I am employed at a local feed store. When a customer inquires about this feed or that, one of the first questions she will ask is how much protein it contains. When I ask the customer to describe the horse for which the feed is intended, it invariably turns out to be an adult horse in light work. Can you refresh my memory as to why protein content shouldn’t be the primary consideration when selecting a feed for such a horse?
I have the chance to purchase some mature tall fescue hay for a reasonable price. Though I’ve only seen photographs, it looks greenish-brown, and the producer assures me there is no dust or other contaminants. Would this be acceptable forage for a broodmare, from late pregnancy through weaning of the foal?
Eight days after foaling, my mare suffered from recumbency, listlessness, intermittent seizures, and the inability to urinate and defecate. She was diagnosed with “milk fever” and administered intravenous calcium. She quickly perked up and seems normal now. Did my mare lack calcium in her diet? I’d like to continue to use her as a broodmare but not if she is susceptible to this again. Your thoughts?
My old horse is in good weight. He’s allowed time on pasture (16 hours a day), and he’s fed a commercial senior feed (3.3 lb or 1.5 kg daily), a trace mineral supplement, and free-choice alfalfa cubes. He’s given medicine for Cushing’s and gastric ulcers daily. I ride him once or twice a week. I recently switched from a ration balancer to the senior feed, and now his tail seems to be falling out and his coat has become dull and brittle. Help!
I have a 21-year-old gelding that has been diagnosed with navicular disease and other soundness issues, including arthritis and laminitis episodes. He receives plenty of good-quality hay twice a day and a balancer pellet. I provide him a glucosamine-based joint supplement and a hoof-health product as well as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for his lameness. We moved him to a new barn a few weeks ago and he recently developed hives. The hives came about right after a dose of antibiotics were given for an open skin wound. We treated the hives with dexamethasone. The hives recurred several times, and dexamethasone has always worked. The vet suggested allergies as a cause for the hives, possibly triggered by the changes in his environment. We are interested in any suggestions you may have for keeping the hives away, taking care of any potential hindgut issues, and providing relief for the ongoing lameness issues.
We have always fed alfalfa (lucerne) hay, but I have been introduced to alfalfa pellets and cubes recently. I believe in using the best nutrition possible for my racehorses. I am just beginning my training program, so I want to try new things that I think will build a healthier equine athlete. I plan on using the pellets with the morning feeding and a flake of alfalfa hay in the evening. Does this seem acceptable?
I own a yearling Paint filly named Roma that weighs about 600 lb (275 kg) and is in moderate body condition. She seems to be an easy keeper. She is kept in a pasture most of the day, only coming up to be fed. Her current diet includes 3 lb (1.4 kg) of a low-starch feed and one scoop of a hoof and coat supplement. When the pasture is not growing, she also gets orchardgrass hay. Roma began cribbing about a month after weaning. Because of this I’ve tried her on a few different feeds, including a growth formula and a senior product. I am concerned her cribbing might be due to stomach discomfort. She does not crib prior to being fed but will while eating and afterward. I’d like to help Roma, and I’d appreciate any suggestions you may have regarding her nutritional management.
My 15-hand, 900-lb (410-kg) gelding is an easy keeper, so I manage his grass intake and exercise him 3-4 times a week for about an hour. He’s outside half the day and inside the remainder of the day. His diet includes forage (pasture or hay), coconut meal, flax, chia, Micro-Max, a hoof supplement (biotin, silicon, amino acids), and a salt-magnesium product. I have thoroughly researched his feeds, so I am not looking to change his diet, but I’m wondering what else I can do for him to help his shelly, crumbly hooves. He is barefoot, trimmed every six weeks, and has trouble with chronic abscesses and white-line infections. He has chronic rings on all four hooves, yet both the farrier and the vet have ruled out laminitis. Any thoughts?
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