Read more about these wonderful treats on our Product Approval Page . . .
Read more about these wonderful treats on our Product Approval Page . . .
Winter has already been tough in many parts of the country . . . owning two equine seniors, I know (and see) the successful results of a little TLC when the temperatures dip. Here are some of the things we do to keep our 25-year-old (who’s still being ridden) and 19-year-old show mare (yes, we’re still showing her) healthy and happy:
1. Increase water consumption by adding warm water to your water pails (if you don’t have heaters). Our horses – even though they have unfrozen water in their pails, will readily drink water when we add warm water to it.
2. Add about 1/2 cup of hot water to your grain (if feeding pelleted) and stir it up to make a warm mash.
3. Feed smaller amounts of hay several times daily. Digestion helps to maintain body temperature and by eating throughout the day (instead of just once or twice a day) horses will stay more comfortable when temperatures dip below freezing.
4. Provide protection from the weather at all times and consider stabling overnight when temperatures fall into the teens or below.
5. Consider using straw over your shavings for bedding. This not only provides some cushion (helpful with horses with arthritic joints) when horses lay down, but also warmth.
6. Blanket if your equine senior is a hard keeper or on the thin size.
7. Keep coats and tails groomed out. A fluffy coat offers more protection from the cold then does a coat that’s matted down with mud or manure.
8. Keep them moving. This is a must-do for older horses – especially ones with arthritic. Pens with run-in sheds are idea for stabling during the day. Light riding or hand walking daily also makes BIG difference.
9. Keep the outdoor footing as even as possible. Uneven footing is killer on arthritic joints and unshod feet. This might mean that you have to rake the area when you have a slight thaw, etc.,
10. Be considerate when you ride: warm the bit in your hands before bridling. Leave a saddle pad on your horse’s back for a few minutes after riding and untacking . . . . when you just pull it off after riding and it’s cold out it would be like taking your jacket off outside after you’ve taken a walk; it helps to prevent a chill in your horse’s back area.
Winter TLC For Horses With Arthritis
Here are some other tips for keeping arthritic horses comfortable during the winter:
1. Feed a joint supplement with MSM, Glucosamine, and HA. Omegas are also good for keeping inflammation down.
2. Add a pain reliever like Bute or Aspirin on really bad days. While you want to be conservative when using these – the benefits out way the risks if you can keep the horse moving and active with a little pain reliever.
3. Maintain flexibility. Do stretching exercises on a regular basis. These can be as simple as manipulating a horse’s head to the right, to the left, and in between it’s front legs. Offering a treat at each point will get a horse to do these voluntarily.
4. Groom with a rubber massager brush on a regular basis. This will help to increase circulation to large muscle groups.
5. Try to maintain you regular exercise schedule. If you don’t have an indoor arena and footing is bad outdoors, try to at least hand walk horses for 10-15 minutes twice a day. Backing, turning on the forehand, and 90-360 degree turns can also be done on the ground and will help keep a horse supple.
6. Encourage natural movement in pens by putting hay in several piles . . . so horses have to move from one spot to another.
7. If snow is really deep in pens, shovel a few paths to make movement easier.
8. When turnout isn’t possible (like during a blizzard or ice storm) at least move horses from one stall to another. The movement helps; it also helps with boredom – when stabled for long periods of time.
9. Consider bedding with straw or old hay. Deep bedding encourages older horses to lie down. It’s warmer and softer to lay on straw then it is to ay on a thin layer of sawdust over a rubber mat.
10. Keep horses hydrated by offering warm water several times during the day. Adequate water consumption during the winter is crucial to keeping joints lubricated.
**Here are the supplements we give Bees, are show mare, who will be 19 this year. She still looks great and moves well:
Grain: Kent “Secure” and Purina Enrich 32. Supplements: Biotin, Bran, Hilton Herbs: Circulate Support, Omega Fields “Horseshine”, AniMed “Remission, AniMed AniFlex GL (MSM, Glucosamine, HA). She also gets a maintenance dose of AspirEase II (buffered aspirin). During show season Bees is moved over to SmartPak’s joint supplements and LubriSyn- HA.
Bees last fall at 18
Our 25-year-old retired roping horse (still ridden lightly 3-4 times weekly) is on the following Feed/Supplement regimen: Grain: Kent “Senior” Supplements: Biotin, Omega Fields “Horseshine”, Kauffman’s Flex Steps (MSM, Glucosamine, HA), and AspirEase.
Unlike products for humans, equine related products have few regulations other then the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regulation of feed manufacturing and sales . . . This means just about anyone can develop and make a product without little testing for safety and effectiveness. Scarey, isn’t it?
Here are some tips for selecting products to use on your horses:
Horse care products:
Supplements: Fortunately more companies are becoming members of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC). When supplements carry the NASC seal this means their facility of production has meant regulated guidelines. For member companies go to www.nasc.cc/
Good Horsekeeping Tips For August
In most of the country summer is winding down. The cooler days and nights make it perfect weather to address a few things around your stable so that you can enjoy some of the other things fall has to offer.
Here Are The Top Ten Things To Do Before Fall
In most parts of the country kids and their horses are getting ready to spend a week at fair. And with the heat and humidity the months of July and August can impose, keeping both cool can be a challenge.
Here are some tips for getting through the heat of fair week:
1. Think hydration. Horses should be drinking at least ten gallons of water a day- and more when it’s hot. To make sure they are drinking enough water you can sprinkle a free choice mineral (with salt) over their grain. Providing electrolytes is also important. Add one liter of Gatorade to a five-gallon pail of water . . .you want to also have a pail of plain water in the stall as well. Soaking hay is another way to make sure you are getting water into your horse. Kids also need to drink plenty of water and electrolyte based drinks. Keep a bottle of water and Gatorade in the grooming bag or pail that you take out to the make-up area. Limit pop and other sugary drinks on show days.
2. Consider clothing. Stay away from black show clothes on extremely hot days – especially black felt hats. Opt instead for a light color. If you only have one outfit (and it’s black, or another dark color) at least change out your hat to a lighter color, or to a straw hat. Wear a sleeveless blouse under hunt coats and wear light or buff-color breeches. Keep blanketing to a minimum. If your horse isn’t used to blankets and slinkies fair week is not the time to start using them. A horse will stay a lot cooler without a stable sheet, although it will mean you have to groom them in the morning before your class . . . or you may even have to give a spot bath.
3. Always have access to shade and good ventilation. Take breaks during long show days under trees or in an aisle of a barn. If electric is available, put a box fan up on the outside of your horse’s stall.
4. Bathe horse and hose them off often. A bath is a good way to cool your horse down, however, DO NOT stand a horse in the sun after it’s been fully bathed . . . it will cause them to heat up. Hose only the legs and chest in between classes as a way to offer your horse some relief during the show day.
5. Offer small, light meals. This is a good idea for both horses and kids. Bring fruit and light snacks for kids to eat throughout the show day, and stay away from heavy greasy foods like corn dogs and elephant ears. Offer your horse smaller amounts of hay and grain several times throughout the day. Consider feeding a low starch grain that has less sugars and carbohydrates.
By Dr. Juliet M. Getty
You’ve just bucked a couple of month’s supply of hay into your barn—or maybe an entire season’s worth—and now it’s time to get acquainted with it. You made sure it was green and attractive, fresh-smelling and free of mold. You’ve stored it under cover and away from the incursion of any damaging moisture. Now you’re ready to find out what it offers your horse in the way of nutritional value.
Keep in mind that when you take fresh healthy pasture and you cut it, dry it, and store it to make hay, it loses most of its vitamin content as well as its omega 3s and omega 6s fatty acids. It no longer has vitamins E, C, D or beta carotene (which is used to make vitamin A). Therefore, if the horse is getting predominantly hay and is not getting a commercial feed fed according to directions, then you really need to supplement the diet with a good vitamin/mineral supplement. But you’ll want to know what’s in your hay before you start making up for what’s not.
Hay analysis gives you the starting point from which to evaluate and balance your horse’s whole diet. If you purchase at least two or more months’ worth of hay at a time, it is worth having it analyzed. Your local county extension service may offer analysis services, or consider sending a sample to Equi-Analytical Laboratories (www.equi-analytical.com). Follow their directions for selecting and submitting samples.
What does the hay analysis tell you? Typically, it will return the following information:
Crude protein (CP)—an estimation of total protein based on the amount of nitrogen in the hay. It does not tell you anything about the amino acid composition or the protein quality. To create a high quality protein, one that will help your horse maintain and repair tissue, combine a grass hay with a lesser amount of a legume (typically alfalfa). Most grass hay contains 8 to 10% CP whereas legumes (e.g., alfalfa, clover, perennial peanut) can range from 17-20%. Grain hays (oat, rye) generally have a lower CP than grass hay.
Acid detergent fiber (ADF) and Neutral Detergent fiber (NDF)—bothmeasure fibers (there are 5 types). Since fibers are digested by the microbes living in the hindgut (cecum and large colon), a healthy microbial population is important to allow your horse to derive calories from fiber. However, there is one type of fiber that is indigestible—lignin; the lignin ends up as manure. Lignin content increases as the plant matures. The higher these two values (ADF and NDF), the more lignin the hay contains, the less likely that your horse can thrive on this hay. The ideal ADF is less than 35%; ideal NDF is less than 45%. However, most hays have values 10 points or more higher than these desired levels. To compensate, more hay needs to be consumed. This can be easily solved by allowing your horse to have free access to hay 24 hours a day.
Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC)—total amount of sugar, starch, and fructan. To obtain %NSC, add together %WSC (water soluble carbohydrates) plus %Starch. If your horse needs to have a low sugar/low starch diet, the %NSC should be below12%.
Water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC)—simple sugars and fructan levels. Simple sugars are digested in the foregut and raise insulin levels. Too much can lead to laminitis because of elevated blood insulin. Fructan for the most part is digested in the hind gut, though some shorter chain fructose molecules can contribute to elevated insulin. Too much fructan generally results in laminitis caused by endotoxins in the bloodstream.
Ethanol-soluble carbohydrates (ESC)—a subset of WSC that gives you a better idea of the simple sugar level. WSC minus ESC provides a fair measurement of fructan levels.
Starch—normally digested in the foregut down to individual glucose (blood sugar) molecules; therefore, it has a strong elevating effect on blood insulin levels.
Minerals—Keep in mind that minerals interact with one another, interfering with absorption. Therefore be conservative when supplementing minerals if your hay is close to these ideal ratios.
Feeding your horse like a horse—the way nature intended—means feeding the most nutritious diet possible, including giving him hay free choice to mimic his natural grazing pattern. You’ll be more confident in feeding this way when you get to know your foundation element—the hay—through a laboratory analysis.
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an internationally respected equine nutritionist available for private consultations and speaking engagements. Dr. Getty is the Contributing Nutrition Editor for the Horse Journal and she will be speaking at Equine Affaire in Massachusetts, November 7-10, 2013.Her comprehensive reference book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse as well as all the books in her “Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series” are offered for purchase through her website and at Amazon.com. In fact, there’s a lot going on at www.gettyequinenutrition.com: sign up for Dr. Getty’s informative—and free—monthly newsletter, Forage for Thought; read articles and search her nutrition forum; and purchase previously recorded teleseminars in audio format or, in print through the Spotlight series. Contact Dr. Getty directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss Julie Goodnight’s column for this month “Equine Seniors”. Having two aged horses myself I found her advice for caring for equine seniors and the value they can have in our lives very useful. Go to http://good-horsekeeping.com/?page_id=139 to read more . . .
To see products receiving the Good Horsekeeping Product Approval go to http://good-horsekeeping.com/?page_id=1122
Equine media can also be part of the Good Horsekeeping column series. The website offers and 12-month editorial calendar of stories and photos for just $15 or $20 a story – depending on circulation.
If you’re an equine product manufacturer, businesses, service, tack shop, clinician, etc. you don’t want to miss out on being included in the 2014 Good-Horskeeping Guide. It’s just $10 for a basic listing in the guide. Download an inclusion form here, Good-Horsekeeping Guide Inclusion Form, or go to the dedicated Good-Horsekeeping Guide page on this site.
The deadline is Dec. 15, 2013. Anyone who sends their inclusion form by Aug. 1, 2013 will be included in an early bird drawing for a free sponsorship ad on this website (a $300 value). The guide publishes on this website Jan. 1, 2014, and is a free to all website visitors. Reach over 30,000 users monthly!
Get Your Barn Ready For This Year’s Hay Storage:
Annual Survey - Please participate in this survey. There appears to be an increase in the number of horses having reactions to their vaccines (stocking up, swelling at the injection site, loss of appetite for several days, laminitis, and even death). Good Horsekeeping will be taking the results and presenting them to numerous related equine/veterinarian organizations as a means to have better monitoring and evaluation of recommended vaccine regimen.
Here are the top five ways to keep mud under control: