The horse click - Horse tips, you can trust

The horse Click is a brand new site edited with fresh info on the daily horse routines. Here you will find grooming tips, articles submitted online and show training.

Introduction:
As a responsible horse owner or handler you will need to keep you self updated on horse care information and basic guidelines to ensure your horse lives a long, happy life. Almost all horses will require a certain level of winterizing, stall cleanliness, vaccinations and several other items.
Some interesting tips to know:
*Lifeboy soap helps to prevent your horse from getting ticks so also Garlic.
*Dectomax must be injected every 3 months to prevent ticks on your horse and for de - worming.

Reduce the risk of colic:

If the perfect horse is one that stays healthy, then nutrition and management have both enabling and supporting roles to play – the most important being to maintain health and reduce disease such as colic.
Though defined as abdominal pain, colic in horses has increasingly been taken to represent the large group of intestinal diseases which cause abdominal pain – and at least six different types of colic have been recognised, including impaction, spasmodic and sand colic. There are several contributing factors including inadequate water intake; vices such as crib-biting and wind-sucking; bolting (gobbling) down food; mycotoxins in feed; and diet.
In some of these conditions, diet is not a direct cause. However, it is frequently incriminated as the major causative factor of colic. The exact relationship between colic and diet can be difficult to determine, because of the variety of feeds and feeding practices used as well as differences in study populations. In addition, it is often difficult to separate the effects of a diet and feeding schedule from other management practices, which often depend on the horse’s breed and use.

Concentrates:
Colic can occur for various reasons, even in horses kept in optimal conditions. Management practices may increase the risk in certain animals.
In a study conducted in the USA, colic incidence was low in horses at grass, receiving no concentrates. Incidences of colic increased as the amount of concentrate increased – those receiving more than 5 kg of grain were up to six times more likely to develop colic than those receiving no concentrates (colic risk became significant when fed over 2,5 kg grain per day).
In this study (not in all studies) processed feed and pellets were associated with more problems and increased risk. Dividing large meals into several small meals a day did not reduce the colic risk; feeding twice daily increased the risk relative to feeding once or three or more times (but this may be related to the size of each meal).

Diet changes:
In another matched case control study, neither the type nor amount of concentrate fed was associated with the colic risk, although it was concluded that horses at pasture may have decreased risk of colic, as horses need to chew 12-15 hours per day. Here, changes in diet and type of hay (including hay from a different source or a cutting of the same type) were key risk factors. Feeding hay other than coastal Bermuda or alfalfa significantly increased the risk of colic – but this may have reflected hay quality and digestibility rather than hay type. Changing to poorer quality, less digestible hay or feeding wheat-straw or cornstalks may predispose horses to large colon impaction, regardless of the type of hay fed.
A horse fed excess cereal starch or too large a meal or which experiences sudden change in diet (of either volume or composition), may suffer from hindgut acidosis. This can also be caused by excessive intake of grass rich in water-soluble carbohydrates found in larger quantities in spring and autumn. In a UK study, recent change in management was associated with at least 43% of spasmodic or mild undiagnosed colic – the most common change being turnout onto lush pasture in spring. High concentrate, low forage diets have also been implicated in the development of gastric ulcers, possibly resulting in signs of colic.

Quality is key:
Recent work highlights the importance of quality feeds, with certain myco-toxins in feed being associated with colic's in comparatively large numbers – almost 30% of hays fed to horses that developed colic were of low hygienic quality. Current advice for better nutrition and colic prevention, includes:

1. Reduce the amount of starch fed. Studies including work on gastric ulcers advise reducing the intake of starch to - 2g/kg Bwt (body weight) per meal, ideally to <1g/kg Bwt.

2. Even in a grain-adapted horse, the amount of grain should not be increased by more than 0,5 kg per day (for a 500 kg     horse).


3. If a horse requires ever-increasing amounts of feed to maintain condition and energy, with no suspicion of ill-health,         consider:
  • Changing to a feed with a higher energy content; and
  • Adding oil – about 30 ml pe
  • Increasing the number of meals (while keeping down meal size);
  • r feed – is beneficial for excitable horses, improves coat condition and aids horses prone to tying up (azoturia). Vitamin E must be supplemented.

4. Add shortly chopped forage to the feed of a horse that bolts his feed, or trickle feed over several small feeds per day.

5. Cook or micronise cereals such as corn and barley to remove pre-caecal digestibility.

6. Store feed and forage appropriately and do not feed if mouldy.

7. Consider reducing the amount of alfalfa (lucerne) fed and providing oat/grass hays, especially in animals prone to             enterolith formation (a hard, stone-like mass which can form in the stomach).

8. Try to avoid very mature hays or straw, especially with horses prone to impaction.

9. Make changes in the amount, rather than type, of feed wherever possible and appropriate.

10. Try to be consistent with routine mealtimes.

11. Avoid rapid changes in the amount or type of feed fed.

12. Small changes can be made in steps over 3-5 days, while major changes may require a 2-3 week adaptation period.

13. When some horses have a particular type of colic, regular consistent access to pastures may be advantageous. For       some conditions, however, it may be a risk factor, e.g. in duodenitis-proximal jejunitis and grass sickness.

14. Recent changes in hay or forage may be more harmful than in grain or concentrate, although changing from one type       of forage source to similar forage seems to cause less problems than changing from preserved to fresh forage, or from      a forage-only diet to one with concentrates, but any changes in the diet should be done gradually.

The Show World:

When deciding weather to choose from show jumping, dressage or cross country, you will have to learn all the risks involve.

Show jumping:

Show jumping as you may know is quite a hard but fun risk to take entering the show world. It contains a course of jumping poles, which you must complete in a estimated time.

You will the be categorized into a jump off to which is all about time and the one with the fastest time, wins.

Dressage:

Dressage is one of the most important step of horse riding, which consists of walk, trot and canter each with individual ways of performing it. Points are given for presition and perfecting the movements of the horse and yourself as well. Moving just inches away from where you should be, points are being lost. Dressage is a good sport that consists of hard work and hours of training but is worth the time.

Basic Grooming equipment:

BODY BRUSH: A brush with soft bristles used to remove the grease and dust from the coat that can be used on sensitive areas such as the head. The body brush needs to be rubbed over a curry comb regularly during grooming to avoid brushing dust back into the coat. 

HOOF PICK: Hoof Picks are either metal or plastic and are used for removing dirt and stones packed into the underside the horse's hooves. 

SWEAT SCRAPER: A sweat scraper consists of a handle and an arched head with rubber edges and is to wipe away sweat or excess water from the horse after washing.

DANDY BRUSH: A brush with long stiff bristles used for removing dry surface dirt out of the coat, usually used on the less sensitive parts of the horse's body.

MAIN COMB: Most often metal, but sometimes plastic, a mane comb can be used to comb the mane and tail of the horse although a mane and tail brush is a quicker and easier option. Mane combs are used to pull manes, and can be used to comb sections of manes to be plaited.

METAL CURRY COMB: A square plate of metal with rows of raised seprated metal used to remove dust and dirt from a body brush by brushing the body brush over the seprated strips. 


Cross - Country:

Cross country is one of the most exiting sport in the horse sport category. It consists of a course of jumps but the jumps are fixed and some derby jumps are also included. The courses are much longer and the distances between the jumps are much further apart from each other because the course must be done in a gallop.

 

Feeding Horses:

A horse's nutritional requirements and his digestive system have not changed since the time he was first domesticated thousands of years ago. However, due to a lack of knowledge, convenience considerations and an over-zealous adoption of the scientific claims of the feed industry, the way we feed a horse has changed dramatically. Often, these methods contradict what natural horsemanship tells us about feeding and result in health problems for the horse and management problems for owner.
Certain principles of natural horsemanship can be applied to choosing a proper feeding program for the horse. Just as we studied aspects of horse physiology and psychology when approaching training techniques, it is beneficial to think in these terms when we decide how to feed our horses. This will tell us both what to feed and how to feed.
It doesn't take an expert in natural horsemanship or equine nutrition to understand that feeding flakes of alfalfa and grain supplements twice a day to a horse in a stall is not what Mother Nature intended. Indeed, that approach completely ignores a few basic principles that every horse owner should know about their four-legged charges.

A horse's digestive system is designed to obtain the maximum nutritional benefit from a diet of high-fiber and low-energy grasses. The foundation of a healthy, natural diet for a modern, domesticated horse is grass and grass hay. A horse in his natural environment will spend many hours a day grazing. Most experts say that a horse needs to consume at least 1.5 - 2 lb. of good quality hay and grain for every 100 lbs of body weight. Much will depend upon the metabolism of the horse. Horses that are heavily worked, pregnant and lactating mares will consume up to 3 lbs of dry matter for every 100 lbs. of body weight.
Grass hay is much preferable to alfalfa for the bulk for the horse's diet for several reasons. Alfalfa is a very rich or "hot" feed for the horse. It contains approximately 50% more protein and energy per pound than grass hay. Its phosphorous to calcium ratio is also too high for a horse's requirements. When fed with grain, as alfalfa often is, numerous digestive problems including colic may result. Alfalfa may be fed but only in small quantities almost as a supplement, not as the predominant feed component.

Not all hay is the same. The nutritional content of hay depends not only on the variety of grass grown, but also on the soil and amount and type of fertilizer used. Hay quality also can vary and should be examined prior to purchasing. Good hay exhibits the following qualities:

  1. Should be leafy as opposed to containing too many stems. Most of hay's protein is contained in the leaves.
  2. Good-quality hay should exhibit a light green color. If it is too yellow or brown, it might have been harvested too late and may not contain proper nutrients.
  3. The hay should smell fresh and sweet. Hay that smells moldy or musty should be avoided. Feeding moldy hay can result in colic.
  4. Check for weeds and other non-hay matter. Good horse hay should contain a bare minimum of weeds, sticks and debris.

Unfortunately, hay comes without supermarket labels specifying nutritional content, but often a reputable hay supplier will have a laboratory analysis available for a particular cutting of hay he is selling. Parameters to look for include:

  1. Moisture: usually averages around 10%. Higher than 13% may result in palatability problems and even mold proliferation.
  2. Crude protein: Legume hay will run 20% or more. High quality grass hay might run as high as 12-15%. A minimum should be at least 8%.
  3. Digestible energy (DE): This is an estimate of the amount of energy available to the horse from the hay. This figure will vary depending upon the stage of growth at which the grass was cut and harvested. Young grass will have a higher DE. As the crop matures, DE decreases as the lignin content increases. A DE reading of less than 1.65 Mcal/kilogram indicates a high level of indigestibility and should not be fed to horses. This could cause impaction colic.
  4. Acid detergent fibre (ADF: Indicates the digestibility of fiber in the hay. ADF levels above 45% indicate poor nutritional levels, while values less than 31% indicate excellent quality hay.

When horses ran wild, their food supply consisted of different kinds of grasses grown in one pasture or field. Today we have lost that natural variety. An improved pasture is more than likely to contain just one variety of hay grass. Feeding just one type of hay can limit the nutritional value of the horse's ration, especially trace minerals. Several different kinds of hay, ideally, should be fed. This will not only provide a more balanced diet but will also vary taste and texture characteristics of the feed as well.
A horse will also nibble eagerly on all kinds of vegetable matter. A good idea is to provide your horse with tree branches with leaves to chew on. He will not only be able to derive needed nutrients but will use his teeth and wear them down naturally. A horse's teeth are continually growing, and because of domestication and modern feeding techniques, usually need to be rasped down once a year. In the wild the horse is apt to feed in such a way that the growth of his teeth is naturally kept under control.
In addition to being perfectly suited to extracting maximum nutritional value from grasses, a horse's digestive system has other requirements which are often ignored by owners. The relatively small size of the stomach limits the amount of feed that can be safely consumed at one time. A horse is unable to vomit or belch. Eating a large volume of hay and grain concentrate twice a day, as most horses do, can be unhealthy and even dangerous. A horse should eat small amounts, many times a day.
One of the unique features of the horse's digestive system is that even though he has but one stomach compartment, as opposed to ruminants like cows, there is a large microbial population in the cecum and colon. These microbes have the ability to break down and utilize the nutrients contained in forage. The peculiar shape of the colon which bends back upon itself numerous times reduces the rate at which digested food is able to pass. This allows more efficient utilization of roughages in the horse's feed, but also can cause digestive problems when the horse is not fed correctly.

If you observe a horse eating in a barn situation, you can readily see that he prefers to eat off the ground. Most feeders require a horse to eat with their necks extended and their heads raised. This is an unnatural position for a horse to eat. Grass particles and debris fall back into his face and eyes. The horse cannot properly chew his food, and respiratory problems can result when the horse constantly inhales dust from the hay. It's better to place hay on the ground in small amounts and in different places.
A diet of high-quality grass and hay should provide all the energy and protein needs non-working horses require. However, if a horse is in training, shows in performance classes or is ridden frequently, you might want to supplement with grain. Although this might be considered a departure from a purely natural approach to feeding, riding and working a horse is a complete departure from what nature intended as well.
In his natural environment as a wild, prey animal, a horse consumed very little grain. His very limited grain consumption took place in the fall from natural grasses that had gone to seed. This probably served to put on extra weight before winter. However, our energy demands on a horse have changed nutritional demands on him as well.

If a horse needs more energy, fat and protein in his diet than he is receiving from a grass and hay-based diet, there are several ways you can get him that additional nutrition. It's a good idea to avoid feeding the quantity of sugar and molasses present in many commercial sweet feeds. Just as in humans, the ingestion of large amounts of sugar can play havoc with the horse's insulin-regulating mechanism. Compounded grain products may also contain other undesirable ingredients such as fish and animal by-products.

You can get your horse the extra energy he needs through supplementing with rice and wheat bran or oats and barley. Limit the horse's intake of prepared rations of grain except for pregnant and lactating mares and young foals. We want to feed naturally but we don't want to reject out of hand advances in feed science. Educate yourself and choose supplements based on your horse's true needs. Do not overfeed grain, however.
Natural supplements that are useful to include in a horse's daily ration include flaxseed. Flaxseed is a good source for important Omega-3 fatty acids that are so important in human diets too. Omega-3 fatty acids can play a role in alleviating chronic inflammation and strengthen the immune system. They can improve the condition of a horse's coat and hooves.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) supplements is a lesser-known source of trace minerals, internal and external parasite control, improved feed utilization and fly control. DE is a desiccant and can be used as a feed supplement or can be spread around stalls and the barn and will kill 75% of flies, fleas and mites that come into contact with it. Horse owners who use DE religiously claim that feeding DE to their foals and grown horses eliminates the need for chemical worming.

Horses themselves can be a judge of what trace minerals they need to consume. Have you ever seen a horse digging in the ground and begin to lick some special rock they've found? He seems to know instinctively what minerals he is lacking and where he can get them. This probably pertains more to a wild and varied environment than to a controlled and limited pasture environment. For that reason, it is a good idea to provide a free-choice salt and trace mineral product especially formulated for horses.

When horses are first offered this feeding option, they will initially consume a considerable amount but begin self-regulating very quickly. A supply of salt is essential to a horse's health and well-being. In the wintertime salt should be manually added to a horse's feed in order to ensure that he drinks the proper amount of water. Be sure to make available to the horse an unlimited supply of fresh, clean water.

Photos of illustrated grooming equipment:

Body Brush

Sweat Scraper

Main Comb

Hoof Pick

Dandy Brush

Metal Curry Comb

First aid kit:
*Equine thermometer, blunt ended scissors, stethoscope, large volume syringe for flushing wounds, salt, veterinary antibacterial wash, wound spray, wound cream, sterilie wound dressings. 

*Gauze covered cotton wool, self adhesive bandages, PVC tape and stable bandages to support non-injured legs.

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Bible Verse of the Month:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:6

Other articles coming soon.

(This site is created and signed by Gerhard Grundling.)

 

 

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