By Monique Warren
Hay nets and slow feed hay bags are invaluable and effective tools used to slow the rate of consumption and increase chew time. However, horses are often forced to engage in unnatural feeding positions depending on the height they are hung.
In 2021, Italian researchers conducted a study examining the shape variations of the back, neck, and mandibular (jaw) angle of horses based on specific feeding postures using geometric morphometrics - providing scientific evidence of the adverse physical effects of higher/unnatural eating positions compared to ground level. Read on for a condensed version of their findings. A link to the full study appears in the Reference section below.
Photo: Raspa et al. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/11/3/763/htm
Equines that drink excessive amounts of water have not developed a bad habit. They do so because of a health condition or as a coping mechanism. Horses rarely, if ever, do anything that doesn’t have a purpose.
Read on to learn about the possible causes of drinking too much water, associated health risks and potential solutions.
Salt is the most crucial mineral required by horses and often overlooked in the equine diet. Despite providing a salt block, the vast majority of equine diets do not provide sufficient sodium.
Salt supplementation is required for optimum health - regardless of the season. It is imperative to: 1) Ensure the minimum requirements are consumed daily in feed; 2) Provide an ample supply of fresh water; and 3) Offer an additional free choice supply of either loose salt or a white salt block. Read on to learn why, when and how much.
I think we can all agree that long thick horse tails are a sight to behold! In an effort to achieve them we commonly braid, wrap and/or use tail bags. Despite the best of intentions, these efforts can cause harm - including hair loss, permanent nerve or muscle damage or, worst of all, amputation.
Read on to learn why your horse's tail is more than an ornament and how keeping it healthy and natural provides benefits and prevents injury.
I’m an err on the side of caution horse guardian; therefore I avoid administering vaccines, sedatives or dewormers at the same time and document information ranging from an individual’s “normal” vital signs to what type and how much of a sedative/tranquilizer produces successful results with no adverse reactions (i.e. sweating or looking like they might fall over!). My records help me determine optimal baselines and doses for each horse, which makes routine care easier on my horses – and me.
Read on to learn about critical information to keep on hand and what to consider if a combination of tasks/treatments are scheduled in the same visit from your vet - or administered by yourself.
Fecal egg counts derived from fecal flotation tests - are a common method for determining parasite levels in horses, which can then influence how often a particular horse is wormed and what class of wormer to administer. As helpful as this information is - it unfortunately doesn't tell us the whole story. Fecal tests will not identify Pin Worms, Bots or Neck Threadworms. These parasites either do not reside in and/or lay eggs in the digestive tract making it impossible to detect their presence from a fecal sample.
Adult Tapeworms and Ascarids, despite residing in the digestive tract, can go undetected if adult worms present are not actively shedding eggs at that point in their reproductive cycle. In addition, a fecal egg count cannot reveal evidence of an existing population of Encysted Small Strongyles or Ascarid and Large Strongyle migrating larvae or immature adults within the horse.
Read on to learn about some common equine parasites not revealed by fecal tests, including where they reside and/or reproduce, their life cycle, and why a fecal flotation test is not a be-all end-all detector of potential parasite burdens.
Fly spray is intended to “protect” your horse from flies, but does it pose health risks? Depending on the ingredients, it can be harmful to you and your horse with potential long term adverse side effects. Unsafe ingredients have the potential to enter the bloodstream via skin absorption and/or inhalation. Natural ingredients are not necessarily safe either!
Read on to learn more about how fly spray enters the bloodstream, three common ingredients that may not be safe and some suggested - and safer - options.
Proper identification during an emergency/evacuation can help reunite you with your equine companion(s) as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, we're all being reminded of the power of natural disasters – and how devastating the impacts can be. Post Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and the wildfires in the west, should remind us we never know when the next fire, flood, hurricane, or earthquake can leave us with only moments to act.
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