founder, something he was already struggling with so I declined.I was reading everything I could get my hands on in order to findsome answers that would help save Handsome’s life. I came across abook with concepts that became paramount to his recovery. Itoutlined a lifestyle that emulated a more natural diet for this foraginganimal. The lush green, Midwestern pastures that I thought were soideal for my easy keeper turned out to be quite poisonous indeed. Ineeded to find a place to board him that would not put him out topasture all summer long and that would test their hay for sugar levels.I found a few facilities that had dry lots, but nobody tested their hay.And the dry lots were less than ideal since they were so small anddidn’t encourage movement, a necessity for a foraging animal. Iquickly learned that what was common practice in the horse world,was more suitable to the grazing ruminant animal, not the singlestomached equine. And although horses are built for consuminggrasses due to their enlarged caecum, they are not built for what isreadily available to them in the fertile Midwest. My Handsome haddeveloped a metabolic disorder that sounded a lot like adult-onsetdiabetes.Eating lush green grass all day is likened to a human eatingcookies and ice cream all day. Eventually the body breaks downbecause it is not able to continue on in this manner. Perhaps if Handsome was a super-athlete like Secretariat, he could havemetabolized that diet properly. Being rather sedentary the years I wasin college and less active than I had hoped in the years after,Handsome’s roly-poly, shiny pony status turned out to be theprecursors for a disorder I had never heard of before.I finally found a boarding facility that embraced the concept of atrack system and tested their hay for sugar and protein levels suitablefor a horse. The track system is like a dry lot in the sense that there isno grass, but that is where the similarities end. The tracks at this farmwere approximately 25 feet wide and anywhere from an eighth of amile to a full mile in length. “Horse hay” was spread throughout thetrack to encourage movement and simulate a forager’s lifestyle.I moved his fragile being to one of these track systems and overthe course of a year enlisted the help of several alternative therapies(Reiki, acupuncture, equine massage and certified barefoot trimming)and a veterinarian that prescribed a Cushings medication because hehad all the classic symptoms. After a year of a more natural horselifestyle, I feel confident in saying he is fully recovered. He still takesthe medication for Cushings, maintains a diet that gives him vibrantlife and has a certain mischief about him again. But most important of all, this story has no real ending as his life carries on in a more naturalway and the spark of life has returned to his beautiful, expressive eyes.