Very little is more discouraging than an unrideable horse due to lameness or a sudden deterioration in behaviour. Except maybe when lameness exams, ultrasounds, X-rays, and other diagnostic efforts fail to reveal the cause. That’s because sometimes the source of a horse’s discomfort is deeper, invisible to the eye and traditional diagnostic tools, because it is rooted in the delicate digestive tract.
UK horse owner Emma Delport experienced this frustration first-hand with her 8-year-old Scottish Sport Horse gelding, Roo. When all else failed to give her back her happy, rideable horse, she turned to SUCCEED. Here’s Emma and Roo’s story.
Horse’s Intermittent Lameness and Deteriorating Behaviour
For several years, Roo struggled with intermittent mild lameness in his right hind leg, which went undiagnosed despite a barrage of tests including a week-long stay at the Royal Veterinary College. He also had issues with straightness under saddle.
In the spring of 2014, Emma and her vet took steps to improve Roo’s gastric health which helped his behaviour for a while, but didn’t have any impact on his soundness. By the end of that year, Roo’s behaviour began to deteriorate again. Gut health wasn’t on Emma or her vet’s radar, then, because his appetite remained strong and he was maintaining weight and condition.
By the New Year, Roo was completely unrideable to the point of becoming dangerous if Emma’s leg even lightly touched his side. Her vet believed it was possibly related to Roo’s stomach. This was cause for concern, as Roo was managed in a very gut-health friendly way, was doing very little traveling or competing, and had every reason to be in good gastric health. Despite taking steps to treat his stomach health, Roo’s behavior worsened and he was increasingly unhappy to have his sides touched or rugs fastened.
Friends Recommend SUCCEED to Support Equine Gut Health
A friend of Emma’s had a similar experience with her horse, and had good results after trying SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program. She suggested that the root of Roo’s lameness and poor behaviour may lie in the hindgut, and that Roo may benefit from some added digestive support. At the same time, another friend was writing a series of articles on SUCCEED and suggested using Roo as a case study.
Despite some skepticism, Emma decided to try SUCCEED.
In all honesty, I was skeptical,” Emma shares. “I had become fairly convinced that we were on the wrong track entirely, blaming gastric health for Roo’s behaviour. So I was amazed (and thrilled) when SUCCEED made such a significant difference.
Behaviour, Rideability, and Soundness Improved with SUCCEED
“Within two weeks of starting Roo on SUCCEED he was accepting my leg again and willing to move forward,” Emma says. “We are now almost three months in and not only do I have a horse I can ride again, but he is straighter under saddle than he has been in years, and his intermittent right hind limb problem has so far not been seen since he came back into work.”
Emma continues on to say that Roo is still occasionally reluctant to move forward and accept the leg when she asks for trot. But this is a significant improvement from before when he would plant and buck. Now he may hold himself initially, and then gradually relaxes and moves on again. And once he is on the move, Emma says Roo looks and feels the best he ever has.
She has also noticed that Roo drinks approximately a third of the volume of water overnight that he used to and his stall is much cleaner. “It’s hard to tell whether that is due to him producing less droppings or to being calmer overnight, but either way it is a noticeable improvement! Roo is also calmer in himself and happy to be groomed and rugged up again.”
Thank you to SUCCEED for not only getting my horse back for me, but for a new and improved version!
SUCCEED is available for purchase through veterinarians in the UK and Ireland.