Born to run

Written by Allison Jenkins on .

The search for the right partner had been long and frustrating, but McKenna Golliher knew right away that Larry was the one.

Sure, he was a little older, a little too thin. But the horse had potential, and 16-year-old McKenna fell in love. Her parents, Randy and Veronica, gave the pair their full blessing.

“They really clicked,” Veronica said. “Before we found Larry, we’d been looking quite a while for a barrel horse that would be both fast and safe for McKenna. He already knew the patterns, and the first time she rode him, he just wrapped around the barrels. He really likes to run.”

“I was a little scared because he was so much faster than my old horse, but it was so much fun!” McKenna said. “We’d tried out a couple of other horses, too, but I picked him.”

Neglect by previous owners had left Larry undernourished, but the Gollihers began working to improve his body condition as soon as they brought him home to their Stoutland, Mo., farm this past August. Within a month, McKenna was riding the 14-year-old thoroughbred-quarter horse cross in rodeos.

“When we got him, you could see his ribs,” Randy said. “His back and hips were dipped down, and he didn’t have any top line muscle. It’s amazing the difference in what he looks like now.”

Randy, an employee of MFA affiliate Farmers Produce Exchange #139 in Lebanon, Mo., started Larry on MFA’s Legends Show & Pleasure feed along with rice bran. The horse began to thrive. But in December, the Gollihers were asked to be part of an introductory group to try out MFA’s new premium horse feed, Exceltra. Results have been outstanding, Randy said.

“The acceptability of the Exceltra has been great,” he said. “Larry never hesitated when we made the switch. He’s maintained his weight, and it gives him good energy. Plus, he’s had no digestion problems whatsoever. I’ve been able to drop the rice bran supplement because he’s getting everything he needs.”

This new feed formulation is a breakthrough in equine nutrition, said Janice Spears, MFA equine sales and companion pet specialist. Exceltra is designed for horses of all ages, with enhanced levels of carbohydrates for growing, showing and working equine. The pelleted feed is beet pulp-based and contains low levels of sugars and starches to assist metabolic disorders and excitable horses.

“Beet pulp is a good fiber source, and it encourages horses to drink more water,” Janice explained. “That’s good for overall digestion because horses have such a small stomach. They need that fiber to break down more quickly and start moving through their system.”

What truly sets Exceltra apart, however, is the inclusion of MFA Shield Technology: cutting-edge, research-proven additives to enhance equine health and performance. Shield is an innovative concept in equine nutrition that helps keep horses free from antibiotics with an all-natural blend of botanical extracts and synbiotics, Janice said.

“No other horse feed has this kind of technology,” she said. “We are so limited in what kind of medications we can give horses, especially in their feed, because we don’t know what their consumption level will be. Shield gives horse owners an opportunity to boost immune health without medications.”

Shield Technology has been shown to improve immune function, feed efficiency, reproduction and foal health, Janice said. It’s also available in MFA’s new Suprema feed, designed for the needs of older horses.

“We’ve had such good results with Shield Technology for other species, it was a natural fit to incorporate it into our equine feeds as well,” she said. “It’s working on cattle, it’s working on dogs, it’s working on goats and sheep and rabbits. And now, it’s working on horses.”

Having a strong immune system is critical for competitive rodeo horses such as Larry that experience the strain of travel, strenuous activity and exposure to other animals, Randy said.

“There’s peace of mind knowing Shield Technology is in this feed, because hauling him around exposes him to a lot of things,” Randy said. “His overall health is excellent, and I think we’ve got him turned on the right track.”

McKenna, a sophomore at Camdenton High School, participates in the Missouri High School Rodeo Association and has 10 events coming up this spring. Her 18-year-old brother, Garrett, also competes in saddle bronc and bull-riding events. Barrel-racing is McKenna’s specialty, and she aspires to learn pole-bending. Turns out Larry’s got skills in that sport, too.

“I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and I love everything about it,” she said. “I especially love barrel-racing—the thrill of it. My goal is to just keep getting faster and better and hopefully make the nationals someday.”

Due to changes in suppliers, the Legends line is expected to eventually be phased out and replaced by Exceltra and Suprema premium feeds, which are now available at most MFA and AGChoice locations. MFA’s Easykeeper feed will continue to be a mainstay equine nutrition product. For more information, visit


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