On this trip west, Boomer ate like a champ. Last time, not so much. In 2008, he got out of the trailer after 3000 miles and looked like a rescue.
What was different?
1) His feed: was getting Seminole Dynamix pellets 2 years ago. I switched feeds a short time afterwards. He now gets Seminole Equalizer (a ration balancer) (1lb/day), whole oats (3lbs/day), and Maxi-Glo pellets (3lbs/day). This is divided into 2 feedings. On occasion, he’ll eat beet pulp. He does not eat beet pulp on trips/away from home (unless it belongs to another horse . . .!).
2) Supplements: Ordinarily, he gets selenium yeast powder (Platinum Performance) plus 1000mg natural vitamin E capsules (5000IU currently). Since supplementing him with selenium, his right hind end issues at the end of a 50 mile or longer ride have abated. I also supplement with 3000mg magnesium powder. He gets Farriers Formula (a pellet) for his hooves and a cup of whole flax once a day. I also give him some loose mineral (Seminole Grass Balancer) and salt.
I have found that Boomer tends to leave his feed when he is stressed and if there is powdered stuff in it, well, then forget it! He’ll ignore the whole mess. For this trip I wanted to supplement with stuff to ease his stress, particularly on his stomach. I found a pelleted pro/prebiotic. I also gave him pelleted U-gard and pelleted magnesium. I omitted the mineral and salt. The only powder he got was the selenium which is a tiny amount due to the way it’s made.
Using the pelleted versions of his supplements seemed to really help as he cleaned his feed up without a problem.
I’ve since learned that there’s a pelleted electrolyte—a Farnam product. I would consider using it in the future.
3) Ulcergard! I bought a few tubes of Ulcergard. Not cheap but I think well worth it for the trip. I gave him the maintenance/preventative dose starting a day or 2 before I left and continued for a day or 2 after we got to Auburn. I really think this was one of the key factors in him maintaining his appetite. He had about 10 days prior to the ride without it. I gave a few doses on the trip home as well. I think this was a big factor in keeping Boomer eating.
4) Hay: Hay is Boomer’s issue. He is not a hay eater. I buy a wide variety of hays for him, trying to get him to eat. He has fragile teeth which may contribute to his hay fussiness (he goes to the vet for dental work every 6 months in an effort to keep things in good shape; he almost always has a broken molar or 2). I had started feeding him several pounds of orchard grass and timothy hay pellets in addition to his mix of hay. He was eating the hay pellets well, until the week I was leaving to go west. He decided he no longer wanted the stuff nor has he done more than pick hay pellets since. He did LOVE the California orchard grass. He ate more hay in California than I’ve ever seen him eat. Now if only I can get those 120# bales of California orchard grass for $12 like I did out there! He will eat alfalfa; sometimes he’ll eat peanut hay. What I usually give him is a mix of coastal, timothy, and orchard grass. I avoid the alfalfa except at rides and post-ride for a few days.
And you cannot discount the presence of a 2nd horse--a buddy who is going through the same thing, there all the time. The "herd" thing may also have played a big factor in how well Boomer traveled on this trip. And it wasn't that much more work, much due to the fact that Farley is the easiest horse on the planet to deal with. I think he needs to be cloned!
During the ride I used Lyte Now paste for electrolytes, BCAA paste a few times (I usually use powder BCAA mixed in with the powdered Enduramax elytes and applesauce plus CMC liquid), and a probiotic paste. I used the pastes because they were just easier to manage although I did use my usual mix at the 2 one hour holds. It was worth the extra $$ to use the convenient pastes.
Something I regret not doing: My saddlepack has 2 rusted D’s on the front sides. I don’t use them. I’ve been meaning to cut them out because I worried they may rub. I didn’t cut them out and sure enough, they rubbed. The left side pretty much blistered and Boomer ended up with a patch of hair and skin falling off about a week later. Moral to the story—don’t put off doing a little fix. While it might not be a big deal on a shorter ride, it could become quite a problem on a much longer ride. Sorry Boomer!
Something I’m glad I did: I sprung for 2 $20 “extreme” insulated Camelbak water bottles. I had insulated bottles but they got hot on the short rides in CA. I was in REI and saw the extreme bottles and decided “what’s another $40?!?”. Ha! Well worth it on the big day. The water/elyte mix stayed cool and never got so warm that I gagged trying to drink it.
I used a different human elyte powder drink mix for Tevis. I bought 3 different products plus S-caps (electrolyte capsules) from succeedcaps.com. I had used the Ultra mix at Longstreets and found it agreed with my system. For Tevis, I used Clip2 and Amino. I can’t remember which one I took when I but I think I started with Clip2 and then went to the Amino after Foresthill. I did feel better and more alert than I had on previous 100s. And I may have been less sore afterwards due to the BCAAs. Well worth experimenting with if you’ve not found that perfect drink mix for a long ride. I did supplement with a few S-caps over the day as well. I also took some supplements from hammernutrition.com. They may also have helped with some of the post-ride soreness. I’ll need to experiment some more before I know if they really helped or not.
I ate whatever I could get down. It wasn’t much though but the drink mix contained calories, protein, and even fat. I couldn’t even finish a Power Bar pre-ride. I did eat a banana. If there was watermelon at a gate and go, I grabbed it. I had some cantelope for the one hour holds. I had fried chicken and a sandwich as well. I don’t think I ate much of either though Eating is a big issue for me when I ride (and when I run far as well). Something yet to work on.