Thursday, February 13, 2014

getting educated

puddles reflect blue skies again
I took my kite out for a walk earlier in the week. After 4 days of rain and “trapped” under his shelter, he was a bit anxious to get out! Major was jigging at the end of his leadrope, and needed some serious reminders to stay out of my space. I’m sure the folks driving by on the road saw “the woman in the orange jacket beating her horse.” We were actually working on “do not run into me or you will have to back really far and into the puddle.” Perception. At least (so far) he has been smart enough to not run around in the slippery muck. Even when hand-trotting him up the road he stopped and walked in a slippery area.

I spent one of the rainy days at the Loomis Basin Endurance seminar. Lots of people, and so much information. There were also some booths for tack vendors, American River Ride, local feed stores, and more. Too much information, but here is what I processed:

1. Electrolyte Research by Langdon Fielding, DVM. One study says one thing. Another says another. Super hard to do a controlled study since electrolytes can be altered so much with diet, exercise and just genetics. Do what is best for your horse. They talked about what electrolytes are most important, and how plain salt might work for many people. Err on the side of too little rather than too much.

2. Body Condition by Susan Garlinghouse, DVM. I’d read this research before, but it was great to hear it in person. Dr. Garlinghouse studied about 300 Tevis horses and recorded Body Condition, how far they went, did they finish. Horses 4.5–5 on the BCS had a much much higher rate of finish than horses 3.5-4. So keep some extra gas in the tank as she called it. Body fat going into the ride will make the difference, not dietary fat during the ride.

3. Minimum Fitness Levels for starting the ride by Jay Mero, DVM. This was information on conditioning, which was pretty general as it is so specific per horse, terrain, etc. The importance of rest, progressive loading. Horses show no appreciable changes in fitness after three weeks of rest. Humans aren’t so lucky!

4. Gastric Ulcers by Gary Magdesian, DVM. I don’t even want to go here. So much controversy right now about should ulcer meds be allowed in competition. AERC debates this regularly. Horses did show some ulcers after rides, mostly very minor ones.

5. Tevis Data Analysis by Kathie Perry. Lots of statistics, all pretty interesting, but also a Tevis movie was playing the background which was great. Tevis has also decided to not allow very low (I think 3.5 or below) or very high (more than 8) body conditions to start the ride because of their very poor competition statistics.

6. Lameness review by Langdon Fielding, DVM. Dr. Fielding (who is one of Major’s vets) discussed lameness in endurance and scoring. Explained the concept of “down on sound” to watch for the head bob. He also showed some lameness videos and tried to help us see the slight lameness. Very hard.

Overall a very worthwhile event. I liked that the evidence was presented in a scientific way, and science concepts explained very clearly. Then the vets talked about what could work for your horse could be different, and some explained what they do, as an example. It is hard to stay general when endurance is so individual-focused, but I have lots of ideas floating around in my head, and I like to err on the side of too much information rather than not enough! We can learn from many different sources, but our horses are the best teaches. Do what is right for them.

I learned something else this week: A four mile bareback ride of walk/trot makes me more sore than a normal training ride of 15 miles of trotting. See, always learning!

crooked tree on crooked trail


1 comment:

  1. I'm really glad to hear (again) that they hold condition for three weeks. ;)

    Would love to hear more about #6 - "down on sound"?