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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

March 28, 2010

Aloe Vera (organic food grade)

I'm thinking of giving this to Phebes. Aloe Vera is supposed to be very good for soothing the stomach. Her stomach issues (lack of appetite) when stressed are beginning to give me pause for concern. Have been doing some reading on Aloe Vera and I believe that Arubaa (In the Night Farm) was getting this at one point for his propensity for ulcers. Of course GASTROGAURD would be lovely, but the cost is over $30 per day, in which case it would be cheaper to buy a new horse and be over all this angst. Not sure, but betting that Gastrogaurd probably isn't a legal AERC substance. Aloe being a plant actually, and a food grade product for humans, I'm hoping it is not considered a drug in any way? Phebes is eating grass today, did not clean up her feed ration this morning (maybe 80% of it). She's bright eyed, doesn't look depressed in any way. Giving the neighbor's dog grief. It is just her going off her feed and water when we go somewhere that is stressing me out. So Aloe or not to Aloe that is the question???

As far as the upcoming ride I'm feeling pulled to consider that the 30 mile over the tougher terrain may not be in her best interests this ride. A part of me wants to do this because it is a course I've not really ridden (have never been north of 160 at Clark), but on the other hand there is this not eating/drinking issue being revisited. I wonder if she would get to the point where she would HAVE to eat and drink and so would do so, or will she just become a sick horse. If we take the shorter ride we would have to ride another day, and it is over trail that we are somewhat familiar with having already ridden it about four times (rides and pleasure). If we take the longer course on Friday she will have 50% tougher terrain, unfamiliar trail, and 5 extra hilly miles.

I'm trying to remind myself of Mel's post earlier in the week that Endurance is HARD. I know this year will settle the issue of Phebes as a distance horse once and for all. So many questions in my mind. Will she get better as she goes along? Stress less? If things finally fall into place OH GLORY! If they do not...then do I set the dream aside? Do I search for another horse? Then what of my Phebes? I've put EVERYTHING into that little horse.

As for our true readyness for the upcoming ride? I don't have a good filter with which to judge. Is she fit? YES. Very little of what we did taxed her physically yesterday. But emotionally? She was a wreck. What to do?

We rode about 5.5 miles today at pleasure pace mostly. Just letting her loosen up from the hard work yesterday. The neighbor's do accompanied us both out and back. She's an adolescent black lab mix and I SO ENJOYED having her company while I was out there in the woods. So cute when she literally threw herself into the creek to cool off, and plopped down layed out flat outside Phebes stall while I was rubbing her down post ride. Puppies are so goofy and cute! ~E.G.


  1. I've had really great luck with Miracle Clay by dynamite. It helps Doc whenever he is having symptoms of ulcers.

  2. Phebes didn't mind the dog? That's a good thing.

    About the "not eating at new places" both my mares have the tendency not to eat as much away from home. Jazz doesn't even eat good at home. And neither one like to drink real well either. I usually have to hand graze them at rides. (they don't want hay because they are on pasture--they are already refusing hay and are almost 100% on pasture now) That takes a lot of time away from me feeding myself at rides, but is worth it if I can get something beneficial in their stomachs.

    This gelding I got sure does eat (and drink) good. I'm hoping he will when he's out too. I can only imagine he will.

    I used aloe vera juice for the gelding I had a few years ago that had stomach ulcers (not vet diagnosed, but I'm pretty sure he did) He wasn't a good eater and when I added the aloe vera or anything to his feed he would turn up his nose. Sometimes, I could get him to eat a little of it. It is supposed to be good for people too. I did buy the Ulcer Guard for a while as well. But then just decided to give the horse back.

    I know I have seen much more nervous horses than Phebes. And she's still young. I agree with you that physically she should be able to do it, even very well. But the mental part may take a few more years to get in shape.


  3. Are YOU stressed out there, worrying about how your mare is doing? She could pick up on that if you are.

    Many of the old time endurance riders believe the best thing to teach a horse to rtake care of itself on the trail, is to go do a 50. Better yet, a multi day. Hank did a 50 as his first AERC ride. (Dave Rabe, with over 40,000 arec miles rode him) He learned had better drink and better eat when he could, as he had no idea how far he was going. But, I'd not suggest this to one who is new to the sport themselves.

    And if you consider the horse might have ulcers, find out how much it is to scope the horse to find out for sure. My vet was only $100, but some are around $500.

  4. I don't think she has ulcers, but I want to guard against her getting them. Right now she is one up tight horse when she is "away".

    The last ride we did the vet tapped on her forehead and said this (meaning her mind) is our biggest barrier. He's right, but I'm not sure there is a solution. I plan to try, try, try this year, but in my trying I don't want to cause her to get ulcers from her stress. So I'm trying to "proactive."

  5. Oh...Phebes was giving the dog mare ears and stink eye, but the longer the dog was with us the better she was. In fact we had a zero spook ride and I think that was because she was so focused on the dog that she forgot about boogers in the woods.

    If she won't eat the aloe, I'll syringe it to her. One way or the other she is going to get it. Just ordered two gallons of the stuff...~E.G.

  6. Another thing I've done with Doc on really long trailer rides. He doesn't drink or eat well on those rides that are 8-12 hours. I have made a mash of alfalfa cubes, water, and some DynaSpark. Dynaspark is an electrolyte that uses molasses as its base. Worked really well for Doc. Once I got him eating a bit, then he would start eating his hay and drink. Let me know if the Aloe works. If you don't see results, let me know and I can give you some Miracle Clay to try.