Hi Jenny ~ I have a yearling Pre.Andalusian that has just come down with a condition that looks very much like Stringhalt the vet is saying that it’s an intoxication i.e. poisoning which I’m assuming is from the plant Catsear! This year we have had an extremely hot summer and although I’ve been feeding my horses my youngster seems to have gone down with this condition and as you can imagine I’m extremely upset for him as he’s such a beautiful young horse please can you give me any help regarding this condition and is it curable ? Karen
Stringhalt is absolutely curable, although you will get some vets saying “no it’s not” – so do not worry (except to use that worry to change what needs to be changed!)
Bobby himself (the star of the book Bobby’s Diaries) had very, very bad stringhalt and completely recovered. I’ve worked with numerous other cases too.
What your vet is correct in though, is in calling it an intoxication/poisoning/toxicity of the grasses that he’s on.
This is such a big picture environmental issue. We tend to keep horses on the same ground year after year (I did too!) and then wonder why all these damn weeds come up. Even the grass itself becomes toxic under certain circumstances.
Well the weeds come up as the earth’s last ditch effort to heal itself, because bare dirt is exactly what the earth doesn’t want. Thus the big picture solution is to look into big picture ways to help the earth cover herself.
I am talking about a pasture management to fixing stringhalt forever, because I have recently done a very exciting farm regeneration course with an Australian agricultural scientist called Graeme Hand.
I’ve started the big changes on our property and can already see some changes happening – it doesn’t take very long and I am excited about the long term benefits. It means that I am grazing MUCH MUCH longer grass and resting each paddock for much longer than I had before.
Graze it hard, get them off and don’t come back to that paddock til the horses are just about hip deep in dry grass – which I can ususally manage. I am apparently sequestering more carbon than trees with this grazing management. Very exciting environmentally and very healthy for the horses.
I am happy to talk about it more if anyone is interested.
However, you may not be in a position to fix it by these big picture preventative measures, so getting the right minerals into your horse is the next best option. All the minerals and trace elements that are in seaweed, dolomite for calcium and magnesium where they are deficient in the soil, copper pipe in water for copper deficiencies or products like livermole, sulphur where that is deficient – yellow sulphur powder, garlic has sulphur in it, apple cider vinegar, vitamin C in forms such as sodium ascorbate or fresh garlic.
I haven’t put definite products or dosages because it depends on what your land and feed is deficient in.
A key ingredient is magnesium, because stringhalt in every form is a magesium deficiency caused by something.
You can supplement magnesium in the form of magnesium orotate (comes in tablet form), which I know from first hand experience works, or I have heard of high quality forms of magnesium oxide working (it comes in powder form and is cheaper). I do not have any first hand experience of magnesium oxide working yet, I am about to try it soon. There are many other forms of magnesium out there that DO NOT work with horses and lots of them are sold in horse feed supplements!
The horse’s ability to absorb the magnesium and use it properly in their bones, muscles and nervous system, depends on their other minerals being adequate though. So you need to do a bit of research amongst farmers in your area, about mineral deficiencies in your area. The best ones to ask are organic farmers, they tend to concern themselves about that sort of thing more (not that other kinds of farmers don’t ever!)
I can do some testing around that if you prefer to do it with a healing session. (for more information about what I do, see my profile on About Us at the top of this page.)
Vets will often recommend getting the horse off the paddock, locking them up and feeding them hay until the danger time is over. This is not my first choice of action because it doesn’t solve the problem in the long term.
And then, there is the nervous system issue. Because that is what stringhalt is, damage to the nervous system. Just like the name suggests, nervousness and nervous system go together. Nervousness is just another name for fear and horses carry much more fear than we ever believed. – but we CAN help them get rid of that.
It seriously helps a horse to recover from the stringhalt damage to the nervous system, if we help them live their life without fear, in every aspect that we can control.
You may possibly think that me telling you to get the book and CD set Zen Connection with Horses, is a self serving act. It may well be, but it is the BEST way that I know, to help your horse get rid of their fear – old fears, new fears and everything in between. And if it doesn’t, I’ll give you your money back. I give every one of my books a “love this book or get your money back” personal guarantee.
You can make as serious start on understanding how to work with your horse’s fear with the completely free gift lessons The 9 Keys to Happiness with Your Horse. You can grab those at the top of the Training Programs page here.