Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2016 Member
This ride season has been a huge challenge for me. With a new baby hanging around it's been difficult finding enough time for me and my horses. Thankfully I have a lot of help and support from family, friends and a great selection of gear from EasyCare to keep us on the trail.
My main concern has been keeping my mare in the best shape possible with our limited amount of time. We are blessed with lots of space for the horses and great weather this year and as a result our pasture has been lush, to say the least! Daisy Bicking has written some great articles on weight management and the incidence of laminitis and founder in overweight (and in some cases not) horses. This article on body condition and this more recent one regarding laminitis were some of the material I took into consideration when assessing my own mare, her risk, and ramping up our arsenal in the battle of the bulge.
My competitive trail horse, Marina in the middle of July.
Oh. My. Goodness. At this point, I have a competition I would like to attend 6 weeks from when this photo was taken. Over feeding your animal can be just as damaging as underfeeding them so it was at this point I decided to take more focused action. My management of her when this picture was taken was to turn her out to pasture for half the day, turned into a dry lot the other half of the day and we were riding 10 miles or so twice a week. Clearly that was not enough to keep her fit and healthy.
Lucky for me, weight loss for this horse is uncomplicated; less calories in and/or more exercise. I knew I wouldn't be able to drastically increase the amount of exercise she was getting so pasture turn out decreased to 8 hours a day and she spent half of that in a grazing muzzle which she tolerated very well. The grazing muzzle decreases their intake by 70-80% while still allowing them to get some nibbles here and there. As a bonus it also made her walk around more looking for the perfect length of grass to fit through the muzzle.
We increased our exercise to three times a week when possible and made a more concerted effort to hit the hills in the west with friends and make the workouts harder for our flat land prairie ponies.
We put in several weeks of hard work, all the while our Easyboots were underfoot, ensuring comfort and security in the Alberta foothills. I usually use a combination of Gloves and Epics based on what usually works best for Marina and I.
As you can see, our trails are rocky in spots and muddy in others. We travel up and down lots of hills, cross rivers and bogs and travel at all gaits. I don't think anyone would call us slow and our Easyboots keep us eating up the trail miles.
On the days I'm not able to trailer out, we spend all our time on gravel roads which has the possibility of being hard on my horses feet in terms of wear and discomfort. To ensure neither of those happen, of course we head out in our Easyboots.
It's nice to look back on my photos which have documented the last 6 weeks in our ongoing fitness journey.
There are so many great things about getting to ride frequently: your horse gets fit, you get fit and we get to work on our relationship all the while! Thanks to EasyCare for having an awesome selection of products to keep us eating up the trail miles!