Originally Posted by Keira Cloudhawk View Post
I guess all this CoronaVirus/Quarantine stuff has me bored and was just wondering how others keep their horses sound. (It kinds sounds 'fishy' but its not). Like I said above, in no way am I planning on changing anything to my horses' care plan. I am not trying to gain anything specific, I made this thread out of curiosity and boredom. 😕
Well "keeping your horse sound" and "care plan" are possibly two different things.
Any hard working barrel horse WILL develop soundness issues at some point in their career. Sometimes it can be remedied by simple time off. Sometimes, not. And sometimes, the owner/rider does not know how to recognize a soundness issues. To keep my barrel horses sound, one thing I am very adamant about is routine vet care. Even if I do not think my horse is having any problems, I always schedule a lameness evaluation with my lameness vet about a month or two into the season, just to make sure. Catching small problems before they become big ones is good prevention.
I also like having videos of our barrel runs. Not only to watch myself as rider, but to watch my horse. Often the first signs of a soundness problem is something different about their foot placement or way or moving; maybe even before they don't clock as well as they normally do (which can also be a sign).
Yes, as ClearDonkey stated, it is also important for your horse to have good fitness BEFORE you ask them to run on a barrel pattern. A lot of injuries occur b/c of lack of fitness.
Especially when I am getting my horses legged back up in the spring again, I try to ride 5 or 6 days a week. I do most of my riding on the trails (usually 4 miles or more) with one or two days or arena work (circles, reining, poles, drills, etc). Once they are in shape again after a month or two, and/or when we start running on the weekends again, then weekdays are usually okay with 2 or 3 rides, with a run on a weekend.
For me, 3 days of riding out of 7 days is not enough. JMO.
I like my horses turned out 24/7 so they are free to move and graze as they please, as nature intended. Since they have good natural forage, they don't need much for supplements. But I do give about 3/4 pound alfalfa pellets with 1 cup (8 oz) of Purina Outlast when I catch them and they will be tied at the trailer, so they have something in their tummies. Then hay in a slow feed bag in front of them while tied at the trailer (better to prevent ulcers). Then when done riding, they get another cup of Purina Outlast, along with 1 cup of Purina Ultium gastric care, so that I can mix in their 1 scoop of T.H.E. Muscle Mass supplement with joint support. I also like to have them on a joint supplement such as Adequan or Pentosan -- depending on their needs for the year and my pocketbook, haha.
I put sport boots on (with bell boots) only when I will be riding in the arena, and only on the front legs. They get bell boots when riding out on the trail.
They also get regular farrier work, chiro work, dental work, etc etc and everything they need for good overall health.
If it is not hot out, they get their BOT quick wraps on their legs while standing on the trailer before riding. After riding, they get hosed off and get CoolAid wraps on their front legs. I might consider SoftRide boots for shotgun this year, since I had planned on hitting the rodeo road with him, and that will be more miles in the trailer.
But the key thing on keeping them SOUND, is being very watchful throughout the season and keeping in close contact with my lameness vet, and managing the horse accordingly based on what the problem is. For example, Shotgun has never needed any injections yet but he came up a little sore in the stifles and hocks toward the end of the season. I chose to quit him for the year, rather than inject, since we only had a couple races left anyway. Had it been earlier in the year, then I would have injected. Red I am going to attempt to bring back to LIGHT barrel racing this year, but I will let him tell me how he is doing, since he has other soundness issues to begin with.