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Ozzy’s odyssey

Angie Chandler turns frail, listless horse’s life around with Co-op Winner’s Cup feed
By Chris Villines 4/4/2012

 

Angie Chandler and Ozzy, her 7-year-old American Saddlebred, take an afternoon run up the driveway leading to her Rune Stone Ranch in Cosby. Since purchasing Ozzy last July, Angie has greatly improved the horse’s health and quality of life.
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Apuddle from an earlier rain remains in the field, and the playful horse can’t resist the temptation. He eyes the muddy prize from around 50 yards away, takes off in a full sprint, and sends showers of water into the air as he splashes through.

The mischievous behavior is nothing out of the ordinary on most equine farms, but it’s certainly significant in this case, considering the condition the horse, Ozzy, was in just eight months earlier, before the American saddlebred was purchased from a West Virginia owner by Angie Chandler, owner of Rune Stone Ranch in Cosby.

“The young woman who had Ozzy at the time was unintentionally underfeeding him,” says Angie, who gives lessons both at her ranch and offsite to riders ages 5 and up and serves as the head volunteer leader for the Cocke County 4-H youth horse program. “She was only giving him about a cup of feed twice a day. He was nothing but a rack of bones. I felt bad for even getting on him because I was afraid he was going to fall over. Her heart was in the right place, but she was just young and thought she was feeding him enough.”

It was a startling discovery for Angie, a lifelong equine enthusiast who “was on the back of horses before I could walk.” She had been browsing the Internet to find a saddlebred horse for giving riding lessons after the death of a 32-year-old Arabian gelding she had been using. Running across an ad for a “registered American saddlebred, 6 years old, great equitation mount, easy pleaser,” Angie’s interest was piqued.

“The ad sounded good to me because when you’re looking for a lesson horse, you want one that’s responsive and good with kids,” she says. “So I did a Google search on Ozzy, and I came across where he sold out of a barn for $4,500 a year prior. But the seller on the ad was only asking $500. That was really cheap considering the purchase price a year earlier. Well, I couldn’t get Ozzy out of my head … it just bugged me … so I called one of my friends, and we made the eight-hour trip by car to West Virginia.”

But once Angie and her friend pulled up to the facility and saw Ozzy, they quickly realized that the ad and the horse didn’t match up.

“She brought him out, and when I saw him I was like, ‘You have to be kidding me!’” Angie says. “He was lethargic and weak, like you could almost push him over. He had worn his toes down to nothing, and the flies were driving him crazy. It was really, really hard for me to see.”

Telling the owner that she would have to think it over, Angie and her friend reluctantly drove away.

“We wished we had driven up with the truck and trailer,” Angie says. “If we had, we would have been taking Ozzy home right then.”

After calling the owner back and negotiating a sale based on Ozzy’s condition, Angie returned to West Virginia the next week and took him home to Tennessee for rehabilitation.

“He had lost so much weight from the last time I saw him,” she says. “It was really noticeable from the week before.”

When she returned home, the Cocke Farmers Cooperative member sprang into action. She dewormed Ozzy, gave him plenty of fresh water, and knew the exact game plan to help him put on weight, gain energy, and become sound nutritionally: a steady dose of Bermudagrass hay and Co-op Winner’s Cup Endurance 1010 (#303), which she had fed to other horses in her stable with favorable results.

“It didn’t take me long to get Ozzy transitioned over to the Endurance 1010 since he had been receiving such a small amount of feed,” explains Angie. “In only about two weeks, I had built up to where I was giving him two scoops — or 12 pounds — daily. If I had him on a feed that wasn’t as easy on his system, I wouldn’t have been able to get that nutrition to him as quickly.”

Designed for mature, active horses, Winner’s Cup Endurance 1010 contains 10 percent of both crude protein and crude fat; 11.5 percent crude fiber; vitamins A, C, D, and E; ingredients such as oats, cottonseed meal, cane molasses, cracked corn, and dried beet pulp; and a fortified mineral package that includes phosphorous, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc. This combination allows horses to add extra weight without having to give them a higher volume of feed, according to Tennessee Farmers Cooperative equine specialist Kim Smith.

“If you’re feeding a lower-fat, economy feed, you have to feed more pounds of it to equal the same calorie load of a smaller amount of the Endurance 1010,” Kim says. “It’s akin to the old Total cereal commercial … one serving of Endurance 1010 is equivalent nutritionally to 10 servings of economy feed.”

And the high-fat, low-protein formulation of Endurance 1010 was perfect for Ozzy, Angie says.

“Saddlebreds tend to get a little hyper when they eat a lot of protein,” she explains. “I wanted something that was going to keep him on an even keel while still giving him enough energy to perform. Another good thing about Endurance is that I don’t have to keep salt out in the fields all of the time because I know the horses are getting everything they’re supposed to be getting in that purple bag. I recommend Endurance 1010 to as many people as I can.”

These days, Ozzy barely resembles the sullen, malnourished animal that Angie first encountered in West Virginia. His coat is shiny, his feet have healed and grown a size, and his body has filled out considerably. He’s ready to be ridden for lessons and shown by both Angie and her 4-H youth. And, not surprisingly, he and his new owner are forming quite a bond.

“He loves me, and I love him,” Angie says. “He’d like to crawl in my lap, and he’d come in the house if I’d let him. What I really like about him is that he’s so smart. Even though he’s a big kid and into everything, he likes his work and will perform when you want him to … And he really likes people! If he’s in a field where there are other horses and people, he’ll want to be around the people. You can’t help but like him.”

Now that sounds like the horse Angie inquired about in

the ad.

To learn more about the riding lesson programs available through Rune Stone Ranch, visit www.runestoneranch.com.

For more information about Co-op Winner’s Cup Horse Feed, visit with the professionals at your local Co-op.

 
 
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