5 Sound­ness Strate­gies to Fin­ish Sum­mer Strong With Joe Strick­lin, DVM with Chelsea Shaf­fer

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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.

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