Tips from the Experts: How to Keep Horses Sound

I asked several Stable Secretary users who are respected and successful barn managers and trainers to tell me what they think are the most important elements to keeping their horses sound. Their answers were remarkably consistent. Every person cited the importance of factors such as:

– good footing;
– a proper and consistent fitness program;
– good nutrition;
– a team of experienced people caring for each horse.

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Amanda Steege, a top hunter/jumper trainer based in Bedminster NJ and Ocala FL, keeps her horses sound by providing them with good nutrition, consistent exercise, and a team of people to keep them healthy and going well. She says, “Horses are a lot like human athletes – if you put the best feed, supplements, and medications into them, the sounder and healthier they will be. Instituting a good consistent exercise program for your horse will make him strong and well-muscled, which will prevent injuries and also make it easier for him to do his job in the ring. Having a great team of specialists (farriers, vets, grooms, trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, and others) makes it possible to notice weaknesses before they turn into injuries. I have had many experiences where my chiropractor or massage therapist has found a potential problem with a horse, and has notified me to back off a little on that horse’s work while they sort it out. Between their working on the issue, and my taking it easy on the horse’s activities, we have prevented weaknesses from turning into serious injuries.”

Debbie Stephens, a top hunter/jumper trainer from FL, emphasizes how crucial it is to have a top blacksmith, a top sports medicine vet, excellent fitness and nutrition plans, and the best footing to train on. She also remarks, “You need a lot of plain old common sense, too. The rule of thumb that I use with my horses is to always assume the worst scenario possible, and to have plans b, c, and d ready. I never settle for anything but the best care, footing, nutrition, and exercise for my horses.”

Nanci Snyder, a top barn manager, also credits good shoeing, a good fitness program, and excellent footing to keeping her horses sound, besides the important factors of genetics and good luck! Nanci recommends, “Make the best decisions for your horse that your circumstances allow. For professionals, it’s about finding a balance between what is ideal for the horse, and what keeps the business thriving. It is important to create a program and manage your stable down to the smallest detail.”

Stable Secretary would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You to Jennifer Frank of Wyndsor Farm, Annie Dotoli of Tibri Horses, Amanda Steege of Ashmeadow Farm, Debbie Stephens of Centennial Farm Inc., and Nanci Snyder of Mullenders & Wylde, Inc. for sharing their wisdom with us and our readers. Hopefully, your words will help keep more horses sound!

Stable Secretary is barn management software that is designed to make it easier for barn managers and trainers to keep track of the health and service records for the horses in their stable. By keeping equine health records organized, and providing alerts for horse veterinarian and farrier appointments, it contributes to the quest of keeping horses healthy and sound.

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