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How the Professionals Keep Their Horses Fresh out On The Rodeo Road

There are only a few more days in the 2017 rodeo season. Some of these ladies have already punched their ticket to the big stage, the NFR! Others are fighting to get in and these next couple of days mean EVERYTHING!  All of these ladies have hauled so hard and they are doing all they can in hopes that they win enough to run down that big famous alley in December!

Hauling certainly takes a toll on them and their horses. Right now, there is no time for error and after interviewing a ton of the WPRA superstars over the years, I’ve learned that they each have specific routines that they use to keep their horses fresh for competition. Here are some of the ways they go about doing just that!

WPRA Barrel Racer Stevi Hillman says: “My horses are my #1 priority, because without them, I wouldn’t be here. I massage them ALL the time, get them out of the trailer at least every 5 hours of possible. Let them graze when I can, and let them roll, that’s important. I try to let them be horses as much as I can. They spend a lot of time in the trailer and stalls as it is, so turnout time is a must. I try to keep them happy and comfortable.”

WPRA Barrel Racer Meghan Johnson says: “I try to get in the arenas before the rodeo to work on flexing and keeping them loose. The main thing I try to do is keep my horses off grounds where they can have big pens and get some rest. I believe when my horses can lay down and roll in their pens all night they feel better.”

WPRA Barrel Racer Nicole Aichele says about hauling her horse Blondie and keeping her comfortable: “My horse Blondie is definitely my number 1. Then come rodeos. Then comes everything else. When I am on the road I just do my best to make sure that I am doing absolutely everything possible to make her comfortable, to the extent that sometimes I shake my head at myself even. I have pulled into a rodeo, drove around for 15 minutes exploring for the best spot to set up panels. Finally decided on one, unloaded panels, realized the wind was blowing in the direction that the trailer wouldn’t block it for Blondie, loaded up all of my panels, turned the trailer, unloaded them again and set them up. I also carry around a really old English saddle. When I want to do some long trotting I will put it on her because it is soft and light, can’t hurt her back and I can post in it unlike if I were to ride her bareback.”

WPRA Barrel Racer Sarah McDonald talks about how she kept her great horse Bling happy on the road: “A lot of TLC. I keep lots of shavings in their stalls and the trailer. I keep fresh water, soaked alfalfa, and feed in front of Bling. She eats at different times of the night and day so I always keep some there for her. My horses always come first because they are the reason I’m out here. I do not like to be very far from them at any time. I monitor how there eating, drinking, and moving. When traveling, I like to stop a lot get them off the trailer and offer them water. It’s easier this year than last because I know more about how my horse likes to travel. On days I’m running I like to turn them out so they can roll and loosen up. Bling loves getting baths and I also poultice her legs and pack her feet with magic cushion. On off days I like to exercise them and keep them in shape or if we have traveled a long trip just let them chill out.”

WPRA Barrel Racer Katelyn McLeod talks about the therapy equipment she uses to keep her horses fresh: “We try to get lots of rest, any down time we try to find pens to let them lay down and get to move around. We have some of the BEST treatment products that help as well. We use the P3 machine and Silver Horse Care breathing machine every other day, or more if the time allows, and it has helped all three of our horses from getting sore and keeping their lungs open with no infections. We customized a trailer with Featherlite that is better suited for the horses to have a smoother ride, and is so comfortable for mom and I to stay in. We have also joined with Hidez and really enjoy the ice boots that we are able to use while hauling and it makes it so easy after a run to put them on and ice on our way to another rodeo or some where we are going to stay. The suits are handy to have for the long hauls and the recovery time after the runs. The Aculife patches help BOTH mom and I and the horses! We are able to patch the horses for any soreness and help with breathing, and mom and I can use them for more energy and when we get body sore.”

World Champion Callie Duperier talks about keeping her horses fresh: “I keep my horses fresh by taking the best care of them. When we have long drives I like to get them out every 5 hours to walk around so they can stretch their legs. I put their soft rides on both the back and front feet when hauling and when we are on rocks or concrete. I put back on track on them about every night unless it’s too hot. When we have to stay in a place for a couple of days I like to get them out everyday and ride them and then let them roll and try and find some fresh grass.”

Routines are everything with horses! They thrive on repetition and knowing what is next. In the next two Friday emails we’re going to talk about “Before the Run” and “After the Run” routines! We’ll go in to detail on therapy products, routines and what has worked and what hasn’t. If you aren’t signed up, sign up here!

Also, don’t forget that if you’re looking for sponsors in 2018, NOW is the time to get your information in front of them. Sponsors are budgeting for 2018 now. If you don’t know how the process works…I go through every detail in my Step by Step Guide. Learn more HERE.