Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chaste Berry and Raspberry Leaf

Three weeks ago I started Abby and Marm on chaste berry (vitex) and Raspberry leaf. For Marm my hope was that it would improve her mindset under saddle. For Abby I hoped it would help her loose some of the fatty deposits she carries (IR type symptom) and help her not have her notorious super raunchy 3 week heat cycles. Unfortunately, one week after I started supplementing I had that whole incident where I left the gate open and the horses were out on lush green grass all night long. While trying to keep them from foundering (and helping Abby through the resulting colic) I changed quite a few other things in their diet/environment in an effort to reduce their sugar levels and keep them on soft ground and to help re-establish their gut flora. Before my Very Big Mistake the horses were given access to a very sparse pasture for the better part of the day. I am going to be keeping them off of pasture entirely for another three weeks (4-6 weeks total). They used to get a few flakes of low sugar local hay morn and night in a slow feeder net. Now they get one flake of local and a small or half flake of alfalfa. Abby and Marm were on a joint supplement before as well as Hoffmans Mineral mixed in a little beet pulp with a sprinkle of low sugar/high fat grain to make it more palatable. I had just started them on 1tsp of chaste berry and 2 heaping tbsp. of raspberry leaves about a week before. To this I have now added SmartDigest Ultra by Smartpak which has psyllium, probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes. Both mares were on an NSAID for about a week and I know this also affected their gut/digestion. The good news is that I haven't noticed an raunchy heat cycle on Abby and she has lost almost all of the fatty deposit she had behind her shoulder. Marm has been going beautifully under saddle (but I've only been walking her) and seems more relaxed in her demeanor and even in her conformation. The bad news is that I don't know whether it is because of the lack of grass/turn out, the digestive upset, the digestive supplement, the chaste berry, the raspberry leaf or the alfalfa (and less local). Both mares have dropped weight in all the right places. Right now I am just going to keep the status quo and hope that they continue to get happier and healthier.

From Bottom up- Mineral, Flax, Joint Supplement, Raspberry Leaf, Chaste Berry, Grain
I did get to ride both mares tonight, Abby just bareback for a minute or two. Hola was also as such a good girl tonight, she stood tied for twenty minutes and then (for the first time) laid over her back a little. She was like "what the hell are you doing you weirdo!" but didn't take so much as a step. Good girl. We had a wee discussion the other night about her being sticky and bratty. This afternoon she was like "yes ma'am".

I took Marm over to the neighbors arena and she was AWESOME. She was relaxed, she listened, she guided beautifully, she stopped when asked and drug a pole around the arena like it was the most important job in the world. On top of that she looks freakin' awesome. I will try to get pictures in the morning.

1 comment:

  1. Good to know that you think it might be working. Not having had mares for a while, I forgot how ugly the heat cycle can be for some of them. Beretta was really struggling with hers and so of course little 2y/o Belle followed suit and I felt so bad for them. I have heard good things about the raspberry leave and considered trying it, but held off on Beretta because I knew I was going to breed her. Now that Beretta is bred, Belle's heat cycle isn't as ridiculous.

    Just an FYI-Magnesium is another excellent supplement for helping with IR and as you get more into the performance end of things, it really helps the muscles.