Category

Equine Health

How to know if your horse has ulcers and tips to prevent them

By | Daily Gold, Equine Health | 2 Comments
Want to learn more about ulcers and stress?

by Julie Goodnight, juliegoodnight.com

Research shows that more horses have ulcers than don’t. The statistics are overwhelming and in some regards, it’s easier to assume a horse has ulcers than to assume he doesn’t. According to the AAEP (American Association  for Equine Practitioners), up to 90 percent of racehorses and 60 percent of show horses, as well as non-performance horses and even foals are affected by equine gastric ulcers. It can affect any horse, regardless of age or circumstance, and often it is a man-made condition, brought on by stress.

Definitively diagnosing ulcers in horses is a challenge because of the specialized equipment needed to scope the horse’s stomach, but a horse with ulcers may show signs of frequent colic, lack of appetite, depressed attitude and a failure to thrive—often referred to as a “hard keeper.” Sometimes we treat the symptoms but forget to address the cause. What causes a horse stress is different for each horse and may be hard to suss out, but it could be something as obvious as a heavy training/travel/competition schedule or something as subtle as a bully in the herd. Confinement, training and performance, feeding procedures, relocation, instability in the herd, isolation or separation could all be contributing factors. I believe we owe it to our horses to make their lives as comfortable and stress-free as we can, and even then, some horses will still have ulcers. 

Besides addressing lifestyle and reducing stress, there are some helpful things you can do to prevent ulcers. Free-feeding a low-protein grass hay will help a lot—keeping the digestive track full, as it was designed to be, is a good place to start. Pharmaceuticals are now available to heal ulcers and are highly effective, but also highly expensive. To me, prevention is key by keeping the horse’s lifestyle as stress free as possible, feeding free choice hay and a balanced diet and by giving them plenty of access to other horses.

Julie Goodnight is an internationally respected trainer and clinician with experience in many types of training. Learn more at juliegoodnight.com

 Want to learn more about ulcers and stress?

13 Things Horse Owners Should Do Now to Prepare for Spring

By | Equine Health | No Comments

Baby, it’s cold outside…but it won’t be forever. Before you know it, winter will be a fading memory and the season will be in full swing. We asked championship riders and professional trainers what horse owners should do to get ready for spring and compiled their answers for you. If you want to ride like a pro, try preparing like one.

 

1. Schedule spring vet appointments. Make sure your horses are set to be seen for routine vet exams, vaccines, and dental care by booking the appointments now.

 

2. Keep on top of farrier work. Winter brings its own hoof-care concerns. Whether you keep your horses shoed and or have them go barefoot in the winter, maintaining healthy hooves will make the spring transition much smoother.

 

3. Get fly gear ready for spring. Don’t wait for pests to be a problem. Gather fly gear and check its fit and condition now so it’s ready to use when your horse needs it.

 

4. Create your calendar. If you’re riding competitively, make a list of all the events you want to attend during the year and put them on your calendar. This will help you plan training and logistics while keeping your goals literally in sight.

 

 

5. Clean your tack. We’re not talking about a quick once-over, but a good, deep cleaning. Get it gleaming in a way you don’t have time for during the busy season.

 

6. Wash the warm-weather blankets. You know how hard it is to get the blankets washed when they’re in daily use, so grab a good book and take a trip to the laundromat for a mass cleaning.

 

7. Keep riding your horse. An elite athlete doesn’t stop training during the off-season, and neither should your horse. Riding all winter prevents injury and keeps them physically fit for competition. Even if your horse is on vacation for the winter, they need exercise. Turn-outs may not be big enough; get them out and active.

 

8. Feed mineral salt and Daily Gold. Stress and dehydration are big winter concerns. Offering mineral salts like Redmond Rock Crushed or Rock on a Rope to keep them drinking as well as stress-relievers like Daily Gold remedies these issues and promote good health so they’re ready for spring training.  

 

 

9. Work on your horse’s body condition score. Now is the time to make tweaks that will improve their score before competition season. Do they need fattening up? Slimming? Work with a vet or equine trainer to formulate a plan to take you through the rest of the year.

 

10. Set up a chiropractic visit. Having a chiropractor evaluate your horse before you bring them back to work will make sure their body is aligned correctly. Correct alignment prevents soreness and allows your hose to carry himself properly and use his body well.

 

11. Do some serious cleaning. If you touch it in the warm months, clean it now–and don’t overlook things like horse brushes. To clean those, dunk them in a bucket of soapy water and let them dry so they’ll be ready to care for the spring coat.

 

12. Get clipping. If you body clip your horses, make sure to get them fully clipped before the end of January. If you wait until February, the summer coat will already be growing.

 

13. Do trailer maintenance. Clean and perform necessary maintenance on your ride so you’re ready to roll when it’s time.

 

Got a tip of your own? Tell us what you think horse owners should do in the winter to prepare for spring.

Six Things To Do To Help Your Horse Through the Winter

By | Equine Health | No Comments

Winter is coming, and in some higher elevations it may feel like it has already arrived.  Here in Heber, Utah, we are at 5500 ft and this morning the icicles were hanging off of the pasture water wheels like frozen knives. I really feel for our horses. Even though it’s said horses can cope with temperatures down to -40°, they must be cold.

Horses are incredible creatures, and as winter approaches, they can naturally adapt to the changing environment to increase their defenses against the harsh weather. They will add some extra body fat for warmth and grow a thick coat with which they can fluff up to withstand the chill. Our horses can also manage their blood flow, pooling the majority in their core and vital organs and allowing their lower legs to tolerate the cold. This enables them to stand on ice or snow. If you have ever felt their almost frozen ears in mid winter it’s clear they can handle their cold extremities. Nevertheless, even though they adapt well and we may not be riding, we cannot ignore them during the winter. They need us to do some things that they can’t.

Here are the six things you can do to help your horse through the winter.

1.Tend to their hooves – Ensure they can dry their hooves off and have a dry place to stand. Wet hooves can lead to rot and infection, especially when left for long periods. Hooves grow slower in cold, but still need maintenance and checking on. Take his metal shoes off and trim him every 6-8 weeks. Pick out his hooves and make sure they are clean with no bacteria or rotting deep in the crevasses of the frog. When we give the hooves attention, we can catch any potential problem early and have him happy and ready to ride in the spring.

2.Ask your vet about blanketing – Your instinct may be to place a blanket on your horse when the temperatures dip, but not all horses need or benefit from one. In some cases, putting covers on prevents them from growing a thick winter coat and doesn’t enable them to regulate their own temperature.  Place your hand on their neck under their mane on the coldest mornings, and you will see that it is a radiator of warmth. That said, some horses absolutely need to be blanketed. Let them grow out their shaggy warm coats and talk to your vet before deciding whether or not to blanket.

3.Provide a run-in for protection from the wind and rain – A run-in will enable your horse to take refuge and stay dry, sheltered from the driving wind and rainstorms. Keep it open so they can seek shelter when needed and still have the freedom to saunter out and bask in the winter sunshine at will. Penning them in the stall has its own issues as the air is often still and cold, and there is less heat from sunlight available. It’s possible during dry, cold conditions that stables (box stalls) can often be colder than standing outside.

4.Feed them a little extra every day – Our horses burn a lot of calories just trying to stay warm and may need a little more feed to provide energy for that. Burning a lot of calories without additional feed will result in a miserable winter and a thinner horse who is less happy and healthy.

5. Keep your horses hydrated – Place a heater in their water tub to prevent it from freezing. Horses don’t like to drink water that is too cold, and this will warm the water just enough to help them drink. Dehydration is a significant issue in winter with our horses not moving much, giving them no incentive to drink. A good salt lick will help give them the trigger to drink. The rock licks are better than the blocks. You can buy good ones these days that hang on a rope that keep them out of the mud and rain.  A good electrolyte mix, such as Redmond’s Rein Water, that you can mix in their water is a great option to encourage them to drink and supply them the minerals and electrolytes they need.

6. Keep Up the Exercise – Get his blood flowing, raise his core temperature, reduce his boredom, and keep him healthy by exercising him. Riding during these months is a great opportunity to give him some attention, check his attitude and demeanor, and retain good contact, communication, and a strong relationship with him. It is also a great time to check and ensure he is drinking enough and is not dehydrated, and to brush him down and clean him off so he is not covered in mud, as that would prevent his coat from regulating his temperature and helping him fluff up to stay warm.

Do these six things to help your horse through the winter and you may be surprised how much easier the cold season is on both of you.

Can My Horse Overeat Salt?

By | Equine Health | No Comments

Once in a while, you’ll come across a horse that has a large appetite for salt. They just won’t leave it alone.  Whether it’s salt blocks, salt rocks, or loose salt, some horses just keep eating it–sometimes even biting at it. The question then arises: can a horse overeat salt?  

This is a question we have heard from horse owners for decades. We have been in the salt business for a lot of years, and we have yet to see a case of a horse over-consuming salt, although in rare cases, salt toxicosis can happen. Symptoms include colic, diarrhea, frequent urination, and general weakness. A horse displaying these signs should be seen by a vet immediately. Salt is water-soluble, so generally speaking, as long as a horse has constant access to fresh, clean water, the horse will naturally balance salt intake by drinking water and their body will flush it out. Hence on the Redmond packaging, we always advise you to keep water available at all times.  

With that said, there could be some downsides to letting your horse constantly binge on salt.  

First, the horse’s stall might tend to be messy because increased salt consumption leads to increased water consumption, which results in an increase in urination and a messier stall.

Second, you could be spending more on mineral salt than you need to spend.  Just because your horse has a huge appetite for salt doesn’t mean they need all of that savory goodness. Most of that over-consumed salt and your investment will pass through the horse and end up in the bedding or on the ground.

Last of all, horses that spend too much of their day licking salt could end up with a sore mouth – not something we need when we are wanting to insert a bridle bit. Not something we want for the well-being of our horses.  

So, what to do with that salt-aholic horse?  

Overeating salt can be a sign of boredom. Make sure your horse is getting enough exercise and time to roam. That turnout time can help them find other ways to satisfy their impulse to chew. A toy or another enrichment to their stall may be helpful as well.  

You might consider taking away the free choice salt option and changing to a measured feeding of Redmond Rock Crushed.  Two scoops a day will do it for most horses with an average level of activity.  By daily measuring in the salt, either with the feed or in a pan by itself, you control the amount of mineral salt your pony consumes.  This way, your horse gets the salt she needs, and you keep a cleaner stall, save a little money, and have a happier horse…and rider.  

Will Horses Get Too Much Iron From Redmond Rock?

By | Equine Health | One Comment

Iron overload in horses is a potentially serious issue and there are countless articles written about excessive iron in equine diets, so it’s understandable that many owners want to know if their horses can get too much iron from Redmond Rock products. Because Redmond Rock has a red hue, people assume it has a high iron level. Stated values on the label sometimes add to this perception. Perhaps you’ve seen that the labeling on Redmond Rock and Redmond Rock Crushed states there are 300 ppm of iron in our products and worried that that’s more than your horse should be getting. It’s not, but we know why you might think so, and we hope this post will clear up the confusion.

How to Interpret Mineral Requirements and Label Values

Because you can find a variety of values for iron requirements for horses online, we’re going to stick with what the National Research Council (NRC) states in their book Nutrient Requirements for Horses, (National Academies Press, 1989, 5th edition).  We decided to do this because this committee is made up of numerous researchers from universities all across the United States who review piles of peer-reviewed research data in order to establish the values they suggest. Notice that word: suggest. The NRC makes suggestions instead of mandates because of the variation in results in the studies from which they draw.  

According to NRC values, the iron requirement for horses is 50 mg/kg. Reading that, you might think that Redmond products offer too much iron—however, it’s important to understand how to correctly interpret this information.

The requirement of 50 mg/kg of feed (mg/kg is the same as ppm) means that a horse should have 50 mg of iron for every kg of feed. To get the true limits, you have to multiply 50 mg of iron by the kilograms of feed the animal eats in a day. The suggested RDA for iron as recommended by the NRC for horses is 50 mg/kg (ppm) of feed x 12 kg of feed/day, making it 600 mg/day.

Redmond Salt has iron levels of 300 ppm (mg/kg), so there are 300 mg of iron for every kg of salt consumed.  But unlike eating 12 kg of forage, which is 26 lbs, they are only consuming 2 ounces of Redmond Rock Crushed.

 

There is a quick formula for calculating how much of a nutrient your horse is getting from Redmond Rock:

simply multiply the ppm on the label by 0.0284 (the factor to get mg/oz).  

For iron: 300ppm x 0.0284 = 8.52 mg/oz.  

At a 2 oz consumption rate, a horse is getting 17 mg of iron/day from Redmond Rock in a diet where 600 mg/day is suggested.

 

Now that we know what the equine requirements for iron are and how much iron they’re getting from our product, let’s examine how much iron the average horse is actually eating in a day.

Actual Intake of Iron From Feeds

There are many studies showing the iron content of feeds and it’s easy to take samples of your feeds and have them analyzed for iron content.  Here’s an example of a peer-reviewed study that took many samples of different forages to get iron content.  In grasses, the range was from 31 to 1044 mg/kg.  For legumes, it was 29 to 617 mg/kg.  Extrapolating this out using even just a low average of 200 mg/kg, a horse would be consuming 2400 mg of iron every day (200 mg/kg X 12 kg of feed).

Putting It All Together

As you now know, the daily requirement for iron is suggested at 600 mg/day for a mature horse. Redmond Rock and Redmond Rock Crushed offer 17 mg of iron/day. A low average for a forage diet is 2400 mg of iron/day.

It is pretty clear to see that horses normally consume far more iron than they need. When you view it in context, Redmond products’ iron content is almost insignificant in the whole picture–less than 3% of the suggested allowance and not even 1% of actual iron intake.

Horses have been eating huge amounts of iron for eons of time.  How have they been able to do that? How did horses work hard and live long 100 years ago on that diet?

Fortunately, nature has provided protections for this exact problem. Once again from the NRC book, “Iron in feedstuffs and minerals are in the ferric form (Fe+3) and are poorly absorbed in the intestinal tract. Enterocytes regulate iron absorption efficiency, and any more than 2% entering the system is excreted.” (Beard and Dawson, 1997.)

There are many articles like this one that say that iron has a relationship with zinc, copper, and manganese. It’s likely that iron levels aren’t causing a problem as much as an imbalance of this group of minerals.  This is why it’s wise to have your feeds analyzed. Redmond products are unrefined and contain over 60 naturally-occurring trace minerals which can help address this issue of imbalance.

If your horse is having problems, don’t rule out other possible causes like toxins in the feed or other types of feeds in their diet.  Chances are, Redmond Rock isn’t the culprit.

Will Redmond Rein Water Help My Dehydrated Horse Drink?

By | Equine Health | No Comments

They say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. If you own a horse, you probably know how true that sentiment is. Horses become accustomed to the water in their home paddock and stall, and water from a different source when you’re traveling or have moved can taste strange to them. Often times, you’ll find your equine partner will simply refuse to drink the foreign water. This will of course cause you concern about dehydration.

Dehydration is the lack of water and a full range of minerals like sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. It is a serious condition that can lead to lethargy, colic, and kidney failure if the horse is not quickly rehydrated. Though many people think of dehydration as a problem only in the hot months, it is a major issue that can also occur all year long—even in the depths of winter.

To encourage drinking, owners will try a variety of tactics, including adding sweeteners, molasses flavoring, or even a sugary sports drink. Some owners even resort to taking gallons of the home water with them when they travel, to prevent dehydration issues. We probably don’t need to tell you that none of those are good options, but just in case: none of those are good options. Your horse may drink it, but that still doesn’t make it a good option. Why? To begin with, as veterinarian Dr. Mark DePaolo has written, “Horses were not designed to eat sugars or carbohydrates. High sugar diets are detrimental to your horse’s health and well-being.” Secondly, offering water alone to a dehydrated horse does not truly rehydrate it. Water by itself dilutes the body fluids surrounding the tissues and lowers the balance of electrolytes that the body needs to function well, while shutting off the thirst mechanism. Electrolytes need to be incorporated to help replace the essential salts in the body that are lost through sweat, so the best rehydration therapies include the use of electrolyte preparations, either in feed or water, to encourage drinking.

This is where Rein Water comes in. Rein Water is a proprietary mix of over 60 Redmond minerals, salt, and Daily Gold. It is like an equine Gatorade…without the sugar. When mixed with water, the minerals and salt will dissolve and mix well giving your horses the electrolyte benefits they need to stave off dehydration. The good news is, because it helps mask the taste of foreign water and gives horses the trigger to drink more, it will help your dehydrated horse drink and stay hydrated and healthy, especially when you’re on the road or in new surroundings.

 

Good traveling, good drinking. And remember, a healthy horse is a hydrated horse.

How Long Does The Rock Last?

By | Equine Health, Products | No Comments

When you bring your lucky horse their first Redmond Rock, you’ll find they will likely devour it pretty quickly. Some people tell us their horse finishes it in a week or two. If that’s true for your horse, don’t be alarmed. This is normal at first. Usually, their consumption will start to slow after the first or second rock, when they’ve loaded up on the trace minerals their body might have been craving. Give your horse plenty of fresh water and let them enjoy it at their pace.

Read More

Julie Goodnight: Avoiding Feed-time Frenzy

By | Equine Health | No Comments

(Photo credit to Heidi Melocco, Whole-Picture.com)

Julie Goodnight takes on topics you want to know more about in her online training library—part of her ever-expanding Horse Master Academy (http://signin.JulieGoodnight.com) now with a free access membership to help you search for many training articles, videos and MP3s!

For more thoughts from Julie, watch her Horse Master TV show each week on RFD-TV or catch the show online anytime at TV.JulieGoodnight.com and please subscribe to the free YouTube channel and find her on Instagram. Check out her full list of clinics and appearances at: JulieGoodnight.com/calendar

If you keep your horses at home, you’ve probably already developed a routine that makes your job efficient and keeps the horses happy. But if you are new to this, or are looking for helpful hints to make your horse life easier, I’d like to share with you the ‘tricks of the trade’ that I have learned over the decades.

Feed time can be very stressful for the horses, especially when they are only fed twice a day. Nothing could be more unnatural to the horse, since he is designed to eat small amounts all day long. His digestive system is designed to always be full, so when he is fed two lump-sum meals that he finished within an hour or two, his stomach gets empty and he now has 6-8 hours or more to worry about when his next meal is coming. In addition to digestive and emotional stress, horses may also learn to act aggressively or rudely, which is reinforced as soon as you feed them. So it’s important to do what we can to alleviate the stress, by developing a good feed-time routine. Read More

Dr. Getty: Gas Colic – Common, but Preventable!

By | Equine Health | No Comments

gettyequinenutrition.biz

Gas colic is the least serious form of colic. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s very common. So common, in fact, that it is often overlooked as “just gas,” like you might get when you eat too much pizza. However, never be complacent about gas colic because it can lead to complications such as displacement or twisting of the large colon.[i] Truth is, if you’re feeding correctly, gas colic should not happen. And if it does, then you’re more than likely doing something wrong.  Read More

Redmond Rock Crushed equine mineral salt

For Your Horse’s Sake: Salt Needs More Attention During Hot Months

By | Equine Health | No Comments

By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

Your horse sweats more during the summer, making electrolyte supplementation worth considering. But electrolytes alone will not protect against dehydration. Your horse needs to have enough sodium (salt). One ounce per day (two tablespoons) is adequate for maintenance during cool months, but hot, humid weather calls for at least two ounces per day, and more if your horse is in work of any kind.

One way to accomplish this: provide a plain, white salt block, Redmond salt rock, or Himalayan salt rock in close proximity. But make sure your horse licks it; many horses do not, due to tiny scratches that form on the tongue. Even better is to offer coarsely granulated salt free choice by pouring some in a small bucket. You can also add salt to each meal. Iodized table salt and Redmond and Himalayan rocks offer a small amount of iodine. Take this into consideration if your horse already receives iodine from another source. Total iodine intake should not exceed 5 mg per day.  

Be aware that electrolyte supplements should be given only to a horse that is already in good sodium balance. They are designed to replace what is lost from perspiration and should contain at least 13 grams of chloride, 6 grams of sodium, and 5 grams of potassium per dose. If your horse works more than two hours at a time, provide a dose of electrolytes after exercise by adding it to a gallon of water, top-dressing a feed, or offered via syringe. And always, be sure to keep fresh, clean water nearby.

Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices.

Dr. Getty’s comprehensive resource book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse, is available at www.GettyEquineNutrition.com — buy it there and have it inscribed by the author, or get it at Amazon (www.Amazon.com) or other online retail bookstores. The seven separate volumes in Dr. Getty’s topic-centered “Spotlight on Equine Nutrition” series are available with special package pricing at her website, and also at Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Dr. Getty’s books make ideal gifts for equestrians.

Find a world of useful information for the horseperson at www.GettyEquineNutrition.com: Sign up for Dr. Getty’s informative, free e-newsletter, Forage for Thought; browse her library of reference articles; search her nutrition forum; and purchase recordings of her educational teleseminars. Reach Dr. Getty directly at gettyequinenutrition@gmail.com. She is available for private consultations and speaking engagements.