100th Entry!

This entry marks the 100th message I have written to this blog since starting in July 2007! In honor of this milestone, SmartPak is letting me select my favorite question and answer from the past two years and give that person a gift certificate, just in time for the holidays! This was a fun but tough exercise, and here are my finalists (along with why):

Slow Down Hay Eating (9/30/09 in Weight Management)—because my own horse gorges and I literally spent HOURS researching this topic

How Do I Become a Veterinarian (8/12/09 in Misc. Topics)—who doesn’t love to talk about their career?

How Much Pasture Do Horses Eat? (7/30/09 in Nutrition and Seasonal Horse Care)—I was shocked at how much research there is on grazing behavior in horses. Some of what I learned I put to immediate use at my own barn and some I just stored away to impress people with at cocktail parties.

Headshaking (12/31/2008 in Behavior)—again, any topic that helps my own horse I’m happy to look into for someone else’s horse!

Is Flax Seed Safe to Use in Horses? (9/10/98 in Misc. Topics)—this topic generated the most comments because I quoted a study that has since disappeared off the face of the earth (it’s with the keeper from my side reins, my white sock with the pink toe, and my Collective Soul CD). Also, I love dispelling the myth that flax seed poses a danger because of the cyanide precursor it contains.

How Much Sun Do Horses Need? (4/21/08 in Misc. Topics)—another topic I had to research extensively to answer. I love a challenge!

Trimming Chestnuts on Horse Legs (2/26/08 in Barn Skills)—love these kinds of basic questions that you might feel, well, stupid asking your trainer, veterinarian, farrier or even another boarder but you can submit to the Ask the Vet forum because it’s a “safe” location.

Is Water Softener Salt OK for Horses? (12/14/07 in Seasonal Horse Care)—never thought about doing this, but it is a real head-scratcher

Sleep Deprivation in Horses (10/10/07 in Misc. Topics)—I had just come back from a veterinary conference where this was discussed so I felt really pleased that I could offer these folks some real, scientific explanations and advice.

And the winner is (selected randomly from my top ten):

Finding a Horse’s Heart Rate (2/29/08 in Barn Skills)—I do wish I got more of these Barn Skills-type questions, as I think it’s really important for horse owners to know how to check vitals and to know what’s normal in their horse. The first month I owned my trakehner the poor thing got his temperature taken every day because he was consistently 101, which is high. Now I know he just runs high and that it’s nothing to worry about. A 101 temperature in my thoroughbred though, might indicate a low-grade fever and I would be more concerned.

LW from Illinois, be checking your email for a gift certificate soon!

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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