with Jerry Bai­ley, DVM

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Departments - by Chelsea Shaf­fer

The up­com­ing CINCH Na­tional Fi­nals of Team Roping and the Priefert World Series of Team Roping Fi­nale have rop­ers load­ing their horses in trail­ers and hit­ting the road for Ok­la­homa City and Las Ve­gas. Com­mon-sense tips from Ok­la­homa’s USTRC and WSTR mem­ber and vet­eri­nar­ian Jerry Bai­ley, DVM, can go a long way in mak­ing your trip trou­ble free for the equine ath­lete on your trailer.


Mak­ing sure your horse is hy­drated is key to keep­ing him healthy on the road and when stalled in a strange place. For young horses, old horses or horses just not used to trav­el­ing, I like to put a pinch of elec­trolytes on their tongue be­fore I leave. I’ve never seen it fail to get one to drink in six or eight hours.


It’s the law to have Equine In­fec­tious Ane­mia tests, com­monly known as a Cog­gins test done be­fore you leave. There are some places—like Florida— where you’ll be held up un­til a vet­eri­nar­ian can come to take blood and run your Cog­gins. Health pa­pers be­come very im­por­tant, too. Ve­teri­nar­i­ans should see the horse and make sure he doesn’t have a fever, and that he’s not com­ing from a place cur­rently un­der quar­an­tine. It should be just a part of trav­el­ing.


If you’re go­ing to a roping, watch what you feed your horse. I like to haul horses on al­falfa be­cause that keeps their stool a lit­tle loose. Horses can get de­hy­drated, then im­pacted. Their body takes their mois­ture out of their stool. If you can keep them on some­thing that keeps them a lit­tle loose, that won’t hap­pen.


Horses are way bet­ter if they’re too cool than too hot while trav­el­ing. I barely get

cases of ship­ping fever when horses are kept cool. You get it very of­ten when they’re hot. In Florida, peo­ple would ship in from New York quite of­ten. It wasn’t un­usual for me to get 20 horses in and have to treat five or six for ship­ping fever. But clients who would stop in Ken­tucky and clip their horses never had prob­lems. Keep your trailer win­dows open for ven­ti­la­tion, and don’t haul with blan­kets on your horses in closed trail­ers.


Horse­men and -women need to have a kind of colic pro­to­col. Many rop­ers have Banamine (flu­nixin) and Rom­pun (xy­lazine) avail­able and will give it if they see signs of colic. That can make a big dif­fer­ence if caught early. If that horse doesn’t re­spond, get help right away. When treated within the first hour he gets col­icky, 90 per­cent will be fine with the first treat­ment. If not treated in that first hour, half will run into prob­lems.


It’s al­ways a good idea to stop and let your horse rest overnight. I think 14-15 hours is the max haul­ing time, with 12 be­ing ideal. There are cer­tainly horses who are hauled longer dur­ing the rodeo runs, but even those guys stop and eat and get their horses out. Even stop­ping with­out un­load­ing is ben­e­fi­cial for your horses to rest in the trailer. Con­sider Soft Ride Boots and Back-On-Track boots for those long hauls and time in stalls—they seem to make a big dif­fer­ence.


Let­ting your horse stand in a stall for days be­fore you rope is al­ways a bad idea. They’re go­ing to build up their glu­cose and starch in their tis­sues, and then when you go ride them you’ll run into ty­ing up. Ty­ing up was orig­i­nally called Mon­day Morn­ing dis­ease. In the old days, work­horses would have Sun­day off and stand in their tie stalls and get the same amount to eat. Mon­day morn­ing, they’d go to work after stand­ing and eat­ing all day, and they couldn’t burn off all of the en­ergy and lac­tose they’d built up. Some­times horses tie up for no good rea­son, but you can en­tice horses to tie up by let­ting them stand around on the same feed, like at a roping, and then take them out to ex­er­cise. When you must keep your horse in a stall, even if it’s your day off from roping, get­ting him out for some ex­er­cise is a good idea.

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