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.

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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.”


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