Luke Jones: Helping Horses Manage Travel Stress
By: Jennifer Fjelstad
In the world of showing horses competitively, how a horse performs on event days can hinge on how well the horse traveled to the show venue. Performance horses are loaded into trailers and travel great distances, and are then expected to compete at the top of their game upon arrival. But those long hours and bumpy miles in the trailer can be a source of great stress that many horses cannot easily overcome on their own.
Luke Jones, a professional trainer and owner of Luke Jones Performance Horses in Allerton, Iowa, understands the stress his horses can experience when traveling and always takes extra steps to make every journey as stress free as possible. For Luke, this starts with giving his horses the best possible combination of grain, hay and supplements available, both at home and on the road.
Over the years, Luke tried several combinations to help his horses handle stress on the road. Then in 2013, Luke was asked by APC, Inc., maker of LIFELINE Equine performance supplements, to run a trial of LIFELINE Equine Elite with the horses in his barn. Luke agreed and immediately started his top show horses on the product, including Dual Reys Belle (Dual Rey x Southern Jewels), a 2009 sorrel mare that had always struggled with going off grain when she gets to a show.
“Horses tend to go off feed when they are stressed, and they experience digestive issues as a result,” Luke said. “Since putting her on Equine Elite, Dual Reys Belle eats her regular grain portions when she arrives at the event destination and continues to maintain her regular eating habits for the duration of the show. I firmly believe because of Equine Elite she has been able to go on and win approximately $50,000.”
Dual Reys Belle hasn’t always fared so well and at one time Luke seriously questioned the mare’s abilities as a cow horse. He did see potential as a cutter and tried to sell her throughout most of her two-year-old year. When that didn’t pan out, David Pratt of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, bought her and Luke continued on as her trainer. Since then, something clicked in her and she came on strong in cow horse, and has since qualified and competed twice in the AQHA World show.
“Dual Reys Bell is a great example of how feeling good leads to great performances,” Luke said. “A horse that isn’t feeling its best can’t compete its best, and how that horse feels can hinge solely on how well it travels, and then adjusts to a new environment once you’re at the show.”
Luke has trained numerous AQHA World show qualifiers in working cow horse, heading, heeling and calf roping. He currently has more than 20 horses in his barn on Equine Elite. He believes in the product and the science behind it, and plans to continue using it in his program. Luke has built a successful career and a solid reputation by always acting in the best interest of the horses in his charge.
“My customers are extremely receptive to using Equine Elite because of the results they have seen in my barn,” Luke said. “Nobody knows better than someone showing competitively how important it is that horses have a calm sense about them, and feel their best when you’re about to step into that show ring. Equine Elite helps us accomplish that task.”