The fundamental aspect to recovery and management of laminitis is diet. Laminitic horses need strict control on the amount of forage they eat, together with the amount of sugar they intake. Horses are trickle feeders. Grazing animals. This natural feeding rhythm is essential for any horse to remain healthy.
I searched the globe for a feeding net which would trickle feed Sully, and be strong enough to withstand his abuse. He was a net trasher! It also had to be big enough to feed a large horse large amounts of forage over a long period of time. There was nothing available. What there was, he destroyed. Or it didn’t slow him down at all. So I made one.
I made many prototypes, with inferior materials. I needed the strongest netting, with the right hole size to restrict his forage enough but not too much. I tried knotless netting, I tried different types of mesh, I tried various hole sizes. Sully tested anything that looked promising, and I landed on the best material. The strongest most effective netting is too tough to be stitched on a machine and cannot be made in the same design as other nets. This design is unique, and I spent a lot of time working out the best way to stitch this monster net together.
The Trickle Net was born, and it did a fabulous job at feeding Sully while I nursed him in his stable for those long painful months. On four occasions, I had decided to call the vet and end his suffering. On four occasions I saw a glimmer of hope, a small improvement which caused me to change my mind, pray harder. Keep loving my boy, and hope again. I had my baby girl during this time, and I used to put her in front of Sully’s stable while I worked on the yard. She would stare up at Sully, watching him pull faces and he would gently nudge her rocker with his nose. During the summer of 2011, I decided to make a sand pit outside Sully’s stable. This would provide a soft surface under his painful feet, and allow him to feel the sun on his back. He was in such pain, and by now had a large oedema under his belly. His coat was thin and his skin was flakey. I suspected he had cancer too.
He had two weeks of sunshine on his back, before I found him in agony in the sand pit. His big body had been weakened so much during the course of his illness. He had moved badly, and shattered the bones in his pastern. He took the decision from me, and his suffering ended that day.
Sully’s illness was too far advanced. There was nothing that could have saved him.
The Trickle Net had helped him greatly during his long spell of box rest. It enabled him to graze in his stable, where the alternative was long spells of hunger and boredom. I had to grab the silver lining on this horrible cloud, make something good from the tragedy of losing my friend of many years. NFU paid out for the loss of my boy, and his insurance payout started Trickle Net. The Trickle Net is a legacy to him, and he lives on in a product which now helps thousands of horses around the UK and Europe.