That is exactly how I feel.
Although, I don’t own a horse, every time I get on one – whether during a lesson or trail riding – the rest of the world disappears, and I’m in the moment.
And I have no idea where my cell phone is.
That’s the issue Amy Millar, one of Canada’s elite equestrian jumpers, was addressing (along with many other topics) at a Purina sponsored event on October 14, 2016 in Ancaster, Ontario.
Amy and her father Ian Millar – Captain Canada and equestrian extraordinaire – fielded questions from a packed audience of about 200 horse fans, horse owners and horsey young girls from local barns.
Someone addressed the challenge of teaching a generation weaned on instant gratification satisfied by technological obsession.
Ian Millar, age 69 and ten-time Olympic participant (a world record) in show jumping, briefly railed about the entire issue and turned the floor to Amy.
Then Amy first addressed the technology question with her aforementioned answer – and more:
“Horses are more important in our lives than ever,” Amy added. “Get outside, got to the barn, trail ride.”
In other words, ride, unplug and reconnect.
Riding takes focus and instant gratification is, well… far from instant. I can attest, this is a life-long sport or therapy session. And like therapy, you’ll never be entirely there. The journey is what’s it’s about, especially on the back of a horse across wide-open fields.
PURINA HORSE HEALTH
The autograph signing and Q&A session with “Team Millar” was the highlight and draw for many during this Purina road show event promoting the company’s extensive line of horse feeds produced at a state-of-the-art, medication free, factory in Strathroy, Ontario.
Ticket sales went to Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue in Hagersville, Ontario (read about it on horsetrotting) that takes in chronic care rescues and is currently nurturing 64 equine on rural land near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Three Purina experts started the evening with educational presentations including Keri Weir speaking about the ‘simple but complicated’ horse digestive tract.
Here’s what I learned:
- Horses have one stomach like humans (unlike cows)
- Horse are designed to eat or graze 17 hours a day (and we envy cat’s sleeping habits)
- Food continually moves through the horse digestive tract
- One mouthful can take up to two days to move through the entire system (exercise increases that rate)
- Horses have 35 metres (100 feet) of digestive tract
- Food only stays 20 minutes in the horse stomach but up to three hours in the small intestine
- Horses chew side to side to break down food into the small particles (the smaller, the more nutritious)
- Horses don’t have gallbladders (despite being herbivores)
- One quarter of the horse digestive tract is the cecum and large intestine
- Cecum is the site of dreaded colic and small changes in feed can lead to big issues