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

January 14, 2012

We think the Arctic blast is over...

The last two days were so cold!  Our temperatures took an Arctic dip into the teens and low twenties, with swirling dusty snow.  Journey is definitely not a cold weather horse.  She is super-picky about hay and wastes more than she eats, hence she does not generate much heat through her daytime digestion.  By the time evening rolls around she is one hungry horse!  We've tried grass and she snarls her nose at that, we've tried timothy (good quality empty the wallet as you pay kind of timothy), she eats the seed heads uses the rest to sleep on...what she was used to having, and is not getting is alfalfa.  I don't like alfalfa now that I've read up on what it does to the Calcium / Phosphorus ratio.   Alfalfa as a daily feed is bad business.  I learned that the hard way.  So she isn't getting it unless it is low percentage to grass actually at a ride or on LSD rides during her break.  But I has been super cold and we have been on hiatus.  All I'm really hoping for is to hold the condition I have through this month, and cross my fingers for two or three rides on any given week.   I really feel like I have to keep her somewhat tuned up so that when the trails dry out we can get on with it.  I've got so many things that I have to figure out yet that have nothing to do with riding.

  • FEEDING FOR ENERGY EXPENDED (how to feed post ride to refuel, but not have hoof issues).
  • CONTAINMENT (electric pen?  I have reservations about that with her) (or get a high tie or portable corral?).
  • GAITER RUBS (we had one on our last long ride, think I got the velcro too snug).
  • FEEDING AT THE HALFWAY (again, she isn't a good eater, takes a good hour to relax and start eating).
  • SPARE BOOTS (Journey actually needs boots, where Phebes did not.  So I find I'm needing spares to have a clean set of four ready at all times).
  • GLUE ON PROTOCOL (I'm considering Goobering on shells and not using gaiters on LD's).
  • FEED PAN SET-UP for the halfway.  This sounds like a no-brainer, but want to make sure she won't be one to catch her halter in things, and if she prefers buckets to flat pans.
  • ELECTROLYTES (What kind, how much, and will they upset her?).
Doesn't sound like much, it is just the matter of getting down to doing each and sticking with it until I've found the answer, while finding the time to get in a ride here and there.


  1. I want my spotted cow to eat, period, at rides, so she gets as much alfalfa as she wants. My reading of the Susan Garlinghouse alfalfa article - especially the last four paragraphs - leads me to think that lots of alfalfa at a ride isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's lots of alfalfa every day that messes up the calcium regulating hormones.
    "If the horse is accustomed to eating small amounts of alfalfa in his daily ration, then alfalfa provided judiciously during endurance events may help provide additional plasma calcium without adversely affecting calcium-regulating hormones."

    So that's my rationale for feeding alfafa free-choice at rides/training rides. And oddly enough, she doesn't pig out on it - she'll eat her grass hay too, it just seems to depend on her mood.

    Still working on electrolytes. Dixie needs more than I think - she visibly perked up about 10 minutes after I gave her a post-ride dose this weekend. It's so individual and so hard!

  2. Agreed. Some alfalfa at a ride has its place helping to re-balance calcium losses, and circumvent such things as irregularity in heart rhythm.

    Journey is a hard case concerning her chow. She is going to be a challenge.