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Ask Dr. Dave

Sammy from Utah, writes:

Dear Dr. Dave,

I have a sixteen year-old barrel horse who I am trying to keep in the best shape possible for my daughter. What supplements do you recommend, and do you prefer Legend or Adequan? Also, he has wind puffs on his back ankles. I use standing wraps and good neoprene boots. Is there anything else I should be doing? He is absolutely precious and I am willing to do any maintenance you recommend! Thank you!

Dear Sammy,

Thank you for your questions about maintaining your sixteen year-old barrel horse for use by your daughter.

I always feel the most important aspect is his overall health. I recommend to practice all the usual care of good feed, good feet, and timely and effective wormings and vaccinations. I have also found that yearly dentals by an accomplished veterinary dentist to be of utmost importance.

There are many supplements and injections on the market, however they will never be effective on an unhealthy horse, therefore my emphasis on great horse husbandry.

Your horse's ability to maintain his weight would determine if I used a weight gain feed supplement. If he holds his weight well during competition, I would not supplement him.

Legend vs Adequan? I personally utilize Legend when I feel it is indicated (which is infrequent).

Standing wraps and good neoprene boots are always a good precaution, but should not come before correct and supportive shoeing. I would make sure that your farrier trims the hind feet correctly, and most important, shoes with large enough shoes to provide adequate posterior and lateral support. Wind puffs in an aged horse are not uncommon and I do not believe they are necessarily indicative of significant pathologic changes within the fetlocks.

My last recommendation for good health is exercise. I find all too often we fail to provide adequate daily exercise. Now I am not saying that he needs five days of hard work, but I do feel it is important to exercise him enough to maintain good muscle and good flexibility. An extended trot is my gait of choice for maintaining condition.

I hope this information helps you. Personally, some of my fondest times were hauling my daughter to rodeos and barrel races. Enjoy the ride!

Let me know if I can help in any other way.

Here's to fast times and fun trips.

Dr. Dave