Vet Trends: Clay Tryan’s common-sense horse care
Clay Tryan doesn’t use any miracle treatments to keep his two dominant mounts sound through the grueling rodeo season.
Clay Tryan has won back-to-back world titles with the help of his two great horses, 17-year-old Dew and 15-year-old Cate. Dew has won every major jackpot as well as the WNFR average title, all without spending time on the sideline because of an injury, thanks to common-sense horse care and good old wet saddle blankets.
When Tryan bought both horses fve years ago, he started with a clean slate: Both came to him sound in the prime of their careers.
“I had never really had that before,” Tryan said. “Thumper was sore the whole time I rode him. I injected him the whole time I rode him, and it seemed like the more I injected him, the more I had to keep injecting him. These two, I haven’t ever injected them just because they’re having an off day or they’re a little sore. I just don’t love doing it because it’s not natural. If someday I have to I will, but I’m not the type that just runs to the vet for injections at the frst sign of trouble. Dew is fve years in and he still feels as good as he did when I got him.”
Both Dew and Cate spend their downtime turned out at Tryan’s Lipan, Texas, home.
“I’m not much of a barn/stall guy,” Tryan said. “I think they need to move around and lay down in the sand in Texas. Some people are probably scared to kick their horses out, I’m scared to leave them in.”
Neither Dew nor Cate need any tuning, so their exercise consists of a whole lot of circles loped in Tryan’s arena, an arena which he keeps well manicured so as not to risk riding on uneven footing.
“I’m giving them a couple weeks off right now, but I dang sure try to exercise them every day,” Tryan said during the spring break in May. “They get exercised with their saddles on every day, at least trotted around. I try to run one to fve steers when I practice on them, and I make sure the ground is level and be cautious that way. I boot them up, front and back. It’s cheap insurance. It softens the blow if they hit themselves.”
In between caring for their three boys, Clay’s wife Bobbie ensures that Cate and Dew are long trotted and loped daily.
“It takes some time. It really does,” Tryan said. “It’s not just practicing. My wife helps me. She gets in the mode of saddling the good ones and exercising them. I get on and rope on them and hand the reins back to her to go trot and lope more.”
Heading into the summer run at a high level of ftness is essential, Tryan
said, as Cate and Dew prepare to share a tough rodeo load and thousands of miles on the road.
“On the road, I try to keep my Bloomer full of shavings and keep hay in front of them,” Tryan said. “I let them out every six or eight hours where I can fnd good places to stop along the way, and after all these years we’ve fgured out where some good places to pull off are. I’ve got a lot of friends with nice places who let me keep my horses there, and if not, I try to put them in portable panels.”
Tryan tries to keep Cate in one rig and Dew in another to keep from hauling them both long distances together unnecessarily. Since he can only ride one horse at a time, he often sends one ahead to the next rodeo to get some rest.
“I use Soft Rides especially when they’re tied up on hard ground, too,” Tryan said “I will even use them to walk to the arena. Sometimes the ground is just rocky and the dirt is bad, and it’s better if they’re booted up right up until I need to lope to warm up.”
As for hoof care beyond Soft Ride Boots, Tryan relies heavily on other cowboys on the road. Tryan hopes to see Logan Olson, Sean Mulligan or Tyler Waters entered the same places he is so that one of them can keep up with his horses’ feet.
“Logan doesn’t rodeo as much, and that makes it harder on me,” Tryan admitted. “But if I can get any one of those three guys, my horses will be all right.”
Whether on the road or at home, Tryan tries to keep both their diets consistent and uncomplicated. Both horses get alfalfa, a small amount of grain daily and Equipride, an all-in-one vitamin and mineral supplement complete with probiotics and prebiotics.
As for vetting when necessary, Tryan isn’t like some guys who have a weekly appointment at a specifc vet clinic. He relies on vets across the country, as needed, to check on his horses.
“There are a lot of great vets,” Tryan said. “I just like to not need them.”
“Some people are probably scared to kick their horses out, I’m scared to leave them in.”