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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 F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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