Behind the Scenes with Tim Beauregard – Part Two
As part of a series of exclusive interviews with equestrian professionals, Dengie catches up with Tim Beauregard from Summerhill Equine Vets. In this interview Tim talks to Dengie about his most memorable experiences as a vet and tips on how Dengie followers can give their horse a head start in the health and fitness stakes this summer.
Describe your normal work day
Does that exist?! That’s why I love my job! A busy day involves gastroscopy, tracheal washes, lameness workups and treatments, vettings and paperwork. Doing about 40,000 miles per year means about six hours a day is lost on the roads, so I have to have a comfortable car.
What has been the most memorable or inspirational experience with your career?
Being on the Thames, celebrating London 2012 with a boatload of medallists and other eminent people in the equine community.
Are you seeing any increases in certain ailments or diseases in your particular area?
Not so much increased prevalence but definitely increased diagnosis now we have the benefit of advanced technology such as gastroscopy, CT and MRI, plus the esteemed specialists that guide us in our daily work.
Any advice for horse owners on particular seasonal issues – how to avoid them?
Always have clean hay/haylage. I can’t stress this enough! Many times horses are diagnosed with “a virus” when the real reason is inhalation of fungal spores. The easiest thing to do is to stuff your face into the forage and take a deep breath. This ruins me if it’s bad quality, as I will get bunged up and sneeze for days. At Summerhill Equine Vets, we quantify the amount of spore contamination using our own laboratory and advise our clients whether it is safe to feed or not. For racing yards, we find a direct correlation between spores and poor tracheal wash results, followed by poor performance, and although the effects are less defined in sports horses they suffer just the same.
Is there anything that really frustrates you about the equestrian industry?
Although more wealthy than the farming industry, I see many employees dedicating their lives without suitable financial recognition. They regularly work 10 to 14 hour days to get everything done, without any choice because the horses need to be looked after and employers can’t afford more staff. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution to this problem.
Give us your top 5 tips for keeping a “riding club level” horse in good overall health with a view to going to shows this summer.
- Clean hay or, if you can’t guarantee its freshness, consider a Dengie alfalfa feed as it’s bagged and a great source of clean fibre.
- Work on fitness to avoid injury.
- Horses thrive on routine, so in respect of daily management and exercise try and keep this routine the same. It’s amazing how a routine can prevent illness, accidents and keep a horse’s stress levels down.
- Fresh air i.e. turnout.
- Water and chemicals are the enemies of skin health, so go easy on the bathing! One grotty winter I was at Barry Hills’ yard and couldn’t help but notice how healthy the horses looked, their coats were gleaming compared to other yards struggling against rashes and ringworm. The head lad Kevin Mooney had a clear answer – they don’t go near the horses with a drop of water all winter; instead they allow the sweat to dry and brush it off at evening stables. By doing this they don’t remove the natural oils from the coat, which are the protective barriers. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t wash your horse, but be sparing and avoid shampoos as much as possible.