Spring Horse Care Tips by #TeamDiO Member Sabrina Ketcham
Spring is in the air, the days are getting longer, it’s warming up, and in my part of the world the wind is blowing. We have baby calves on the ground, my Facebook is flooded with new born foal pictures and upcoming event calendars. It’s time to start thinking about getting yourself and your horse ready for the busy competition season. Many of us don’t ride as much during the winter, it’s a great time to give your horse a break both physically and mentally, but now it’s time to start thinking about summer. I like to have my competition horses evaluated by my veterinarian for a baseline starting point for the year. Teeth need to be floated before a problems arise. It’s never a bad idea to x-ray feet and share that information with your farrier. Get vaccinations up to date before the panic of disease hits. A proactive approach to horse care will benefit you and save your money in the long run. As you look toward the upcoming season, establish your goals. What do you hope to accomplish as a horseman and as a competitor. What are your goals for your horse. Some maybe easier to reach than others but have a direction, we all work harder when we are working toward something. Just saying I want to go compete isn’t enough. By saying I want to make clean runs or I want my horse to walk in the pen without a fight, are ways for your mind to focus on a task you want to accomplish. The most important thing for getting your horse ready to complete is fitness. For a horse to perform at its best it must be fit. Each horse requires its own fitness program, figure out what works best for your horse. Long trotting is a great exercise for all horses. On average a couple miles is plenty. There are great apps you can load on your phone that will track your distance and speed. A long trot will help a short strided horse to stretch out and reach with his front end. If your horse has trouble staying collected loping smaller collected circles will be beneficial for them to learn to keep their hips under them and their body’s framed up. Depending on your horse you can establish how much of your workout is geared toward fitness and how much you need to drill and practice your specific discipline. You don’t want to make workouts miserable, but every time you step on your horse no matter their age, caliber or training, you have the chance to improve them and yourself. Treat each one as an individual and give them your entire focus. As you increase your horses workouts be very mindful of soreness. Just like people, working out if we’re not used to it, your horse will experience soreness. Generally there’s no reason to panic but it should be managed. Proper warm up and stretching and using Draw it Out Veterinary Strength Liniment can make a huge difference. If I am making a competition run or working the barrels with boots on my horse, I always put DiO GEL on each leg before I put boots on. I keep a bottle with a pump top in the brush box of my trailer which makes it super easy for me. I’ll rub it from above knees and hocks down and put my boots on. While your boots are on its absorbing into the legs by the time you're done it’s already gone to work removing heat and soreness. After a workout simply spraying diluted DiO Concentrate or rubbing DiO GEL on you horse’s neck, chest, back, hamstrings, stifles or anywhere they might show stiffness is a great way to make them feel good and be ready for the next workout. Keeping your horse feeling good is an important part of assuring they will work their hardest for you when you need them most.
Keep your feet in the stirrups, and your goals in sight.
Sabrina Ketcham Sabrina has had a passion for horses and competition since she was a small child. Growing up on a working cattle ranch horses were used everyday. From a young age she began to compete and that passion has never gone away. Sabrina is a wife and mother of two boys Bridger (12) Pike (8). She and her family ranch in New Mexico as well as train and raise performance horses. Sabrina has had a highly successful barrel racing career including countless awards and championships including being a Wrangler National Finals qualifier and two time The American qualifier.