Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Learning...and de-worming.

Tonight I've plans to head out to work with Moon for a bit, since I'm going to be in the area and I want to practice loading him into the trailer, as this is a new adventure for us. I'm HOPING like crazy that Wendy is the right coach for us, which is something that we'll likely figure out in time. In all reality, there's no true commitment for anything more then a month, and since Moon is boarded elsewhere, it shouldn't be a big deal one way or another.

Ultimately though, I really want to start making progress with him. While we always seem to be learning or making improvements around the farm, it varies greatly from serious training. When we're working and I can tell he's avoiding the bit, or getting worked up and not listening to me, I really want to have someone to turn to, to say "How do I fix this?".

In the same way, I'm hoping to find a coach that will help guide me in this adventure of horse ownership. It's funny. I have clear ideas (and I'll prattle on about one of them later), but at the same time, am always looking to have them validated. Realistically though, I should be capable of a basic saddle fit or bridle fitting, without guidance at this point. I guess I like knowing someone will catch me if I miss something.

When I spoke to Wendy last week, she gave me a lot of hope with respect to our potential training. This needs to be a real commitment from me, not just a summer thing. If I want to take Moon to be more then a backyard horse, he needs to be involved in regular training. Who really knows how far we'll get (I doubt he'll become more then a novice dressage or jumper horse), but part of it is in the adventure of trying. And we'll both be better off for it.

On another note, a friend has recently started a provincial survey on deworming of horses. One of the big things, which so many people are getting behind, is fecal counts. I understand the notion behind this method (vaccine titres would also be a wonderful thing to do each year), I question whether it is feasible, economical and reasonable for the average joe. Okay, maybe I'm old fashioned. Maybe I'm money-conscious. Then again, I don't even know how much it costs to do a fecal count. What I DO know, is that resistance is often a result of improper or under use. Granted, continuous use of any product can lead to resistance, but often, it's a case of not using enough to kill everything dead. Instead, a couple are left alive that have the highest resistance, and those procreate, the least resistant are killed, those procreate and so on, as we select for the organisms most likely to survive our chemical onslaught. Reason dictates, if the does is high enough to kill EVERYTHING, then there's nothing to procreate and spread the resistant genes...

My logic then, is dose often and dose hard. Many people, estimate their horse's weight with a guess. Or use the weight they taped the horse at back in June, for the next 4 years of its life. Realistically, each time you're prepping to worm, you need to recalculate your horse's weight based on size, girth, and breed. With accurate numbers, you can ensure you're using enough dewormer to make a difference.

I suppose I'm stuck in an old school mentality, too stubborn to change. What I do change, is my type of dewormer. I make sure that each dosing is with a different chemical. Not 4 times/year with the same ivermectin.

Really, worming programs are an owner's decision. I think it's great that veterinarians are capturing the market that has concerns about resistance, and more power to them.

I'm sure I'll see some flack from this, but that's okay. With Moon being my first horse, I'm realizing that much like anything where people have a choice, I too have an opinion. And experience, knowledge seeking and a willingness to be flexible, are going to be key.

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