Monday, May 09 2011 by
Is that Left Hind or Right Front? Lions are like equine vets: they feed their families by finding lameness. If an animal in the back of the pack is limping, they are an easy target. Some animals of prey have evolved to minimize the appearance of limping, and maximize their ability to run efficiently in spite of pain, by compensation. Fear is a pretty good motivator too, I suppose, but that’s another discussion.
Monday, April 25 2011 by
Nearly every horse I’ve come across flinches when you reach across their spine to the other side of their back, dig your finger tips into the muscle, and pull toward yourself. This is a favorite way of examining backs by many people, including some vets.
Thursday, April 14 2011 by
After my internship was over and before my next job began, I did a little stint covering a backyard practice in Virginia, while the owner of the practice went on an extended vacation. Her need for a long vacation should have been my tipoff.
Thursday, April 07 2011 by
“You know what it takes to be a successful horse trainer?” My boss asks, sliding a cold beer across the bar to me. “No. What?” He slowly raises his glass to his lips, then speaks out of the side of his almost covered mouth. “Three things.” He takes a draw off his longneck for dramatic effect. “You have to have gray hair, be a good salesman, and be able to cheat on your wife without remorse.” “Nothing to do with training horses?” I ask
Thursday, March 31 2011 by
Supplements People often ask me what oral supplements I recommend for their horses. This is invariably after I just injected a joint or two, and their horse is still hanging in cross ties, groggy from the sedation. Before my eyes glaze over, and I start to look like their horse, I try to get out something along the lines of, “Spend the next 12 months saving that money, then you can pay me to put the medication right where it’s needed next year”. Then I slowly raise a finger and point at their handsome steed, at this point looking more like my victim, than something that could carry them into battle. Most of my clients recognize when I’m just makin a funny, and new clients usually pick up on it pretty quickly, due to my lack of a poker face. But it’s a serious question and it deserves a serious response, so I usually follow it up with a good visual that sums up my true convictions. I hold my index finger and thumb in the” I’m crushing your head” Kids-in-the-Hall pincer position, and say, “This is how much a difference oral supplements probably make in your horse’s soundness”, then I take both arms, straighten at the elbows to show the size of the fish I caught last week and say, “and this is how much difference you get from the training decisions you make every day.” This is a good time to quickly summarize my feelings on the utlility of each product, before moving on to what really matters
Thursday, March 24 2011 by
From diapers til 12, my dream was to be a jockey. I grew up in Nova Scotia, where the only horses around were the Standardbreds that were too slow to make it on the local bush league tracks. We lived too far from town to do much after school, but get off the bus and run to the pond to see if the ice was skateable . My only respite from the depression of what seemed like the last outpost of equine civilization, was the monthly anticipation of that which sustained my dreams: the arrival of The Bloodhorse magazine. I guarantee I was the only subscriber in the province of Nova Scotia, even though I could barely see over the counter at the $2 windows
Monday, March 21 2011 by
From the title, you might think this is a tabloid article about who’s sitting at whose table at the latest charity event. I’m actually talking microchips… in horses. Straight from the horses mouth! Unless they’re crazy famous, most horses in the sports world get handed around like foster kids, with occasional name changes along the way
Monday, March 14 2011 by
They tell you in vet school, “For everything you miss for not knowing, you miss ten things for not looking”. It is by that axiom that I have strived to practice, and if there is a good side to my reputation, hopefully it is that I am thorough. hint hint... Just before coming south this winter, while still in the frozen tundra, I was asked to look at a 5 year old Fresian gelding. He had been starting to learn a little dressage, but having a hard time on his left lead. Ok, truth be told, it was nearly impossible to get him to canter on the left lead at all; even in the field he would only canter on his right lead. A couple of other vets had examined/ treated him, but he was unchanged.