Many horses get sick and the first thing that goes along with the addition of medications to their daily routine is a decline in body condition. Usually from ulcers, loss of appetite, or poor body reactions to heavy amounts of antibiotics and steroids. All the time that Cooper was on medication, his overall health never faltered, and I credit a lot of that to the feeding program we use here at ReeLee.
With the wide variety of horses we have here at ReeLee nutrition is something we take very seriously. Each horse has different needs based on many factors including their breed, size, temperament, discipline, work level, body condition score, and their overall health. I personally have a background in Equine Nutrition from my time at Colorado State University, and we have a great relationship with our local nutritionist from Tribute Feeds. Cooper is a prime example of how well their products work. All while Cooper was sick we kept him on a feeding regimen that kept his body strong so he could keep fighting the infection attacking his airway. We used a philosophy that I believe in heavily, high fiber, high fat, and low carbs. So we had Cooper on a high quality alfalfa/grass hay, nearly free choice, and then supplemented the hay with three Tribute products; Resolve, K-Finish, and Essential K. The great thing about this combination, was that we were able to keep the bulk amount of feed Cooper was receiving to a minimum. Resolve is high in Fiber, and high in fat all on its own, but when you add in a small amount of K-Finish it just tops the cake for overall condition. Not just weight, but coat condition as well. One of the additional things I love about Tribute is their inclusion of Equi-Firm into their feeds like Resolve. As Tribute explains, Equi-Firm is "a microencapsulated active dry yeast; acts as both a pre-and probiotic to increase digestibility and improve gut health.” I think this was also a huge contributor to Cooper’s overall gut health in his recovery. Finally, the Essential K fills in all the other minerals and adds in protein for a solid top line, and essential amino acids for overall health. With this feeding plan Cooper was getting all of the nutrients and extra calories to stay strong without pound after pound of grain. In the time he was sick he never got more than 6lbs of grain a day. 3lbs of resolve, 2lbs of K-Finish, and 1lb of Essential K split over two feedings. There are people out there feeding their OTTBs who aren’t even sick 8-10lbs of feed per day! Cooper looked great all through his recovery and today is heading into winter with a great body condition score thanks to Tribute.
Talk about a fighter, Cooper not only beat the odds, but he did so with class. If he were a person I guarantee he would have been smiling every day, through the injections, the bad tasting medicine, the stall rest, and the weekly scoping; Cooper was always in good spirits and cooperative for all of his treatments. He won over the hearts of everyone in the barn, and every vet he met. Thank you Tribute for providing us with great products to keep horses like Cooper in top condition to fight the good fight. We look forward to our continued partnership with you on our rehabilitation and training horses.