Monday, February 28, 2011

Satisfaction, finally

The other day it was cold and windy outside, which makes for a slow business day. Luckily, I have my personal horses close by. It was a great opportunity to take care of the things I had neglected such as; dentals, vaccinations, deworming, sheath cleaning, clipping, doing an eye exam, etc. It was really fun AND mostly SATISFYING to finally have them in top shape for the upcoming summer of roping and riding. My grey horse (Trey) had been throwing his head when I was holding him back (in the roping box), and so I suspected he had sharp molar points. Yep, sure enough. So the next time I roped, there was a noticeable difference, and improvement in his demeanor and performance. Believe me, I was watching very closely to evaluate what difference it would make. My other geldings, AL and Jim, hadn't had their sheaths cleaned for over a year. I am a bit embarrassed to say the they had very large "beans" in their urethral orificees!! If you're not familiar with that, call me and I will explain it to you. But needless to say, I felt better every time they urinated, as I am sure they did.
There is a new vaccine that combines Brain fever, Tetanus, Influenza, rhinopneumonitis, and West Nile virus in one injection! It is $10 less also, what a bonus (finally)! And the protection lasts for over a year. So even this early in the year we can vaccinate and be assured that all will be well for the summer. I also felt much better about just stabbing my horses just once, instead of 3 times! (second bonus!)
While I had them in the clinic, and had the time, I took my opthalmoscope and looked at the inner structures of their eyes. I had just attended an opthalmology seminar (eyes) and so I was "up to speed" and wanting to see something strange. Luckily, I didn't see anything abnormal, which is a relief. So the next time Al, my old bay, spooks at the same rock he has spooked at for 15 years on Antelope Island, I will know that it is not because of any vision problem!
As I stood back and looked at them, I took out my clippers and clipped the long fetlock hairs that catch all of the mud in the spring, trimmed manes, bridal paths, whiskers, and anything that looked out of place. This was no "show clip", but for a old vet and roper it was pretty "shiny".
So with all of the annual "spring work" done on my horses, I feel really good about how they will perform, knowing that there are no obvious physical impediments. I had finished shoeing them, and am up to date on that also (extremely important). So guess what? I am left without excuse, any performance deficiencies that might arise in the next few months will probably be MINE!
I feel a pretty good level of satisfaction knowing my horses are all tuned up, fed well, comfortable when they are asked to perform, and in optimum health.
If you have been thinking that you need to get the same "stuff" done for your horse, come in now while business is slow. That way I can lend you my clippers, we can look in those eyes, you'll save $10, and we can take all the time we need. Then you can have that feeling of satisfaction that all is well and you're ready to go!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Easy and cheap nutrition

Alfalfa hay, or alfalfa grass mix, Grorite vitamin/mineral supplement, water, white salt block, and MAYBE some oats or sweet feed if your horse is working hard. There, I said it! How can it be so simple? My question is; "how did nutrition get so complicated?" Now, of course there are situations and conditions where it is a little bit more complicated. But i am talking about 90% or more of the horses I see everyday. How can it be so simple?
First, lets talk protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones that are necessary for building tissue (muscle, tendon etc). Alfalfa hay is very high in protein (most of the essential amino acids), but it lacks 3 of the Essential amino acids. Grorite provides these essential amino acids along with vitamins, minerals, and yeast culture to enhance digestion. Your horse will be able to maintain muscle mass and weight with less feed. Simple!
Grain- who needs it? Very few horses do. But if they are working hard, simply adding Whole oats or a quality sweet feed to the Grorite supplement may suffice. The amount is totally dependent upon how much work is being done.Simple!
Grorite is important because it resupplies the horse with electrolytes in the proper ratios (calcium to phosphorus), adds the essential amino acids alfalfa lacks (build tissue) and enhances digestion with "diamond V" yeast culture. Another wintertime benefit is that adding Grorite to the ration will help " drive" thirst. Electrolytes are inherently "salty" tasting. Therefore a daily intake of electrolytes can stimulate the horse to drink more, and hopefully avoid impaction colic, which is so common in the winter.
With a few basic principles, nutrition can be so much simpler.