Shaun Strickland knows the value of a good day’s work, and he knows how important a good horse can be to accomplish that work. Strickland, the managing partner at Poison Spider Cattle Co., north of Casper, Wyo., manages 1,500 cows across 140,000 acres in the big country of Wyoming. And with that much land to cover, he works hard to maintain the tradition and Western heritage of using ranch horses.
“We use horses for everything,” Strickland said. “We don’t use 4-wheelers and all that stuff. Our horses are used today like they were 100 years ago. We still preserve the tradition.”
The 30 horses at the Poison Spider range from weaned colts and yearlings to more mature horses. They have high performance horses bred and trained for racing, cutting and rodeo and they have some that are used strictly for ranch work. Whatever, their purpose, Strickland makes sure all of his horses are given the best possible care and that includes including Vitalize® Equine supplements to their diets.
Vitalize contains Amaferm®, a natural prebiotic designed to maximize the nutritional value of feed. It is research-proven to increase nutrient absorption resulting in maximized digestive health for improved performance. With the Amaferm advantage, equine enthusiasts can expect increased stamina without the horse getting hot; digestive wellness; consistent appetite and strong solid hooves.
Strickland, the newest Vitalize Ambassador, understands the importance of keeping horses healthy, performing and looking their best, no matter what their job is.
“All of our horses have a job, and if they show us they want to go to a show pen after doing their work on the ranch, we’ll take them to the show pen. Some of them make it; some of them don’t,” Strickland said. “Even our top-end cutting horses get used on the ranch. I may be riding a $40,000 horse right now at this cutting (in Nampa, Idaho), and he’s a high-end horse and he’s fantastic. At the same time, he’s still a horse and horses were designed to have jobs. I’m not just going to keep a horse in a stall and take him to town once a week and play around with him. The horse I’m cutting on today, I’ll take him out tomorrow and calve heifers off him or drag a cow to a trailer. Horses need to feel whole. If they get bored, they don’t last mentally.”
Strickland discovered the Vitalize products in 2015 from his BioZyme® Dealer, Keith Micke shortly after he started feeding VitaFerm® to his cattle. His horses have been on Vitalize® Equine Free Choice Mineral ever since. The high-performance horses are fed the Vitalize® Equine High Performance pellets. And any horse that works hard during the day and has a tough day scheduled the following day gets a tube of Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste (transitioned to Vitalize® Equine Recovery Gel July 2019). He also gives his cutting and show horses a tube of Recovery Paste each morning they are on the road, to keep them feeling their best and keep them eating and drinking.
“If they have gone out and pounded their bones in the dirt for me and sweat for me the least I can do is give them something to make them feel better and to help them recover quicker,” Strickland said. “I’ve got to take care of them because they are how we make a living. I’ve just hauled my cutting horse, Metallic Bourbon, from Fort Worth to Idaho, and with the help of the Recovery Paste, he seems to have a little extra pep in his step every morning, and it doesn’t take as much to keep them going when we haul.”
“Shaun is one of the most professional, kind and knowledgeable people you will meet. His ability to recognize a good horse; its genetics, and train and care for horses is second to none,” says Britney Creamer, BioZyme Area Sales Manager in Eastern Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. “He believes in the same core values as we at BioZyme do in terms of caring for livestock and importance of a sound nutrition program; he is the kind of horseman we want carrying our brand!”
Strickland has already qualified for the AQHA World Finals and is working to earn his spot in the NCHA Finals. He’ll also be competing at the Reining Cow Horse Futurity.
He said the Poison Spider sells quite a few horses each year. When customers and potential buyers stop by the ranch to see what their horses can physically and mentally do, he also shows them their feeding and supplement program, so the horses will hopefully continue the same programs.
“Our horses are in better health, they shed off winter hair faster and aren’t as rough looking since we switched to Vitalize,” Strickland said.