It took a long time to bring
Bryan around. Longer than any other horse I
had had till that time. But bring him around we did.
As with any horse that comes in to the program, we looked at everything. Diet, feet, tack, teeth. In SoCal boarding situations we don’t always have a lot of hay options. The barn I boarded at fed bermuda hay and/or alfalfa. You could special order timothy but it was pretty expensive. They did feed hay three times a day so he had food in front of him 24/7. I like grass hays but think it’s important for horses to have a variety of grasses so I supplement their regular hay ration with straight grass hay pellets, like oat or bermuda or timothy or orchard hay pellets, depending on price, availability, and the horse’s weight and work load. He was thinnish so the first thing we did was put him on lots of timothy pellets and Purina Ultium. I love to study NRC info and product details of various feeds. I have gone back and forth between the various senior feeds and Purina Ultium. Now I am able to access a local CA made pelleted feed that I am really happy with (King feed 11% pelleted enriched feed) but at the time I was using Ultium. I think Ultium is great and have always been happy with it. It is expensive though, and it is molasses based, which now I like to avoid, though its not as high sugar as some.
I also put him on Ranitidine. Ranitidine is an antacid and until Omeprazole became available it was all vets had really to treat equine gastric ulcers. I purchase it in bulk at Costco or Walmart; generic, it is way cheap. The drawback is that it doesn’t heal ulcers, and it needs to be fed at least twice and preferably three times a day. But it is therapeutic, and soothing, and any new horse I got at the time went right on it.
I also put him on Source. Its such a funny supplement, has been around for years, is so untrendy and inexpensive, and yet over and over I have seen it make a difference in hoof growth, hair and skin improvement, mane and tail growth, and just overall bloom and well being. It is one of my go to supplement and has been since I first tried it on Tucker, he of sparse mane, sparser tail, and very little hoof. My shoer noticed within one 8 week shoeing cycle ( yes, those were my bad old days of standard issue ignorance of feet) and in three months Tuckers mane and tail were growing like mad.
I have a wonderful equine dentist, Ron Ross, who does a very thorough and skilled hand float, no tranq. Ron comes from New York state twice a year so B got on that schedule.. He did have a funny very shallow mouth and some big hooks in the back and his teeth were somewhat overly smoothed from being power floated. I don't like power floating. Aside from the obvious noise and vibration, the tools are not refined, do not often go well in to the very back of the mouth, create a lot of heat, the horse must be deeply tranqued, the head is held up in that weird sling thing which *can't* be good for their poll and neck, and after a few years of power floating their teeth look like chiclets and they are all quidding their hay. Ron is an angel and horses love him, so this went well with no issue and I was confident that he could eat well and had no giant hooks or big holes in his cheeks.
He was about 17 hh though small framed. He was quite a refined TB type, unlike Wonder, another OTTB I had who could easily pass for a WB. B was clearly a TB, fine boned and streamlined. That said, unbelievably, he wore an 0 shoe. This was the same size shoe as one of my medium ponies. He wasn’t *that* refined. So my shoer and I took those tiny shoes right off and started him a better foot program. A nice wide web shoe with lots of heel and plenty of room for expansion was in order. And it worked, too; we had him in a 3 within the year.
These approaches are still what I do with any new horse. Now I am a committed barefooter, and I don’t use any molasses based feeds, and there are omeprazole products that I can get by scrip from my vet that don’t bankrupt me, but I still start with feet, diet/nutrition, tummy and digestive health, and parasites. You have to rebuild, repair, and restore all of the systems of your horse if you want deep and long lasting results. And we do, so we did.