Monday, December 25, 2017

Purina Feed Greatness Challenge, Week 2

2 weeks down feeding the Purina Outlast now. I'm still giving all three horses one cup of the product per day. Still no real differences. I did notice DC and Demon were leaving behind about half of their hay pellets, so I cut them back. Hoss may have put on a little weight. I took him for a ride this week and lost a notch on his girth. So, the fat horse may be getting fatter.

I'll be taking Hoss and Demon to the Death Valley XP ride. I plan to ride each horse two days. They'll continue to get the Outlast supplement, and I may add it to anything they are fed during the ride days. Since Purina's information indicates they expect it to be fed 3-4 times per day, and they assure users their product is "legal" for competition when fed as directed, it certainly isn't a bad thing. So when they get an additional bran or beet pulp meal, they'll get an extra helping of Outlast.

I have one more 2-for-1 coupon, which will expire on the 29th. I'll have to go redeem it tomorrow. At that point I'll have 3 unopened bags in addition to the half bag or so which I originally opened. At the very least, it last quite a while, at least when fed my way.

Purina has not sent another email yet. It's only been 2 weeks, though, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

When we return from Death Valley, I'll be sure to "weigh" Hoss and Demon again, to see if they've changed measurably. At that time we'll be just past 3 weeks and it'll be time for another update.

This post is rather thin, as there's little to say. So, Merry Christmas, ya'll, and the very happiest of New Years.

Friday, December 22, 2017

2018 Ride Year Goals

I have generally made a habit of setting goals for each new ride year. Since I'm blogging again, I will set those goals out here.

2017 was a bit of a disappointment. After my shoulder surgery in late January, Beth also underwent several surgeries, requiring me to stay close to home. Hoss was bitten by a rattlesnake in mid-June and while he recovered exceptionally well, and finished a 50 a mere 2 months later, the first weeks required intensive attention on my part. Then there were 2 cross-country trips to pick up horses (2 broodmares to breed to Demon, and a horse for a friend). Brake failure in the trailer led to many hours of trouble shooting and several missed events. The truck also required serious work on its brakes as a result of the trailer brakes having quit. DC suffered a tie-up at Grand Canyon, then was pulled lame at Git-R-Done (stone bruise; her sole is still mushy). Hoss managed to complete 100 miles total, and Demon got one day done at Gold Rush Shuffle. I was so sick with asthma it was a miracle we were able to complete the course together.

Ah, well. Onward and forward.

The big advantage of having completed at least one 50 on Hoss and Demon is they're both still on track for a longevity award, and to get Decade Team awards in 10 years. This is especially significant for Hoss. 2017 was his 8th consecutive year of endurance competition. He crossed 4,000 miles at Grand Canyon. It is my goal to have him at 5,000 miles at the end of his 10th competition year. 2018 will be his 9th year. I'm hoping to get at least 500 miles on him in 2018.

I do know I will be scheduling surgery to have my left hip replaced. This will happen sometime after March 15th. I had a hip injection on December 15th, which, unlike the last injection which did nothing, seems to have made matters worse. I was hoping for a little relief, as I can't do the surgery until after my daughter's wedding on February 28th. Unfortunately, it does not appear I will realize that hope, and will have to soldier on until I get the surgery.

My last hip replacement went remarkably well, and if it hadn't been for several unexpected misfortunes in the family, I would likely have been back to competing that summer. As it was, I barely managed to get one 50 on Hoss in the 2014 ride year. I'm hoping this replacement goes as well as the first, but I'm hedging my bets. I am hoping to get at least one 50 on all three horses before I have the surgery. Demon has already completed a 50, at Coso Junction. Between now and when I have surgery, I will be taking horses to as many rides as I can squeeze in.

Mileage goals are pretty simple this year. At least 50 on each horse before mid-March. 500 on Hoss before the end of the ride year. Anything more will be cake.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Feed Greatness, Week 1

I haven't received any emails from Purina at this stage. Perhaps they don't think I should be seeing any particular changes as of yet. That's OK, I tend to think it's a bit soon to be seeing anything in particular.

So far, the only thing which might remotely be linked to the supplement is all three horses seem to be eating better. Unfortunately, 6 days prior to starting this feed, we also made the annual switch from pasture mix hay to mountain oat hay. The pasture mix is available about 6-9 months per year, after which we get the mountain oat, which is generally available about 4-6 months per year. Both are very seasonal, and because we can't store a whole year's worth of hay, we are at the mercy of the market. The thing about the mountain oat is, it seems all the horses really prefer it to the pasture mix, and all the horses are eating better. So there's no way to really link it to the Outlast.

Since there are 9 horses here, we are doing this with a little bit of experimenting in mind. 4 horses are not getting any gut supplement at all. 1 horse is getting the U-Gard, which was Demon's previous gut supplement. 1 horse is getting Ul-Cer-Aid. 2 are getting the Outlast, and were not getting anything before. 1 is getting the Outlast in lieu of the U-Gard. I figure we'll have a somewhat better chance of noting any changes if we have horses who are not getting anything and some who are getting a different product.

The weight tape thing I found rather funny. It measures Hoss at just over 1,000 pounds. He's been using the same saddle and girth for some time, and has been on the same girth holes for quite a while, at least 6 months. This despite having visibly gained weight. Demon measures just under 850 pounds. This came as a shock, as I've measured him before (with a different tape) at 900, and he looks heavier to me now than he did then. It was DC's measurement which really got me skeptical. She measures just over 850. Last time I measured her, again, a different tape, she was barely 750. She's definitely heavier than she was then, but 100 pounds? I find it hard to believe. Additionally, I find it difficult to credit she's heavier at 14.1hh than Demon at 15hh. She's a super petite little thing. I'd believe 800 right now, but not 850.

The point of the weight tape really isn't about accuracy. It's about change over time. So I will shake my head and laugh, while recognizing the utility of the measurement, even if the numbers are suspect.

Purina still has not sent any follow-up information. Perhaps they're waiting for a month or so. I suspect they figure most consumers are feeding 1 horse, so they may send follow-ups at an interval of expected use of a bag. We'll see.

This is the Outlast Sell Sheet

Based on a closer reading of this, I'm not entirely convinced I'm feeding this at the rate Purina expects. I'm giving each horse 1 cup, which is a single serving, in their regular bucket feed every day. The sell sheet says: Typical feeding rate is 3-4 times per day—top-dressed with each meal and a snack 30-60 minutes prior to a stressful event. Well, we're doing 2 hay meals per day plus buckets at lunchtime. Unless I sprinkle it on their hay, all they're going to get is one serving. I don't see us changing the way we do things anytime soon, and it's not like anyone seems to be suffering, so we'll keep going as we are.

The Purina Feed Greatness Challenge

*Quick note: I am taking up blogging again. It has been a long time. There have been many changes and loads of challenges. Since Cthulhu was killed by coyotes in January of 2016, it's been tough for me to write and share about my horses and our adventures. I intend to pick up here and leave the intervening time aside for now. Perhaps some day I can visit it. For now, it is too painful and too much to communicate.

The Purina Feed Greatness Challenge.

Sure sounds great, doesn't it?

This came up with a post by Bruce Weary on the AERC Facebook page. He mentioned the Purina product Outlast, which is a gut supplement, and all the wonderful things it purports to do. Included was the statistic from studies which show up to 90% of horses have ulcers and just plain tummy trouble. He goes on to describe his journey from being a staunch opponent of the use of Omeprazole in competition, to a converted supporter of the practice encouraging all riders to so medicate their horses.

Now, I've read the studies, and seen all the arguments. I remain skeptical. I know in clinical practice many vets are seeing about a 20% incidence of ulcers in horses presented for scoping. These are horses who are believed to be suffering ulcers. Most of them are not. Additionally, I understand the potential complications of Omeprazole, and am reluctant to alter the gut function of my horses on a maybe. This is not to say I don't see the value of supplements for helping horses with what might be called acid reflux or indigestion in humans. I have fed competition-legal supplements to Hoss when he was competing heavily and having a hard time keeping weight on. How much it helped with his weight as a result of improving his gut function is not evident. Certainly he did better on it while he was competing heavily.

So now Purina has this Outlast supplement. After reading Bruce's post, I thought, well, what the heck? I get coupons and crap. So I got some. Up to now, only Demon has been getting the U-Gard supplement. Being a stallion, he's much more prone to stress and tummy aches, so I've kept him on it consistently for, oh, probably close to two years. DC and Hoss have not gotten any such supplement. I put all three horses on the Outlast, as something of a test.

Purina is providing all sorts of information and asking for data collection, including pictures. The images and data follow.


Age: 12
Start Weight: 840
Start BCS: 5
Activity Level: Endurance
Previous Feed: Beet pulp, rice bran, barley, alfalfa hay pellet
Purina Feed: Outlast (otherwise remains as above)
Supplements: Se-E, salt

DC (DemonChild)

Age: 9
Start Weight: 850
Start BCS: 5
Activity Level: Endurance
Previous Feed: Beet pulp, rice bran, alfalfa hay pellet
Purina Feed: Outlast (otherwise remains as above)
Supplements; Se-E, salt


Age: 13
Start Weight: 1010
Start BCS: 6
Activity Level: Endurance
Previous Feed: Beet pulp, ground flax seed, barley, alfalfa hay pellet
Purina Feed: Outlast (otherwise remains as above)
Supplements: Se-E, salt

So this is the start of the challenge. I started these 3 on the Outlast on December 9. Their weights were taken with a weight measure on the 16th, and I find them....suspect. More on that in the next post. Purina will send me information and such as the challenge progresses. This should be a very enlightening experience.