Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with M.C. Toby, Dr. E.W. Thomas, Col. Floyd Sager, February 4, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Weanlings and yearlings--Colic and worming

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Partial Transcript: --weanlings and yearlings, and then if we have time, I've got a synopsis here with about, uh, twenty questions on it too.

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses how he treats horses, specifically weanlings and yearlings, with colic. He contrasts his treatment preferences with those of younger veterinarians. He remembers a specific foal he lost to what he assumed was colic, but the postmortem results didn't reveal any clear reason for the foal's pain. He also quickly addresses the worming schedule he uses for foals.

Keywords: Gas colic; Impactions; Mares; Postmortem examinations

Subjects: Colic in horses; Domestic animals--Parasites; Enemas; Foals; Horses--Diseases; Medicine, Preventive; Mineral oils; Sedatives; Sucklings; Veterinarians; Veterinary autopsy; Weanlings; Worming; Yearlings

00:07:37 - The weaning process at Claiborne Farm

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Partial Transcript: Now--(coughs)--Col. Sager, uh, I'd like for you to discuss, uh, your weaning procedures.

Segment Synopsis: Sager summarizes the weaning process at Claiborne Farm. He mentions the occasional injuries foals inflict upon themselves, though he says this is rare, and talks about his philosophy for avoiding such injuries. Sager remembers losing a barn of yearlings in a fire and notes how they spread the risk of losing horses out by not keeping too many foals of one sire or belonging to one owner in a single barn. He briefly mentions the practice of weaning by the moon, or "going by the sign."

Keywords: "Going by the sign"; Arthur B. (Bull) Hancock Jr; Barn fires; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Horse stalls; John Morris; Lightning; Paddocks; Richard Hancock; Turning out horses; Weaning horses; Weaning barns; Weaning by the moon; Yearlings

Subjects: Colts; Fillies; Foals; Horse breeders; Horses--Wounds and injuries; Mares; Moon--Phases

00:16:02 - Weanlings and yearlings--Vaccinations

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Partial Transcript: Now the, the vaccinations that you give to the weanlings and the yearlings, uh--

Segment Synopsis: Sager briefly discusses the vaccines that weanlings and yearlings receive.

Keywords: Flu vaccines; Mares; Tetanus toxoid; Weanlings; Yearlings

Subjects: Equine influenza vaccines; Tetanus; Vaccination of animals; Veterinary vaccines

00:17:09 - Weanlings and yearlings--Gravel / Hives / Epiphyitis

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Partial Transcript: Now we have this condition in, in all horses, but, uh, uh, we have occasionally in these babies and yearlings too: uh, the gravel in the foot.

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about various infections and diseases in yearlings. First, he talks about treating gravel in the foot, i.e., hoof infections. He also talks about hives in yearlings. Finally, he addresses epiphysitis, which is a bone disease.

Keywords: Alfalfa hay; Bone diseases; Calcium phosphate; Crooked leg; Epinephrine; Epiphysitis; Gravel; Hives; Leg diseases; Physitis; Splints; Yearlings

Subjects: Animal nutrition; Antihistamines; Calcium; Foals; Hoofs--Care and hygiene; Horses--Diseases; Horses--Infections; Horseshoes; Inflammation; Limestone; Mares; Mineral oils; Urticaria

00:24:17 - Trace elements for horse health

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Partial Transcript: Well now, in correlating that, uh, lime, and I just put on some last week myself, and I used the dolemite which has the magnesium, a trace element in it, uh have you any thoughts on the trace elements...

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses the importance of trace elements for horse health and the soil tests that Claiborne has done to check for certain levels of these elements.

Keywords: Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Soil tests; Trace minerals

Subjects: Horses--Health; Micronutrient fertilizers; Soils--Selenium content; Soils--Trace element content; Trace elements

00:27:36 - Weanlings and yearlings--Bronchitis / Pot belly / Tail rubbing

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Partial Transcript: Now--(coughs)--um, what about--we have a lot of these weanlings come up with bronchitis after weaning and, um...

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses another handful of various health issues that affect yearlings. First, he talks about how they handle bronchitis in the weaning barns. He briefly mentions putting rings on colts who are masturbating. He talks about treating pot bellies in yearlings. He also discusses tail rubbing, which he says is caused by pinworms.

Keywords: "The snots"; Pot bellies; Stallion rings; Vick's VapoRub; Weaning barns; Weanlings; Yearlings

Subjects: Animal nutrition; Animals--Food; Bronchitis; Domestic animals--Parasites; Horses--Health; Masturbation

00:31:54 - Weanlings and yearlings--Umbilical hernias

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Partial Transcript: Now I want to ask you about the--you said on those umbilical hernias, wait til you wean most of the time, unless an emergency, to get those.

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses treating umbilical hernias with clamp operations. He describes in detail the clamps that he uses.

Keywords: Clamp operations; Hernia clamps; Hickory wagon wheel spokes; Metal clamps; Rubber bands; Umbilical hernias; Weanlings; Wooden clamps

Subjects: Foals; Horses--Surgery; Navel--Hernia

00:37:29 - Weanlings and yearlings--In the field / Lead training

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Partial Transcript: Now Col. Sager, I have a little trouble every year or two, uh, after I wean, uh, having a weanling or, or two not wanting to be caught when I brought em up. Do you, do you see that, uh, much over here or not?

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about turning out a group of foals into a field and about how to keep them together and not let any get away. He talks about training foals to lead and using shanks and halters.

Keywords: Breaking to lead; Colts; Fields; Halters; Leading horses; Pastures; Richard Hancock; Shanks; Sucklings; Turning out horses; Weanlings

Subjects: Foals; Horse grooms; Horses--Training; Mares

00:42:04 - Weanlings and yearlings--Mane and tail care / Eye care

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Partial Transcript: Now we have these weanlings and--(coughs)--early yearlings in Kentucky that, uh, uh, eat the manes and tails and I'd like for you to, uh, first give the ingredient, uh, of that tail dope that you always...

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about the formula for a cup grease mixture he makes and rubs on all weanlings' manes and tails to keep them from eating them. He also speculates about why horses do this. He talks about using eye ointment for minor eye irritation in horses.

Keywords: Corneal lacerations; Cup grease; Eye irritation; Eye ointments; Weanlings; Yearlings

Subjects: Manes; Tails; Ulcers

00:47:04 - Milk production in barren mares

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever--have you ever had yearling fillies that milk on you?

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks whether Sager has ever had a yearling filly produce milk. Sager talks about maiden mares and barren mares that have started producing milk without being in foal, and he relates a specific story about when this happened at Front Royal in Virginia.

Keywords: Bagging up; Barren mares; Maiden mares; Milk production; Milking

Subjects: Fillies; Front Royal Remount Depot (Front Royal, Va.); Horse milk

00:49:45 - Weanlings and yearlings--Skin and stifle injuries

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Partial Transcript: Occasionally, Col. Sager, we have a weanling or a yearling that'll, uh, tear his skin, maybe half as big as the palm of your hand, as big as the palm of your hand.

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about suturing skin injuries, especially on foals that injure their fetlocks. He also discusses stifle injuries and the best way to treat them.

Keywords: Creep feeding; First intention healing; Forelocks; Skin flaps; Stifle injuries; Weanlings; Yearlings

Subjects: Foals; Horses--Infections; Horses--Wounds and injuries; Lameness in horses; Sutures

00:51:51 - Eyesight exams and blind horses

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Partial Transcript: Now, uh, what, uh, sort of eye test would you give for a horse just to satisfy in your own mind that a horse can see properly?

Segment Synopsis: Sager describes his basic eye exam for horses. He also recalls a truck of blind horses from Texas that had to be destroyed.

Keywords: Blind horses; Cataracts; Destroying horses; Pocket lights; Slaughter

Subjects: Cornea; Euthanasia of animals; Eye--Examination; Ophthalmoscopes; Pupil (Eye)

00:58:06 - Wobbler horses

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Partial Transcript: Now Col. Sager, we talked about Wobblers the other day, but I don't think we got it recorded.

Segment Synopsis: Sager describes Wobbler horses and talks about the importance of telling the difference between a Wobbler and just an awkwardly moving horse. They speculate on why Wobbler syndrome seems to affect colts more often and discuss whether or not Wobbler syndrome is hereditary. Sager notes that there is no treatment for this.

Keywords: "Old Blenheim"; Awkward horses; Blenheim II (Race horse); Colts; Destroying horses; Intuition; Sucklings; Three-year-old horses; Weanlings; Wobbler suspect; Wobbler syndrome; Wobblers; Yearlings

Subjects: Cervical vertebrae--Abnormalities; Euthanasia of animals; Horses--Diseases; Nervous system Diseases; Spinal cord--Abnormalities

01:08:48 - Weanlings and yearlings--Knee, ankle, and leg injuries

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Partial Transcript: Col. Sager, we have a yearling or a weanling that gets kicked on the knees every now and then, gets hard as a rock. What do you do for that?

Segment Synopsis: Sager describes treatment for yearlings with knee injuries as well as ankle and other hoof or leg injuries. He also talks about firing and blistering horses' legs.

Keywords: Blistering; Blood blisters; Bogs; Firing; Heat cups; Painted knees; Showers; Thermocautery; Weanlings; Windpuffs; Yearlings

Subjects: Ankle; Fillies; Hematoma; Horse trainers; Horses--Wounds and injuries

01:15:43 - Nymphomaniac mares and fillies

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Partial Transcript: Every now and then we have one of these fillies that's a nymphomaniac.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks about nymphomaniac fillies and they talk about mares who show aggression.

Keywords: Aggression; Aggressive horses; Nymphomania; Nymphomaniac mares

Subjects: Fillies; Mares; Ovaries; Racetracks (Horse racing); Spaying

01:17:13 - Weanlings and yearlings--Joint and leg injuries / Chain leads

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Partial Transcript: Um, Col. Sager, these weanlings and yearlings, you see any number of them that have what we call 'juice in the joints,' that is the knees will have extra fluid, and the ankles will too.

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about joint, specifically knee, injuries in horses and how that impacts their chances at the track. He talks about strong tails as indicators of muscle strength and thus of success in racing. They also talk about hematoma injuries caused by kicks as well as other reasons. Sager discusses leading weanlings on chain leads.

Keywords: "Juice in the joints"; Ankles; Chain leads; Chain shanks; Colts; Knees; Scalpels; Synovial fluid; Tails; Weanlings; Yearlings

Subjects: Fillies; Hematomas; Horse racing; Horse trainers; Horses--Training; Horses--Wounds and injuries; Synovial fluid; Thoroughbred horse

01:22:17 - Air travel with horses

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Partial Transcript: Col. Sager, I've got synopsis here that I want to--

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about keeping frightened horses calm during air travel. He recounts a rough plane ride from Argentina with a horse. He also tells a story about a mare who was so panicked on a flight to New York that the captain wanted to destroy her.

Keywords: Equine air transportation; Neck ropes; Shipping horses

Subjects: Air travel; Destroying horses; Euthanasia of animals; Mares

01:26:54 - Bold Ruler (Race horse)

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Partial Transcript: I wanted to ask you, you was talking about that tail...

Segment Synopsis: They briefly discuss Bold Ruler and his strong back muscles.

Keywords: Bold Ruler (Race horse); Double back; Double-back horse; Loins; Yearlings

Subjects: Foals

01:28:28 - Veterinary professional ethics

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Partial Transcript: Col. Sager, you don't have this happen too often like practitioners would probably, but you, you'd be, uh, it happens very very often in the equine Thoroughbred world...

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer asks about the ethics of being called in to consult on a horse that another veterinarian is already working with. Sager recounts a story of a time when something like this happened to him.

Keywords: Colts; Equine insurance; Horse insurance; Summer yearling sales; Veterinary consultation; Wobbler syndrome; Wobblers

Subjects: Veterinarian and client; Veterinarians--Professional ethics

01:34:20 - Horse personalities

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Partial Transcript: Col. Sager, uh, I want to talk to you just a minute about intelligent horse.

Segment Synopsis: Sager says that he doesn't know how to define what an intelligent horse is, and suggests that one might define it by either kindliness on one hand or difficulty to work with on the other. He mentions Secretariat as a "ham" who would pose for pictures. They briefly mention abuse in the horse industry which might require horses to be smart enough to navigate those dangers. They also discuss happy horses, and Sager re-tells a story about a trustworthy horse from an earlier interview. They talk about so-called "killer horses" who are dangerous or aggressive to people. Sager tells a story about destroying such a horse.

Keywords: "Killer horses"; Aggression; Aggressive horses; Black Rage (Race horse); Destroying horses; Habits; Personality; Secretariat (Race horse); Slaughter; Tiger (Race horse)

Subjects: Animal intelligence; Animal memory; Euthanasia of animals; Horse grooms; Horse industry; Secretariat (Horse), 1970-1989.

01:43:37 - Barn flooring

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about the flooring in barns.

Segment Synopsis: Sager briefly answers a question about his preferred flooring material in horse barns.

Keywords: Asphalt floors; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Clay floors; Dirt floors; Horse barns

Subjects: Farm management; Horse farms--Kentucky

01:44:33 - Cancer in Thoroughbreds

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Partial Transcript: Now I want to ask you about your thoughts on cancer, why you think we have such few cases of cancer in the Thoroughbred.

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses the rarity of cancer in horses and the handful of horses he has had with cancer.

Keywords: "Old Blenheim"; Blenheim II (Race horse); Bold Ruler (Race horse); Cancerous growth; Tumors

Subjects: Cancer; Horses--Diseases; Thoroughbred horse; Tuberculosis

01:46:23 - Stallions and the horse industry

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Partial Transcript: I want to ask you about, uh, Bull had a quotation about this stallion being fifty percent of the farm, or seventy-five percent of the farm, one-hundred percent of the farm, do you remember that Col. Sager?

Segment Synopsis: They discusses the value of stallions to the horse farm. They also talk about the expensive costs of stallions overall and the economics of owning and breeding horses. They talk about selling horses, as well. They briefly mention "white eye" in high-strung horses.

Keywords: "Selling down the river"; "White eye"; Arthur B. (Bull) Hancock Jr; Stallion shares; Stallion syndication

Subjects: Horse industry; Horses--Breeding--Economic aspects; Mares; Stallions

01:51:26 - Building barns

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Partial Transcript: If you was suggesting to or advising to build, uh, fixing a farm up now and building barns, would you, uh, build them all of concrete block or fireproof wood or what now?

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses the advantages of concrete block barns at Claiborne Farm.

Keywords: Air circulation; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Concrete block; Hurricane fencing; Oak wood; Stallion barns; Stalls; Temperature regulation; Ventilation

Subjects: Barns; Horse farms

01:54:26 - Poisonous plants

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Partial Transcript: Now I've got maybe the last question then Col. Sager. You got any, uh, ideas or thoughts on poison or poisonous plants, uh, that a person should recognize around here in Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: They discuss poisonous plants for horses in Kentucky, specifically hemlock.

Keywords: Hemlock; Stoner Creek (Ky.); Wild cherry

Subjects: Horse farms--Kentucky; Poisonous plants