Melissa Schmalhorst Took A Chance On An Old Horse With A Joint Infection

 

 

John Dowdy:

Hello, and welcome to this week's Equinity podcast. We are swinging out into the big state of Texas. We've got Melissa Schmalhorst on the line this week. Melissa, welcome to the Equinity podcast.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Hello, I'm Melissa. I'm very excited to be here and talk about my experience with the product and share my story about how it's really helped my horses.

Melissa's History as an Explosive Dog Handler

John Dowdy:

Great. Well, it's exciting to have you on. And before we actually even get into that, we kind of came across paths through Facebook and we spoke over the phone and I think it would be very interesting and beneficial for a lot of people just to know a little bit of your background. You grew up around horses and then you did our country proud and served in the military. If you wouldn't mind, just talk a little bit about what you did in the military because it's, we'll say, very unique.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Well, I was an explosive dog handler. Like you said, I grew up around horses and animals, dogs. I started riding when I was nine years old. I actually went to college for animal science and was on the equestrian team, rodeo team, and I decided to do something beyond my limits. And I decided to join the United States Air Force, and I joined as law enforcement. And then I went in and about a year in, I applied for canine and worked my tail off to get into there, went through a board and all that. And then I spent the remainder of my 10 years as a dog handler. And then I served multiple times overseas for an Operation named Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. I handled four dogs, three were bomb dogs. One was a drug dog.

And then I served as a trainer over other teams deploying. Then I got to Texas and I started training dogs for all branches of the military. Throughout my military career, when I was up in Montana, I still was around horses to keep me going and stuff like that because I had a lot of horses before the military and of course, I had to sell them all when I went overseas. So I just kept riding and guiding hunts, guiding trail rides, stuff like that. Riding for other ranchers, and then I got injured a few times and I got medically retired and I bought some land down in Texas here and decided to homestead here and just got back into it. I bought a piece of land and just wanted to go back into my roots, and so that's where I'm at now.

John Dowdy:

Wow. That is impressive, and thank you so much for your service. And of course, you just went in, no pun intended, but guns a blazing when you went into bomb squad with dogs. Holy smokes.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Yeah. It was quite the experience. It was a lot of fun. A lot of times, I'm like, oh my goodness, I don't know what I got myself into. But one of my dogs actually retired with me when I retired. Her name is Betty. We call her Crazy Betty and she's going to be 11 in May and she's 11 going on two because she's still wild as can be and tries to eat everything and still thinks she's looking for bombs in the house.

John Dowdy:

Oh my gosh. Yeah, oh well. That's pretty awesome. Well, that must've been quite a change coming back and settling down on some quiet land in Texas. That's a bit of an adjustment.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Yeah. Yeah, very much so. I actually, when I got out, I kind of went through a dark time a little bit just because, like I said, guns a blazing and all of a sudden my life was, I felt like it was just at a halt. And I actually went and got with an organization, it's called Charlie Five. It's another nonprofit that helps first responders and veterans, and that's where I got my Mustang, Cooper. And we basically went to rehab together to kind of... As a Mustang, he didn't trust anybody and I had to build a bond with him and so, that was my first horse on this property, and he's an amazing horse now. And I'm not going to lie, I mean, I broke a lot of horses, training and riding, and he was probably one of my toughest one. But I'll tell you what, now we're pretty unseparable. So, but Charlie Five was the one that got me that horse and that's when we'll start talking about the unit and stuff, how we got started.

John Dowdy:

Sure. Yeah. So as you're adjusting to life back in Texas, and you kind of just go back to your roots of horse training. And so, tell us about the horse that you acquired and what was going on with this horse injury-wise. Tell us about that, what you were dealing with.

Taking A Chance On A Horse Rail Thin, Shabby Coat, & Joint Infection

Melissa Schmalhorst:

So I always had a dream of owning a cutting horse and they were way out of my pocket range. And I saw this horse advertised on Facebook and of course, they weren't recent pictures, but he was a buckskin Stallion. And people say, don't look at the color, but it was my favorite color. He was professionally trained and cut and he's older. I mean, granted, he's 17 years old, but I just wanted a horse that, I can go sorting on and all that. So of course, I traveled five hours to go get him. And when they pulled him out of paddock, I was like, [inaudible 00:06:02] this definitely doesn't look like the picture.

John Dowdy:

What? You mean, they changed the picture on you?

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Oh yeah, he was definitely a buckskin but his coat was so bad. He had a horrible injury and he was just skin and bones. And I'll be honest, I paid 900 bucks for the horse and compared to a $10,000 rejet cutting horse. And so I was like, you know what? I traveled this whole way. I mean, yeah. $900 is a lot, but I think I can get this horse recovered. But when I looked at his back leg, it looked like a barbed wire, looked like got wrapped around his leg and he was lame. And I was like, oh, do I really want to buy a lame horse? And I was like, you know what? I'll just buy him.

I put him in a trailer and I bedded him the next day because it was on the weekend. Well, I took him to the vet and she stuck her finger in that hole and basically said, "It's going to the joint." And everybody knows, once a horse has a joint infection, I mean, you basically don't have a horse anymore. And she said, "Well, I can refer you to Retama. The last I heard, their intake was $4,000. And the last time I heard they were treating a joint infection, it was close to 15,000." And I was like, with that kind of money I could buy me a finished cutting horse.

John Dowdy:

No doubt.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

And so I was like, oh my gosh, well, let me just treat it conservatively and clean it out every day. I had to make sure it wasn't going to scar up on the outside in case it got infected on the inside, because that's where you'll get the joint infection. So of course, I was cleaning out and I just did a lot of research online for supplements. I didn't necessarily want to buy 20 supplements for this horse. Well, his coat was horrible, his feet were horrible, his joints were horrible. So I was like, well, I saw yours. And I was like, well, let me just give it a try. It's got the amino acids and the muscle repair and stuff like that, so.

John Dowdy:

Yeah. Now, what was the prognosis the vet was giving you here?

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Well, basically it was going to be, she said it was going to be... Within a week, she told me this horse was going to go downhill for joint infection. And so that's when I kind of was like, well, I just bought that horse basically. Because she was even saying, we'll know within a week if we need to use the [inaudible 00:08:53] because I don't got four to $15,000 to spend. And so that's when I got your product. And like I said, I cleaned it out every day and you could see it was trying to scab up, but then it would still start oozing and you could see that joint fluid coming out. And so I'm like, this is going to be bad. So that's when I got him on your product, and within a week it was just... You have to see the pictures.

An Amazing Recovery, 2nd Opinion Opposite of the First

It was just amazing. So I took them to another vet just to get second eyes on, and he was like, "Melissa, this horse doesn't have joint infection. It's healed. You just let it heal and do its thing now as a wound." And I'm like, "So, he doesn't have joint infection?" And he goes, "No, he doesn't have joint infection." And I said, "Well, can we do an x-ray just to make sure?" And he's like, "I mean, if you want to waste your money, sure, we can do an x-ray. But I'm telling you three things, reason why he doesn't have joint infection. One, when I stick my finger in there, I can't get my finger through his skin and he's not lame in his joints, it's not swollen. And he doesn't have a fever. He doesn't have joint infection, Melissa.”

And so I'm like, holy moly. And so I just still took care of it and let it heal. And I'll tell you what, the other day I threw a saddle on him and it's like, it's never happened. It's a couple of weeks. And the vet that originally diagnosed it called me up to check on him and I told her and she was amazed the horse is still alive. Yeah. I mean, it healed up. Like I said, I mean, just the general appearance of the horse has changed. I mean, like I said, I sent you before and after and I'm just amazed how he came with this shaggy coat that I couldn't get off. And it was just dull, and now he just looks like a golden buckskin, he's just straight up gold.

John Dowdy:

Oh, man. That is insane. Now, for those of you tuning in, we're talking with Melissa out of Texas, she's retired military, a canine bomb squad, so don't mess with her, and a horse trainer. We're talking about this horse that she acquired and it ended up being a lot worse than what she had planned for. So now we are on three weeks of Equitity Horse Excel, which for those of you, maybe this is the first time you're hearing about the Equinity Horse Excel. It's 100% pure amino acids, there's no fillers, no sugars, no starches. And there's no loading dose. And with this particular horse, an open wound going down to the joint and was worried... Well, basically had a week possibly to live and now you're riding the horse in three weeks. And what's the wound look like now?

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Well, it's healed. I mean, I've had people literally come over and was like, that don't even look like the same horse. Like I said, the wound is completely healed over. I mean, like I said, you can tell there's joint fluid coming out and because... Even when it would scab up, try to scab up over, and I was trying to keep that from happening because I wanted to keep it clean inside. And you would push on the scab and you could see the fluid still coming out, and I thought, oh my gosh, it's still in the joint. And so I would panic. And so, like I said, once I got him on the supplement, it was just within a couple of days, I can already see a difference.

John Dowdy:

Yeah, that's incredible.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

There was no infection. I even had a friend who was an actual doctor, human doctor, and she came over and said, "Melissa, this is not expected." And she came over yesterday and was like, "Wow, it doesn't even look the same." And so, I've treated a lot of wounds in my life and I've never seen something heal so fast, and heal so clean. Usually sometimes you run into infection or swelling or a fever or something, and I didn't run into any of that. And this horse is 17 years old.

John Dowdy:

Sure, wow. I would attribute a lot of that to the care that you're giving. I mean, as much as you can give. But going to the product itself, the amino acids in this product are specifically combined to stimulate the pituitary gland, which releases the necessary hormones, which help the body repair from the inside out. And that's what's really, in this case, was very important because you needed it to heal from the inside out, not from the outside in, because that would just be problematic. But in every case, we've been on the market now a little over five years with this particular product, and in an every scenario that I've heard dealing with an injury, and we've seen some pretty bad ones, but I would say they have all healed ahead of schedule, these particular wounds. But again, we're giving the body what it needs to help repair itself from the cellular level, so that's exactly what this one did. And I tell people all the time, it's not a miracle supplement, but you hear stories like this like, oh, okay, that's on the verge of.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Well, another thing that I realized with him and even, I had friends point out, and look at the picture of when I got him and then you look... And I'd like to take another picture 30 days after. You could see his veins pop out. People are like, "Man, he's very... He's got a lot of muscle. He's just yoked." You can see that even his muscles are starting to build back up because he had no muscle tone when I got him. And granted, like I said, I haven't been riding him. I rode him slowly the other day, just a walk trot here and there. And then I'll lunge him a couple times just to make sure I get his blood flowing because I want him to be completely sound. But you can just tell, he just got all these veins. You can just see he's building muscle back up from this. And it started when I started the product. And so it's just amazing. I mean, I'm just astounded because I've used a ton of supplements and I've just never seen the results as fast as I did, especially with an older horse. And so.

John Dowdy:

Yeah, we're blessed. That is one of the reasons I started this podcast, because I would have conversations with people and I would just... In my mind, I'm like, I can not believe what I'm hearing right now. And at the time I was thinking, man, it's a real shame that I'm the only one hearing this story outside of your circle. So that's why I started the podcast, so other people could hear these stories and it's just not me trying to retell the story. So that is pretty darn awesome. So for $900 on a horse that didn't have much of a hope, three weeks later, you're now riding this horse and it might be your dream cutting horse.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Yeah. I mean, I can tell he's got potential. I got cattle out here and he's already ready to work. He goes out there, pins his ears and grits his teeth and I'm like, get ready boy, once you're completely sound. I mean, he's sound but like I said, he's an older horse and I just want to slowly work him back up to that. And so, I am excited because I see him every day. And so, I'm seeing one thing, but then when I have other people come over... And that's why I took a picture before I started the product, so I could see the difference. And like I said, I sent you that picture two weeks, then you could just see in two weeks, you could barely see a rib on him.

John Dowdy:

Yeah, that's incredible. Yeah. Now at our website, at teamequinity.com where this podcast will be published below the podcast, we'll have all of this transcribed, we'll also have pictures, the before and after pictures. So we'll have it at, before you started at two weeks and then at 30 days. So that'll be pretty nice before and afters. There's contrast of what this product is doing, how much it's helped. Now, anything else that you've noticed in this timeframe with the coat, the hooves, anything like that? Happier? Anything else?

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Yeah. Oh yeah, very perky. Even in his paddock that he's had, because granted, he's still a Stallion and he's separate from everybody, he's just very... A lot more energy. Even when I first got him, he was just very... Well for one, he was injured, but he just moped, kind of had his head down and I tried to just get him to lunge, just to kind of stretch his legs out from being at the paddocks. And he just wasn't motivated. And just now, I mean, he's just rearing to go. He's just like, nah. He just seems like a happier horse. I mean, I know that sounds silly, but he's just... I'm telling you, it's not even the same horse. And I guarantee the previous owner would probably really like to have him back, but.

John Dowdy:

Yeah, so they can resell it to you for 10 grand.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, there's a reason why you buy $100 dollars. But I mean, everybody probably hearing this is like yeah, no cheap horse is cheap. And so, and I figured it was too good to be true, but I mean, like I said, he's turned a 180. And like I said, I hope that people actually see the pictures because, I mean, I wasn't even blown away because like I said, I see him everyday. But when I saw the pictures, I was like, holy moly. That's a big difference.

John Dowdy:

Yeah. That's awesome. Well, on another note. One of the other things that you've recently started is a nonprofit, Southern or South Texas mountain search and rescue. Tell us about that. What was the motivation behind it and kind of what that's all about and how you're helping other veterans as well?

Melissa Schmalhorst:

So like I said before, when I got Cooper, I was just real stagnant when I got out. I wanted to continue to utilize my riding skills, my dog handling skills. And so I started a nonprofit for other veterans to continue serving their community and still feel like they have a purpose. And so I started the search and rescue unit, Southwest or South Texas mountain search and rescue, down in divine, Texas. We serve on the border, we serve on the... Looking for deceased immigrants to ID with our cadaver dogs, alongside our horses. And we actually train our cadaver dogs on foot, and my little Kelpie, to basically search alongside my horse because she's got so much stamina. But yeah, I wanted to start this program to continue serving my community, to continue having a purpose.

And so I got Cooper and a couple other horses and a couple other veterans to certify on their horses for mountain StarTech. And then of course, we have our cadaver dogs, which we certify through international working dog association. And so, that's basically... I also was looking at your product to put our search horses on there too as well, because they're going for miles on end in this heat. And also, I need the stamina and unfortunately, horses do get injured. And so after I saw the results with this 17 year old stallion that basically had a death wish, I was like, aw man, I got to put all these horses on this. And so, that's when I reached out to you just to tell you, hey, this is an amazing product.

John Dowdy:

Yeah, absolutely. So what is a typical day like when you're out doing search and rescue? I know every day is probably a little bit different depending on what you're doing, but what are some of the things that you're doing as far as coverage, mile-wise? How do your dogs rest during all of that? Tell us, give us an idea of what that feels like, or looks like.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

So like you said, it just depends on a search. The horses are primarily used to cover large areas. I can't go into exact detail on what I've been on, just because some of them are criminal cases. Because we're only deployed through law enforcement, I can't just go out and be like, oh hey, somebody's got a missing kid, let me go look for them.

John Dowdy:

Right, right.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

No, I have to wait for law enforcement to have a need for us. And our dogs are used a lot, especially in small areas, crime scenes, but when it comes to large areas and we need a lot of coverage, that's when the horses come. I don't use every dog alongside the horses, just because most of the other dogs are either German shepherds or Belgium Malinois. And they just... The Malinois have a lot of stamina, but they tend to overheat.

So like you said, we have to make sure it's early in the morning or late in the evening. Dogs get to rest probably every 30 minutes. But what I've been using is an Australian Kelpie, and they're originally from of course, Australia and there's not many in the United States. And I have work up in Montana with these little guys and have gone 30, 40 miles in a day no problem, alongside the horse. And so I decided to use the Australian Kelpie in South Texas because they're heat resistant and they have a lot of stamina and they have a heck of a nose. And so I decided to start my little girl, Oakley, alongside the horse because she works very well, she takes commands from the horses or from me on the horse, excuse me.

But she would rather work than drink water, I have to be careful with that. Or she'll find a stock tank and just jump in there or something. And like I said, we've gone on the border a few times with her and they're just amazing little dogs and [inaudible 00:24:46] we've got mosquit down here, we got cactus, we got cockleburs, all that. And these guys just run through it like nothing, which my German shepherd is like, no I'm going around it.

John Dowdy:

Now, one of the things that you told me that I thought was fascinating. So when this little dog, as he's running around or she's running around and gets tired, she hops up on your horse and just rides for a while to rest and then-

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Yes, she just rides. She just rides with me and my horse. I got pictures of her. She will literally jump up on the horse in my lap, and then she'll just stand there until she's ready to go back to work. And so, and the horses are fine with it and she's fine with it.

John Dowdy:

That's incredible.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

And the little Mustang that I use, I really... Because I have two quarter horses, a Mustang and a Haflinger on the team. I have another veteran that uses the Haflinger. But the Mustang, God, they got so much stamina. That's my go to horse when it comes to search and rescue, just because they got so much stamina, they're sure footed shirt and they're very... What did I say? They're prey animals. They're very more alert. And if there's a person out in the woods or something, and I see my horse turn his head or his ears perk up, I'll stop for a minute and listen. And that's usually how we train. We'll put people out in the woods and see how our horses alert to somebody out in the woods and we'll follow where our horse is looking. And so the Mustang, in my opinion, has been the best just because they are preying animals and have always lived on, basically the edge. And they're just more alert to what's going on in their surroundings, which most of my quarter horses are just, nah, I;m just going to keep walking.

John Dowdy:

And I tell you, I was on your website... Give us your website, by the way, real quick.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

It's South Texas [inaudible 00:26:51] sar. S-A-R. Dot org.

John Dowdy:

Dot org, okay. And I'll have that below this podcast. But when I was on your website, one of the things as I was reading through... And of course, when you're not in the business of search and rescue, there's certain things that you don't know that you don't know or never even thought about. Which one of the things that I found interesting, you were comparing horse to an ATV, which you can cover a lot more ground with an ATV, but they're noisy. So you're going to give your position up, versus the horses alert and doing what you were just describing, being able to hear things. And they're prey animals, so they've got to be on alert all the time. So just a couple of things I found pretty interesting there, so. Well, awesome. Well, yeah. Anything else you want to add to that?

Melissa Schmalhorst:

No, like I said, I think we've covered the basis, but it was... Like I said, it's been a pleasure. And like I said, I'm excited to continue using this product, so.

John Dowdy:

Absolutely. Well, Melissa Schmall horse out of divine, Texas. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and thank you for your service to our country and everything, and appreciate you being here on the Equinity podcast.

Melissa Schmalhorst:

Thank you so much.

John Dowdy:

Okay. You bet. Bye, bye.

 

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Topics: Stronger Hooves, Shiny Coat, Joints, Dull Coat, Open Wound, Infection

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