Feed & Nutrition

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For the horse owner, the onset of fall weather can signal the start of the search for storable forage before winter begins. Considerations such as forage type and storage form, nutritional content, palatability, and cost all become important.

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During the switch to a 100 percent hay diet in the fall of the year is when many horse owners first notice that some of their horses are getting loose manure. The situation can quickly evolve into a management mess where one or more horses are so loose they can spray fecal material on the walls of the stall when they pass manure. Winter grooming becomes a major challenge for those who care for these horses as they struggle to keep tails, hocks, fetlocks, and equine clothing clean and free of encrusted manure.

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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.

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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.

And what is natural, anyway? The terms “natural” and “organic” are widely used in today’s horse world. The use of the term “organic” in the manufacturing and marketing of products aimed at horse owners is regulated by government agencies. The use of the term “natural” is not, and so a great deal more caution must be exercised by horse owners when sourcing these kinds of products for their horses.

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“The stable environment invariably presents challenges of dust, mould and proper ventilation,” says Susan Raymond, instructor of Equine Guelph’s Management of the Equine Environment online course. “Most horses are well equipped for living outdoors and thrive, provided certain provisions are met.” Dr. Raymond completed her PhD in investigating the effects of exposure of horses to mycotoxins. She has also been involved in air quality research, which provided practical recommendations to the horse industry on stable design and management.

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Winter can make the most mundane tasks challenging. This reality is clearly illustrated when it comes to watering animals. For as long as man has worked alongside horses and livestock, there have been different watering methods and their seasonal variations.

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