About 15 years ago Kylie bought a thoroughbred gelding to gently ride and to be a companion for her older retired gelding.
Like many Off the Track Thoroughbreds, he was absolutely “not suitable” for her, but she persisted. Fast forward five years and she noticed he wasn’t shedding out his coat in spring and was starting to develop abscesses. He was diagnosed with laminitis, consequently shod and sadly foundered. He was diagnosed with Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction a.k.a. Cushings Disease. This lead Kylie to dive headfirst into the world of metabolic and endocrine disorders, where she found Dr Eleanor Kellon, an amazing vet who heads the free online group of www.ecirhorse.org. There she learned so much about PPID and insulin resistance, how to manage it through nutrition, exercise, medication and trimming. She has since been a part of Dr Kellon’s community for over 10 years.
At the beginning of her equine journey Kylie was very passionate about supporting rehabilitation and recovery for horses with PPID and EMS through nutrition, massage, redlight therapy and other modalities. She became a certified massage therapist soon after – and whilst she doesn’t’ utilise this skill “as much as she should” anymore, she says it gave her the foundation of anatomy and physiology that she still uses today, and that she’s “very lucky to have a circle of friends that I can refer my client’s horses to if they need this support. Down the track, it might be something I will return to.”
The journey into barefoot trimming started with her own horse foundering. She explains how it was a challenge finding a hoof care professional that was educated in endocrine disorders. Eventually she stumbled across Sue Daniel, an “equine podiotherapist.” She was Kylie’s hoof care mentor, allowing her to be her shadow to watch her trim, answered all her “nagging questions” about hoof balance, pathologies, laminitis and founder, and the endless list goes on. From there, Kylie went from strength to strength, hungry for more knowledge. She registered with the Australian College of Equine Podiotherapy to study barefoot trimming and became a qualified equine podiotherapist. Throughout the last eight years, she has also studied with Daisy Bicking, farrier from the United States, and piggy-backed with local farriers and other hoof care professionals. She is on the never-ending journey of always learning, always sharing information with clients, encouraging clients to learn the anatomy of the hoof and learning to trim. Kylie is and always has been very much an advocate for owner education – whether it be feet, nutrition, and saddle fit. After all owner-education is how she got to where she is in the first place, being just another horse owner with gaps in her own education.
“Education prepares us for the ups and downs of equine health. It takes away the stress and anxiety of the unknown, it empowers horse owners so they can support their horses in times of need”.
Wandilla Farm evolved through her love of horses – falling in love with her hay grower! She is now set up with her hay-farmer partner on their 146 acre holding and another 340 acre property near Dalby that all makes up this oasis of equine health and fodder production. It all started when she was made redundant from her corporate position in Brisbane. With the support of her partner Jono, she was able then to take the leap of faith, enrolling in a Bachelor of Equine Science at the University of Queensland, The Australian College of Equine Podiotherapy and continuing her studies with Dr Eleanor Kellon in endocrine disorders and nutrition. She started trimming her own horses, friend’s horses and once college had finished she started trimming a few more and the list continued to grow slowly. “It felt like a journey into the unknown” she explains. “Different feet, different pathologies, founder, laminitis, all very challenging cases. I remember doing my first resection on seedy toe and feeling the sinking feeling of ‘am I doing this right?!’ (it was actually a very small resection but none the less it felt massive at the time!)” Word of mouth spread and she soon developed a client portfolio of which most are still with her today – seven years later. She tends to have the horses that are suffering from PPID/EMS gravitate to her. Educating clients in these situations is extremely important for the management of their horses. “This is ultimately my passion, horses with endocrine disorders. It’s absolutely imperative that owners of these horses are aware of the correct management of these horses through nutrition, diagnosis, exercise, hoof care and medication.”
Wandilla Farm has seen it’s fair share of tough cases. Kylie reminisces about some of her more curly patients – “Ponies! They come with many problems: obesity, lack of farrier attention, insulin resistance, lack of training!
My very first founder case was a rescue pony that I inherited. Her feet were like coca cola cans – cylindrical, upright and long – she also had Cushings Disease undiagnosed.
She was a challenge because she was in so much pain. Her muscles were tight, she was malnourished, not in the sense of skin and bone, but mineral and protein poor.
I set about tackling her feet to get them more where they needed to be. We had ups and downs through our journey only a few short weeks, and we got her through, formally diagnosed with PPID and medicated, she is with me today running amok with healthy feet and a sassy attitude.
Another pony comes to mind, extremely obese, feet like slippers, insulin off the radar. This little pony was on death’s door. I actually had to hacksaw the toes off they were so long. So again the protocol of what I had learned from Dr Kellon came on board – low sugar starch hay, regular trimming, weight loss and insulin normalised within weeks. She’s now a loving kids pony and living the dream”.
Kylie is dedicating her life and time to learning as much as she can about nutrition, hoof function, equine health and how this directly affects all aspects of the horse and rider enjoyment. We are excited to have such a caring and sharing practitioner presenting at Cowgirls Gathering.