Formula 4 Feet’s Guide to Giving Equine Meals

horse mealNutrition is a huge part to equine care. After all, what use will all that grooming, hoof picking and training be if the horse isn’t nurtured from within? That said meals form an integral aspect in terms of nutrition. Food doesn’t always constitute to health because there are a lot of factors involved and that’s what Formula 4 Feet experts are here to tell us today. Here’s a guide to giving your horses the meal they deserve and need.

  1. It’s a matching game.

Caretakers and owners must never give the same meals to all horses. The reason is simple. Their needs vary. You wouldn’t give fried chicken to a newborn baby the same way you won’t hand milk to someone who’s lactose intolerant, right? The rule applies to equines too which brings us to the next item.

  1. Consider the variables.

Put all the factors together. There are many variables that affect the nutritional needs of every horse. To name a few there’s the weather or the season, their current state of health, likes and preferences, weight, gender, breed, age and reproductive state. It is therefore important to get to know them better. Advice from a horse vet would be best.

  1. Keep meals consistent.

Because horses tend to develop routines as part of their intrinsic nature, it’s important to cater to such need otherwise they are likely to be put off, lose appetite or shed considerable weight. Meal schedules should be consistent all throughout so as to avoid such dilemma. In cases where their regular routine needs to be varied, it has to be adjusted slowly so as not to stir a wide array of unwell.

  1. Less in size but more frequent.

These animals do not have the best digestive system. In fact, the capacity is so limited that an average horse has a maximum capacity of only 8-15 liters. When they overfeed, they tend to develop colic or at worse suffer from a rupture. To avoid these painful and often deadly circumstances, experts suggest that their daily requirements should be divided into several small portions throughout the day instead of one or two huge meals.

  1. Allow for lots of forage and water.

Last but not the least, Formula 4 Feet experts remind owners to provide their equines with enough amounts of forage (e.g. hay or grass) and water. These are integral to their diets and play a huge role in metabolism and digestion.

Food Items that are Deadly for Horses

horse-foodWhat may seem harmless has now given your horse trauma for a lifetime or worse even death. Not all food items are safe not even those deemed edible for other animals or even humans. To help everyone avoid the trouble and the pain, provides us with a list of things that are deadly for our equine friends.

  • Apricot Pits – It’s important to note that the apricot fruit itself is okay for consumption but the pits or seeds are deadly. If ingested, it results to symptoms similar to cyanide poisoning. This is because the pits contain a toxic chemical known as amygdalin. Once consumed, the body converts it to cyanide.
  • Chocolate – Surprise! Our favorite sweet treat is not only toxic to dogs but to equines as well. This is hugely attributed to its theobromine content. Otherwise known as xantheose, it is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant that can cause colic, internal bleeding and other metabolic or digestive issues.
  • Coffee – Because caffeine can cause irregular heart rhythms and palpitations, it’s best to keep coffee away from horses. This also applies to other food items that contain high levels of caffeine like soda, tea and juices.
  • Garlic – Known for its ability to cause anemia, gastric ulcers and even bleeding, they have to be kept at bay as much as possible. Although garlic can be only toxic to some extent especially if eaten raw. There are supplements and feeds that contain very minimal doses. For safety though, it’s best to just skip the garlic.
  • Pet Feeds – Never feed dog or cat treats and kibbles because they are likely to contain meat. Although there’s no potential harm that it can immediately bring, meat is not generally advised to be fed to horses first of all because they’re never meant to eat it. Their teeth are flat and are not meant for chewing meat. Plus, their liver cannot handle meat protein breakdown residues quite well.
  • Potatoes – They are deadly for a number of reasons. First, their size poses as a choking hazard. Then there’s the threat of poisoning when part of or the entire crop is rotting or green.
  • Tomatoes – The fruit including the plant are toxic for containing atropine. Among the many health issues that it bring include poor metabolic function, decreased saliva production, intestinal failure, diarrhea, constipation and increased heart rate.

Now that has initiated us with these information, it’s time to keep them in memory for good.

Global Herbs on Horses and Cold Weather

winter-horseIt’s that time of the year when the breeze gets cooler and we start wearing the coziest sweaters and the comfiest of socks. Winter can be a dream but it can also be a source of dread at times. Think of your car covered in snow and you’ve got to be at a meeting in a few minutes. Or perhaps suffer from the not so common runny nose? Achoo! How un-cool would that be? But apart from humans, animals too can get weary during the colder season. Take horses for example says Global Herbs. Even they would need extra care during this time of the year.

Add some pounds. – This may sound contradicting but it is necessary for some horses. There are animals that are hard gainers, easy losers or worse both. During the winter months, shedding off pounds can get fast and gaining them back becomes severely hard as majority of horses don’t eat as much with the current weather. If obesity is a killer, so is malnutrition. But experts would like to point out that moderation still persists and the choice of food items is still important for their health. As a rule of thumb, adding at least 4 ounces to 8 ounces of corn oil to their grain meals would provide extra calories to last them otherwise consult a vet.

Put on fat. – On a similar note, fat is necessary but just not lots of it. There’s what we call good and adequate fat. After all, it is stored energy and it is part of the six main nutritional requirements of equines. Fat, apart from being energy in stored form, provides a level of insulation. It helps keep the animal warm. Months prior to winter, make sure that the horses are well suited up.

Give them additional hay. – Roughage in the form of grass and/or hay must be provided. It’s already part of their daily nutrition but they may need a few more come winter time. This is because when digested, it helps create and provide warmth within the body. Just make sure that the added roughage is coupled with more water intake to avoid colic.

Check up on the water. – Last but not the least, just because it’s cold doesn’t mean that water intake can be overlooked. According to Global Herb’s lead experts, horses tend to prefer slightly warmer liquids during the winter often from 7 ºC to 18 ºC. They should not be left and allowed to freeze over so heaters and warming buckets make good investments.

Achieve Better Bones for Your Equine Needs

horse-bonesBones are considered the very frame by which bodies depend on. Without them, muscle groups could not hold their shape and let’s not even begin to talk about posture and movement. For animals like equines and horses, healthy and strong bones are crucial. This is why we’ve asked the experts from Topspec to share with us a few tips and advice on how to build, develop and maintain better bones for our horses.

  • Do it from within.

In other words, pay attention to proper nutrition. You can’t develop a strong skeletal frame by any other temporary fast-lane means. See to it that they are given the right amount, portions and frequency of meals, feeds, roughage, water and supplements. Keep in mind the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for strong bones such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, sodium and potassium.

  • Go at it while they’re young.

The earlier you pay attention to and nourish their bones, the stronger they will come to grow and develop. Begin with the mother or in this case the broodmare. By providing adequate and correct care and nutrition from this point onwards, you’ll be assured of far better results.

  • Make them exercise.

Believe it or not, there too are lazy horses who wouldn’t want to move as much muscle as possible. That’s not only bad for their bones but it’s not healthy in general. Make them take walks and allow them to run across fields. Endurance is part of the deed and exercise will help in the development and stamina of things.

  • Prevention is better than cure.

There are many activities and scenarios that can cause an injury or weaken your horse’s bones. For instance, riding them on hard, rocky and dangerous terrain poses risks of accidents and injuries. Unkempt stables and barns with sharp objects poking out or beams that may cause them to fall down unguarded are threats. A broken or damaged bone, calf or hoof may eventually heal but bringing them back to tiptop shape won’t be easy and in most cases it is never achieved ever again.

To further ensure that you help your horses develop better and stronger bones, Topspec further reminds owners to seek a vet’s advice. No two equines are the same so it is best to tailor-fit things to their needs. This way, you get to better provide for their needs the best way possible.

A Topspec Guide to Proper Hoof Care

topspecThe hooves are the horny part of a horse’s foot and form an integral part of the puzzle when we talk about equines. Proper care is essential otherwise you’ll end up frazzled so we’ve asked experts from Topspec about some tips and advice regarding the matter and here’s what they had to say.

Start from the inside out. No amount of products or will beat nutrition any day. A healthy horse is bound to have healthy hooves. Sure, other factors may play a part too but wellness is the biggest player on the field. See to it that you feed your equines right and enough.

Examine and inspect for abnormalities. The earlier a problem is detected, the faster it can be solved. This also prevents things from escalating to the worst. Practice inspecting their feet on the regular. Check for things like cracks, abscess, digital pulse, uncharacteristic warmth and other unusual signs that can signal an issue.

Pick their hooves daily. Don’t do it just when you feel like it or when it appears to be convenient. Picking is done every single day and that’s before and after taking them for a ride. This practice helps remove any debris stuck on their foot thereby preventing injury, infection and even relieving the horse thus helping it walk and run more comfortably.

Have them trimmed or shod regularly. As a rule of thumb, hooves must be trimmed at least every six to eight weeks or as needed. Some animals grow them faster than others. This is to ensure many things, balance being one of them.

Take them to the farrier for shoeing. The right shoe is crucial jus as much as properly putting it on. This is no time for experiments. Involve an expert or professional trained to perform it. Be wary of risen clinches and sprung shoes as well.

Avoid hazardous and hard terrain. Prevention, as they say, is better than cure. One way to prevent injuries is to stay clear from it and so it would be wise to keep away from rocky, dangerous and hard packed dirt terrain when riding your horses.

Keep them moisturized but never soaked. Topspec also reminds owners that although the hooves need to be moisturized, they must never be exposed to wet surroundings for extended periods. For instance, their stalls and barn floors should be kept clean and dry otherwise it can encourage bacterial infection and diseases like laminitis.

Equine Care for the Summer Months

 Owners often get told that equine care should be heightened during the cold and winter months. But even those summer days and humid nights will require quite the effort too says the experts from Topspec. Check out the following bag of tricks to give your equines some much needed love under the intense heat!

  • Make sure there’s ample water intake. Hydration is very crucial during summer especially because your horses are exposed to extreme temperatures that can easily drain them out of fluids. See to it that adequate and potable water is made available round the clock.
  • Steer clear of the harsh sun. Sure, summer makes for better riding conditions but going out into the open under the extreme rays can hurt not only the animal’s health but yours as well. There’s a limit to the amount of work they can take in this weather.
  • Keep the flies away. Bugs and insects such as flies and mosquitoes are easily attracted to equines during this time of the year. Not only are they abundant in numbers but the sweat calls to them. Misting your horse, hosing or running a wet sponge can help ease the dilemma. An insect repellant, fly sheet and/or mask can also keep them away to avoid any irritations and diseases.
  • It’s a good idea to hose them off. At the end of the day, your horses will thank you for it. Not only is it refreshing but it also washes away sweat and the smell that comes with it.
  • Protect them from sunburn. Yes, they too can suffer from this painful plight. These animals regardless of age, breed and gender can suffer from it if exposed to large amounts of rays and heat. Red patches, peeling skin and sores are a result of sunburn. To avoid it, use sunscreen or a fly skrim.
  • Check up on ventilation. See to it that barns and stables have adequate cool air going in and out. Fans are great at doing this and are not hard to install and invest in as well. They help move the air and reduce the sweltering heat indoors.
  • Be mindful of the mold. With humidity on the rise coupled with high temperatures, Topspec warns owners of mold growth in feeds, water buckets and barn floors. When ingested, they can cause health issues in horses ranging from mild to severe. Be sure to clean them out as soon as you spot them.

How to Prevent Colic According to Equine America

equine-americaEquine colic is one of the most common digestive conditions suffered by horses around the globe. It is simply referred to as pain in the abdomen and is a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis says Equine America. The pain felt is pretty much just the tip of the ice berg. There’s more to it than just discomfort and it can be a symptom of a more serious condition.

Horses are known to have quite the sensitive digestive system so colic is pretty much easy to acquire. It can be caused by something as simple as an upset stomach or diarrhea and at times something pretty adverse like a rupture or parasitic infection.

Fortunately, there are many ways by which caretakers and owners can prevent colic altogether and here are a few tips about that. Check these out and take down notes.

  • Keep them hydrated. – Equines who ingest a fairly low intake of water on a daily basis tend to suffer from it more than those who are well hydrated. This makes it important to make potable water available round the clock. Moreover, keep an eye during the winter months as these animals would not drink cold water much less those that have frozen over.
  • Take care of their teeth. – The inability to properly chew their food can also lead to the condition. In the animal kingdom, horses were not fairly blessed with the best digestive system which is why it’s fairly easy for them to suffer from an upset stomach. Having their dentals lie on the bad side doesn’t help so make sure that their teeth are healthy too.
  • Provide vaccination and de-worming. – As mentioned earlier, parasites can also cause colic so to prevent both there has to be an active war against them. Ask your vet regarding the right vaccines and schedule regular de-worming. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Plus, it’s easier to solve a problem at its earliest stages.
  • Ensure that they don’t ingest sand or soil. – Avoid having them feed off directly from the ground as much as possible according to Equine America. Check their hay and roughage too and make sure that they are free from both soil and molds. When huge quantities of sand are ingested, this creates severe abdominal pain and can even lead to an excruciating and deadly rupture in the stomach or intestines.