Nobody knows the show jumping business like the men and women who care for and ride the equine athletes on a daily basis, and for professional jumper Darby Pease, caring for and showing the horses at Windcrest Farm is her dream come true. Pease joined the team at Windcrest Farm, located at Danville, Kentucky, nearly four years ago, and has helped care for numerous horses. One of the most important lessons she has learned is keeping these four-legged athletes sustainably sound.
She said the combination of a consistent work schedule and high-quality nutrition has helped their horses stay sound, allowing some of their horses to compete into their 20s, something rare for the industry.
“We have two horses that are 23-years-old this year. They are still in consistent work and still competing, and Hyaluronex® is what has saved them. They are completely sound, they are going so well, they are fit and strong, comfortable and it’s definitely because of Hyaluronex. They get injected like once a year, and that’s it. Normally horses that age would get injected three to four times a year and we only do it once because they get Hyaluronex every day. They are super sound and still competing at four foot at 23 years old,” Pease said.
Hyaluronex Joint is a natural, proactive approach to sustainable soundness. The new and improved formula contains antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories to support joint and soft tissue health and recovery, along with the most-researched hyaluronic acid available, MHB3® Hyaluronan. It is FEI safe, cost-effective and veterinarian recommended. The natural solution is ideal for performance horses, senior horses, and horses recovering from injury.
In addition to supplementing their barn of horses, that includes anywhere between eight to 15 at any given time, with Hyaluronex daily, Pease said the horses are worked consistently to keep them in good shape. The horses are each ridden five to six days a week, and although they are not ridden hard, their exercise is consistent. She said a major benefit to their home farm in Kentucky is the rolling hills, where she enjoys riding the horses, which helps build their skeletal strength and stamina.
“The farm in Danville has really big hills, and I love trotting up and down the hills. It’s so good for their back and keeping them strong and fit. Just working them correctly is how we keep their muscles sound and keep them growing correctly, which helps them stay strong and sound. We don’t do anything special; just consistent work,” Pease said.
Although keeping horses structurally sound is of upmost importance, Pease knows the overall health of the horse starts in his or her gut. That’s why she also feeds Vitalize® Equine Digest More® Plus and Vitalize® Alimend, which both share the same parent company as Hyaluronex. The Vitalize products include precision prebiotics, Amaferm® and AO-Biotics®, respectively to help support digestion and gastric health. She said over the course of the year each horse is competing on average two weeks out of every month; however, during their peak show season, they are traveling for months at a time, and a horse might show two weeks on and have a week off.
“It’s so important to keep them healthy and keep them feeling good with daily supplements from Vitalize,” Pease said.
Digest More Plus contains Amaferms, which impacts intake, digestibility and absorption. It provides an easy, convenient way to enhance digestive health for horses of all ages and performance statuses when adequate protein, vitamins and minerals are already received through fortified feed and premium forage. Vitalize Alimend is a unique blend of: MHB3® Hyaluronan, H. erinaceous (Lion’s mane) extract, and AO-Biotics. It provides 24/7 stomach comfort and relieves equine gastric issues commonly associated with training, traveling, and performance without altering stomach pH or hindering digestion.
Sustainable health and soundness starts with good nutrition and consistent training. Darby Pease is living her dream by taking care of these equine athletes in the stables so they can take care of her in the show ring. And with two competing horses at 23-years-old, she’s achieving blue ribbon status.