Solo is having a fine time in the sun and sand.
Last year Solo was ill for a day or so after each long journey. This year we were fortunate enough to have gained some expert advice from Dr. Gayle Becker of Guelph University. She advised us to change our electrolytes, the ones we were using before had too high a level of sugar, and not enough serious electrolytes. She also suggested that we syringe him with electrolytes just before he ships, in addition to giving him the usual boost of electrolytes for 48 hours before the long haul. All the horses get electrolytes for at least fortyeight hours before they get on the trailer, we now add a syringe full of electrolytes just as they are loading. We give the daily electrolytes in the feed or the water if they will take them that way, and always have to syringe into the mouth for those that are too picky.
We are very fortunate in the way our trailer is configured. It’s a four horse head to head and the horses have large waterproof hay bags in front of them instead of hay nets. Not quite as much waste on the floor (they still manage to push lots over the sides looking for that elusive piece of grass that tastes just so!), but the big advantage is that we are able to hang a half bucket of water above each hay bag. This lets the horses dunk hay if they wish, and any water that slops over just serves to dampen the hay in the waterproof hay bag – it’s a win win situation, either they drink it or they slop it and eat the moistened hay.
Dr Becker also advised us to feed sugar beet on the journey. I have always fed sugar beet prior to the journey but not taken it with me – we never feed grain while they are shipping, only carrots. Dehydration is the biggest fear and dry grain in a dry stomach is not a good mix. Well soaked hay in your haynet is another very good routine to follow, for the same reason.
We duly took a big bucket of sugar beet on both our trips down to Florida. The first trip was three mares and not a single one of them would even look at our sugar beet. The second trip, the one Solo rode on, was all geldings and those boys tucked into every shred of beet we handed out. We ended up dumping a cupful onto the hay each time we stopped and checked them (every 4 hours), they all thought it was an absolutely wonderful idea.
It’s interesting to note that the geldings who were on board for slightly longer due to a snow storm in Canada, arrived in better shape than the girls, all of whom lost a bit of weight. The moral of this story is, eat your sugar beet girls…!
I am typing this on my shiny new computer. I mentioned last time that my computer had gone back to the manufacturer – Gateway would not accept responsibility for a hinge that literally sprang apart when I opened it one day, and wanted to charge me more than the present value of the computer to repair it. However, I bought the computer through Best Buy in Kingston and they stepped right up to the plate. They admitted immediately that this was not the first time they had seen the same problem in the same computers and offered me a new replacement (different manufacturer goes without saying). They had no commitment to replace the computer or even repair it but they were prepared to accept responsibility and take on the loss. Let’s hear it for Best Buy.