5 Soundness Strategies to Finish Summer Strong With Joe Stricklin, DVM with Chelsea Shaffer
with Joe Stricklin, DVM
Team ropers across the country are winding down their summer season, whether they’re spending their time at the local roping club or at the biggest ropings and rodeos in the country. Hot temperatures and long hauls, paired with the stress that comes with running hundreds of steers at the jackpots and in the practice pen, can wear on even the toughest of rope horses. While ropers’ seasons are coming to an end, their horses must stay healthy for the big-money finals coming up in Oklahoma City or Las Vegas. Colorado’s Joe Stricklin, DVM, gives The Team Roping Journal readers some common-sense tips for battling soreness at the end of the summer season.
This time of year, a lot of horses get sore from stomping flies. When you’re rehabbing horses, think of using a leg protection of some sort to keep the horse from stomping flies all day. I see sore fetlocks, coffin bones, coffin joints and suspensory ligaments all from stomping flies. When I have one laid up, ice, poultice and shock waves are good treatment, but some of the most important things you can do are in between treatments, and that’s keeping them from stomping flies.
Soft Rides or other protective boots on the market are really important, too, when you’re going down the road. They keep horses comfortable and keep stress off their legs.
You don’t have to work these horses more than 30 minutes a day, but it will keep them in good enough shape to prevent injuries. If these horses are out in pasture, I don’t think it’s as important to have to exercise them every day. Horses turned out on acreage get hurt less than horses that stand in stalls. They keep
those ligaments moving and stimulate blood flow to the leg. Horses in small pens that are stomping all day and not moving around, pounding their joints and ligaments into the ground. Typically, the horses that are out just do better, day in and day out, health-wise.
The number-one thing I see that makes horses get sore quicker is not taking care of their feet. It’s important to keep up with the shoeing on a regular basis. Improper shoeings are the number-one cause of most of our front-end lameness. A good hoof supplement to keep these hooves healthy and keep them from drying out is a good idea. Body soreness can be traced back to being run down and having a lack of good body fluids. Sometimes you just need to rehydrate their structure and muscles, and it will take a lot of that soreness out of them. They get run down and their blood counts drop, so they don’t have the blood going to the tissues like they do earlier in the year. Jugging horses with some B vitamins can really help.