Monday, September 17, 2007

Research v. Experience: Where do you draw the line?

First of all, yes, I have finished moving. I have learned many valuable lessons, such as: At 2 AM, when you bring a rescue horse home from the auction, do not borrow a bale of the neighbor's straw for bedding so that poor Pookie can lie down and relax after the traumatic auction. Pookie could have lied down and relaxed in the grass and it would not have then resulted in having to remove twelve, twelve, twelve !$&$!& wheelbarrows full of straw from one box stall when you move and have to leave the barn swept spotlessly clean! So, my back is trashed and my car is still full of most of my stuff and the end result is, you are not getting a great, well thought out and complicated blog post today.

I do however, have an interesting topic for you all to discuss - sparked somewhat by the comments yesterday and somewhat by conversations I've had lately with other horsepeople. My question today is: Where do you draw the line between research/what the vet says, and your own years of experience?

It's interesting because there are things we were taught 30 years ago that have very clearly been debunked. Example: Letting hot horses drink. The truth is, they really can drink all the want, although lukewarm water is better than cold. The first time I saw someone let a hot horse drink its fill, I almost fell over, but the truth is - the research is right. I've let many, many hot horses drink gallons and gallons of water now, and nobody has ever gotten sick.

Then, there are things where the veterinary wisdom has changed but, based upon my experience, I just won't change. I don't care how many studies you do, I know what I feel is the right thing to do. Two examples:

1. Many vets these days say you don't need to wrap both legs (i.e. both fronts) if you are wrapping one for support purposes. I don't care what the vets say. I was taught that you have to support the non-injured side because it's taking more strain because of the injured side, and I'm always going to wrap both no matter what any vet or research study says.

2. I hate this trend - these days the vets will tell you it's OK to let a colicky horse lie down and rest. Oh, HELL NO. I'm very old school on this. You walk, walk, walk, walk until they show NO sign of pain. You walk all damn night if you have to. You do not let them lie down, ever. They can run 15,042 research studies and I don't care. I have never (knocking wood as I say this) lost a horse to colic, and I'll be damned if I'm going to change something that works. I had someone on a message board tell me a horse at their barn died of exhaustion from being walked for colic. OH COME ON NOW! IT DID NOT. Where do you people even come up with this crazy shit? It probably had a heart murmur and the colic pushed it into a heart attack. It did not die of exhaustion from being hand walked.

OK, so let's discuss: Which elements of equine health care/health management have changed that you agree with? Has anything changed that you disagree with, and if so, are you still doing what has worked for you all along?
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