Wednesday, May 26, 2010

There's A Lot Involved

It seems I have started the topic of conditioning a competitive barrel horse...A LOT....

I just never seem to get very far with 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!


Leah Fry said...

My friend Heather swears by soy oil. Black oil sunflower seeds are also good.

There's a lot to it when you have multiple athletes in the family.

City girl turned Country Girl said...

This was a great informative post! I love to hear what other peeps are feeding their horses, specifically their performance ones. While you may not think that's enough for Moon it is alot! Just goes to show just how much work these guys really are!

Laura said...

There sure is a lot to do to keep an athlete in good shape - this post was an interesting summary of that.

Poor outgrown Strawberry - too bad he is going back to the ranch. I totally have a crush on that horse and now we won't be seeing much of him!!!

Danielle Michelle said...

Catching up - finally. Hear ya on the time stuff. At least the kid in school is almost out! lol. Put her to work!

USe Flax - I swear buy it and if you have dusty conditions it helps them pass the fine dirt and sand that can lead to sand colic.

Also - I have a tendency to stare at the top of the barrel. I want to watch between my horses ears. A student of mine said to wrap a piece of bright tape around the headstall on the poll and focus on that to break the bad habit. Unfortunetely I won't be trying that for awhile - and now that I don't even have a horse to train anymore perhaps longer. We'll see what happens.

Liz said...

Its nice to see some really take care of their horses. I've seen way to many times people just simply not do the basic for their horses. Any ways I would like to know what you do for your straching exercises? I have a horse that needs them I do ours every other day, he is only riden about 3 times a week green broke, just wanted to know if you had any extra that I could do on him.
We have always had luck with corn oil but lucky we are grassed up pretty good.

Anonymous said...

I prefer fresh-ground flax as a fat supplement. It has the correct balance of omega-3 to omega-6. Corn oil has an inverted ratio which promotes inflammation, muscle soreness, etc. As mentioned above, flax helps clean out sand too. However, it is a PITA to grind daily and it loses it's beneficial properties very quickly. I keep it in a tightly sealed dark container in the fridge overnight as heat, exposure to air, and exposure to light speed the degradation.

I really like your preogram.

Andrea said...

There is SO much that goes into maintaining a competitive horse. So much more than just brushing and feeding. I haven't had a competition horse in a LONG time. I mean competition as in show...they are a lot of work. Not that I mind the work, I don't, I just don't have time for it right now. One more year and I will be back to riding during the day while my kidos are at school!!! Hooray!!!

Dena said...

I buy my ground flax in the baking isle at the grocer.
Busy much? I hear ya girl..I hear ya...

Cut-N-Jump said...

There is a lot going into bringing up a competitive horse and seems like even more going into keeping them on top when they get there. It's a balancing act with a lot of fine tuning. What works now, may not be right 6 months later. It's always something, but we grit our teeth, bite the bullet and keep on going.

Ride 'em, cowgirl! Ride 'em!