took that walk that day. So happy to share information. So happy to keep Feather healthy.