Feed & Nutrition

hores body condition scores horse, Reconditioning Horse, spring horse riding, get a horse fit, horse feed change, equine fitness, horse exercise, overworked horse

As we welcome the transition from winter to spring, we are eager to get back in the saddle and start riding regularly again. Canadian winters are not sympathetic to outdoor riding, and without access to indoor facilities many horse owners have not been able to ride or exercise their horses as much as they would like during the winter months. Bringing horses back into work after their winter vacation must be done gradually by starting at a lower level and increasing the duration and intensity of workouts. At the same time, the horse’s feed should be adjusted to address his present body condition (too thin or too fat) as well as nutrient requirements for the increased workload.

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When transitioning your horse to new feedstuff – either to a new batch of hay, new pasture or new concentrates – you need to do so slowly to give bacteria in the horse’s digestive tract a chance to adapt to the new feed.Bacterial populations change according to what the horse is eating, and time is required for different bacterial species to colonize the horse’s digestive tract in this new environment. If there is not enough time for the population to adapt, it can cause digestive disturbances, which can lead to colic.

horse diet behaviour, equine diet behaviour, horse cribbing, horse wind sucking, wood chewing horses, horse feed sugar, horse feed starch

Cribbing is a compulsive behaviour or stereotypy that is bothersome to many horse owners because of the damage it may cause to both the horse and the farm itself. While cribbing, the horse places his upper incisors on the surface of the object, flexes his neck, pulling against the object, and sucking in air. There are many beliefs as to why horses begin and continue to crib. Most believe that horses crib in response to boredom or frustration. Others feel these stereotypies are learned behaviours. While there is evidence of a heritable component to cribbing, studies have shown that very few cases are a result of watching other horses perform these behaviours. A decrease in gastric pH has also been shown to increase the frequency of cribbing in horses.

Spirulina  for horse, horse spirulina, horse supplements, horse powerfoods, equien immune, herbs for horses, wendy pearson

A Mighty Immune Modifier - A few billion years ago there were stirrings in the womb of a brand new planet. Earth was coming of age and producing her very first life forms. It is almost impossible to imagine how scientists learned of Earth’s microscopic firstborn, but somehow under the dust and rock of more than 3.6 billion years, the ancient little graves of Spirulina were uncovered. But far from an extinct historical landmark, Spirulina – or blue-green algae (BGA) as it is also known – exists in an almost unaltered state to this very day, growing quietly in fresh water, tropical springs, saltwater and, most recently, Spirulina farming ponds.

mud fever horses, equine mud fever, supplements for equine mud fever, vetcur, stone hedge farms, Cur1, DiVet, ImVet

This time of year it is a constant battle with the mud and our horses are at risk of getting mud fever. Mud fever is not a single disease but can come in different forms. The condition occurs especially in warm, wet weather, and is certainly not limited to horses that are paddling in knee-deep mud. Mud fever starts off with dry crusts, which are caused by the inflamed skin weeping. The condition can range from a mild skin irritation to very painful infected sores, and can in some cases cause significant swelling with severe lameness.

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Fats and oils are commonly used in horse feeds to increase the calorie content of the feed or to replace the calories supplied by carbohydrates. Fat supplementation has many benefits including providing calories for weight gain, and providing essential fatty acids to improve skin and coat condition. Feeding fat has also been reported to decrease excitability in nervous horses.

Dr. Tania Cubitt, Key Factors  Feeding Horses Winter, horse down-time, drinking water temperature horses, horse, horse water intake, horse fibre, equine water consumption, chronic equine weight loss,  equine water consumption winter months, equine water consumption pregnant maresn, foal nutrition

Most horses have some “down time” in winter, when adverse weather will not permit much riding or showing activity. A reduction in your horse’s activity level usually means a reduced need for calories, and requirements for grain or concentrate feeding can be lowered. During the winter season, temperatures typically fall below that necessary for pasture grass to grow. Pastures become rapidly depleted of natural forage and horses must increasingly rely on their owners to provide them with a nutritionally adequate diet. To properly feed a horse during the winter months the key factors of water, fibre, and essential nutrients must be addressed.

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