Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Junior becomes a Guinea Pig

One of my student-friends (Equine Science major, President of the college club I ride with, 2 time Intern at the Gluck Center), we'll call her TJ, is using Junior as her subject for a Rations project in her Equine Nutrition course, taught by my friend, Dr. Vet. In a nutshell, the students gather information about the horse and it's food stuffs and work out the ideal feeding plan. I AM SO LUCKY to have this done at no cost. So far, TJ and I have gathered pasture samples, cored bales of hay with a nifty tool that takes a tube shaped sample out of the middle of a bale of hay, took grain samples, and yesterday she weight taped him and felt him all over to do a body score. His weight (tape weight made more accurate by Dr. Vet) is 1150lbs and TJ scored him at a 7 (dear god) and KAT said she would say a low 6. This is TJ's first time scoring, but she had to make a call based on what she has learned already.

The weird part is that the BO is nervous that if our feed stuffs are lacking that I will run screaming through the barn telling all the boarders that their horses are being starved or something. Though I think we ALL have a right to know what our horses are being fed nutritionally, I will not be very loud about the outcome. Most all of the folks in the barn who know anything about equine nutrition feed their own feeds already anyway, which is probably a clue that the barn feed is crap, but we'll just have to see. I'll be able to compare the analysis of the grain to the feed tag and see if the tag is accurate. I've already told Max's Mom that I'll be sharing the info with her (she already feeds her own grain) but I won't go spreading it around. If the analysis is REALLY bad I might share the info with the BO, but knowing what I know about them and how they treat complainers, it'll be a, just-so-you-know offer, not a "YOU NEED TO FEED BETTER" demand. Pick your battles. In order to stay with KAT, I have to stay at this barn. Period.

So what if the analysis IS really bad? Well, the project should give TJ a plan for how to counter-act any deficiencies in his feeding and I'll have to decide what to do with it. If it means buying my own grain, then I'll buy my own grain. If it means another supplement, then I'll feed another supplement. I don't know the first thing about procuring Hay so I hope I don't have to deal with that, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

So I'll be updating you with whatever info I get from TJ and her Rations Project.

Had a nice lesson last night. He was very good and he surprised me when KAT asked for an extended jog on one long wall and he was super easy to extend and super easy to bring back down. He kept his frame perfectly on the way up, but did pick up his head on the way back down. I could use very subtle cues and I wasn't expecting it to be so, but I guess beginning most of our rides with a jog to posting trot and back down again have made this smaller transition better, too. Neat!


  1. It's good to know what you're feeding, although as you point out this can be more difficult when you're boarding. We do a lot of nutritional analysis at our barn, including testing hay and pasture. You may or may not have seen my recent post on the topic of equine nutrition - I now have a sidebar as well with links to some very good nutrition info put together by my friends at Paradigm Farms.

  2. OOOHHH How exciting! I love getting into the nutrition - poor Sam cops it a bit because sometimes I have panic attacks that he isn't getting what he needs but he looks good so I am happy.

    Can't wait to hear what you find out!

  3. Oh, how interesting! I'd love to learn more about nutrition but don't really have anyone that knowledgeable to ask. I think you and Junior are so lucky!