- Created on Thursday, 23 February 2012
The longer I am a veterinarian the more I have come to value the wisdom of horsemen who have done it for a living as long as my friend has. I’m sure you all know men and women like this; the kind of person that uses the toe of their boot to bring up a back cinch when saddling a fresh 2-year-old old instead of reaching underneath them. There is reason and purpose in all they do.
My friend starts a good many 2-year-old colts every year, ones with all the top sire lines well represented from the people who actually own the stallions. In a situation like that, there is pretty much nothing that will be spared for these horses during the course of their training. The odd thing is that with any and all resources available to him it is a rare occasion that a colt requires something significant in the way of veterinary care. I tend to section out soundness on 2-year-olds (or any horse in training) as 50 percent trainer, 25 percent farrier, and 25 percent vet. By that, I mean the largest part of a horse staying sound is due to the trainer, with the vet and farrier playing much smaller roles. So, if you can develop a good history of healthy, sound horses while still meeting the expectations of your owners – the things you do recommend as a trainer tend to mean more.
That being said, one day I asked him what he thought the best thing you could do for a young horse in training was. His answer: “Float their teeth. You will get the most benefit out of a young horse with the least amount of money in them. Pulling wolf teeth, caps and having a nice smooth mouth.” This was the answer he gave, adding that it was his best advice for someone who had only a certain amount of money to spend on a horse and wanted to get the most out of every dollar.
A very simple answer to what we all see as a very daunting question. But for someone who has done it for years with unqualified success it’s just a conversation starter.