Where #SeriousHorsePeople come to better understand digestive health in horses and its impact and management.

Meet Kim Gentry and Why She Feeds SUCCEED

Kim Gentry and her horse

As a horse-crazy six-year-old growing up in Sydney, Australia, Kim Gentry had the good fortune to land in the same barn as Australian FEI judge Irene Bekels-Noreen, who started training her from a young age. But growing up in Australia, you “learn a little bit of everything, so that meant dressage,  jumping, gymkhana — even riding out ‘in the bush,’ as we say in Australia,” Kim says.

Thanks to her father’s job as a civil engineer running the Southeast Asian division of a construction company, Kim spent her teenage years living in Singapore. There, she gained even more experience while retraining off-the-track thoroughbreds and rode in amateur flat races. She even spent time training polo ponies for the King of Malaysia, adding to her diverse riding background. While living in Singapore, she also scored an invitation to spend the summer of 1979 outside of London, working with a Grand Prix trainer who quickly noted Kim’s natural talent for Grand Prix-level dressage, and encouraged her to continue on that path.

In Singapore, it would have been easy for Kim to kick back and focus only on her riding and the goal in front of her. Still, “I’m a British Pony Clubber, through and through, and that got engrained in me,” Kim says, laughing. “As a result, I always wanted to do everything myself, because I wanted to get it done the right way.”

For Kim, that meant time off for school and to build up her finances by working as a marketing executive for brands including Breyers ice cream, A1 Steak Sauce and other top international brands. “I wanted to have a great career so I could afford to do horses the right way with good training — but that meant I’d be traveling all over the world for my job, then coming home to teach 10 lessons on a Saturday,” she says. “But while chasing my career in the corporate world, I was simultaneously putting together a business plan for my next career move.”

Moving into a Full-Time Dressage Career

In 2003, Kim put her business plan into action and made the leap into a full-time horse career. A USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist and successful FEI trainer and international competitor through Grand Prix, Kim now lives and trains in the Memphis, Tennessee, area. She continues to teach, hold clinics, and compete, juggling a busy travel schedule that includes plenty of time on the road with her horses. Still, Kim hasn’t deviated from her hands-on approach.

“I’ve always taken a keen interest in horsemanship — not just riding, but care and nutrition, farrier care, all-around horsemanship,” she says. “It keeps you on the straight and narrow. And I’m big on the nutrition aspect; I feed all of my horses at least three times per day, and there’s always hay available to them. I’m fully in favor of preventing as many issues as you can through appropriate feeding and management strategies.”

Kim Gentry Riding Dressage

Introducing SUCCEED to a Picky Eater

So when Kim met John Hall, founder of SUCCEED, at the USDF convention in 2007, she was interested in hearing as much as possible about the digestive conditioning program.

“I had received a scholarship to take my old FEI horse to train in Europe; he would get picky about his feed on the road, so I was concerned about him eating enough on the trip to Germany,” she says. “John recommended SUCCEED for him, and by the end of that trip I was convinced.”

Feeding SUCCEED at Home and on the Road

Now, Kim keeps every horse in training on SUCCEED. “With the strenuous travel schedule we follow, we have to do as much as we can to keep their GI tracts on track,” she says. “I add the granules to their feed and they love it. I’ve never had a problem with a horse eating SUCCEED. I also once had a mustang who was on the paste, and he’d practically attack you to get his tube of SUCCEED!”

Kim notes that she typically doubles up on the typical serving when her competition horses are on the road — but she also gives it to any horse that looks like it needs a little extra boost.

“When I have horses come in who just don’t look as good as I like, or who just don’t have that bloom, the first thing we do is put them on SUCCEED,” she says. “It gets them eating, putting on weight and just looking healthier. I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had many digestive issues in my barn, and I think SUCCEED really helps keep it that way.”

SUCCEED as Part of an Overall Nutrition Program

As a dedicated all-around horsewoman, Kim has taken care to integrate SUCCEED into an overall management plan focused on optimal nutrition. She has a barn of 10-12 horses, and all get fed small meals at least three times per day — some even get fed four times per day. Splitting a horse’s feed into several mini-meals is a management practice that mimics horses’ natural tendency to eat small, frequent meals. She also feeds her horses a beet pulp-derived hard feed, which provides more fiber and less added sugar than many sweet-feed mixtures. Each horse also gets a small mesh hay net filled with a grass hay /alfalfa mix available free-choice throughout the day and night to help keep a little feed moving through the horses’ digestive systems at all times.

“I’ve been really lucky,” Kim remarks. “I think it’s got a lot to do with how we manage our horses here. It might seem kind of obvious, but making sure that your horses are happy and healthy is so important. They work hard for us; it’s only right to take really good care of them.”

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