Search This Blog

Monday, January 9, 2017

The 80-15-5 Rule for equine health.

The 80-15-5 rule suggests that everything in life can be divided into groups of 80%, 15%, and 5%. It’s got a lot of applications and it works with horses and in equine medicine.This is what it means about 80% of all of the time, horses get along just great. If it’s a medical problem that’s afflicting the horse, he is going to get better 80% of the time, no matter what is done to him (as long as it’s not something that causes overt harm). Or, if you go out for a ride, about 80% of the time it’s going to be a lot of fun, and you’ll want to come back again soon. 15% of the time, a horse is going to need some help, if he’s got a medical problem, he might need some sort of medical treatment to help him recover. If he’s got a training issue, some new piece of equipment or some new exercise might just do the trick. The 5% of the time, you’re pretty much sunk. That’s the awful, insoluble, incurable 5%. The 5% where no matter what you do, your horse is in trouble. The training problem that no one seems to be able to fix. The health issue that can’t go away because there’s no cure. Your pretty young black foal turned grey. In 5% of the cases, the horse isn’t going to get better, no matter what is done. Think of what that means for any sort of intervention! You can give medicine or massage, antibiotics or aromatherapy, acupuncture or anti-inflammatories, and the condition is going to get better 80% of the time, which, of course, is just about one reason why you can find a proponent for just about any therapy. Because 80% of the time, your horse is going to improve following treatment, whether the treatment did anything or not. For 5% of anything, you’re just wasting time and money trying to fix the problem. But here, too, just about any therapy can be tried, because, after all, to quote, oh, pretty much everyone who tries to get you to use a therapy with a guilt trip, “Don’t you want to do everything you can to help your horse?” Of course that’s what you want. But in such cases, you’re really better off to just figure out how to deal with it, or move on. It’s for the rest of the cases—that 15% in which you can make a difference—that you’re going to need to do the right thing. And that’s where science comes in to help figure out what the right thing , because you don’t want to go about giving an ineffective therapy when your horse really needs one that works. The 80:15:5 rule, it sort of sets things in perspective.When it comes to horse care—heck, in many parts of life—I think that a lot of people are inclined to think about things being the worst that they can be.Even though most horses are pretty maintenance free, and most conditions get better, people tend to focus on the bad possibilities. source