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Feeding the growing endurance prospect

Hi Linda,
Do you think that Razz' desire to consume minerals is/was due to a
short-term or long-term trace mineral and or/electrolyte deficiency?
(How far did he ship? Was he dehydrated when he got to your place?)

Don't have my condition-score yardstick handy, but is he slightly lean
and on the ribby side? (sounds like it...doesn't the score go to 8 or

I don't know how far out of your way you want to go for this guy -- and
he sounds really nice...but I would make an effort to get him onto a
program with feeds not preserved with chemicals or made with "grain
byproducts". Last time I looked at a label, Purina Athlete preserved its
fat with BHA or ethoxyquin. (Maybe they have changed this--it's been a
few years.)

ABC Products offers a Harmany Grain Mix from Joyce Harman that is a mix
of oats, barley and corn (I think...have to recheck the catalog). I've
had real good luck with their products, especially ABCs Plus -- an
all-around supplement and detoxifier. Since his mineral history is your
biggest question mark, you might consider investing in one of their
free-choice mineral mixes -- such as Rushcreek Minerals and others.
He'll eat what he needs (as he's already proven!). These are easy to
give (they send a little tray) and relatively inexpensive. I'd at a
minimum offer the Rushcreek minerals and Redmond (loose) Salt. 

If I remember the gospel from Modern Horse Breeding, the magazine I
published for 10 years, the story goes: rapid growth per se in young
horses isn't dangerous but must be supported with sufficient minerals to
support the growing frame of the horse. For a while, the fad was to
practically starve young horses so they would not develop ephiphysis or
other joint problems. Later thinking (Kentucky Equine Research, Joe
Pagan, et al) put forth the thinking that as long as you support growing
frame strength with proper minerals, you can grow your horses to their
optimum size without fear of DOD.

Now all of this may apply more to foals and weanlings than to your
four-year-old, but the basic premise is still useful to know. If Razz
has been shortchanged on his minerals, there is just enough time for you
to make it up to him. Of course, exercise will further strengthen his
hard and soft tissues. I would not longe him quite yet but ground drive
and pony him -- if his bones are "soft," longeing would not be good,
especially right now, when he is vulnerable.

But do give him progressively increasing levels of exercise -- this is
the best time to train his system to be strong. Hill work is especially
good (you must live in the hills, don't you?)

I'm probably not telling you much you don't already know, and I'm sure
you'll get more specifically useful dietary programs than I have
provided. Triple Crown (now sold by Southern States) is a good
commercial line, as are EnduroEvent and related feeds from Kentucky
Equine Research. I've long shied away from Purina since they use (or so
I was told) "least-cost formulating" -- they change the protein source
regularly and use a lot of byproducts, so you're really not getting
consistent  quality. (Maybe this, too, has changed.)

Your young horse is still a baby -- even though he may have reached his
mature height, he will still "grow" with conditioning in the withers...
Whatever you invest during this critical time in nutrition will pay off
in the long run with a sounder, healthier animal. Good luck, and keep us
all posted on his progress!

Bobbie Lieberman
Newly minted Californian still adjusting to the blazing sun -- 98
degrees on our ride at Norco along the river yesterday. Hey Lynn --
those bamboo tunnels are way cool!

P.S.S. How far are you from Sinks Grove, WV (it's about 90 miles west of
Lexington, VA, off I-64)? My mare, Fine Print, is there on lease being
bred to 
*Statistic...I'd love to find a few folks to drop in and pay her a visit
once in a while!

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