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Advertisement; Julie Hicks - "My horses seem well-balanced and relaxed“

Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Equine 74 Gastric advertisement

Julie Hicks and Bojay.
Julie Hicks and Bojay.

Julie Hicks is an international show jumping rider, living in the Netherlands. As she has to travel a lot to international tournaments, her horses experience an enormous stress level. She explains how she recognizes stress in her horses and what steps she takes to minimize the impact.

The athletic performance of our horses is nowadays always connected to stress. What are your experiences on this subject?

Julie Hicks: „Stress is not only caused by intense training, but also by long travels to tournaments and shows. In order to perform on such a high level, stress is always involved for horses. In the last few years I have had mostly mares as my competition horses. A few of them were definitely "marish" and could become quite stressed during transport and at the shows.“

What kind of symptoms does a horse show that make you think it may be under stress?

Julie Hicks: „Especially on tournaments, I noticed that my horses became quite uncomfortable during tacking up in general and when grooming the areas around the stomach. I just felt that they are not as relaxed as they are at home. We all now, it can be quite chaotic and stressful on a tournament.“

Stress cannot be avoided entirely. What do you do to keep the stress impact to a minimum?

Julie Hicks: „When the weather permits, I turn out my horses and let them relax and "be horses". But still, due to the unnatural lifestyle we subject our horses to, the gastric ulcers always returned. These ulcers are mainly caused by stress which increases the production of gastric acid. Therefore,  I try to give a great deal of grass hay spread out during the day which can buffer the acid, even on tournaments.“

As you just said, the horse´s stomach is very susceptible, in particular. In what way are you attempting to keep the stress away from your horse?

Julie Hicks: „Not only the feeding and the husbandry had to be adjusted. The gastric ulcers required an effective treatment: I have used Gastrogard with good results. But I always felt that it was treating the symptoms and not solving the actual problem. That´s why I switched to Equine 74 Gastric and I have noticed a big improvement. Not a single recurrence of the gastric ulcers!“

Why did you search for an alternative for Gastrogard? And did you recognize any other improvements, as well?

Julie Hicks: „First, the effect of Equine 74 Gastric is another: it is directly buffering the produced acid in the stomach. Second, I can feed it easily and prophylactic. Due to this, my horses seem well-balanced and relaxed. Their coats are better and they just seem happier in general. No more ears pinned back when saddling them, even when we are on a competition and that is definitely a good sign.“

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