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Name: Dun

Livery Type: Ridden

Arrival Date: 17th February 2023

Age: 11

Breed: Cob x Irish Draught

Height: 16.2hh

Medical Issues: None

Rehabilitation: Grass affected behavioural issues, poor quality hoof horn and separation anxiety

Although Dun is not with us under a classic rehabilitation package, he did arrive exhibiting a good amount of grass affected behavioural issues which is often mistaken for a lack of training or bolshiness.

‘Grass affected’ is a term coined by Jenny Paterson of Calm Healthy Horses, used to describe a horse with various health, physical or behavioural issues impacted and affected by an element of their diet. As the name indicates, grass is typically a domesticated horse’s main source of forage and therefore normally has the most influence over their health. However, grass is not necessarily always the cause. A grass affected horse cannot have their behaviour or movement issues trained away and cannot process information in a way that a normal horse would. It’s important to note that these issues are not training issues or bad behaviour, but instead bio-chemistry issues that affect the horse’s nervous system, from their eyesight, hearing and proprioception to their co-ordination and ability to use their muscles properly. It is because these senses are altered that their awareness, reactions and sensitivity also become affected.​

One of the few things Kerry mentioned about Dun before she arrived was his behaviour and bolshiness. After quickly learning more of her concerns with him and then going on to see his behaviour in person, we realised fairly quickly that Dun was a grass affected horse. His owner spoke about how dramatic his behaviour was, with other tell tail signs of diet and environment struggles, such as overly large feet and a constant battle maintaining his weight. When we talk about a grass affected horse with ‘behavioural issues’, it is typically describing a horse that reacts first and thinks afterwards. This can be running through other horses or people, spooking excessively, flinching or shying away, eyes on stalk, rearing, bolting and generally having explosive behaviour. Unfortunately we have had a few cases of grass affected horses with us for rehab that have previously hurt their owners through this type of behaviour.

After Dun’s arrival, his diet was stripped back down to the very basics, where he began his healing. With no access to grass and netted meadow hay to take it’s place, Dun went through a natural detoxing period of roughly 6-8 weeks and over time, we began to see some very positive changes in him. A slight change in reactiveness soon turned into a successful dentist appointment without sedation, something that hadn’t happened in a long time for his owner. It was safe to say she was overjoyed with the change in him. Having now been with us for just over a year, Dun is a completely different horse and Kerry, his lovely owner, has gained her 4-legged best friend back.

Kerry, his owner:

"Dun, my princess! He was very dramatic with his behaviour and would think nothing about running, spinning and double barrelling at me or clapping in my face. It came to a point where I was petrified to handle him because I was terrified of what reaction I would receive. Over the years, I have spent a fortune pumping the poor soul full of endless calmers and potions to make him 'well behaved'. Nothing worked and I was at the end of my tether. I begged and begged for Team PB to open the ridden livery, mainly because my friend and her horse were unable to enjoy their time together because I was always too scared to do anything. Dun also suffered from separation anxiety. 

Anyway, nearly 12 months ago, we moved to PB with the intention of Dun and I resetting and hopefully one day enjoying each others companies again. Well, eleven months later and our hearts are singing. 

Dun is not anxious anymore and any of his friends can leave without a tantrum - he is honestly a different horse. He is calm, he has barely lifted his hooves off the ground and we are happy playing ponies again. I have myself and my horse back and we are living our best lives full of love and happiness. Thank you Team PB for taking the best  care of my horse (and me), we are so very grateful to you all."

June vs September 2023 .jpg
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