verify account

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Username: Password:
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended  (Read 663 times)

MMLaurie

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54


This article is one of the best written on this topic. From a scientific viewpoint with the horses best interest . The author does not beat around the bush.

http://myhorse.com/blogs/horse-care/feeding/dr-juliet-getty-restricting-forage-is-incredibly-stressful-for-your-horse/
Logged
Laurie from the north. Canada eh!
Saskatchewan.

GloriousJourney

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 229
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2013, 07:26:50 am »

I saw a couple seminars at Equine Affaire in Massachusetts that this author did. IMHO she is absolutely correct. Very smart lady, and well worth taking the time to learn from her. Your horses will thank you for it.
Lesley
Logged
Lesley in Jupiter

FancyPants

  • Guest
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2013, 08:32:00 am »

I know how happy mine are when they can "graze" at the round bale and find that a buffalo feeder (just a feeder on its side) is a huge plus to keeping them from drilling their faces into holes and standing there forever!  None of mine are the kind of horse that stands there forever (thank God!) and the mini sneaks in and cleans up underneath!  A friend of mine is quite stingy with her hay and she's ALWAYS having the vet in for some supposed ailment or other...this really makes me wonder if it's not a prime example of what the article's about.  Her one gelding will NOT pasture with the others - can be quite vicious...wonder if this is why - he's afraid of sharing food and doing without!
Logged

G84me

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 746
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 08:52:43 am »

The vet strongly suggested that BJ stay out of "sucky, slippery mud" and away from any kind of ice that could cause a misstep and REINJURE his meniscus, which, according to the ultrasound a few weeks ago, is about 95% healed.

We have had an inordinate amount of rain, then freezing rain, then ice and snow, - with tons more rain to come this week. Though he'd be very happy again, being turned out in the huge mare pasture, it's just not a good choice because of the very wet ground and ice patches all over the place.

It looks like BJ will spend most of this winter inside.  I hate to have to do this but the vet said that injuries like this can take a good year to heal sufficiently.  BJ is very good with the mares and is still on a calmative to hopefully tone down any urges to run around when the girls get to acting up.  He did get turned out for a month during the fall, but now it's back to his stall, with turnout alone in the indoor.  When it's not too frigid, we open the arena door so he can watch the gelding and mare herds for a couple hours.

He has three LARGE hay nets in his stall, that contain five flakes each.  Though he can't actually "graze" with his head down, he will always have good (2nd cutting now) hay to eat.  I just hope this will be enough.  COME ON SPRING....
Logged
- Joann
Central Ohio
Black Jack - STB gelding @ Rainbow Bridge 11/15
Lady - Tennessee Walker mare
Ebony - Tennessee Walker gelding

Barb CO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2013, 09:41:47 pm »

It would be nice if it were that simple. Overlooked in most of the discussion about this article is her mention of low NSC and low calorie hay. That is a critical piece of the puzzle for insulin resistant horses with the potential to develop laminitis. Few people have any idea of what the NSC and DE of the hay they're feeding is - and you can't tell by the appearance of the hay. Insulin resistant horses can develop laminitis from free choice hay fed in small hole hay nets if the hay is too high in NSC - I know from experience. I would love to be able to feed free choice hay but the chances of finding hay like that in my area is slim. Hay is fertilized and irrigated - and while often the NSC is low enough for my horses, very rarely is the DE low enough for free choice.
My horses generally get around 2% of their weight in hay per day either in small hole hay nets or scattered as "hay pasture" if there is snow on the ground. Because of my work schedule for the last couple of years, they generally are only fed twice per day. Knock on wood but my 6 equines don't have any more health issues than typical for horses.
Logged

loneelk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2232
  • Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!
    • Lone Elk's Lodge
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2013, 06:29:46 am »

Mineral balance and thyroid are two other huge factors in I/R.  Last spring, my husband's appaloosa had blood work indicative of I/R and very low end of normal on his thyroid, and has had laminitic issues intermittently since we got him almost 18 months ago.  What seems to be helping most (in addition to porta-grazers) is loose minerals w/ extra magnesium and a daily thyroid supplement administered by syringe.  Before we started using the thyroid supplement, we were constantly battling laminitic issues.  Within a few days of starting thyroid supplementation we began seeing him move out better, so much better that we discontinued daily bute.  He continues to improve over past few months, and we are down to one or two teaspoons of thyroid powder a day, vs. the 4+ tsp. a day that he was receiving.  We plan to have vet do more bloodwork in the next couple of months, to see what's showing up on thyroid & I/R indicators and see what other changes may be beneficial.
Horse feeding is sooooo much more complicated and yet simpler than it might seem on the face of it.  When I got my first "real" horse in the late 80's, what I "knew" about horse feeding was "a couple of flakes of alfalfa night and morning, and a small coffee can full of sweet feed once a day".  Wow--how different it has become, as I've learned more.   
Logged
Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


riding the sun

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 314
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2013, 07:13:39 am »

I agree with Barb about the composition of the hay you feed. If have your hay analyzed you will know the exact amounts of minerals, sugars, carbs, digestible energy, calories  etc. in the hay.  Then you will balance the horse's diet to those results.  It is not simple.

More than half of the horses in the US are overweight to obese.  We all need to learn to judge a horse's weight accurately and to know and understand the Body Score Condition.  The free choice hay theory does not work in many cases.  Some horses are naturally "easy keepers".  I have enough pasture to feed my horses with no additional hay needed until there is snow cover.  But I have to limit their pasture hours to prevent obesity.  I do this with a muzzle or dry lot.  And even then it can be a continuing battle.  Since I don't feed hay I can't use slow feed hay nets. In comparison to the wild horses, domestic horses do not walk 20 miles a day in sparse vegetation to fulfill their caloric needs, which is what "nature intended".   

Judy
Logged
My favorite trail is the next one

stablemind

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 273
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2013, 08:14:47 am »

My horses are a breed (Mountain Pleasure) that's been raised in the Appalachians since colonial days. They've been selectively bred to be easy keepers and to have calm, quiet natures. As such, they are easily overfed. I think most of our gaited breeds fall into this category. I'm not sure I know anyone who owns a Paso Fino that doesn't have metabolic issues. So I'm intrigued by what this veterinarian is saying, but uncomfortable with the idea of setting up the equine version of  "Golden Corral" in my pasture, then watching to see if my horses thrive or eat themselves into obesity and founder.

There was a GHS member several years ago who insisted her obese horse had been hungry at some time in his life and was therefore in a state of "perceived famine". She fed him free choice hay and if I remember right, a massive amount of concentrate as well, believing he would slow down his eating and his weight would normalize once he no longer perceived famine. Basically this same theory. 
Logged

Hatcherdm

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 64
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 12:44:03 pm »

I think the article makes sound scientific sense. Having said that, a problem many of us have is that we work so hard to give our horses "perfect pastures" and the best hay we can find-- when in the real world of wild horses, there are no perfect pastures, and they do have to work to eat and consume enough calories. We recently moved to a new place, and had to leave my wonderful hay behind--this stuff was so good, my herd would pass up fresh grass in the field for this stuff--we wondered if it was full of crack!
At my new farm, we bought hay that was so so-- lots of stems etc, and they put their noses up at it at first. My guys are 4 easy keeper Icelandics that get fat on rocks, and one hard keeper TWH. I gave them slow feed nets, and keep them full. My horses stay busy all day pulling out what they want and kicking out the stems. They have never looked so good, and seem more content. The hard keeper is fed 6 lb of senior pellets each day, and I let him have all the grass he can find, plus beet pulp etc.
I think maybe we need to stop working so hard to give the "best" and settle for maybe mediocre sometimes, cause the best doesn't seem to be working so well...
Logged
Diane from New Freedom, Pa
home to 4 icelandics and 1 TWH

stablemind

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 273
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2013, 01:33:38 pm »

I agree Hatcherdm...I think I have ideal hay this year. Post-mature, coarse and stemmy. I feed it either from individual slow-feed nets or a slow-feed round bale net.

An observation I find interesting and haven't quite figured out...if the hay is in round bale form, they spend a lot of time doing other things besides eating. If it's in single nets, they won't leave it until it's gone. Maybe they're smart enough to realize the round is there for them 24/7, but an individual net will run out before the day is done.
Logged

KysaSD

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2650
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2013, 03:14:38 pm »

I will agree that it gets complicated, but the info in the article is good.  She does mention the need to know about the sugars in your hay.

I feed round bales in hay nets.  I do test for sugars, and everything else in there.  But I am also lucky in that the fields I cut for horse hay are native grass as it has been for the last 1000 years.  While I am certain the birds have brought in seeds of modern varieties, mostly it is old native varieties of grass.  We have bred grasses to be pasture and hay for cattle.  We want fat juicy steaks, so we do feed higher carbohydrates to cows.  Not to mention the rumen system digests sugars and fibers in a different way.  We NEED to be breeding grasses that have good nutritive value but are low in carbohydrates.

Having said all that, I will say that I am surprised by the amount of time my horses do not spend eating.  There is never a moment that the lowest sugar hay is not available to them.  This morning it was minus 17 when I did chores.  5 horses were standing in the sunshine in the windbreak of the barn.  Had they walked another 10 feet, they could have been eating.  But they were not.  All of them come through winter in great shape.  Meaning both not too skinny and NOT TOO FAT.

And yes, I manage an IR horse, and yes she has hay in front of her 24/7.  Dolly needs managing, but she has never had a bout of laminitis in her life.
Logged
Kysa, South Dakota, 2 Mountain Horses, a Curly Foxtrotter, a TWH and a Mini, yes, I am crazy!

Barb CO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2013, 09:57:25 pm »

For what it's worth I just came in from feeding my horses. They were last fed this morning about 7:30 so 14 hours ago. When I was done feeding, I realized I had to fill the tank. Libby ignored her hay and came and bugged me so while the tank was filling we walked around the pen and did a little bit of ground work at liberty with clicker training. The treats she gets for that are just a couple of timothy hay pellets at a time so nothing incredibly special. After a bit Sierra joined us.That kind of behavior isn't unusual with my horses so you can't convince me that they are stressed and suffering too much with their current twice a day feeding schedule if they're willing to walk away from the hay I just put out and work for hay pellets instead.  :)

Also, with my IR horses, their appetite is much more voracious if their IR is not well controlled due to a diet that is too high in sugars and starch. With an appropriate diet, their appetites are much more reasonable.
Logged

OldnOrnery

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2013, 01:37:36 pm »

Sorry, can't buy what the article says. Some horses, like some people, have no APPETITE OFF button. Do you think the 650 lb people who can't leave their beds should have food in front of them 24/7, so they can self-regulate their appetites? Hogwash.
Logged

loneelk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2232
  • Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!
    • Lone Elk's Lodge
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2013, 02:24:19 pm »

Yes, have to say that we've decided that Skeeter doesn't seem to have an "off" button either.  What we have done is figured out how much to put in their porta-grazers so that they can eat slowly for about 4 to 6 hours twice a day, and they get wisps of hay scattered around the turnout to nibble on in the middle of the day.  Best part--they no longer constantly mob the gate when they've eaten all their hay.  And last evening, Skeeter was so fascinated w/ what our new neighbor was doing w/ his forklift on the southwest corner of their property that he didn't touch his evening feed for almost an hour, because he was busy in his "Sheriff Skeeter" role, watching every move they made. 
Guess everybody really has to figure out what works best for their own horses.  What we're liking about how we're feeding now is that they're both slimming down ever so slowly but they're not constantly acting like they're starving. 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 09:25:42 am by loneelk »
Logged
Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain"--Joseph Campbell
www.bonanza.com/loneelk


gallatingal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 993
Re: A MUST READ!! The importance of feeding horses how nature intended
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2013, 08:17:50 pm »

Oh yeah, Trigger has no off button. He lives to eat, and he is an air fern. Jigsaw on the other hand would much rather visit and be petted than eat, and objects to anything slightly different in his feed.
Logged
Life is short, buy the pony!
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up