Have you seen the Constant Comfort Block?

Please note, this post was unsolicited and uncompensated by Tribute Equine Nutrition.

I picked up this “buy one- get one” offer at my local feedstore recently. I also received an email regarding this Nationwide (in the USA) offer from Tribute Equine Nutrition.

For the price of one ($9.99 in my case), you get two Constant Comfort Blocks. These are 15 pound solid mineral blocks that are designed to “soothe and support” your horse’s gut health system.

They function like a salt block in the sense that the horse ingests the ingredients by licking the block.

“The very first gut health system to help soothe and support your horse 24/7! Allow free-choice access to the Constant Comfort™ block and add the Constant Comfort™ Plus topdress to your horse’s regular feedings and before times of stress.

Product Details:
Formulated with Seaweed Derived Calcium to help maintain proper stomach pH.
Contains Aloe Vera, Glutamine and Lecithin, which can help soothe the stomach.
Added Equi-Ferm XL®, a pre- & probiotic, supports hindgut health.
When used together, the Constant Comfort™ gut health system offers your horse 24/7 support.

From the Tribute Equine Nutrition Website”

My guess, based on looking at the ingredients, is that this product was made in mind mostly for those equestrians concerned about their horse’s potential to develop ulcers, even though I don’t see that explicitly stated on the block.

As for me, I have not yet had a horse that I knew to have gastric ulcers. The symptoms themselves can be vague. The only way to know if your horse actually has ulcers is to have them scoped (gastroscopy) by a veterinarian. I have never had that done before so I can’t confirm or deny the presence of ulcers in any of my horses from that standpoint.

If you are unfamiliar and would like to read about gastric-ulcers in horses, I recommend this piece, written in 2016 by a veterinarian, from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

https://aaep.org/horsehealth/equine-gastric-ulcers-special-care-and-nutrition

This article by Dr. Nancy S. Loving, DVM from Horse Illustrated in 2019 is also informative

Overcoming Ulcers in Horses

In looking at all the horse risk-factors for ulcers, probably my horse, Bear, would have the highest overall risk. He has been on the equine pain medication Equioxx for several years now to help with symptoms of arthritis. One of the know side-effects of long-term NSAID use is ulcers. Hence my own interest in using a product that may speak to a horse’s gut health.

While there is only one FDA approved medication for treating ulcers, there are dietary and lifestyle changes that can lesson the chances that a horse will develop gastric ulcers in the first place or lower the likelihood of recurrence.

Now, will the Constant Comfort Block (along with the recommended Constant Comfort pellets which I did not purchase) actually make my horses’ guts feel better and thus be part of a larger plan to help prevent gastric ulcers in my horses?

How would I measure if the product actually works for my horses?

Am I wasting my money?

These are all questions that I have about the Constant Comfort Block. Really about any nutritional product that we feed to our horses. There is a lot of heavy marketing involved (and apparently a lot of money to be made for the manufacturers) in the recent proliferation of types of horse feeds.

I personally picked up the blocks out of curiosity. I am saving them to put out later this Winter. I will likely put out one block and see if any of my horses will even lick it.

I suppose I remain skeptical about the value of the block, but I am always up for trying a new product, especially when it involves a BOGO offer.

To learn more about the Constant Comfort Blocks, go to
https://tributeequinenutrition.com/constant-comfort-system. Through the Tribute Equine Nutrition website, you can find out if a feed store in your location carries the product.

What about you? Are you concerned about your horse having ulcers? Have you ever had a horse diagnosed with ulcers via gastroscopy?

For Donkey Fans!

I have never owned or otherwise cared for a donkey, but I am definitely a donkey and mule fan.

I have petted a donkey. I even rode a mule (half horse/half donkey) once. But that is more or less the extent of my experience.

I enjoy reading about them and find both the similarities and the differences between horses-donkeys-mules to be really interesting.

So while reading The Hoofbeat newsletter from Canadian Horse Journal, a feature caught my eye about a virtual collection of articles on donkey health and welfare.

You can read the article for yourself here at https://equinescienceupdate.blogspot.com/2021/08/donkey-medicine-and-welfare-free.html.

At the end of the article is this link to a bunch of research articles at

https://beva.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/toc/10.1001/(ISSN)2042-3306.donkey-medicine-welfare.vi

This research study link is free to view until October 29, 2021. There’s quite a treasure trove of donkey information contained therein. If you are at all interested in donkeys, I would highly suggest your taking advantage before the deadline.

The same day that I read The Hooftbeat article, I attended the annual tack sale at the Indiana Horse Rescue. They have an influx of donkeys this year and have something like seven donkeys available for adoption. All the photos you see in this post were taken at the Indiana Horse Rescue.

If anybody reading this is interested in adopting donkeys, please contact the Indiana Horse Rescue at (765) 605-5790 or INHorseRescue@gmail.com. If you don’t live in Indiana, they do adopt to approved out-of-State homes. You can also see some information on several of the donkeys available for adoption on the Indiana Horse Rescue website at http://www.indianahorserescue.org.

How fun it would be to see this blog be involved in a deserving donkey findings its new temporary foster or permanent adoptive home!

Update on Chewy- More Products For Horses and A Donation Program!

If you live in the USA and buy pet products, you have likely heard of Chewy. Did you know that they sell many horse products too? Tack, supplies and feed can all be ordered and delivered to your doorstep.

I published a post early last year about my experience as a Chewy customer at

Chewy Sells Horse Stuff!

Since that post, I notice that Chewy has expanded its horse- product line considerably. You can even buy saddles through Chewy now.

And did you know that Chewy supports a charity program? Animal rescues can post animals for adoption as well as a wish list of items. Donors can then purchase those wish list items as a donation and have the products shipped directly to the rescue.

I previously fostered nine horses from the Indiana Horse Rescue. They have signed up with this program and now have their own Chewy wishlist.

As a donor to the Indiana Horse Rescue through this program, I can confirm that the program works!

You order the items and the rescue receives them. You even get an email confirmation upon placing the order donation and when the donated items are delivered.

If you’d like to see the IHR wish list (IHR functions under the name Animal Protection Coalition) to donate items to the cause, go to https://www.chewy.com/g/animal-protection-coalitioninc_b78818400.

To learn more about Chewy’s donation program in general, to find a different rescue to donate to or to find out how to get a rescue that you are involved with connected with the program, go to

https://www.chewy.com/g/animal-shelters-and-rescues

*Please note this post was unsolicited and uncompensated by Chewy.

For Thoroughbred Fans

Last year, I wrote a post about my admiration for Thoroughbreds at

Gotta Love Those OTTB’s

This week I was thrilled to find in my mailbox the Fall 2021 issue of Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, a production of the Retired Racehorse Project.

I really can’t say enough good things about Off-Track. Even if like me you don’t have a Thoroughbred of your own, many of the articles are applicable to working with any breed. This season’s issue covers topics like how to have a positive ride, coping with a cold-backed horse and groundwork exercises to teach your horse to better yield to pressure.

The issue reaches me right before the start of the Thoroughbred Makeover, October 12-17, 2021 at the Kentucky Horse Park. I love what the Retired Racehorse Project is doing through this event.

“The Retired Racehorse Project, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, created the Thoroughbred Makeover to showcase the trainability and talent of off-track Thoroughbreds. The competition is intended to inspire good trainers to become involved in transitioning these horses to second careers, and the National Symposium serves to educate the people involved in the care, training, and sale of these horses to responsible owners.”

From the Thoroughbred Makeover website

If you’d never heard of the Thoroughbred Makeover, please visit their website at

https://www.tbmakeover.org/.

If you want to subscribe to Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, please visit their website at

https://www.retiredracehorseproject.org/join-ottb-magazine.

Whose Got Bots?

Do you check your horse’s coat for bot eggs? Those tiny, yellow little dots that stick to your horse’s hair coat and mane? I don’t find bot eggs on my horses very often. Perhaps bot flies are not prolific in my area. But on the day that I picked up Piper, my new horse, I saw that he had a few small clusters of bot fly eggs on his neck and front legs.

Piper used to live about fifty miles North of me, and I suspect that might have something to do with it. I remember when I boarded my first horse, about thirty miles North of where I now live, he accumulated bot eggs easily. I don’t remember that being much of an issue once I brought him home. I have plenty of insects around my place, but perhaps bot flies are not usually one of them.

For those of you not familiar, here are some resources I found that discuss the issue of bot fly eggs as well as how/why to remove them.

As for Piper, I was able to buy a $3 bot knife (I couldn’t find the old one I had back in my boarding days) and easily remove them. See the three photo slide-show below.

Do you ever find bot fly eggs on your horses?

Not Entering But Still Interested – Western Dressage For Gaited Horses

Last October, Shiloh (my Missouri Fox Trotter gelding) and I entered our first virtual horse show. You can read my two posts about that experience here

Shiloh and I Make Our Virtual Horse Show Debut

Shiloh’s First Virtual Horse-Show Experience: Results and Conclusions

I won’t be entering the same show this year unfortunately. It is difficult for me to ride a dressage test at anything faster than the walk without a proper arena and good footing. But that doesn’t mean I’m leaving my interest in western dressage for gaited horses behind.

I continue to try to incorporate my understanding of basic dressage principles into my riding. I use the qualifier “my understanding” because my formal training in this area is almost nonexistent. I know I get a lot wrong in both my intellectual understanding and execution.

Despite that, I really like the idea of trying to ride a horse in a balanced way. Encouraging the horse to use its body in a manner that builds strength and flexibility. Hopefully in a way that actually feel good to the horse once he or she figures out what you are asking.

These pictures of Shiloh and me show a recent roundpen ride. Shiloh has good and bad days, but on the whole, I’d say his ability to carry himself has improved in these three years I’ve been riding him.

I enjoy feeling his body puff up beneath me, seeing his neck softly stretching towards the rein contact and the sensation of his weight shifting rhythmically from one hip to another. On the good days, he’s so well-timed that the feeling is almost hypnotic.

His walk, foxtrotting and upward transitions have improved a lot, but I am still struggling with certain aspects like supporting him better through downward transitions like from foxtrot to walk.

I’ve become increasingly aware of this feeling that I call “splat”. The sensation is his front hooves getting caught in quicksand and then his hips quickly popping up off the ground. Very jarring.

I finally caught a moment of “splat” on camera during this same ride. What I feel during these moments finally makes sense. It looks about as awful as it feels. Compare this splat photo to the photos above. Shiloh looks like a different horse from his nose to his tail.

Now that I think I have a better awareness of what is happening, I’m experimenting with how to encourage a more balanced downward transition so we end up with more “spring” than “splat” as we transitions up, through and down the various gaits. But trying to figure it all out is a bit of a head scratcher for me.

If nothing else, I am learning that I need to support Shiloh continuously throughout the ride and not just think that because things are going well during one exercise, or in one direction or at one speed that they will continue that way without my supporting him.

My intention, my attention and my aids need to match up in a way that makes sense to him. Easier said than done. But I want to keep aiming.

If anyone out there is interested in learning more about western dressage for their gaited horse, you can enter the same online show this year that I did last year. The judge’s feedback that you receive after sending in your video is quite specific.

I know it seems odd to enter a show at the start of one’s journey in a discipline, but that detailed written feedback you receive from the judge can be very useful, especially for someone who doesn’t have access to a western/gaited dressage instructor in person.

The online show “Gaits Wide Open” is sponsored by the organization Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) and is hosted by The North American Western Dressage Association (NAWD). If you’d like to explore entering, go to

Traditionally, there’s been a huge disconnect between dressage, the western disciplines and the gaited horse industry.

While there will always be distinct differences, FOSH and NAWD attempt to bridge that divide and bring awareness of important training principles for any horse with any level of rider.

If you are at all curious, I’d highly suggest checking out what FOSH and NAWD have to offer.