Ace was ticked at me on Tuesday. I suppose he had good reason; he had his teeth floated earlier in the day. As much as I hate going to the dentist for a simple cleaning, I can imagine how unpleasant a giant drill in your mouth must be. But that’s horse ownership – doing what’s best even when they don’t like it.
Of course, before you can do what’s best for your horse, you have to take the time to educate yourself on what that really entails.
I think the fact that horses’ teeth constantly erupt and have to be filed down is one of the biggest news stories of the century for the non-horsey or new-to-horses crowd. I can picture the eyes widening every time I tell someone about floating Ace’s teeth every 6-12 months. And that’s just the first of many surprises when I fill people in on everything that goes into keeping a horse healthy.
Horses are big, tough looking animals with amazingly sensitive systems. It’s not like having a dog or cat that you let outside a few times a day and then toss some generic food and a bowl of water. There’s a lot you need to know beyond how to ride and handle horses.
And unfortunately, there’s also a lot of bad information out there about horse care.
Yes, a lot of that bad information comes from the internet and the fact than anybody can post anything. But a lot of it is heard around your barn aisles – from friends, managers, trainers, and sometimes even your vet. A lot of it is modern conventional “wisdom”. Old husbandry practices that were the norm decades ago have been lost in lieu of modern convenience and resource limitations. And it’s not always good for the horses.
We owe it to our horses to do our research and really learn how horses’ systems work and what’s best to keep them healthy. We should never rely fully on what one person tells us.
Since Ace came into my life 2.5 years ago, I have become a crazy researcher. I read magazines, veterinary articles, health websites. I talk to hoof care professionals and vets and trainers who have been horsemen their entire lives. And one of the benefits of working with Freedom Health (makers of Succeed Digestive Conditioning Program) during my day job is that I’ve had access to all kinds of research and experts on equine digestive health and nutrition.
As a result of getting educated from so many great resources, I’m a much more knowledgeable horse owner and am more equipped than ever to keep Ace healthy. And it’s paying off: he’s in the best condition of his life right now.
The area of how we feed horses is one in which I think we are bombarded by the greatest amount of bad information – and a lot of it coming from the feed companies who are primarily out to make a profit. But when horses aren’t fed to match the way their digestive systems are designed – we start causing some serious problems.
The most serious health risk our horses face today is colic. And while some episodes of colic are unavoidable, many of them are a result of how we take care of our horses. The good news is that means there is something we can do to help keep our horses from colicking. That is such an important message to get out that I’ve helped Freedom Health to launch an education and awareness campaign called Crusade Against Equine Colic. It’s all about teaching you, the horse owner, techniques for feeding and caring for your horse that will help to keep colic at bay.
It’s a really great, informative site if I do say so myself (kinda like this one ), so please to do go check it out and help spread the word. The Crusade is also spreading the word via Facebook and Twitter.
Colic doesn’t need to be the number one killer of our horses.