For over 70 years, our family have kept horses and never once in that time had a problem with laminitis, or related metabolic problems – that was until 2008. Within the space of 2 years, two mares developed acute laminitis, then a couple of others developed foot soreness and had to be restricted when already on poor grazing.
In 2001, following my move to a new research job in Cambridge, we moved our small family run stud from a Wiltshire farm surrounded by cattle and sheep farming, to Norfolk, on the edge of Thetford Forest, surrounded by arable farming. In all the years we lived in Wiltshire, our horses were overall healthy with veterinary call-outs very few. But all that was about to change. Our first set-back occurred within a few months of moving to Norfolk. Our Welsh Sec D mare Abi suffered from impaction colic and had to be rushed to Newmarket for surgery. Once there, she was opened up and a full bucket of SAND was removed from her large intestines. It turned out that in our move from a clay-based soil in Wiltshire to a very sandy-based soil in Norfolk, Abi was unable to clear the sand building up in her gut each time she grazed in the paddocks, and eventually it led to impaction colic. Back in 2001, that was my first introduction to using herbal products.
There were (and still are) no veterinary drugs available to treat or prevent sand colic. Determined to save Abi suffering this fate again (and not wishing to have the expense of moving again) I researched and found out about Psyllium Husk, which is used in sandy places such as Australia and parts of America to help keep the horse’s gut clear of sand. From there, I researched with my own little herd of horses and found ways to enable the Psyllium husk to work more effectively by including other herbs, botanicals and products from the beehive, to help soothe and support the gut membranes and help with moving the sand particles out.