Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Going Natural!

This past week one of our horses choked and coliced. Needless to say that was a stressful and expensive experience!

The blessing of it is that this particular horse had choked with me before so I knew what to expect. The second blessing is that because I knew what to do and what was normal, I waited to call the vet until I saw his breathing and responses weren't improving to normal for him. If I had called earlier when the choking symptoms were the main issue, we may have both missed the colic.

Although the choke appeared to be the primary cause of the colic, the vet did say existing underlying issues may have contributed to the colic as well. One possibility was Anterior Enteritis which is commonly caused by a parasitic infection.

You can pick up just about any equine magazine today and find an article on worming. One thing of concern is how some of these articles talk about how worms are building up an immunity to the traditional commercial wormers even with diligent rotation. Additionally the articles will often comment on the fact that outward appearance is no indicator of a potential parasite load.

All this worm talk led me to do a little more research on alternative parasite management. Companies like Silverlining Herbs carry herbal wormers. Horsepower Herbs is another company that offers an herbal alternative. One company that I just recently discovered in my search is Earth Song Ranch. They not only offer the typical herbal wormer but also a homeopathic formula for horses and dogs that have positive fecal counts for parasites.

Romans 8:28 talks about how God uses all things in our lives for good. That includes the stressful events that we go through. If it weren't for those stressful times, not only would we not have an opportunity to test our faith, but we may miss practical information that may benefit us down the road. My own recent event is a good example of that.

Ideally, none of my horses would ever choke or colic. God however, in His classic style, used my fearful experience to not only come out on the other side with a stronger belief in prayer but also to gain some very valuable information about my horse that I needed to have. He used it for my good, just like His words says.

The next time you're going through a tough time look for not only the opportunity to test your faith, but also look for the practical information in that circumstance that you may need. It's there somewhere!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Look Further Than The Surface

So often when a horse acts up we have a tendency to blame it on the horse. We'll say the horse is rank, or we'll blame it on poor genetics and that the bloodline doesn't throw good temperaments.

While I'm a firm believer that you should only breed horses with truly good temperaments because genetics does play a huge roll in how a horse works, I think sometimes we need to look a little further for the reason a horse may have acted up. Sometimes it might not be as clear cut as bad genetics and temperament.

Feed can have a huge impact on how a horse behaves. Over the years I've done a lot of research and experimenting with feed. There have many times that I've changed feed thinking it wouldn't make that big of an impact and it did. Sometimes I didn't realize how the previous feed was effecting my horse until I tried the new feed and then it became obvious.

Another factor that effects how a horse behaves is turnout time and management. If you combine that with a hot feed, turnout time has an even bigger impact on how a horse conducts themselves. Turnout time is an opportunity for a horse to wear off some of that extra energy. If they're deprived of that opportunity, they will look for other ways to get rid of that energy.

We need to do the same thing with our spiritual walk. If our actions aren't what they should be we need to take a look at our "feed" and our "turnout time". Are we reading God's word so that we're spiritually fed what we should be? Are we taking enough down time so that we have the energy and the desire to think about Christ in our life? If we don't get the right kind of turnout time, our energy will be spent in ways that aren't productive to our spiritual walk with God.

When things go awry with horses and ourselves, it's worth taking a step back and looking a little further than the surface. Good horsemen gain better understanding of things by always looking a little deeper than the surface.