Saturday, February 11, 2012

Great Minds. Greater Bodies.

Let me start with a repost of our driving skills...still sideways. Perhaps Photobucket will be more willing to host it then blogger...

Now, today.

T and I headed off to the Interlake Riding Club annual general meeting, and it was AWESOME. There's a very non-competitive, fun atmosphere to it, that makes you feel cozy and at home. The general meeting stuff was normal meeting stuff, save for one crazy decision by volunteer to act as club secretary for the next year!!! : O  Yeah, crazy. But I know that I may never have the free time to do it again, and I know there's a wealth of knowledge to be hazarded. So why not?!

I also, without even hesitating, signed up for an English Riding Clinic with Jumping basics, lead by Beatrix Strebel (see ). The clinic includes an hour and a half of individual time with Beatrix and from what I heard from a hunter riding at the club, she's awesome. The date is a little inconvenient because it'll be right around Moon's move-out date from W's, but I also think that the timing couldn't be better. Just 2 weeks before our first dressage show. If he's a mess there, at least I'll have some prep time for our show. And if he's a doll, who cares!

IRC is also planning a huge 50th celebration weekend in July (7th and 8th) which I've decided I'll probably do instead of the Triple S a week later. The IRC weekend will include an old-school parade (OMG, take Moon in a parade?!) followed by a traditional gymkhana. Count me in!

The AGM finished off with a vet coming down to chat with us about spring-time horse matters. And he was great! If I lived closer, I'd hire him on for Moon. It actually donned on me at one point why I liked him so much...

...he had MY opinions! Nothing better then listen to someone who agrees with everything you think! Okay, he had a bit more "vet diplomacy", but I was pleased to listen to him explain how probiotics are not the miracle treatment you think, and that floating your horse's teeth every 6 months is a bit of a joke. Of course, he's a rural vet : )

And now, the highlights of his talk, summarized by me:

1) Start deciding if your geriatric horse needs to put on weight in May, not September. And P.S. despite what the feed companies want you to believe, he thinks 20 is a geriatric horse. Not 15. Unless they're a TB. Or an Arab. An Arab is only reaching maturity at 20...

2) Your horse is fatter then you think. Remember that when you're deworming. The syringe might only go up to 1250 lbs, so chances are your pasture puff needs a second syringe.

3) Pro-biotics are pointless. Let's face facts: the stomach pH is so low that pretty much every bacteria you feed to the horse is killed before making it to the hindgut. Pre-biotics...maybe there's some advantage, but really just in horses that have had traumatic loss of hindgut flora (ie. long-term antibiotic usage).

4) Worm resistance from over-use of dewormers. Is real. But let's be realistic that most of us (in the club anyway) don't keep our horses in stalls and aren't going to bring 30 fecal samples into the clinic for counts. Likewise, the vet has little interest in spending the day counting worms in your horse's day-old poop. For most owners out there (except those with high stocking densities or horses who have been struggling with worm issues/past resistance problems), there's nothing wrong with just deworming.

BUT: Make sure you use ENOUGH wormer for a complete kill. It's okay to overdose, wormer is really hard to do damage with. Back to the "your horse is fatter then you think".

AND: There's no need to rotate wormers EVERY TIME you deworm. You might be causing more problems then you think you're preventing. His solution (which I'm already doing): every fourth worm, use a different product. So: Ivermec, Ivermec, Ivermec, Pyrantyl, Ivermec...etc. 4-times/year deworming, including once in the winter.

5) Most male horses do NOT need their sheath cleaned regularly. Many horses go YEARS without ever needing it. If you notice difficulty urinating, an excessive buildup of crud or swelling, get it cleaned. And consider regular cleaning.

BUT, if your horse isn't showing any problems, there's no need to glove-up! Phew. : P

One woman also asked if you could "over-clean" a sheath. Well, yes you can. But WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO?!!

Vet says warm water and whatever soap you'd consider using to wash your own nether regions.

6) Show vaccines (something I really wanted to learn about in prep for spring): In our area, EEEV, WEEV, Flu, Tetanus (typical 4-way). Add in Strangles, West Nile, and Rabies.

Now, what about Equine Herpes Virus, which has shown up in neighbouring provinces??

He explained to us at length about the limited efficacy of the vaccine, which was not very promising. Start and end, from what I learned, the BEST protection, is good biosecurity. Don't go sharing stuff with other horses, wash your hands between touching other horses and keep things clean.

Which is probably ALWAYS good practice when travelling to shows! Or even around your own barn/boarding stable.

: )


Okay, last thing from today.

I went out to visit Moon after our meeting. It was later then planned, but I didn't care. I wanted to ride my boy!!

And boy did I.

He wasn't soft. He didn't want to flex. He was resistant to contact. Completely opposite from Wednesday's lesson. But, I was bareback and I'm sure that didn't help. I have a REALLY bony butt and I'm sure he was unimpressed to have my seat bones jabbing into his back. Especially when the exercises we were doing were supposed to help get him to use those muscles : P I swear, sometimes I could FEEL them in my seat! And that must kinda hurt him...or at least feel awkward.

Then I decided to do something CRAZY.

Something I've never done before, it's so CRAZY.

(for me.)


BAREBACK! I mean, no pad, no stirrups, no grab handle. Nothing. Just a bridle.

And you know what?

Well, for one, I didn't fall off!!!

BUT WE MADE A FULL CIRCLE AT CANTER! And I ASKED him to come back to trot for me, which he did! And not a crummy, floppy, falling, messy circle. A nice, relaxed, rythmic circle. He lost his balance once and I was able to right him and carry on with our circle without losing gait. He started to slow once, and I was able to encourage him onward.


Never thought I'd actually get there. I mean, I wanted to, but bareback cantering is crazy. Once or twice he went into "Speed-Mode" and took off across the arena. But I kept it together and we made it back to normal people's speed. More then once!!



(today rocks!)


  1. First. . .awesome!! A bareback canter!! Yay for you and Moon!

    Very interesting about the wormer, totally against worming propoganda (lol). I am a big fan of the "horse industry sells/tells you a lot of things that are totally not necessary" school. Sometimes I am known as the "crazy and new horse lady that has no idea what she is doing" person. But I don't care, so far everything I have done for Shy has been working for us.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gotta start with the bareback! That's terrific!!! I'm not a good bareback rider at all but I love riding Dee bareback. Particularly as someone who rides in a western saddle most of the time, I love being able to feel everything as my horse moves. And she is so fat right now that it's like riding a cushy!

    At my old barn they recommended giving the EHV shot 4 times a year since it's got such a short span of effectiveness and they had lots of strange horses coming and going with twice weekly roping events and training so we followed along. Thankfully the new barn is closed to outside horses so we can relax a bit with the extreme vaccination schedule.

    Worming makes me crazy. I never know what I'm supposed to do. My vet said every two months, alternating between ivermectin and Quest. My sister out east is at a barn with a twice annual worming schedule. Then you can get annual worming kits from the likes of Valley Vet which include a full rotation of wormers to be used every other month. I've looked into the daily deworming supplements and ouch, so pricy! Why can't things be simple?

    I'm sure I underestimate Dee's weight because she is so fine featured. It was really neat on Ken McNabb's show one day when he had a group of students first try to estimate various horse's weights by just looking at them, then they used a weight tape to estimate the weight, and then they actually put each horse on a scale. Scary how far apart all three measures could end up being. Shame we all don't have access to a scale capable of weighing a horse!

  3. Very interesting info from the vet. When one of the new vets from Elders was at the barn recently we discussed deworming and he was mentioning that vets in other provinces and the companies that make de dewormers are actually saying to only deworm twice a year. In the spring and in the fall. The fall dewormer should include something that will kill tapeworms.

    They recommend this due to resistance, like this vet recommended.

    Way to go on the bareback canter!!!

  4. Bareback?!?! You're a daredevil! And I love hearing about how involved you are getting with clinics and showing. It really makes me want a truck and trailer so I can get out and about with my pony!