Tuesdays with Tony – New Year’s Resolutions 1-5-16

Tuesdays with Tony – New Year’s Resolutions 1-5-16



Happy New Year to all my adoring fans! 2016 is going to be a great year, I can feeline it! I have officially decided that 2016 is going to be the year I focus on bettering myself, both mentally and physically. Mentally, I plan to focus on my reign over the humans. I think it will help my self esteem if each one offers me a compliment and an ear scratch as they walk through the door. I also plan to perch on the highest accessible vantage point in the clinic at all times, as a sign of my dominion. As for my physical transformation, I have come up with the following resolutions (horses, feel free to follow my lead):
1) Eat better. For me, this means sticking to my prescription diabetic diet- with no cheat meals! For you horses out there, this means eating a complete and balanced diet. The docs explained to me that a horse’s diet should consist primarily of forage (grass, hay, or alfalfa cubes/pellets). If feeding coastal hay, it is good to mix in a legume such as alfalfa or peanut hay at about a 1:10 ratio to prevent impaction colics and provide additional protein. The grain portion of your diet depends highly on your current body condition. If you are an overweight Mini, this may mean a small handful of Safe Choice Special Care (a very low-starch, low-fat feed) once a day. If you are a skinny Thoroughbred, this may mean eating 6 quarts of Equine Senior for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whatever your weight loss (or gain) goals are this year, Dr. Vurgason and Dr. Lacher would be happy to help formulate an individualized diet plan based on your specific needs!
2) Exercise more. I resolve to make at least 2 laps around the clinic each day, as opposed to my former single circuit. For you horses, it may be time to get back on the longe line, or get your owners back in the saddle! Exercise is the BEST way to lose weight, which incidentally helps to prevent Laminitis, Insulin Resistance, and Diabetes in my case. Exercise is also a great way to improve your topline and overall appearance. There is a fine line between lack of muscling and being underweight. If you are confused which one you are, the docs would be happy to come out and give you a Body Condition Score, and advice for your own exercise routine!
3) Stay healthy. This should go without saying, but probably the most important part of bettering yourself physically is to stay on top of your routine medical care. My humans are well trained to take me to my regular checkups for my vaccinations, flea and tick meds, and dental care. Lucky for you horses, we have the Wellness Program for that! Your humans just need to sign you up at the beginning of the year, and all of your vaccines, dentals, coggins, physical exams, and fecal egg counts will be covered through 2016. Not to mention if 2016 doesn’t quite go as planned and you happen to sustain an injury or illness, your emergency fee will be totally free!

Follow my lead- make it your resolution to join the Springhill Equine 2016 Wellness Program!
Wishing you all health, happiness, and a full food bowl in the year 2016!

Tuesdays with Tony: Managing Your Horse For A Long Athletic Career

Tuesdays with Tony: Managing Your Horse For A Long Athletic Career

Managing your horse for a long athletic career

Managing your horse for a long athletic career I listened intently Tuesday evening to Dr. Lacher and Dr. Bourke discussing athletic horses and their needs. I like to think of myself as an athlete and I want to be around a long time so here are notes from the cat.

A long career starts at the beginning. A solid education as a youngster gives our horses the right skills to fall back on in a pinch. By spending time putting good footwork and consistent response we set our horses up to succeed later in life. Footwork allows a horse to properly use each of its four legs to balance when we ask them to suddenly change direction to cut a cow, or spin, or jump, or pirouette. Just like football players have to practice footwork so its second nature during a crucial play, our horses have to be very good at the basics. Ask any high level rider what they practice most of the time and the answer will be the basics. Ask any high level rider what they don’t practice and it will be the big tricks whether that be spins and slides, big jumps, extreme collection or extension.

Apparently not only should our horses be educated but the riders should be too. You humans can really affect what happens with your horse. Getting the best quality lessons, using all that technology has to offer, and always learning help you influence your horse in a positive way.

Fitness is not a subject I’m particularly fond of. I like to hold down the counter at the office and be sure everyone in the office offers me a bit of their lunch. But I digress. Different types of horses require different levels of fitness. A rail horse, for example, will need stamina to keep consistent gaits both directions of the rings and potentially come back for a final but is unlikely to need extreme cardiovascular fitness. An event horse or a reiner, on the other hand, will need to be cardiovascularly fit to perform at even modest levels. Designing an appropriate fitness program for your horse’s career will keep tendons, ligaments, muscles, and lungs ready to handle anything we throw at them. Spoiler alert: there will be a bit about injury later on. Mental fitness should also be taken in to account. Horses, just like people, like to cross train. Oh and they like a vacation every now and then too. Personally, I like summer to vacation. As a black cat summer gets a bit hot so I stay inside, listen to the latest tunes, and catch up on Facebook.

Fitness is again important for the humans. You are more likely to make all the right moves if you aren’t too tired to make the right decision at the right moment. Assess your own strengths and weaknesses. Most of us favor one side or the other. Do you find all the horses you have ever ridden on a consistent basis are similarly one sided? Do you have a go to move when you get in trouble? A few sessions with a personal trainer every now will help you manage those weaknesses. Oh and don’t forget mental fitness for humans. Ten Minute Toughness by Jason Selk and other similar books are great introductions to sports psychology.

Well that’s a wrap for this blog since I need to go supervise the office. Stay tuned for my next installment about the equine athlete. Until then may your litter box be clean and your food bowl full.