I’m quite happy with the results from my hay testing this year. Ms. Winnie’s digestive system is going to thank me for finally finding her horse food with less than 8% sugar. Having signs of a possible past founder and blood sugar imbalances when I got her I knew she was slightly metabolic and would need special horse feeding considerations. So the past two years I have been learning a bit about different horse food and what she requires. At least this year I was actually able to get my hay tested before I had a barn full of it. Last year the sugar content came in just over 8% so I needed to supplement her with a little alfalfa to help balance out the sugar. This years hay is at 5.65% sugar so I shouldn’t need the alfalfa this year. And luckily even with the lower sugar they seem to like it just fine. Just another aspect to equine health!
Thought I might give you a quick update on Ms. Winnie since we have been supporting her nervous system. A few things seem to be changing, like before if you drove up and she was laying down she would be up before you even got out of the truck. A couple times now she has stayed laying down and let me come up to her, pet her, lean on her and give her a few treats. Very trusting and very calm which she is not known for. Also when I have been working with her online she is now able to handle much more without blowing up. I have also taken a different approach with our ground training and we are simply concentrating on our relationship and her confidence instead of desensitizing. Matching her energy on the ground can still be a challenge but it sure seems to get her thinking instead of reacting.
Last time I had a health assessment done on Mr. Tay he was coming up as needing a liver cleanse. Not thinking too much of it I got the necessary herbal mix and started him on a cleanse to support his liver. Then the light bulbs started coming on. In the fall Mr. Tay had a tendon injury, in January he had edema under his belly and his sheath became swollen then in February a slight nosebleed. Now one would ask what do these have to do with the liver? Well apparently they can all be symptoms of the liver not functioning properly. I tell you I can’t stress enough how important a health assessment can be. I’m so fortunate to have such a talented equine nutritionist on our side. Liver problems are more common in horses than one would think.
This is a subject that I have been meaning to research into for years. I finally made the time this spring and found some really interesting information. I have always felt that our animals should be treated very much the way we treat ourselves being vaccinated as babies and kids. I heard opinions from vets, holistic vets, homeopathic equine nutritionist and read countless write ups on the net. Vaccines can be amazing tools if used properly. Out of all the ones I researched tetanus was really the only one that I would like to keep on hand. Influenza can also be nasty but you aren’t looking at a life threatening disease. For the rest of them I would call disease control for the area that I would be taking my horse into and make a decision from there. It really is a matter of choice and protecting your horse appropriately without over vaccinating. I found an amazing site that I’m sure will give you another view on vaccinations. Take the time to go to www.depaoloequineconcepts.com. Your horse will thank you!
When our horses colic it’s always a panicky situation even when we try our best to stay calm. The first thing most vets recommend and most owners are familiar with is a shot of banamine to work as an anti-inflammatory. An alternative to banamine is magnesium citrate and it works in much of the same way without the adverse side effects. It acts as an antispasmodic and pain reliever increasing intestinal movement, discouraging gas production and buffering excess acidity. Banamine is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that can alter your horse’s probiotic balance and/or damage the intestinal mucosa. So why not just have some magnesium on hand in case of a colic emergency. I used it when Ms. Winnie had a case of colic and it worked amazingly fast. You will be surprised what a great addition it makes to your barns first aid kit!
Equine health is a passion of mine so I thought I would share with you what I am doing to lessen the amount of chemicals I put into my horses. Many horse owners are well aware that they need a good parasite control program in place and some are changing their deworming protocols due to the parasite resistance that we are now faced with. So I made a video to show you how easy it is to do a fecal float yourself! Fecal floats are a great addition to your parasite control program!
I have been reading a lot of conversations that people have been having about feeding horses from slow feeders. Are they really that beneficial or not? So I did some digging and here are a few facts about equine health in regards to slow feeding compared to bolus feeding (free choice hay). Due to the fact that this is such a huge subject I have decided to do it in two parts.
A horses stomach empties out in 12 minutes therefore if a horse eats too much at once the stomach is forced to empty prematurely or will delay. Either scenario stresses other parts of the digestive system and causes mal-digestion. Remember their stomachs can only hold 15L of horse food. The stomach constantly secretes stomach acid even when your horse isn’t eating and requires chewing action to produce saliva to buffer these acids. This being one of the contributors to the amount of ulcers we see in horses. It is well known that researchers fast horses to induce ulcers. Feeding horses out of slow feeders reduces the bulk and speed at which they eat so they continuously chew as if out on pasture. This is just one reason to slow feed…Goodbye heartburn!
Many people haven’t even thought of making changes to their paddocks to encourage movement and promote health in their horse’s hooves. Yet others have come up with some great ideas on the subject like creating another paddock within their paddock. They build another fence line along the existing one and make it like an alley way with wider areas for eating and laying down and areas with different kinds of footing to promote hoof health. They also feed in areas away from the water so the horses will move more. This way your horse can’t just cut through the paddock to get to the food or water. They actually have to walk around the perimeter. Since my horses paddock is quite soft I had ¾” crush rock put around the perimeter to help strengthen their hooves. And in the winter the high snow has made a great additional fence line in some pens. Be creative and promote equine health!
Must be my lucky winter for sheath cleaning! Mr. Tay came up with the same symptoms as the neighbors horse with a lump under his belly and a swollen sheath. But when I cleaned his sheath it wasn’t really dirty. It wasn’t making much sense that it was sheath infection but I started him on a homeopathic “infection drops” just in case. I then found out that the edema could be an indication that the kidneys aren’t flushing properly resulting from Mr. Tay not drinking enough water. This was some very good horse info. and was starting to make sense since this had been the longest I had gone without cleaning the tub thanks to freezing water supply and other circumstances. Anyways cleaned it right away, filled it and started him on some Vit. C for the edema. Within 48 hours I could see the lump starting to come down and now the lump is totally gone and his sheath is almost back to normal. There may have been other things involved but the water supply was making the most sense. Here’s to yet another lesson in equine health!
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Mr. Tay had his follow up acupuncture and chiropractic appointment on Monday and he is doing fabulous! The vet said she couldn’t believe how well his recovery was going. I am so impressed with my new vet and all the horse info. she has given me. She said you don’t see many horses recover this well this quick with the injury he had. Even his fibrotic tissue is decreasing and his stride isn’t as short on that right hind. So I guess the homeopathic spray (for ligament, muscle, tendon injury and much more), healing energy, walks, massages and now riding has all been worth it. We have added some stretches to the routine and I am just so happy to have him back and riding again. We aren’t up to long rides yet but have started trotting and playing around. I’ve attached a quick video clip of us riding and playing. Mr. Tay has taught me more about equine health once again.