FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH

True Wellness

Gunner here!

I want you to meet a really good friend, Tracie Seavey Audette. We met a couple of years ago when I had to scratch at a Cowboy Dressage show. Tracie started working with me to make sure I would have a long and healthy life, in and out of the arena. 

We’ve asked her to share an overview of the importance of the programs she is putting in place at the Ranch. In the coming months, she’ll get more specific programs that she is implementing. 

Thank you, Gunner!

True wellness takes into consideration the animal as a whole being, with the understanding that health is a three-legged stool, including genetics, nutrition, and management. Each leg plays nearly an equally important role in pursuing optimum wellness. 

To truly offer our animals optimum care, I firmly believe that ‘holistic’ should be done “wholistically”, having a cordial working relationship with doctors, veterinarians (both allopathic and naturopathic), dentists, and chiropractors, etc. No one school has all of the knowledge. Rather than limiting ourselves to what we think we already know, we will be ahead of the game by choosing the most open-minded path to wellness. Each modality offers its own sphere of influence, affording us the benefits of each. 

Genetics. The horse’s genetics determine the blueprint that is followed from the moment of conception. The horse’s height, weight, color, predisposition to certain types of work, inherited health and lameness problems are all preprogrammed as genetic potential. The keyword here is “potential” as it relates to the other two components of the stool. At this point, the horse is at the mercy of all the three-legged stools that came before. Reputable breeders do their best to breed for the best potential possible. 

Nutrition.  I am convinced this is the area over which we, as caregivers, have the most influence. Remember genetic potential? You can have the best-bred sire and dam for your new world champion, yet with inappropriate nutritional programs, come up well short of your goals. On the other hand, the ‘killing them with kindness’ method can be just as disastrous. Our feeding programs can be either the cause or the cure for many of the challenges we experience with our animals. 

Management. If we diligently manage our genetic coding and our nutrition, we most definitely influence the wellness quotient. This is where good veterinary care, routine dentistry, farriers, chiropractic and other bodyworks modalities come to the fore. 

Now, let us not forget our half of the partnership, that which goes beyond physical care and feeding. Some questions to ask: 

    • Are we a fair partner when we ride or work with them? 
    • Do we prepare physically and emotionally before we step into the stirrup and into the arena?
    • Have we spent time upgrading our own health and emotional wellbeing, so that we can help them onto a happier and healthier experience together? 

I hope this has given you some points to ponder. Regardless of where you are starting, it is never too late to begin! Until next time.