Feed & Nutrition

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Spring is upon us and so is the prevalence of gas colic. Equine Guelph is sharing many strategies to prevent it. First, Equine Guelph recommends that every horse owner refers to its FREE Colic Risk Rater Tool to help them assess their management practices, such as introducing new feeds slowly to reduce their colic risk. An excellent video discussing safe introduction to spring pasture with expert in equine nutrition, Don Kapper, has just been added to the valuable resources housed on the Colic Risk Rater web page.

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Buying hay for your horse can be a challenge whether you buy it a few bales at a time or purchase a year’s supply when it becomes available in the summer. Supply, price, and quality have always been important parameters to consider when buying hay for horses, but now, more than ever before, horse owners are becoming aware of the importance of the nutritional components of the hay they feed.

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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.

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Are you providing enough? Today’s horse owners are no doubt aware of the importance of vitamins in the diets of their horses, but many may not be aware of the role vitamins play in equine nutrition. Vitamins in their fresh natural form are organic substances found in grains and forages. They are important as cofactors, or facilitators, for different metabolic function, and deficiencies of them can cause disease conditions. Vitamins, unlike many of the nutrients we feed our horses, cannot be broken down for energy, and they provide no other nutrients to the horse.

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With all the various types of boarding options out there – self-care, part-board, full-service, pasture board, co-op board, or deluxe – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your search for a boarding facility for your horse before you’ve even started. There is no such thing as the perfect boarding barn, but if you take the time to do your research, you should have no problem finding a facility where you and your horse can be happy, comfortable, and safe together.

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If you have ever evaluated your horse’s ration or tried to calculate an appropriate dose of dewormer for a growing horse, you will know that accurate estimation of your horse’s body weight is important for meaningful results. While we all know that a mechanical or digital scale is probably the best way to evaluate the weight of your horse, not many of us have convenient access to one. Horse owners do have access to other tools for estimating the body weight of their horses. Weight tapes, for example, are inexpensive and readily obtainable at most feed stores.

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Nothing can drain the colour from a horse owner’s face quicker than hearing the word COLIC! Winter is an important season to focus on colic prevention and ward off water woes that can lead to impaction in the equine gut.

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