Feed & Nutrition

Sable Island Wild Horse University of Saskatchewan Nova Scotia’s Sable Island

University of Saskatchewan (U of S) biologists have made a significant advance in understanding the ecology of Sable Island and its iconic wild horses - one that underscores how intimately connected living systems are.

eastern hay corp, horse hay lofts need to be clean. Old horse hay, insects, heat and moisture will be very detrimental to the new horse hay stored in the loft.

While your hay may be delivered in perfect condition, how you take care of your hay loft may determine the condition it's in when it reaches your horses’ mouths. Hay lofts need to be clean. Old hay, insects, heat and moisture will be very detrimental to the new hay stored in the loft. It’s a great time of year to inspect your loft. Does it smell like somebody’s musty attic? Horses like, and therefore eat, clean, fresh-smelling hay. Hay soaks up odors like a sponge, and a smelly bale of hay is not going to appeal to any horse.

Making Electrolytes Smart - Does your horse have a drinking problem? Good hydration is not just about how much a horse drinks, it’s also about how the water is used internally. A properly hydrated horse with balanced electrolytes will be healthier and perform better. A dehydrated horse is at increased risk of impaction colic and reduced athletic potential.

Fat from any source will make your horse shiny. A fatty substance called sebum, secreted from the sebaceous glands in your horse’s skin, increases when the diet is higher in fat. It coats the hair, making it reflect the sun’s rays. Any fat will do; the type of dietary fat doesn’t matter when it comes to making the hair coat shine – but it sure does matter when it comes to your horse’s health.

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By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. - Diet affects behaviour. This makes sense. A well-fed horse is healthy. And a healthy horse feels good. Conversely, a poorly-nourished horse is suffering. A variation in hormone levels, for example, can have a temporary effect on how the horse sees the world. Just as reaction to sugar intake varies in humans, so it does in horses. Horses may feel ill or “off” from an overindulgence in sugar/starch, and they certainly have been reported to exhibit “sugar highs and lows” caused by the sudden surge and subsequent drop in blood glucose from a high carbohydrate (sugar/ starch) meal.

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There are a vast number of plants located throughout Canada that are toxic to horses in some respect. Many need to be eaten in large doses to cause much of an effect, while others require only a few mouthfuls. There are a variety of resources on plants toxic to livestock, but the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System seems to be the most comprehensive. It lists over 250 poisonous plants found in Canada, their lethal dose (if known), and symptoms of poisoning.

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When Pasture is Too Much of a Good Thing - The horse has evolved as a grazing animal, hence, pasture plays a pivotal role in equine nutrition. Reported intakes of fresh pasture by horses can range from 1.5 to 5.2 percent of body weight per day. With such a large intake of pasture possible, can horses overconsume? What components of pasture grass can cause problems if taken in at excessive levels?

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