Month: July 2012

Colt Is A Genius

Colt Is A Genius

Okay, well, maybe that title is an exaggeration. Colt’s not a genius. But he HAS proved to be extremely trainable and has a very good memory, which is good enough for me. I jumped on him last week for a short lesson with Anne. (In […]

Dressage Over Fences

Dressage Over Fences

I spent part of my day off yesterday riding Moe with Anne and Atut. Moe was in his usual high spirits, and Anne suggested taking him through some small gymnastics. She set up a one stride to a two stride, with the jumps about 18″ […]

Supplements

Supplements

Let’s take a minute to talk supplements.

I have never really considered myself a supplements person. Growing up, none of my horses received supplements. They didn’t really even receive much feed. They ate well-kept pasture for most of the year, good grass hay in the winter, always had fresh water and a mineral block, and got grain when I was riding them regularly. This worked perfectly well for them. But I secretly pined for supplements, especially those in sleek little SmartPaks. I remember receiving their catalog in the mail and being awed by pages after pages of products guaranteed to make my horses shiny or flexible or calm or fat. I really liked the neat little packages they came in. (Hey, I was 12.) But my horses simply didn’t need extras; they were fit, healthy, and happy.

Fast forward to college. Moe arrived after a miserable, horseless freshman year. I boarded him with a group of friends at a variety of facilities. The moves were not kind to my delicate Thoroughbred. He lost weight, and the more grain I fed him, the more excitable he got. (I still think he lost the weight just running around the pasture.) I decided Moe needed supplements. First, I tried corn oil. It was cheap, and I’d heard it’d add weight and shiny hair coat to a horse without adding excess energy. This was somewhat true; Moe was shiny. But he didn’t gain much weight. A friend suggested I add apple-cider vinegar to his feed to help his digestion and keep away rain rot. It did seem to help with his chronic rain rot; whether it helped with digestion, I couldn’t say. But Moe ate it happily, with his corn oil, sweet feed, and soggy beet pulp. And though he didn’t gain much weight, he didn’t lose any, either.

Let’s talk about a month ago. When I was rifling through the trunks in the horse trailer, I came across a whiteboard with Moe’s college-era feed chart still scrawled on it. I stared at it as if it were written in another language. Moe’s feed chart read:

AM Feeding: 3 pounds sweet feed, 1 pound beet pulp, 1 cup corn oil, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
PM Feeding: 3 pounds sweet feed, 1 pound beet pulp, 1 cup corn oil, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 scoop weight gainer powder, 1 scoop hoof powder, 1 scoop joint powder, 1 can beer

WHAT? I don’t remember that at all, but sure as I’m alive, I was apparently feeding my horse a can of beer every day. I also don’t recall having powdered supplements, either, but there they were, crusty tubs of 4 year old supplements. For what purpose I fed him the beer, I don’t know.

During the first couple of weeks he was in Oklahoma, I noticed Moe was a bit creakier and stiffer than usual. I wasn’t overly concerned- he was coming off a three year retirement and was now a senior citizen at 17 years old. For the second time in my life, I decided Moe needed supplements.

This time, instead of taking folksy advice from vaguely horsey people and friends, I did some research. I ordered Moe MSM for his joints, BioFlax for his hooves, and a digestive supplement to support his aging gut. The senior horses at my workplace receive a similar combination and I knew what a success it was.

After less than a week, I noticed Moe was moving smoother, had more energy, and was much more himself. After a month, I haven’t noticed any real weight loss or signs of digestive upset, and even in this awful drought his hooves are holding up well.

And the best part of all? I finally have my tidy, organized SmartPaks.