I love this time of year, as I'm sure most of us do. Of course the Christmas season is the main reason. One other reason is that the work here at the clinic slows down as the weather cools and the horse related activities diminish. Now, I love to work with horses, but this gives me time to do two things with horses. It gives me more time with my own, and more time with my clients, and their horses. Let me give you an example. The other day a client came in from Nevada. I had all morning to talk with her about her horses, their diet, weight condition, and any other topic that came up. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, and neither of us was in a hurry. We went from head to tail on her horses, caught them up to date on vaccinations, did thorough dental work, dewormed, and cleaned sheaths, etc. I hate being in a hurry. Two things happen, I don't do as good a job, and the horses get worried and fretful when I come at them at a rapid pace. So that is why I have taken the attitude to "work at the pace of nature". In that way my patients are more relaxed, and I can slow down, do a better, more thorough job. This way we are all happier.
So I would really recommend that if you can, schedule your horse keeping appointments during the slow time of year (now is good). Then we can all relax and enjoy the experience more. We will do the following;
1. Talk about vaccination needs, and get those updated if needs be.
2. Get the deworming up to date, do fecal exams to determine the most effective product, and the interval of administration. (I am finding on most fecals that we are deworming TOO much)
3. Do a thorough dental exam, and float teeth if necessary. Most vets now have what is called a "powerfloat". But that does not equate with good dentistry. That one tool may make floating quicker, but not more thorough. There are many places in the horses dentition that the powerfloat cannot access. I have all the toys, oops, I mean "tools", necessary for the best equine dentistry available.
4. Clean the Sheath if you have a gelding or stallion. It is amazing how dirty they can get in a years time!
5. Discuss shoeing, hoof or lameness issues. I have found over the years that staying with a good, competent farrier (shoer), and maintaining a consistent schedule is the best way to avoid lameness problems. We can discuss ways to extend to the useful life of your horse.
6. Talking about nutrition may be the most important thing we do during an appointment. This is where the bulk of our money goes during the year. So any "tweaking" we can do to save a dollar or two turns into major savings.Taking into consideration the body score (how fat or how thin) of your horse we can determine the best and CHEAPEST way to feed and not break the bank. Let me help "debunk" all the myths out there about feeding, and what is really needed for good health.
7. Plan the year. Will you need a Coggins Test for out of state travel? We can plan these things now so they aren't forgotten or overlooked. In Nevada and California these tests are good for only 6 months. All other surrounding states require a current negative Coggins test every year.
8. The last topic, may be my favorite. Do you have any training, or behavioral issues? When I say I have more training and handling experience, it may be just admitting that I'm older than most. But I thoroughly enjoy discussing, and hopefully improving the handling, riding and training of horses. I have learned something from every client that has come through my doors over the past 27 years. Hopefully you can take advantage of my experience and knowledge.
So with one phone call, we can accomplish all of the above together. Prevention of problems is the key to better performance, enjoyment, longevity, safety and satisfaction.
Merry Christmas, and have a very Joyful New Year.