Tips and Tricks from the Field
One of the advantages of being in Wellington for the winter circuit is learning from other experts in the field: veterinarians, riders, trainers, equine physios, sports massage therapists and, of course, the horses themselves.
I’ve been paying attention to what others have said about the BioStar products they’ve used, and how they’ve dealt with various health issues. Here are some of my new top tips:
Remedium Nadi before riding
BioStar’s Remedium Nadi EQ supports the normal inflammatory response, helping with ease and comfort while providing important adaptogens for body balance and wellbeing. It’s most commonly used after training or competition.
However, several riders I spoke with at Wellington had started using Remedium Nadi as a pre-performance paste, reporting that their horses are more comfortable in their bodies when they use the paste before they compete.
I’ve shared this tip with other riders, particularly for horses whose muscles tend to get tight in the warmup. Those who have tried it say that their horses are now more physically relaxed, yet still have the needed energy in the ring.
So, you can use Remedium Nadi before you ride, after you ride, or both!
Remedium Nadi can also be safely combined with Zen Max calming paste to help your horse establish a balanced state of mind and body for the ring.
For more about Remedium Nadi, read our blog article:
Alixir and the gut
BioStar’s Alixir EQ is commonly used for hydration, recovery, and reduction of muscle fatigue. It includes isotonic electrolytes, cellular mitochondria support, adaptogenic body-balancing, and top-grade micro-crystallized aloe.
At Wellington, three horses at different barns had episodes of gas colic several weeks apart. The horses were each given Alixir before the vet arrived, and all three were coming out of the colic by the time the vet got there. One horse was given Banamine paste with the Alixir. All three horses passed manure, drank water, and two had started eating hay again by the time the vet arrived.
These were not serious colics — more like pesky little pockets of gas causing discomfort — but the lesson was clear: when those mild gas problems arise, Alixir EQ can help.
Probiotics for scratches
Florida’s warm, tropical climate is host to vast numbers of bacteria and fungi. The climate, daily bathing of horses, and morning dew provide a perfect environment for scratches (pastern folliculitis).
After working together with riders, trainers, vets and horse owners at the festival, I found that adding a good probiotic (BioFlora EQ or Hedgerow GI) helped the healing process, because it’s the gut microbiota that regulates immune system homeostasis.
Imbalances in these microbial communities can lead to immune dysregulation. Using probiotics along with topicals helped improve cases of scratches.
For a few horses with persistent scratches, I advised adding Colostrum-38 EQ to their diets along with the probiotics and topicals. Colostrum is an important immune regulator that can further boost the effectiveness of probiotics and topicals in these cases.
Thera Calm EQ and the horse that didn’t like to be touched
A horse in Ocala, in for training, did not like to be touched, caught in the field, brushed, or tacked up. While he didn’t do anything nasty like biting or kicking, he registered his displeasure with ears pinned back, stomping his feet, constant swishing of his tail, and what can best be described as “angry face.”
The trainer had tried different calming supplements that hadn’t made a difference. We started the horse on Thera Calm EQ because it addresses the brain-gut-adrenal axis. Within one week, the horse was willing to be led into and out of the pasture, and stood relaxed in the cross ties for grooming and tacking up.
This horse was a very good reminder to pay attention to the gut component in relation to a horse’s behavior.
For horses with chronic allergy issues and GI tract imbalances, more owners and vets are turning to allergy testing. These tests aren’t THE answer, but do provide insight into certain forages and foods that could be affecting the horse.
Common allergens that many horses test high/positive for are: flax, oats, soy, and rice bran. In forages, horses can be sensitive to timothy, alfalfa, orchard grass, or Bermuda grass. Sometimes it’s more than one forage that triggers the allergy.
While we don’t know why some of these foods and forages are causing high positives for horses, it might have to do with how the food and forages are grown. Flax, for example, may be exposed to pre-harvest herbicides and desiccants, including glyphosate. 1
After allergy testing, when we remove the identified foods and forages from the diet, the horses improve. This is likely due to less stress on the immune system. I recommend doing a re-test in 6 or 12 months to see if the numbers are reduced.
We are always learning
At Wellington — or anywhere else — there is always so much to learn, which is one of the enormous benefits of being in the horse world. Each horse is an individual and will tend to surprise us. We never know what insights or discoveries a horse will present us with, how a horse will teach us, or what it might show us.
Photo credit (header): JJ Tate and Delani, Wellington, 2023 (Phelps Media)