Easy keeper horses and dangers of lush green grass. Do you know what the dangers are and what to be checking for?
Winter is almost here and for some, that means rain, lush green grass, softer hooves, more thrush, shedding coats, foaling and so much more.
For those who own the easy keeper horses that have access to that lush greeen grass…daily diligence is required. Some horses have that “thrift” gene making them much more efficient storing energy, aka fat. In the wild this would be a great genetic advantage, especially given 24/7 predator stress, moving up to 25 miles a day in search for food and water. But to domesticated horses, especially those who do not have access to movement and pretty much have no predator stress, this is a great disadvantage.
If you have one of these “thrift” gene horses such as a Morgan, Arabian, Canadian, Paso Fino, the American Mustang, all of the pony breeds, it might be a good thing to check the digital pulse of your horse everyday. I would recommend taking the digital pulse especially on the two front feet daily. The picture provided is a good way to find the digital pulse, if you use two fingers rather than one, you will increase the chances of finding the pulse.
If your horse has a strong rebounding pulse, which is not good, it will be difficult to miss. If you get in the habit of testing daily, you will be able set a great foundation for establishing what is normal for your horse and what is not normal. If you find it difficult to find the pulse or you must really concentrate to find the pulse, your horse is probably in great shape.
If you wait to check the pulse after your horse is noticeably in pain, the recovery is much slower and the horse will suffer unnecesarily.
These easy keeper horses NEED EXERCISE everyday to burn off that extra sugar or glucose. It will make a big difference! You don’t necessarily have to ride them, the round pen or arena is great, even long walks. It is better to get the heart rate and respiration up a bit, a slow leisurely walk is better than nothing but the slow long leisurely walk is the least desireable exercise.
If your horse is already tender, the exercise will be more painful for the horse and painful to watch. The cold water soaks of the inflamed hooves in a creek or foot bath is wonderful. Most would go to Bute for pain, be mindful that Bute is quite damaging to the gut and is the leading cause of HYPO thyroid in horses.
The best prevention to this problem is not to get it……if you are already struggling with this problem, Equine Challenge™ Laminae 911
will be very helpful, without the gut stress and thyroid problems caused by BUTE. There is however, no substitution for daily exercise and changes in diet.
Far too many horse owners across the USA who try to avoid these complications by starving their horses and the market place is flooded with gadgets to help avoid the inconvience of daily stewardship of the horse. It is IMPOSSIBLE to starve your horse into a metabolically thriving horse.
If you are soaking forage/grass prior to feeding, know that you are washing away more than glucose or sugar and remember your horse is a carbohydrate and fat burning machine. If you are soaking forage, you MUST replace what is being soaked away short of the sugar/glucose and MUST make available what the forage was deficient in before the soaking. Equine Challenge™ Vitamins & Minerals Grass would be that answer to this metabolic challenge.
If your horse has access to the lush green grass and is doing seemingly OK, I strongly recommend the daily use of the Equine Challenge™ PREbiotic to help stabilize the micro-flora of your horse’s gut. Easy keeper horses should not be fed alfalfa as the primary forage source.
This is by no means exhaustive in the challenges of Spring time grasses, the horse is an individual and an individual solution goes a long way in providing the stewardship that your covenant with your horse requires.
Fall is here and for those that vaccinate your horses, this would be the time to boost the immune system with increased Equine Challenge™ Probiotic or Equine Challenge™ Probiotic Blast use. At Equine Challenge™ we recommend 2-3 weeks prior and 2-3 weeks after vaccinations. Whether you know it or not, vaccinations will stress your horse’s immune system and typically more than one vaccination is given at the same time. It is not uncommon to see horses go off their feed, demonstrate loose stools/diarrhea or just have that weary look.
We have many customers in Florida and Arizona which still has increased insect populations and other unpleasant organisms which will negatively impact your horse. This will vary depending on where you live in the U.S. This is another good reason to bump the use of probiotics and boost your horse’s immune system. There is no 100% guarantee against your horse coming down with insect borne diseases when using probiotics but there is peace of mind knowing you have done what is reasonable to give your horse a more robust immune response. To help the fight against flying insects we strongly recommend Equine Challenge Bug Banish during the Spring and Summer months and year round in some states.
Foaling season is around the corner and it’s time to talk about the feeding of lactating mares, weanlings and yearlings. Mares in the third trimester through weaning should should be getting 4oz./daily of the appropriate Equine Challenge™ forage specific supplements split between the a.m. and p.m. feedings. Weanlings should be getting at least 2oz./daily and yearlings at least 3oz./daily, split between the a.m. and p.m. feedings.
Add extra Equine Challenge Milled Flaxseed™ in the a.m. and p.m. feeding for growing weanlings and yearlings…up to 4oz./daily split between the a.m. and p.m. feedings.
Remember each horse is an individual and you should use your discernment in this regard based on the breed, condition, activity or lack of activity or movement.
A reminder on feeding oats to your horses.
Whole oats are the safest and are highly palatable with the lowest concentrated starches of all the grains. Whole Oats aka “WOs” are an Amorphorous starch, which means they do not ferment where as the Crystalline starches do, such as corn, wheat, barley, rice and milo which is why we can and do make alcohol from these crystalline starches.
The Amorphorous Starch vs. Crystalline Starch scale. Oats-rice-barley-wheat-milo-corn. For more info please read “What you need to know about grain”.
WOs contain 7 different fatty acids making them a good source of fat. WOs have the highest crude fiber of all the grains, up to 9-14%, which is great. Of this fiber, a good percentage is “soluble ” fiber, soluble meaning it will dissolve in water. The high soluble fiber content in combination with the high fat content of this “whole” food will slow the release of glucose or sugar into the bloodstream which is a wonderful thing.
All “whole” foods are digested much slower and the digestion is not as complete as a processed feed containing primarily byproduct waste materials such as wheat millrun, rice bran, Distiller’s Dried Grain solutes, all of the meals products, beet pulp, etc….
Visit the Equine Challenge IR page to read about the ills of feeding hollow calories as in byproduct waste materials.
WOs produce up to 35% more body heat than an equal amount of corn without any of the gut stress. WOs are a “cold” feed and the increased body heat production is great for keeping the weight on your horse in the cold winter months. Up to 98% of WOs are digested in the small intestine which is where you want the Non – Structured Carbohydrates (NSC) to be digested…you do NOT want any grain which will ferment such as rice, barley, wheat, milo or corn (Crystalline starches) to be digested in the hindgut or cecum….fermentation causes gas and increased lactic acid production leading to NOTHING good…colic, laminitis, founder, colonic ulcers and more.
In closing, WOs contain the proper protein percentage for the average horse which is between 7.5%-9.5%. Remember, your horse does NOT burn protein for energy, the horse is a fat and carohydrate burning machine just like us. If your horse burns protein for energy, it is very toxic for the horse.
“You’re never wrong when you do the right thing”