Once upon a time I had Junior on SmartCalm because I thought he needed it. What he actually needed was more turnout and less grain, but live and learn, right? I've decided to try out a few new things...
For the summer we're going to try SmartPak's Smart Bug-Off. In the summer, Junior gets hives along his neck and back, usually around July. Dr. J (our vet) took a look at them last summer. I'd rather not make him go through that so if this works, then great. Other fly protection we use is a fly mask with nose and ears (also protects his nose and cyst eye from UV) and I purchased an Amigo combo fly sheet for this year to replace the harder mesh one I got for super cheap at a tent sale and Gunner proceeded to tear holes in. He got the hives even with that fly sheet. Since his ears are clipped I feel better with added protection.
I got enough BugOff to last into August so if he still gets hives in July we won't get another bucket next year.
We're also going to try Tri-Amino to add muscle building protein. My reasoning for this? Well, his weight is good right now, but I can't seem to build up his topline enough. It's gotten better since the really pointy time in the winter, but seems to have hit a plateau and I think the photos of when I bought him show a more developed topline even though he was much thinner than he is now and I'm pretty certain we're working harder now then he was just before I bought him. It's hard to know precisely how much protein is in his diet since our hay varies and right now grazing time is inconsistent due to our wettest spring on record, but I know his grain is lower in protein than most, so if the hay isn't making up the difference then that could be a reason. When I did the hay analysis before (See sidebar topic of Equine Nutrition) he was getting enough, but who knows what it is now. I'm starting with a 45 day supply to see how it goes. I know that the supplement won't do any good without proper conditioning exercises, so to give it a fair chance we'll continue working hard on conditioning, which has admittedly slumped in the weeks since my injury the day of the show and it's driving me crazy not to be able to ride along the trails/fields to get some hill work in! The "Backing over Poles" excercise in The Book doesn't work because he will just step ON the pole or push it backwards. Nerd.
Back to the supplements.
My Barn Manager is awesome which means that I don't have to measure my own supplements. Yay! Or my own feed! Yay! But for the sake of having something to blog about I filled the first week's worth.
A How-To guide on our Feeding System:
1) Gather supplements and containers, 7 for once-a-day, 14 for twice-a-day. Having a grey tabby named Brutus nearby is helpful but not necessary. Et tu?
2)Insert properly measured supplements and label. The BugOff is pellets, and the Tri-Amino is sort of a granulated powder.
3)Load each meal's supplements into appropriate bucket in the same order as the horses are stalled/fed, which is why Junior's is buried closer to the bottom since he's about a dozen stalls in.
4)At mealtime, each horse on the "Barn Grain" (currently Strategy Healthy Edge), is fed out of a bin on the feed cart. Each horse on a different feed (these include Strategy, Kalm N EZ, Equine Senior, and others) has their own labeled container. There is a chart on the cart listing which horse get supplements, which have their own bucket, and how much barn grain they get. After each meal the feeder re-fills all the buckets and swaps the empty supplement bucket out for the next full one. This is part of my morning feeding duties on Sundays and Mondays. I really enjoy the organization of it. :)
He'll be getting his supplements in the AM feeding but I wanted to give it to him tonight to see how he'd take it....
I left him alone for a while and came back to find this:
SOOOOOO unlike this horse to leave ANYTHING in his feed bin and clearly he tried very hard to avoid the Tri-Amino and actually left grain. Crap. I didn't see any of the BugsOff left. I left the feed tub in the stall for the night, hoping he gets bored enough to eat it, otherwise we're in trouble....
Tomorrow I have a lesson with the clinician from the last show clinic. We'll be working on Equitation and Showmanship. While my back was bad I did more showmanship practice than riding and tried to work on getting a speedier cadence. We'll see how it goes!