There has been much debate about the potential benefits to be gained from feeding seaweed to horses. On one side, we have seaweed being reported as a multifunctional supplement that will act as an anthelmintic, antacid, immuno-stimulator, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-ulcer, heavy metal scavenger, fertility enhancer, nerve calmer, thyroid stimulator and skin and coat conditioner. From the other side, seaweed is called nothing more than a con, containing potentially dangerous levels of iodine and precious little of anything else. So who is right, and is there any middle ground to be sought in this argument?
Pregnant mares carry your hopes and dreams, be it for the next big champion or just a quiet riding companion. Regardless of what you are breeding, good care of the mare during her various stages of pregnancy has long term impacts on both her and her foal's long term health and athletic capacity. Here are some tips for keeping mares healthy and breeding sound, strong and athletic foals.
While a lot of time is spent focussed on horses that can't eat grain in their diet, cereal grains such as oats, barley, triticale, corn, rice, rye, sorghum and wheat form a valuable component of many horse's rations. Selecting the most digestible grain based feed however can be confusing, with uncooked grains like whole, cracked and crushed grains being available as well as cooked grains like extruded, micronised, steam rolled or steam flaked and pelleted grains.
The question is, which form is best for your horse, the cooked or uncooked grains?
When horses exercise they burn up stored energy supplies, damaging muscle tissue and losing water and electrolytes via sweat. After exercise it is important to replenish these energy, water and electrolyte stores and provide protein for muscle repair. Failure to do so can result in reduced performance, muscle wastage and slow recovery times. What you feed, how you feed it and when it is fed all play a role in determining how effectively you replace what your horse uses during moderate to high intensity exercise and how quickly they will recover.
The question of whether you should feed a horse before exercise is one that is commonly asked. Most of us were told over and over again by our parents not to swim for 30 minutes after eating or we would get a muscle cramp, so we generally tend to think that eating before exercise is not a wise thing to do. But is this the case for horses? The answer is yes and no...
Like humans, horses are classified as monogastrics, however unlike humans, horses have a highly specialised and enlarged caecum and colon, collectively known as the 'hindgut'.
In this newsletter we investigate the role the hindgut plays in maintaining overall health, what the implications are for an unhealthy hindgut and how you can keep your horse's hindgut healthy.
There is little more precious than the old horse around the place. These oldies are often the dependable horses that look after a novice rider or give a young horse some confidence when out on the trails. Because they are so valuable and literally have a lifetime of experience under their 'girth', we want to do our best to keep them around as long as possible. While good veterinary, farrier and dental care are important for maintaining the long term health of your geriatrics, their health care should always be based on a solid foundation of good nutrition.
As horses age they go through several physiological changes that affect how and what you should feed to keep them as healthy as possible. Detailed below are four of the most important of these changes and how you can best manage them from a feeding and nutrition perspective.
There is nothing more frustrating or worrying than a horse that won't eat. Horses go off their feed for a variety of reasons which can include illness, unpalatable feeds or gastrointestinal disturbances such as hindgut acidosis. Thankfully though, there are some things you can do to get a horse eating again. Here are some useful tips for maintaining appetite.
Laminitis can be time consuming, painful for your horse and heartbreaking for you. A proper diet can make it a whole lot easier.
Low sugar is vital (we could get all very technical here and call sugars non‐structural carbohydrates, water soluble carbohydrates, starches, ether soluble carbohydrates or non‐fiber carbohydrates, but let's just keep it simple and say 'sugar'). Sugar results in high blood insulin after eating and is believed to be the major cause of laminitis and certainly most cases of grass or pasture laminitis. Good quality protein is important for aiding in hoof tissue repair and meeting requirements for vitamins and minerals is also a must.
The mistake a lot of us make with an overweight horse is just thinking that we shouldn't feed it very much at all, and generally feed it a very low quality diet (straw for example) or lock it up so it can't eat much at all. The problem with doing this is that while you will do a good job of restricting calories and causing weight loss, you will also be severely restricting protein, vitamin and mineral intakes, and in doing that, you are going to cause more health problems than you can imagine.