Monday, September 17, 2012

Solving problems

I have been an equine/large animal veterinarian for 27 years now. It doesn't seem that long, but when I look in the mirror, I can see a little age creeping in! I was roping the other night, and a fellow told me that I was older than his father! Well, age is relative. Those 27 years don't include the 20 years prior to that spent with horses, roping, riding, shoeing, etc. I hope that means something to you. I have attended almost 30 years worth of seminars to update and improve my services. What I learned in Veterinary school in the early eighties, has almost completely been replaced or updated. Of course there are still many "old" remedies that are tried and true. But the advances are astounding. Digital ultrasound and  radiography provide answers to most problems. (not every equine veterinarian has them, so be sure of the quality before you buy!) Compared to what we had even 5 years ago, it is like taking the "blinders" off, and being able to see, finally!  And some "so called" advances, simply are not. The proponents of the Stem Cell procedures, have not provided the proof, yet. The cost of these procedures also limits their use. "Shock wave" therapy, was touted as the next great treatment modality. It has not been proven to speed healing, or improve the quality of healing. In the words of a colleague, "I use my Shock wave machine as an anchor for my bass boat!" I pride myself on being able to sift through the marketing and glitz, to get to the truth. It is my job to give you "what works". There is so much false, inaccurate, and misleading information out there. The internet, and the ability to "google" any topic, is fantastic. And it is also detrimental. Acting alone on information gathered from sources on the internet can lead you down the wrong path. If years of experience have taught me anything, it is this. Everybody has a "gig", or an agenda. Put another way, everybody is trying to sell you something, or make you believe you need "their" product. I put myself in that category. Certainly I try to sell you on my services. So what is the difference? What I have for you are products, services, and advice that have survived the test of time, science (proven to work), and experience. Many medications and therapies have come and gone. Some become a "fad", and then are gone in a few years. 
Experience is great, if it is mixed with continuing education. Staying abreast of the latest in PROVEN therapies and medications. Education is great, but without experience it is like a young two year old -alot of talent, energy, ability, but little control. All of that talent, energy and ability must be channeled, controlled, and directed by experience. 
So whether your horse related problems are behavioral, nutritional, lameness, medical, dental, reproductive.....and so on, I can help. Before you buy a horse, feed, supplements, medications....and so on, I can help. I can help you save that precious money and time. Phone calls are free.  This isn't rocket science. Enjoy the Fall!

Friday, February 17, 2012

creating respect

Many times as I am asked to treat a variety of horses, for a variety of things. I find at times that I am unable to adequately handle the horse (neither is the owner). Now this can be for a variety of reasons. VARIETY seems to be the common theme. There is usually no one answer as to why some behave negatively. But we all know that horses have good memories, and many seem to ALWAYS remember the VET!! Most horses are perfectly fine with their owners while at home. But when I show up, they have a different attitude. It used to be a source of frustration for me, and honestly, I would blame the owners. I have since learned that when I am frustrated, I am to blame. Frustration doesn't mean anger, it simply means that we don't know how to solve the problem. We have hit a wall. Hence, FRUSTRATION. Now I am no horse whisperer, but I have learned to slow down, read the horse, and work with them, not AT them or ON them. Let me explain.
How do you get into a horses head, and let him know that what youre going to do is not painful (at least not real painful)? Well, to do this you have to become the "herd leader". You have to let him know that you control him. Easy right? Actually, to get into their head, you have to control their feet. Pulling on the halter and trying to physically control him only reinforces the fact that you are NOT the herd leader, because as the horse drags you around he is figuring out that HE is the herd leader, and he is controlling YOUR feet. So take him in hand, on a fairly long longe line, cluck him around you, make him move at your command, in the direction and speed that you dictate, and stop at your command. In short, control HIS feet, and you control HIS mind. This is the basis for all good horse training. Some call it ground work. Whatever you call it, whenever you are having a battle over who is in control (ie, lack of respect), whether you're on his back or on the ground, go back to basics. To get into his head, control his feet.
I know of some very good farriers that will take colts for a few minutes and use this same technique, and they stand better for their first shoeing. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.