What Every Aspiring NFR Barrel Racer Should Know – with PRCA Veterinarian of the Year, Dr. Marty Tanner

What Every Aspiring NFR Barrel Racer Should Know - with 2016 PRCA Veterinarian of the Year, Dr. Marty Tanner

After making the cross country move from northern Wyoming to central Texas in 2013, I had several quality options when it came to selecting a primary veterinarian in our area that would oversee our horse’s care.

I was familiar with Dr. Marty Tanner and knew he was the vet. of choice for several NFR barrel racers. As someone with BIG barrel racing goals, it didn’t take long to decide and get established with him at Elgin Veterinary Hospital in Elgin, Texas.

Dr. Tanner was named the 2016 Zoetis PRCA Veterinarian of the Year in recognition of his extraordinary dedication, commitment and service to the well-being of professional rodeo livestock.

Dot Com, Heather and Dr. Tanner
Dot Com, Heather and Dr. Tanner

An article by Matt Naber in the ProRodeo Sports News quoted PRCA World Champion Tie Down Roper Monty Lewis as saying, “He is one of the best performance horse veterinarians in North America, and we are very blessed that he gives the rodeo community so much attention. With his renowned facility and his progressive and innovative approach, he is very deserving of the ultimate recognition. The world standings are filled with competitors who owe a large portion of their success to him.”

I couldn’t agree more, which is why I am grateful to Dr. Tanner for lending his wisdom and experience in an interview I’m excited to share below that offers valuable horse health insights (and more) for equestrians in any discipline who want to deliver the very best care possible to their equine athletes. Read more

Good Vibrations – Why the EquiVibe Plate is so Beneficial for Barrel Horses

Good Vibrations - Why the EquiVibe Plate is so Beneficial for Barrel Horses

by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine

Flipping through the pages of any equine catalog, you’ll notice a plethora of therapy products.

Liniments, wraps, boots, magnets, supplements, massagers, fairy dust, ice packs and hollow promises all suggesting THEIR product will help your performance horse.

How are you to chose: Brand endorsement? Color assortment? Newly improved? Horse-approved? It’s tiring to say the least. I know at one time or another I’ve found myself sarcastically asking, “which product should I waste my money on today?” I bet you can relate!

The EquiVibe plate however, stands alone. It’s a low profile platform run by electricity that vibrates at different speeds. When a horse stands on this platform he receives benefit from the vibration – stimulating bones, muscles and nerves, thus supporting performance, rehabilitation and helping to prevent injury.

My personal mission statement at IntegratedEquine.net is:
To teach relationship building between horse and human and to develop an intimate understanding of horse psychology and physiology through progressive horse keeping.

The reason I am passionate about sharing the benefits of EquiVibe whole body vibration specifically, is because it’s been a valuable and reliable form of therapeutic support, not only my own horses (and Heather’s), but the world’s most winningest horses, and can be for your equine partners as well! Read more

Equine Dentistry for Better Whole-Body Balance, Movement, Nutrition and Performance

Equine Dentistry for Better Whole-Body Balance, Movement, Nutrition and Performance

by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine

For some of us, horse care might take on an ancient algorithm.

It seems that one person can glean results from a certain process or product, and the next minute – another lady is suggesting you stay far away from what the first person had success with. Opinions and traditions are enough to make your head spin.

Equine dental care includes a lot of “buzz” when it comes to choosing one method or another. However, there is one scientifically proven way that works for every horse. The crazy thing is that the “buzz” about this procedure has NO buzz at all. Read more

Why and How to Detox Your Barrel Horse for a Fresh, FAST Start in the New Year

Why and How to Detox Your Barrel Horse for a Fresh, FAST Start in the New Year

When it comes to improving the health and performance of an equine athlete, considering whether we should implement a detox program is more a matter of HOW and WHEN vs. IF.

Today more than ever, performance horses especially are assaulted with a barrage of toxins from their environment, feed and medications, and it’s no coincidence that Veterinarians are seeing an increase in many disease conditions. Allergies, arthritis, metabolic disorders and even cancer are becoming more common and occurring earlier in age than in years past.

Back in the day, horse care and feeding programs were pretty simple. Old timers might even say that “ol’ Sorrely didn’t need all that stuff.” There could actually be some wisdom and truth in that statement! While the competition today is also tougher than ever – what performance horses didn’t need back then, and don’t need now are toxins that come along with the many tempting well-marketed options for supporting them. As we’ve evolved and our choices have grown, symptoms of the “body burden” our equine partners experience has risen as well.

When a horse’s system is already overwhelmed with toxins, it’s especially important that we know how to read the signs and take appropriate action to avoid a game of “chasing symptoms” which often includes adding even more toxic substances, further exacerbating the problem. Read more

How to Build a Barrel Horse Habitat that Supports Physical & Mental Health

How to Build a Barrel Horse Habitat that Supports Physical & Mental Health

by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine

At the end of the day, if we could ask every barrel racer what they wanted, we’d find they would all respond with the same answer: A healthy horse and compliant competitor! If we dove even deeper into the question, we would find each barrel racer has gone to some extent to keep their horse healthy and competitive.

A wide range of things can be done to achieve this: turnout in the pasture, investing in high quality supplements, devoting time to therapy, etc. But I’ve discovered one fool proof technique that will meet nearly every barrel horse’s standard of care. I’ve found nothing can replace the benefits of this modality, and it’s tangible for any barrel racer – even those on a budget (and don’t nearly ALL of us fall into that category?). Read more

Release, Stretch, Relax, Repeat! Four Steps to Maximize Strength, Lengthen Stride & Increase SPEED

Release, Stretch, Relax, Repeat!  Four Steps to Maximize Strength, Lengthen Stride & Increase SPEED

I have to admit in years past my pre and post-ride support routine was pretty minimal.

If I had time or was feeling inspired I would sometimes stretch before a run and would try to cold hose or apply ice boots on after hard, strenuous work.

I also tried to spend adequate time slowly warming up and cooling down, but we all know how that goes!

The support I provide my horses today is much different. This is for a couple reasons. One is that I know better, and so I DO better. The second is that the middle-aged horses in our pasture right now each have physical issues that require some maintenance.

I’ve worked hard to get them to the state of wellness they enjoy today and so I put a lot of effort toward keeping them there under the stresses of travel and speed work. Had they benefitted from a program like the one I follow now when they were younger, they might not require the level of maintenance they do.

In other words, it’s better to go the extra mile with supporting our horse’s physical well-being by seeming to do even MORE than they require in the present, than risk being forced to in the future… OR have them forced into an early retirement.

In the video below I’ve shared the very in-depth and specific pre-ride and run routine I do on a daily basis to maximize performance AND help prevent soundness or health issues from slowing us down. Read more

Three Steps to Being Your Own (Part-time) Barrel Horse Bodyworker

Three Steps to Being Your Own (Part-time) Barrel Horse Bodyworker

You already know it’s more than a full-time job being a barrel racer – it’s MULTIPLE full-time jobs! Including, but not limited to – stall cleaner, nutritionist, truck driver, scheduler, horse trainer, equine behaviorist, Vet., massage therapist, and the list goes on!

When you’re (understandably) feeling spread thin, it’s hard to find motivation to go deeper in a certain area without risk of neglecting others. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing why it’s so critical that we take our understanding of how our horse’s bodies work, and how we can best support them, to the next level.

Even if we would prefer to leave all the health and therapy mumbo jumbo to the professional equine bodyworkers or Vets., investing in our own education and skills is a great way to take what’s good and make it even better.

Below I’ve outlined a critical prerequisite, plus the areas that most deserve our time and attention (with links to resources), AND how to fit it all in amongst all the other demands of barrel racing! Read more

How to Evaluate, Find and Enhance Saddle Fit for Faster Barrel Racing

How to Evaluate, Find and Enhance Saddle Fit for Faster Barrel Racing

When your run your hands down your horse’s back, does he tighten, flinch, shrink away or spasm?

Is there atrophy behind the withers or depressions where your horse’s shoulders have rotated forward?

Are you dealing with stubborn soreness or lameness issues that seem to need constant management?

Is your horse’s topline less round and full than before – over his neck, back and hindquarters?

Does your horse have a short, choppy, uneven stride or seem irritable, emotional or impulsive?

Are you not quite stopping the clock in competition?

If so, ALL these symptoms can be caused (and resolved) by saddle fit!

Barrel saddle designs have come a long way in recent years, but still many saddle makers aren’t willing to buck tradition.

But today’s competitive environment requires a higher level understanding of form, fit and function to meet the demands of timed speed event horses in motion – allowing them to gather and collect then stride out comfortably, consistently and quickly over the long haul!

Not only that, but barrel racers who have genuine concern for their barrel horses health and well-being want what’s best for their equine partners soundness and longevity.

I’m passionate about both these areas and am glad to have followed an immense learning curve in the last few years Read more