The UKNHCP forum reckoned if it ain't broke, don't fix it, so we're carrying on with the Greengold. I'll get another bag ordered for when I'm next down at the dentist in Inverness. Merlin has a definite order of preference with food at the moment. Grass is at the bottom of the food chain since the beginning of November, he'll make sure his haynet is empty before he goes in search of the green stuff. There's always HorseHage hidden in his net somewhere and whether it's top, middle or bottom, that'll get carefully picked out and eaten before the drier hay. And if, like this evening, I've done his haynet in advance so he could tuck in as soon as I took him into his shelter, he'll even abandon HorseHage in favour of his feed skip.
He has lost a little weight now, we're at the top of the 498kg band. His moobs have shrunk and there's a suggestion of shoulder starting to appear, but I still can't feel ribs and he still has fat pads on his bum. It's supposed to be a fairly mild week this week and then cold again the week after, so I shall continue to feed him the same this week and then add another handful of beet both ends of the day next week and up the HH to hay ratio if required, as he still has weight to lose.
I have another forum to thank this week: HHO or Horse and Hound Online. We were forecast gale/storm force winds on Thursday night and I posted to ask whether I should keep Merlin in (as there's a byre roof breaking up up-wind of the field) or leave him out as normal to make his own decisions. Every single reply said leave him out and I'm so grateful to them because his very solid 18x12 field shelter, which weighs a couple of tons, migrated TWO FEET south. I can't get the mats to fit back inside, so I've cobbled them together in a new configuration which only leaves a little bit of bare floor but at least has no lumps he can trip over. Mick thought we might be able to move it back with a land anchor and a pulley system, but the ground's too soft behind it and we just ended up dragging the land anchor out! Once it freezes solid again he's going to take his Navara down there with chains and hooks and pull it square.
We went for our only clop of the week this morning and he was really pleased to be out and about again; ears pricked and a really good even stride. We did the mile to the health centre and back which was obviously no problem for his feet, so we'll start adding on a few minutes on the Polouriscaig track, which is stony, and see how he does with that. Feet are still smelling better despite the mud. I nearly, nearly, nearly tacked him up and got on this afternoon, but I think he would have thought going out twice in one day was taking the piss and I had to catch up on the post-snow poo picking in the bottom field.
It's been an expensive week though, he's running out of Total Eclipse so I've got micronised linseed, brewer's yeast and magnesium oxide ordered from Pro Earth on eBay, then got a bag of Speedibeet from CLB because Hilltop Horses weren't sure if their delivery was going to arrive in time for me to have one from them, went to Hilltop the following day and it had, so got another bag of beet and two bales of shavings. £85 in short order, but at least that's all the feed I'll need until I run out of linseed in about 3 months' time. Next purchase will be an Enlightened Equitation forum subscription - I've rejoined the forum there as well after a 10+ year absence.