Contains short articles about the care and management of horses.
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"A Picture is Worth a Thousand
Words" might be a cliche, but it certainly gets the point across
when we are discussing equine rehabilitation. There are two
situations that usually result in the need for extensive
rehabilitation; when horses are not fed enough or when they are
advanced in age and have dental and medical conditions that
prevent normal eating behaviors........
and Managing Stallions "Our 8-year-old
breeding stallion has turned his nose up at several different
feeds in the last 8 months. And, his conception rate this year is
lower than the last 2 years. Obviously, this is of great concern
to me. The stallion has top-quality racing bloodlines and is very
active during breeding season. He has been checked by our
veterinarian, and all blood work and physical tests are well
within the normal ranges. I have recently tried feeds from three
different companies, but he does not have enough appetite to
maintain good body condition. What do you recommend for a feeding
program to improve his appetite and improve his conception rate?"
Toxicosis in Horses Tall fescue is a coarse
grass with broad leaves and prominent veins. It is a good forage
for horses, because it is hardy, easily established, tolerates
close grazing, stands up to heavy horse traffic, survives drought
conditions, and is resistant to weeds, insects and diseases.
However, most of the tall fescue is infected with an endophyte (endo
= inside + phyte = plant) fungus called Neotyphodium coenophialum
(formerly called Acremonium coenophialum) which improves the
hardiness of the grass, but has negative effects on the livestock
grazing it. There are endophyte-free species of fescue, but they
are less hardy and usually end up becoming infected by neighboring
Laminitis and Founder in Horses - Preventing
the Devastation Laminitis ranks second only to
colic in surveys of horse owner's greatest fears. When severe
enough to result in founder, or deformity of the foot, it is the
most devastating of horse diseases and has the worst prognosis.
Laminitis can strike all horses regardless of breed or use, but is
rarely found in horses less than one year of age. However, it is
most commonly seen in obese horses, those who suddenly overeat on
corn or other starches (starch overload founder), after colic or
other debilitating conditions and in horses grazing in certain
situations (grass founder). The best strategy is to prevent
laminitis and founder. They are every horse and horse owners'
Equine Nutrition Information
owners can benefit from professional guidance when it comes to
designing rations for their horses. Contrary to popular belief,
there is more to feeding a horse than just providing hay and
water. Ensuring horse nutrient needs are met is not just providing
life support, but rather seeking the best way to provide balanced
nutrients that allow horses to perform at their highest levels.
Percent Rule Many horse owners have
the misunderstanding that horses should have 1% of body weight of
forage daily, then another 1% or more of other "stuff" from bags.
This belief comes from one of the most common quotes in horse
nutrition, "Horses need at least 1% of body weight of forage
daily." Unfortunately for horses, people forget about the "at
least" part of the quote and assume they should feed exactly 1% of
forage. This misunderstanding is further perpetuated
Fall Horse Feeding and Management Tips
the Fall, show and performance horses are being prepared for the
year-end championships and futurities. Many people are also
preparing horses for fall sales. This is the time to put the
finishing touches on horses with special preparation programs.....
As we go about our daily
horse care and feeding routines, we want to be sure we are doing
our best to feed our horses safely. As we know, horses will
usually eat whatever they can reach, and often react badly to
certain amounts or kinds of feeds. So, what things can we do to
minimize feeding-related problems?......
Comparing Traditional and Modern Horse Feed Labels
Modern horse feeds contain digestible fiber and less starch and
sugar, in order to reduce digestive disorders in horses.
Spring Feeding Suggestions
Broodmare owners need to provide extra energy, protein,
vitamins and minerals for their mares and foals. Show horse
owners will be looking for that extra bloom to impress the
The Equine Digestive Tract
matter what your horse looks like on the outside, and no
matter what job you ask him to do, he has one thing in
common with all horses - and, that is his digestive tract.
Everything he eats must be processed through that tract in
order to be used by his body for energy, growth,
reproduction and maintenance of health..........
Forage First® for Gestating Broodmares
The objective of a feeding program for
mares is to provide all required nutrients and keep the mare at a
desired body condition. Mares should be moderately
fleshy, but not fat, which means condition scores of 5-7
on the Henneke scale.
Forage First® for Lactating Mares and Their
In general, FORAGE FIRST programs are
based around good-quality forage as the major component, since
horses are grazing animals with digestive tracts that are designed
to process forages, but are not as efficient at processing cereal
Using Rice Bran in Horse Rations The benefits of fat in horse rations
are well understood. So, attention is now focusing on different
sources of fat. Over the past few years, you may have seen
references to rice bran as a fat source in popular press articles.
Horse Nutrition can be as simple as 1, 2, 3
and A, B, C
....... nutrition can
be simplified, by starting with forage, using vitamins and
minerals balanced for horses and choosing fats before grains
when additional energy is needed.
Salt and Minerals
Research has shown that horses have the ability to eat about the
correct amount of salt, if it is readily available. However,
they don't have regulatory mechanisms that trigger their
appetite for other individual minerals they need. And, since
minerals interact with each other in the body, it is important
to provide the correct balance of minerals.
Fats and Oils as Concentrated Energy
Sources. The type and amount of grass and hay
should be selected to provide as much of a horse's energy
requirement as possible. But, when forage alone will not meet
energy needs, fats and/or grains should be fed.
Vitamin E Vitamin E is a general term for
compounds with the biological activity of alpha tocopherol.
Tocotrienols are a recently discovered group of compounds that
also have vitamin E activity similar to tocopherols. Vitamin E is
a broad-spectrum lipid antioxidant that functions in cell
membranes and can improve the immune response in horses. .........
Feeding Vitamins Horses
have a theoretical need for each vitamin, depending on their size,
age reproductive status, gender, temperament and work-load.
Unfortunately, there are no perfect hays or grains that have the
correct vitamin concentrations for horses. And, vitamin
concentrations decline with storage of feeds. .........
Classification and Safety of Vitamins
Vitamins are one of the six general
groups of nutrients needed by horses and other animals. The other
groups are water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and minerals.
Vitamins are carbon-containing compounds that are needed in
relatively small amounts (mg or ug) by the body to support normal
The Importance of Water Water
makes up about 70% of body tissues. It is the major component of
all cells and is required for all of the chemical reactions that
occur as part of normal digestion and metabolism............
Fat Sources for Horses
Fats are used to
increase the caloric density of horse rations without as much risk
of metabolic disorders caused by fermentation of starch from
grains. Now that fats are widely accepted as energy sources for
horses, the new focus is on comparison of available fat
Winter Dehydration Colic
The number one concern of horse people is colic,
according to most surveys. When
the seasons change, horses are more prone to certain kinds of colic
because of changes in weather and available feed. As winter approaches,
dehydration colic (not enough water in the digestive tract) is very