The Quick-Fix Mentality

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We’re all busy, so the allure of a quick fix is undeniable. Sometimes it’s even unavoidable, such as when you’re running so late you don’t have time to make a nutritious dinner and simply grab the phone to get pizza delivered. A fast dinner like this now and then won’t hurt you, but if you make it a habit you’ll pay the price. Quick-fix thinking is fine, unless you let it become an automatic response.

If your horse develops a behavior problem, is your first reaction to look to a tranquilizer or calming supplement, or is it to try to figure out why' If your horse is lame, do you reach for bute or get a diagnosis and treatment plan' Do you rely heavily on changing bits or adding other devices when you have a training issue'

The draw of the quick-fix infiltrates every area of horse care. Most people vaccinate their horses against dangerous diseases but put little thought into reducing exposure and making sure the horse’s immune system isn’t compromised by stress or faulty nutrition.

Countless feeds and supplements claim to contain everything your horse needs for vibrant health. Just pick one and you’re all set, right' Wrong. Take a few minutes to read the labels, both ingredients and amounts, and you will quickly see there’s a tremendous variation. How could all of them be right'

I work with a lot of challenging horses, from high-performance horses that stress their bodies to horses with complicated medical problems. Keeping these horses as healthy and sound as possible requires a comprehensive plan and owner/trainer dedication to doing everything the best we know how.

Halfway measures get halfway results. However, the biggest road block to getting a horse started on a treatment plan is often getting rid of the owner’s or trainer’s quick-fix mentality. How long does it really take to strap an ice wrap onto a horse’s problem leg after a work to head off any inflammation' Not long, but the thought of a more ”complicated” management approach can stop some people from doing something even that simple.

Blind allegiance is another, but less obvious, form of a quick fix. This could be a brand name, product line, style of riding, trainer, health care method, shoeing style--just about anything. The things you are loyal to may all be worthwhile, but they aren’t necessarily the best choice in every situation. ”I’ve always used XYZ” is a quick fix. Keep your options open. The real bottom line, to borrow from Dr. Phil, should always be ”And how’s that working for you'”

Squeezing everything we need to get done into a busy day is a challenge. We know that, and Horse Journal exists to a large extent to debunk the quick-fix claims that come your way every day. A true horseman will respond to a quick-fix product claim with ”how,” not ”wow.”

Eleanor Kellon, VMD