SUCCEED® Blog:

Where #SeriousHorsePeople come to better understand digestive health in horses and its impact and management.

A Letter From Katy Barr, Head Groom to HRH The Princess Royal

Without SUCCEED, I’m not sure our 5-year-old, homebred National Hunt racehorse Cloudy would still be here. That, or we would be drowning under vets bills whilst we tried to work out how we could help him.

He was in training for a season and showed promise, but has yet to achieve much. Once I picked him up from training, we quickly worked out why…

Cloudy is a naturally quiet and reserved horse, but genuine and will try his heart out for you. He is also a really nervous, worried little soul. Although he loves to run, jump and race, the setup of a trainer just didn’t work for him and his brain.

I brought Cloudy home from training on May 14, 2019. I nearly burst into tears when I finally walked him off the truck at home. He was a welfare case. He was hollow, ribby, and I could feel every backbone and cup both hands around his hip bones.

Instead of eating he would crib and was generally too worried and distracted to fill his belly. Along with poor appetite, Cloudy was depressed and nervous, grumpy and cross. He was a mess, mentally and physically. We were all sad—sad that he felt like he did and sad that if he’d had slightly different management he may not be in this state.

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I turned to some friends looking for advice, and they pointed me to SUCCEED. I needed to sort his guts out, and then we could hopefully sort the rest with time. I had heard good things, but we needed a miracle—without vet intervention.

The difference in Cloudy since starting SUCCEED is astounding. His appetite has improved hugely. He’s gone from struggling to finish a single feed at all to eating four feeds a day faster than any other horse on the yard. All grumpy and anxious behavior has disappeared, he’s no longer girthy, and he now stands quietly while tacked up. Cloudy’s realized being brushed is lovely and enjoys being touched now. He’s working quietly and with great focus. He’s generally a different horse.

There are so many things that have changed along with Cloudy’s digestive health, including that we now have a more receptive and calmer horse. His understanding of what I’m asking him is greatly improved because he’s listening and trying rather than climbing the walls to get away from me and whatever I’m trying to do or ask of him.

The most noticeable difference is in the truck. Anyone who knows Cloudy will tell you he doesn’t load. The furor when I picked him up was mad, and they were going through it a couple of times a week! When I got him home that first day, he was in a white lather when I unloaded him.

Recently, we took him to use a water treadmill (something in itself I wouldn’t have contemplated a couple of months ago). He walked on quietly the first time, then traveled like the true pro he is. He stood like a rock while we got him ready to treadmill, which he did willingly. Then, he went straight back on the truck and quietly home, cool as a cucumber at both ends.

Cloudy is still a huge work in progress. All the muscle you can see on him we have built from scratch. He will not carry an ounce of fat at this point, so we have had to devise ways to keep him eating all the time. Give me a couple more months, and I’ll have the lovely, round shape I’m aspiring for!

This experience has been a huge learning curve for us, as we discovered many things affect Cloudy’s digestive health. A huge diet overhaul, careful management, and pairing him with the perfect “friend” has meant we now have a wonderful, content little horse.

We also now have a good armory for him should he go back to training, or if we chose to retrain him, so that no matter what life throws at him he will be happy and comfortable.

More than anything, Cloudy loves his daily syringe of SUCCEED! He waits patiently every morning when he comes in from the field for breakfast, and he asks for it very politely.

Thank you SUCCEED. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Katy Barr
Head Groom to HRH The Princess Royal

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