This month's issue is especially dear to my heart, as it's packed with horse-care articles. I love riding, of course, but I also get a deep sense of satisfaction from simply taking care of my horse. She trusts me to make the best decisions for her, whether it's her supplements or her exercise or her hooves.
She and I clicked from the first moment I saw her, and few things are as gratifying to me as when I step out my back door and she nickers loudly and deeply in greeting. I would never let her down, and I work hard to be sure I not only know the right thing to do but also understand why.
With winter hitting fiercely, I'm closely monitoring her water intake. Years ago, we lost an old horse due to impaction colic, and I'll never forget it. He had a long history of not consuming much water, especially in winter, and it finally caught up with him. Unfortunately, the vet?s efforts weren?t enough, and surgery was out of the question due to his age and overall health.
The experience made me a freak about water consumption, to the point that when horse shopping I would ask owners if they knew how much water the horse drank daily. Most looked at me oddly and did their best to answer honestly. I immediately left the facility where the owner replied, ?How the hell do I know'? But I digress.
We don't clip our horses in the winter, and we rarely needed to blanket, since we'll bring them in if the weather gets horrible, and they're always stabled at night. This year is different, however, with two horses getting on in their years and definitely reacting to the cold. They need blankets. Period. We frequently hear from readers who are anti-blanket, and that's just fine. Why deal with it if you don't have to' But you still need to listen to your horse. If He's ducking his tail, head down and shivering, He's cold.
You may also hear someone tell you to never use hoof dressings, possibly even your farrier. that's OK, too, if it's best for your horse. But keep in mind that sometimes regular hoof-dressing applications can help restore hoof-wall integrity, and Venice turpentine and pine tar are the stars for sore soles, as they have been for decades. If someone says no, but you think yes, get a second opinion from an expert.
The third ?horse care? article in this issue is the recent FEI drug-rule change. Calling the decision ?controversial? is an understatement. it's building into an all-out battle. Even within our own staff, we had heated discussions about which is best: zero tolerance or the new limits.
One thing we all agreed upon, though, was that the horse's well-being was most important. I hope that, regardless of where you stand on any of these issues, you'll agree and use that principle to make all your horse-care decisions.