How to Identify Forages and Estimate Their Maturity

By |March 22nd, 2023|Nutrition|

Forage is the single highest volume component in the equine diet. The type, quality, and maturity of the forage you feed have the greatest impact on the nutritional composition of your horse's ration. The only way to precisely assess the quality of a forage is to submit a sample for analysis. However, some visual and sensory clues can help you identify the forage species and their level of maturity to estimate the nutritional quality. This will help you decide how to choose a forage that is appropriate for your horse.

13 Tips for Trailering Your Horse [A How-To Guide]

By |March 22nd, 2023|Care & Management|

Whether you are a seasoned equestrian or a new horse owner, trailering your horse can be a daunting task but does not have to be uncomfortable for you or your horse. Many factors influence equine welfare while trailering. However, the right vehicle, proper trailer maintenance, careful driving, and thorough preparation will help ensure a safe and successful journey with your horse.

Flexural and Angular Limb Deformities in Foals: Types, Causes & Treatment

By |March 21st, 2023|Conditions|

Angular limb deformities (ALDs) and flexural deformities (FDs) frequently affect foals’ legs. When severe, they are deemed clinically significant and require conservative management or veterinary intervention to achieve correction.

Vaccination Guide for Horses: Schedule & List of Equine Vaccines

By |March 20th, 2023|Care & Management|

Staying up-to-date with required vaccines is important to keep your horse healthy and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccines have been developed for 14 major equine diseases, including Strangles, West Nile Virus, Equine Influenza, and Equine Herpesvirus. Some vaccines are recommended for all horses, while others are recommended based on your horse's risk profile. If your horse lives in specific geographic areas, competes in performance disciplines, or frequently travels to events and shows, they may have a higher risk of contracting certain diseases.

Tetanus in Horses: Signs, Prevention & Treatment

By |March 20th, 2023|Conditions|

Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a non-contagious neurological disease that results from a bacterial infection. Horses are particularly vulnerable to tetanus, with individuals of all ages and breeds affected worldwide. Tetanus spores are particularly dangerous for horses as they survive for long periods and can be found everywhere in the environment, including in soil, dust, manure and even the digestive tract. The smallest wound can make a horse susceptible to tetanus once these spores enter the body. Fortunately, tetanus is entirely preventable with regular immunization and other protective measures.

Botulism in Horses: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

By |March 20th, 2023|Conditions|

Botulism is a fatal neuroparalytic disease that affects horses, humans and other animals worldwide. Botulism interferes with nerve signalling, weakening and often paralyzing the horse. This disease is caused by the ingestion of botulinum toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Horses are particularly susceptible to botulism and only need to consume a small amount of botulism neurotoxin to become seriously infected. When botulism occurs in foals, it is known as Shaker Foal Syndrome or toxico-infectious botulism. Botulism outbreaks occur sporadically but are fortunately rare. Feed or forage can be contaminated with botulism and infect multiple horses with access to that feed. Silage and haylage are the most common sources of botulism in equine diets.

Hair Loss (Alopecia) in Horses – Signs, Causes & Treatment

By |March 20th, 2023|Conditions|

Alopecia or hair loss in horses can occur for several different reasons and may be temporary or permanent. Alopecia refers to the partial or complete absence of hair that occurs in any area of the body where hair is normally present. Congenital alopecia is a condition that is present at the time of birth. This form of alopecia is non-inflammatory and may occur due to genetic factors, resulting in damage to the hair follicles. Acquired alopecia refers to a partial or complete loss of hair that occurs at any stage of life. It is the most common form of hair loss that affects horses.

Chia Seeds for Horses – Nutrition, Benefits & Feeding Guide

By |March 17th, 2023|Nutrition|

Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant and are fed to horses to support gut health and provide nutrients. A member of the mint family, chia has been cultivated for over 5,000 years in Central America. The seeds of the chia plant are rich in nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Chia is also a source of amino acids and beneficial plant chemicals (phytochemicals). Chia is included in the equine diet as a source of cool calories with digestible energy primarily supplied from fat. Feeding chia is also purported to support gut motility, possibly reducing the risk of sand colic, among other purported benefits.

Guide to Turnout for Horses: Benefits, Safety & Schedules

By |March 15th, 2023|Care & Management|

Modern domestic horses have very different lifestyles than their wild ancestors. While keeping horses in stalls is convenient for humans, confinement can be detrimental for animals who evolved to graze and walk throughout the day. Turning horses out to pasture provides freedom of movement in a controlled outdoor environment. Regular turnout can improve your horse's mental and physical health, even if your horse already gets frequent exercise under saddle. While turnout involves some risk of injury, greater turnout time generally provides more benefits for equine welfare. However, the best turnout schedule for your horse will vary depending on their unique needs and preferences.

Transitioning your Horses to Grazing Pasture in the Spring [Guide]

By |March 15th, 2023|Care & Management, Nutrition|

Turning horses out on pasture is one of the best ways to encourage natural grazing behaviour. Fresh forage can be a valuable part of a balanced equine diet, but grass does not have the same nutritional value throughout the year. In the spring, growing grasses can accumulate high amounts of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) that might be unsafe for certain horses to consume. If your horse has limited pasture access during the winter, a sudden change in diet when spring arrives can increase the risk of digestive health problems and laminitis. Proper pasture management, including spring grazing restrictions, can help limit these risks. Some particularly sensitive horses may need to be housed in dry lots and only fed low-NSC hay.

American Quarter Horse Breed Characteristics, Health & Nutrition Guide

By |March 14th, 2023|Breeds|

The American Quarter Horse is the most popular horse breed in the world. The AQHA has registered more than 6 million Quarter horses since 1940, thanks to the breed's trademark character and versatility. As one of the oldest recognized breeds in the United States, the Quarter Horse has a rich history closely intertwined with that of America. Initially bred for quarter-mile races, the working Quarter Horse eventually found a niche on the western frontier. Modern Quarter Horses thrive in a wide range of disciplines as pleasure and performance horses. But the breed has an increased risk of genetic diseases and health conditions requiring specialized nutrition and management.

Coggins Test for Horses – Detecting Equine Infectious Anemia

By |March 13th, 2023|Care & Management|

Coggins Test Equine Infectious Anemia How to Test Signs Transmission Prognosis Prevention Requirements The Coggins test is a standard fixture in a routine annual equine wellness appointment. Veterinarians usually pull [...]

Pasture Health & Grazing Management for Horses – [Guide]

By |March 9th, 2023|Care & Management|

Pasture Evaluation Forage Species Soil Testing Horse Density Pasture Restoration Maintenance Grazing Management Grazing fresh forage while out on pasture can provide excellent nutrition for horses. But environmental conditions and [...]

Feeding Alfalfa to Horses: Pros & Cons of this Forage in the Diet

By |February 28th, 2023|Nutrition|

Alfalfa for Horses Nutritional Composition Forms of Alfalfa Benefits of Feeding Common Concerns When to Avoid Example Diets Alfalfa is a popular forage choice for horses and an ingredient in [...]

Photosensitization in Horses: Causes, Signs, Treatment & Prognosis

By |February 26th, 2023|Conditions|

Photosensitization, or light-induced dermatitis (photodermatitis), is a noncontagious condition in horses where the skin becomes extremely sensitive to sunlight. This condition often mimics a sunburn, but it is much more serious and painful. Photosensitization is most commonly caused by ingesting toxic plants containing pigments, which are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and transported to the skin. When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight, the pigments cause a complex photosensitivity reaction in the horse's skin. Non-pigmented (i.e. white) skin is especially sensitive to reactive compounds, as is skin with little hair cover (i.e. muzzle, eyelids, ears).

Dry Lots for Horse: Benefits of Turnout on Bare Paddocks

By |February 24th, 2023|Care & Management|

While acres of lush green fields seem like the idyllic setting for a horse farm, constant access to high-quality pastures isn't always best for your horse's health. Space limitations and environmental conditions can also make grass turnout impossible for some equine facilities. A dry lot provides an alternative turnout solution for horse owners in these situations. Dry lots are small paddocks that contain little to no vegetation. These turnout areas, also called sacrifice lots, are designed to withstand heavy use, even during increased rain or drought. A dry lot protects pasture health by allowing grass fields to rest.

How to Support Bone Strength in Horses: [Exercise & Nutrition]

By |February 24th, 2023|Care & Management|

Bones, joint cartilage, ligaments, and tendons make up your horse's skeletal system, which provides structural support for your horse's body. Most horse owners pay close attention to the role of joints and soft tissue health in preserving soundness and comfort. But bone strength is just as critical for supporting mobility and performance in horses. Bone is a dynamic tissue that responds to impact and loading forces. Research shows that exercise and nutrition influence bone density in horses.

8 Common Equine Eye Conditions & Vision Problems [List]

By |February 24th, 2023|Conditions|

It’s not uncommon for horses to experience eye problems. Several conditions and diseases can affect vision and eye health in horses, including uveitis, cataracts, and conjunctivitis. Horses experiencing eye issues may have symptoms such as swelling, tearing, drainage, discoloration, cloudiness, or sensitivity to light. Some conditions may not affect the eye, but instead, the eyelid or area around the eye. If your horse is affected by vision problems, this may result in poor performance, reluctance to move, nervous behavior, stumbling or clumsiness and an increased risk of injuries.

Myosin Heavy Chain Myopathy (MYHM) in Horses: Signs, Causes & Treatment

By |February 17th, 2023|Conditions|

Myosin Heavy Chain Myopathy (MYHM) is a muscle disease that can affect Quarter Horses and related breeds with the associated mutation in the MYH1 gene. MYH1, also called myosin heavy chain 1, is a gene that encodes a type of myosin found in fast-twitch muscle. Myosin is a protein responsible for muscle contraction and other motor functions. Horses with the MYH1 mutation have myosin with an altered amino acid sequence which interferes with the function of myosin in muscle tissue.