It seems I have started the topic of conditioning a competitive barrel horse...A LOT....
I just never seem to get very far with it...as far as the blog is concerned anyway.
I haven't gotten as far with Moon as I think I need to yet either.
Darn life keeps getting in the way...the kid in school, cleaning and trying to keep the weeds from taking over the new place, the Honey Man is working...ALL THE TIME (bless his heart), Eight head of other horses to take care of too...
Well, you guys all know how it is.
But as soon as I get home from delivering the babies and poor, outgrown Strawberry back to the ranch in SD, picked up yet another project horse and the pony and I am ready to get completely focused on getting Moon into tip-top shape.
He's not in bad shape now though.
At least I have been able to stay fairly regular with him.
The thing is, riding is really only part of the equation when it comes to keeping a horse in top-notch shape.
The other things that take just as much time include;
Working out the best feed program-In Moon's case this includes spending the night in the pasture getting his belly full of green grass, the day in his pen with multiple flakes of green grass hay and his grain. Right now he is on whole oats. I am probably going to switch him to steamed, crimped or rolled oats. He gets a gallon a day-split into 2 feedings. His supplements include-Lamphley's Basic Mineral, 2 scoops of MSM per feeding, 1/2 c Apple Cider Vinegar. I am looking to add some fat to his diet, but have not settled on exactly what...Rice Bran? Flax? Corn Oil?
Performance horses need fat in their diet. Actually, most horses need the addition of fat to their diet vs. protein/carbohydrates. It does tremendous things for their stamina and their disposition/nerves.
Stretching-At least once a day, but preferably twice a day I need to put Moon through a full round of stretching exercises.
Grooming-Becomes more like a full body massage vs. just cleaning the daily dirt off.
Hydrotherapy-It is important to at the very least thoroughly groom the sweat off after each ride, but it is better if Moon can be rinsed with cool water and a brace to assist in cooling his muscles down quickly. I also spend time running cold water over his knees, stifles and hocks. Every other day or every third day, I thoroughly massage Lamphley's External Rub into his stifles and hocks.
Not everyone in the herd gets the full extent of that treatment, but as each horse progresses towards being competitive, the level of commitment to keeping them happy, sound and not sore increases. The riding part...that's the easy part-LOL.
See ya'll in a few days!