Nutrition Basics

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Haynet Design and Forage Consumption Rates Studied

It’s no secret that horses in modern management situations can benefit from slowed forage intake, which mimics feral horses' natural foraging tendencies. But do these slow feeders really work? A group of University of Minnesota researchers recently put two slow-feed haynets—one with medium-sized and one with small-sized openings—to t...

Clenbuterol's Impact on Horses' Body Fat Percentage

With any medication comes a risk of side effects. For instance, long-term phenylbutazone administration to treat a musculoskeletal issue can result in gastrointestinal problems; pergolide to treat Cushing's disease can cause a decreased appetite; and vaccine administration to protect against disease can cause injection site swelling and muscle sorenes...

10 Hot Weather Horse Care Tips

Summer heat can be dangerous for horses, resulting in dehydration, lethargy, and general malaise. Severe heat stress can cause diarrhea, or even colic. But owners can take important steps to keep horses safe and comfortable during the hot days ahead.

5 Tips for Feeding Weanlings

Young horses are considered weanlings from the time they're separated from their mothers until one year of age. This is a critical time in the young horse's life, and nutrition plays an important part. Here are five important points to consider when feeding a weanling:

Switching Horse Feeds Safely

Horse owners sometimes find it necessary to change their horse’s feeding program--fluctuations in temperature, season, and performance level are just some of the reasons. But with the known link between diet changes and health conditions such as colic or laminitis, how can owners safely transition their horse’s feed without negatively affectin...

Steaming's Effect Horse Hay Studied

Soaking hay in water is a common practice used to reduce dust and non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) levels for horses with respiratory or metabolic conditions. But soaking can leach essential nutrients, such as phosphorus and magnesium, from hay and be labor-intensive.

Does Feeding Hay Before Grain Reduce Cribbing?

Which comes first, the grain or the hay? You might love rewarding that excited nickering with a bucket full of sweet feed, followed by hay for hours of chewing pleasure. But according to recent research, if you’ve got a cribber, you’re probably better off doing the opposite.

Zinc's Role in Young Horses' Immunity

Young horses require specific levels of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for proper development, and researchers know that zinc, in particular, is vital for growing horses' enzyme and immune function. However, there's been little research done in horses evaluating the relationship between zinc and the equine immune system. So researchers from A...

Turnout Time's Impact on Grass Consumption and Fecal pH

Many a horse or pony owner has restricted their overweight equid's turnout time in an effort to help him shed pounds. And while researchers know weight loss helps improve horses' overall health, until now they haven't known exactly what impact restricted grazing has on the equine gastrointestinal health or calorie intake. A group of North Caro...

Feed Delivery Methods' Effects on Glucose, Insulin Response

There are a number of ways to help prevent insulin resistance (IR) or associated conditions like laminitis in horses, but did you know that how you feed your horse could be one of them? According to recently published study results, feeding methods that slow horses’ feed consumption rate can also reduce their insulin and glucose responses directly a...

Study: Broodmares on Pasture Don't Always Need Grain

Horse owners are continually looking for ways to reduce feed costs without disturbing their horses' health, and a group of French equine nutritionists have some good news in this department: According to recent study results, lactating saddle horse mares on good quality pasture didn’t need to be fed grain to maintain their weight or their foals&...

Feed Choices Can Mean Cost Savings for Horse Owners

Few horse owners have remained unchallenged by the intractable recession. Rising fuel and feed costs have pushed horse ownership expenses skyward. And with no end in sight, it's no wonder that horse owners are looking for ways to trim their routine horse-keeping expenses without sacrificing the quality of their animal's care. Bob Coleman, PhD PAS,...

Digesting Different Hay Forms

Many horse owners have their hay-buying ritual down to a science. But from time to time, owners might find themselves rethinking their ritual, possibly due to drought, floods, or other factors that limit the forage supply in their area.

Equine Gastrointestinal Health Reviewed

All horses'—from young to old, high-performance to sedentary, rescued to syndicated, and everywhere in between—gastrointestinal (GI) tracts function in the same manner. And owners of all types of horses should take the same steps to help keep their animals' GI systems functioning optimally.

New Method for Scoring Sweat Losses in Horses Proposed

Warm summer weather is just around the corner, which means many owners will be hosing sweaty horses after exercise on a regular basis. But how much sweat are you rinsing down the drain after each ride? The National Research Council and German Society for Nutrition Physiology's current estimation methods depend on the amount of work the horse performs,...

Microbiomes: It's All About Balance

You know the drill: Kill the bacterium that's attacking the immune system then prepare yourself for the relentless fungus to come out and play in its wake. This bug balance upheaval is the reason we reach for yogurt when we go on antibiotics or we pursue a probiotic supplement if we start feeling "off." Some owners apply similar strategies w...

Managing Weeds in Kentucky Horse Pastures

What grows in your pasture? Ideally, abundant forage that is nutritious to horses. However, a perusal of most Kentucky horse pastures will uncover 20 plant species, many of which are weeds. The abundance of weedy species depends greatly on pasture management: Overgrazing of pasture grasses and soil compaction are primary causes of weed occurrence.

Effects of Soaking on Protein, Mineral Loss in Hay

Providing a diet low in nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC), such as sugars and starch, is key to maintaining horses diagnosed with diseases such as laminitis, hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM). Soaking hay not only helps reduce dust, but also NSC, making it a popular option for maintaining horses with these ...

Link Identified between Tree Seed and Seasonal Pasture Myopathy

New research from the University of Minnesota (UM) that was recently published in the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) shows that a toxin from the box elder tree is the likely cause of seasonal pasture myopathy (SPM), the U.S. equivalent of the European disease known as atypical myopathy (AM). Preliminary comparisons of these results with cases of AM in Eu...

A Forage-Only Diet for Young Horses in Training Evaluated

Research shows that adult performance horses can subsist on a quality forage-only diet, but what about their younger counterparts? Recent study results from a Swedish research team indicate that a high-energy, high-quality forage diet is not only adequate for growing horses, but can also reduce their risk of several health problems associated with a conce...

Diet Restriction for Equine Weight Loss

Equine obesity is an increasingly common problem, leading many owners to seek safe weight loss solutions for their horse. In most cases veterinarians and nutritionists advise restricting diet and increasing exercise, but with some horses--those suffering from laminitis, for instance--exercise might be contraindicated. This leaves dietary restriction as th...

Preventing Fall and Winter Colic

The fall is a time of lovely colors, family get-togethers, and winding down the busy show season. However, fall is often a time of increased colic calls to veterinarians. While not all colic episodes can be prevented, paying attention to equine management can go a long way to decrease the incidence and the suffering of episodes.

Pre- and Probiotics for Horses

Feed digestion in horses is largely accomplished by microbial fermentation in the hindgut. The cecum and colon provide an environment that promotes the digestion and absorption of nutrients from fibrous products such as hay and beet pulp. Disrupting the microbe balance, due to mismanaged feeding practices or illness, can have detrimental effects on the ho...

Fall Feeding Tips for Horses

As temperatures drop, horse owners should begin to make changes in their horse's feeding program in preparation for winter. But what alterations are needed? Here are some points to consider when preparing to adjust a nutrition program for the colder weather.

Fluoridated Water and Horses

The potential risk of fluoride-supplemented public water to horses is a topic that periodically arises. A casual internet search of this topic can uncover alarming reports purporting fluoride poisoning in horses from fluoridated municipal water. These reports typically are published in non-peer reviewed sources and are missing important information necess...

Effects of Selenium Source on Mares and Foals

The micromineral selenium plays a vital role in equine immune function, especially in the mare and foal. Selenium transfer through the placenta and milk has been shown to influence neonatal selenium status in livestock, but it remains unknown if the selenium source affected transmission from mare to foal.

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