One owner has used Your Horse’s Hack 1,000 Miles challenge to help prevent her pony becoming ill with laminitis for a third year running.
When English tutor and PhD student Martina Diehl’s Shetland pony Peanut suffered from severe laminitis in 2017 and 2018, she knew she needed to make changes to his diet and routine to help prevent the disease occurring again.
“We made him a little track system off the grass, I addressed his diet and got him out for walks in-hand once he started to feel better,” says Martina.
“I saw him improve so much during our walks and so started hopping on Gin [my other horse] for part of the way, and eventually I managed to take Peanut out in-hand with us.”
‘A lot of miles for little legs’
Gin — Martina’s Quarter horse Arab mix mare — is the reason that 30-year-old Martina came to own Peanut.
“He kept Gin company at her previous yard; she adopted him and I fell in love with him too, so his owner let us keep him,” says Martina.
The trio have completed the 1,000-mile challenge on their third attempt.
“I think Peanut probably did around 800 of our miles — that’s a lot of miles for those little legs,” smiles Martina, who didn’t have the smoothest of starts to riding Gin and leading Peanut.
“He has a mind of his own sometimes, and this caused Gin to panic as the start and I’d have to let him go — it was chaos,” she confesses.
“Slowly and steadily we learned to communicate better, thanks to the in-hand walks and hacks.
“I can now hop on Gin and feel safe taking Peanut with us,” continues Martina.
“The three of us have become such a team and it’s the most amazing feeling to see him galloping along next to us.”
It’s not just Peanut who has reaped the benefits of such an active lifestyle; Martina says it’s improved her own fitness and motivated her to push through on the difficult days.
“It’s been a reason to get out and do something every day, even if the weather’s not great,” she says.
“I always manage a little in hand walk, even on the rainy, windy and snowy days. There’s not a week that I didn’t clock up some miles.”