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Author Topic: "Naturally" horse health care  (Read 199 times)

paintponylvr

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"Naturally" horse health care
« on: June 28, 2017, 09:49:01 PM »

So...  this is turning into my "usual book"...  bear with me, it also rambles a bit...

This group is small, but I've noticed we are getting some more numbers.  That's great.  I have some more questions, now.

Due to some of mine (and family's) health issues, I've started looking at things in the last few years that would be called - natural, holistic, herbalistic and/or homeopathic.  Has anyone currently on these boards done this switch both with themselves and with their animals -specifically their horses?

I'm getting started probably fastest with chickens, and started making changes in our habits years ago (very slowly, LOL).  Since moving into this house, we've made more changes but have a long ways to go.  I'm trying to eat better (will always be a meat eater, I think, not a vegetarian or vegan, so while I will listen to that, don't waste your time "pushing"...  My sister already tried that, but her health got a little better in some areas and a whole lot worse in others when she went the complete vegetarian route.  I like meat and I LOVE red meat, so have no plans to change that at this time, just want to make the lives/health of our animals and us better).

Even learned that making our own Apple Cider Vinegar is pretty darn easy (just takes a little time!) and who'd a thunk it?  ACV in the water or the feed of our ponies (even when I had a lot smaller number) was difficult to always purchase the unpasteurized kind or with the "mother" (originally because hard to find, now due to $$).

So now, chickens are getting ACV in their water, more & varied greens in their diets, using the deep litter methods (DLM) in their coops/runs (ha, NO CLEANING NEEDED!!) and I've started doing the Fermented Feeds (FF).  They are starting to look better already - some that were underweight are gaining, feathers are shinier, eggs are WOW...  Now, I've found some other things to help with their health (natural worming, building their immune systems from inside to the outside from the git go, more natural meds when injured or even sick - lots of sulfur - that is a BIG SURPRISE).  I'm learning that I can make some products instead of purchasing them - making them more available as well as less expensive and in some cases re-using things I already have.

Some of these same things are used on other livestock - rabbits, goats, sheep & cattle.  But these all have different systems than the horse.  So what I'm looking at is using some of the same things w/ horses - but in recipes that work.  YES, some places have already started marketing things that utilize this premise.  Their "finished" products are PRICEY to say the least, and there have been complaints that state that "it doesn't work".  I feel that that's because they are using the products and w/o following a full protocol of "natural".

Do any that are in this group use herbs (daily, weekly, monthly?), holistic, homeopathic or natural care for your horses - in feeding AND in de-worming protocols?  What about treating for wounds (did you know that using unpasteurized honey will often heal a deep leg wound, with less scarring, than current protocols with drugs & stitching??)?  Treating thrush in hooves? 

In my research I DID find out that Ivermectin does stem from natural plant products and that is why it CAN be used safely even if overdosed or given multiple doses such as weekly or bi-weekly as I'm doing right now with the lice outbreak.  That isn't something I knew previously...  And there are areas that are having resistant worms show up now...

Pyrethrin is also a natural insecticide (from chrysanthemum flowers) and is safer than Permethrin (synthetic chemical that "resembles" chrysanthemum) products.  Neem oil will also work on pests - but takes time as it works differently than an insecticide (chemical) that kills instantly - and if used too liberally as in drowning the pests, it will drown the good ones, too.  A lot of people use DE, both around horses and around chickens, and while natural it will also harm "good" or beneficial insects, so care must be taken with it. 

IF you are already using this type of care for your equines, what books or on-line sites do you recommend for learning, study?  That is a whole, HUGE and daunting world to enter into now at this stage in my life, but figure I'll spend the rest of my life studying and applying it.  Just the books are pricey so I'm looking for easy to understand as well as proven to work (I guess?) IF anyone has already gone that route and has recommendations.

Does anyone use FF (fermented feeds) for horses?  That is a "hot" contention on the backyard chickens FF thread - with people in both the good & the bad camps.  Horses are definitely different in their metabolism and digestive systems than other livestock.  I know that I used to soak the feeds (beet pulp overnight, then fed either a pelleted or grain based feed & alfalfa pellets with it soupy) that I fed the horses - and they DID seem to do better if for no other reason than it introduced extra water to their systems. During the winter(s), that "soup" was made with HOT water (boiled in my kitchen so not draining our smallish water heater) and the ponies ALWAYS "sang" to me every morning when I went out with their hot soups!  I currently don't feed wet nor do I feed beet pulp and I'm thinking that I need to return to both.  Considering doing the fermented feed (even w/ oats) to see how that goes. 

Also looking at doing fodder (with oats, barley and other grains) - but when I commit to that will need to do it right - which could be a major expense.  I do know that it does work.

I have been feeding Chaffhaye for the past several months to some of the ponies (can't do all! at this time) and the changes have been AMAZING.  Chaffhaye is alfalfa that is packaged with molasses and allowed to ferment (not mold).  There are plenty of people who think I'm wrong to be feeding it to the ponies and that it will make them colic or develop other metabolic issues (& yes, it possibly could affect those with IR/Cushings/founder/laminitis or other issues - all metabolic based).  It is not fed by itself, but in addition to the coastal and their feed (at this time).

"Natural" worming/de-worming?  what makes up your "mix" - DE, pumpkin seeds, garlic, unpasteurized molasses, other products?  What dosages? How often?  In rotation with what?

Just found one post stating that they used Shakley soap as part of their wormer (cattle, chickens)!  I need to find more info on that and how it's used, why it works and why specifically that type of soap?  The next post stated that their parents used the dishwater as a de-wormer - it had lye soap in it...  fascinating stuff, want to know why, if it worked and if it would work safely on horses...

Already working on putting in a "paddock paradise" system for our ponies - may be a few years yet before we see that full affects of that, LOL.  Lots of fencing...
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Paula Hoffman
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Ryan

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 01:07:55 AM »

Paula we love your books :)

So firstly , Is fodder (as I've never heard of it) the same as Chaff ?  I wish we could get some of the products that are available to you guys. The chaffehay sounds great and would be really good here during the winter months to boost nutrients and protein. Just me , bout I would be extra careful in spring when the grass starts to grow as its packed with molasses you could be faced with laminitis ( as you mentioned).

Manuka honey is wonderful for deep leg wounds , id just about put it on par with prednoderm ( which is that horrible bright green honey texture stuff)

My Big horses get a hot bran mash/soup during the really cold months here and they sing too :)

Regarding eating myself , im a firm believer of a good mix of fresh Fruit and vegetables , meat, poultry and fish. But again, this really is a personal preference. The biggest issue i have with all of these types of foods is do we really know where it comes from and what it has been sprayed with ? Thats why I would rather grow my own veggies during summer. If i could do it all year round I would, but honestly , i just dont have the time. I have very limited daylight after work here of a night and by the time the horses are fed, there isnt time for anything else other than to light the fire.

I try to buy local produce when i can and I avoid shopping at the BIG supermarkets , instead choosing the Fruit and Veg Market.

With Horse Feed Ive always been a little old fashioned , I try to avoid the sweet feeds as much as I can , though I do have a biggie that gets it to help with condition during winter. I have heard tumeric is great though I cant vouch for it as I have never tried it. There was a really big horse gear sale on locally ( I was like a kid at a sweets shop) and there was a stall there selling herbs/ salts etc, so they must be used widely here, Ive just never known there value or what they are good for.

Good thread Paula , It will be interesting to hear what others think and use :)
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dcwolcott

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 06:03:14 AM »

Your books are great and very welcome here!  Lots of ideas, and I, too, can't wait to read how people respond!   :))
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Chanda

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 09:45:45 AM »

Paula we love your books :)

So firstly , Is fodder (as I've never heard of it) the same as Chaff ?  I wish we could get some of the products that are available to you guys. The chaffehay sounds great and would be really good here during the winter months to boost nutrients and protein.
Good thread Paula , It will be interesting to hear what others think and use :)
Fodder is basically freshly sprouted greens with a little growth.
Chaffhaye would be similar to your chaff.
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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 05:52:42 PM »

I never tried alfalfa with anything mixed into it, but I swear by just alfalfa hay or if not available, cubes or pellets.  It gives a boost of protein and is a tummy soother, so very gentle on the adults AND babies.  My elderly horses I always soaked either the pellets and/or broke/soaked the cubes to make it easier to chew, and also made sure they were getting a good water intake.
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Ryan

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 06:35:43 PM »

Thanks Chanda :)  Dont think we have that here .

We know alfalfa here as Lucerne and Ive been using it since I was a kid. My big horses are fed it right throughout the colder months and when in work. Its the only form of chaff I buy here these days, I used to by oaten chaff & Wheaten Chaff but felt my horses did so much better on alfalfa chaff than they did on the oaten. To me it really just filled the bucket and didnt give the benefits that alfalfa did. So the big ones get a mixed feed called "Easy result" with alfalfa chaff . They also get alfalfa hay and plain grass or grass and clover blend hay.

I am however careful with my laminitic mare. She only gets some alfalfa mixed into her plain grass hay in winter. Our sugar content in the grass skyrockets at times of the years, generally when she is at her must vulnerable for laminitis.
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paintponylvr

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2017, 11:19:45 AM »

Didn't occur to me to do more detailed explanations, sorry!!

Chaffhaye that I'm purchasing is alfalfa, fermented with molasses.  I'm currently buying the larger bag (middle of pic) which is #50 from a local distributor who breeds Nigerian Dwarf goats.  I'm paying $14/bag.  Regular alfalfa around here is $17 for a 50# bale of Standlee compressed alfalfa and anywhere from $15-$50 for a regular bale (#35-75) brought in from out of state - qualities vary (a LOT).  (I have had this group of Shetlands get thin while they turned their noses up at both alfalfa & timothy hays - with their hay nets and feeders FULL)

Non-GMO Alfalfa - http://chaffhaye.com/  and a pic (not sure if this will work?).



Fodder - is sprouting a grain in a wash of water for a 4-9 day period to get the seed to open and grow into a grass mat.  The grains used can be oats, barley (seems to be best for most folk), rye, alfalfa, sunflower seed.  For chickens, it is done at the shorter end of days as some that I've spoken with have found they don't eat the "mats" well and uses the widest variety of "grains" to include peas.  For Lamas and Alpacas, it's done at the longer set of days to get as long/tall growth as they can w/o the appearance of molds/mildews.  It also seems that the fodder needs to be grown at some pretty specific parameters of temps in order to the get best growth with no mold and that's where it gets tricky.  Years ago, one of the fodder producing machines I was looking at was built/made/marketed in Australia - it's a complete, enclosed building.  It was in the 10s of thousands of $$, so for me it was not attainable.  It appears to be widely used though by large livestock and horse operations - both in Australia and in Arabia.  In fact, one of the first times I SAW an article of Fodder was in the Western Horseman Magazine in the 70s.  I'd never forgotten it and when we had such a hard time here in NC getting grass and hay, I started researching it when I had a computer and started learning to google...

Permaculture folks here in the USA have "jumped on" the fodder as a means to feed chickens and small livestock greens when they are on as little as a 1/4 acre (not a lot of forage/grazing available).  The best explanation and pics of a larger set up, I have from an Alpaca breeder who DOES utilize rotational grazing in season, Paca Pride - From Seed to Feed in 8 days - https://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/from-seed-to-feed-in-8-days-barley-fodder-sprouting-trials/.  They have a small room in the barn, that they do the sprouting in - temps are regulated over the winter to the roughly 60*(F) that seems to be required (best growth, lowest incidence of mold/mildew in system(s)).  I know that there are folks here in NC that do it on a MUCH smaller basis - but even my house is not regulated to that low of a temp in the summer or in the winter, either! 

Farm Tec and other gardening companies here in the USA have full/complete set ups for fodder -

Fodder Solutions - the first site in AU that I found when I started researching years ago - http://www.foddersolutions.com.au/
Fodder Pro site - http://www.foddersystems.com/why-fodder.html
FarmTec - https://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/ExternalPageView?pageKey=EXTERNAL_PAGE_3017
Growers Supply - https://www.growerssupply.com/farm/supplies/cat1;gs_hydroponics;gs_fodder_pro_2.html
Crop King - https://www.cropking.com/catalog/complete-fodder-systems

Small Farm Blogs -

Hostile Hare - Fodder Facts - http://www.hostilehare.com/fodder-faqs/
PeakProsperity - forum blog w/ details/photos from a smaller set up - https://www.peakprosperity.com/wsidblog/80359/diy-home-fodder-system
The Prairie Homestead (blog post) - http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2016/02/fodder-system.html
Morning Chores - https://morningchores.com/fodder-systems/
The Spruce - https://www.thespruce.com/make-diy-fodder-sprouting-system-3016720

This is one that I used to go to for info - she's completely changed her website/blog now and the original info is no longer there.  Of course, you can purchase their "little book" that isn't too badly priced OR one of their fodder units or the plans to build you own if you want/can source the supplies.  I understand in a way why they went that route, but miss the info she used to have on the original website...  Half-Pint Homestead - http://half-pinthomestead.com/store/

There are a lot of YouTube videos on different types of fodder set ups - from the TINY ones that sit next to a kitchen sink, to the HUGE farm ones done professionally by some of the big fodder set companies.

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Paula Hoffman
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Holly

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2017, 11:50:01 AM »

I am one of those that prefers as little sweet / molasses as possible. In a lot of traditional feed, even pelleted molasses is used to bind the pellet. Again why I prefer a ration balancer  as not as much is needed to get the same nutrition, and then they are getting little  amounts of starch and sugars. I personally prefer a preventative method over a treatment when it come to metabolic issues. I do believe in soaking beet pulp, I do feed in small amounts in the winter at feeding, but never overnight and I use a strainer so I can pour off molasses water. I prefer soaked timothy/ alfalfa pellets.
Fermentation of feed sounds terrible to me, But it may because I see it a soured, like soured corn, smells terrible, As far as its healthy or not I am clueless. But to me it seems like a disaster in the making for colic...???
I tried to grow fodder for my horses, grew poorly and also had a soured smell ( again could just be my nose) and my horses wouldnt eat it. I was disappointed as I spent a lot of time figuring out how to do it properly. Oh well.
 If  I  have to pick I like basic, ration balancer, good quality hay, alfalfa , and little pasture. I do leave out the natural mineral /salt rocks in several places for that need.
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paintponylvr

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2017, 02:12:05 PM »

Holly -

When you did your fodder - what grain did you use?  Which technique for watering & draining did you use? What day of production did it smell sour?  Did you reuse the same water or did you use new/fresh water with each watering?  This is part of the reason that I haven't even given it a try yet!  Right from the beginning, I was reading about this as a potential problem and never really saw any "fixes" to it UNTIL the Paca Pride articles/website.  Now?  Well...  when I tried "sprouting" alfalfa and bean sprouts in my kitchen, I often had it turn sour and nasty!  I certainly haven't wanted to invest a lot of $$ to find that doing Fodder for our animals wouldn't work for me.  :)

Part of doing some of this is HARD for me - as far as fermented foodstuffs - I HATE "pickled" (except for "Bread & Butter pickles", almost any type, OR Vlassic Dill pickles - very specific, LOL) or fermented products.  GAK & physically GAG...  My hubby is a huge fan of Kimchi (eeeewwwwwwww) and will purchase small jars of the stuff at times.  What he doesn't finish eating goes out to the chickens, but it's always difficult for me to take it out to them for the G&G reason above.  Not a big fan of sauerkraut either, LOL.  But every now and then, I will crave it!  So I go to a good restaurant and get a patty melt (I think that's the one that has rye bread, dressing, hamburger and kraut)...

NOW, I'm hearing, reading and seeing results from people (& their livestock) that eat Kombucha, Kefir, Fermented Feeds, Kimchi and others...  These all produce pre-biotic affects when used in moderation - aiding in or providing the beginning - to good health.

I've been told that while having goats that milk, part of what can be done with the goat milk is added to your other livestock's feed as both a "softening/soaking agent" and as just extra nutrition.  I did feed it to Taff's colt when he was first born - it was all I had easy & overnight access to at the time and it seemed to help.  I also added it to her feed for a while and wondered if I shouldn't do it with all the broodmares (still contemplating).  I know of breeding farms that will keep buckets of Milk replacer (various brands) and/or goat's milk available to their broodmares and foals - even during the hottest, heat wave months.  Those mares/foals always looked AWESOME.

Right now, I've got all the ponies switched over to straight oats and alfalfa pellets (not enough for the broodmares and foals - after initially gaining weight and starting to look good, all 4 have lost significant weight again & I started them back on a commercial Southern States broodmare & foal feed), coastal round bales and oat hay (free choice) that was baled in late April.  Since late April, we've started seeing decent grass growth - and the ponies in the perimeter pasture that have the largest area of availability, have done well with it.  We seem to have gotten just enough rain to keep it growing since then...  I HAVE even seen it in both the boys paddock and the other mares' paddock (what I'm currently calling the "nursery") BUT they are eating it so fast, it's not coming up far or showing unless I actually walk the paddocks.  I was surprised and very, very happy to see it coming up.  Now to get our numbers down more...

The pasture grass mixes available in our areas for seed won't grow in the almost straight sand we have w/o fertilizing with chemically produced nitrogen OR using herbicides/pesticides (I could be wrong, but think the seed is made that way by the seed companies).  That is what I'm trying to avoid - which is why I'm trying to get our sand built up, as naturally as possible, to support different grasses (the pastures I spent time in many, many moons ago had a wide variety of grasses AND weeds that the horses would eat - in each of the states we were in, now you don't see that - especially here in the south).  NOW we are expanding that research to also looking at doing some "alternate planting" - that includes Comfrey (which horses will graze OR we will just be doing the chop & drop of using it for fertilizing/covering the sand); beets - Mammoth Red Mangel, Giant Yellow Eckendorf, Yellow Cylindrical, Zentaur Fodder & Sugar (yes, the ones that Beet Pulp is made from);   purple topped turnips; sun chokes or Jerusalem Artichokes (sunflower w/ a tuber in the ground - seeds & tuber are edible for chickens & horses & people); Buckwheat (more for grazing the chickens & for more biomass to encourage the return of bugs, fertilize and open up drainage in the sand); mix of clovers - red & white; Bahia grass, our ponies don't do well on it baled & refuse to eat it after curing, but it works well in pasture and they eat it then.  Later, after having more/varied soil on our pastured area, we can/will mix alfalfa in.  Some say that it will help with both fertilization and growth now, but it takes some special care and irrigation to get it established and mostly doesn't grow well this far south...  Funny thing about alfalfa - there are quite a few NC producers!  They ALL seem to sell it locally to their buyers OR ship it out of state for sale.  Don't see Alfalfa for sale in our area that was produced in NC.

I did not know that there were so many different types of Coastal seed/seedlings.  Some are not good for horses - the broad leafed plant is good only for cattle.  MOST ARE GMO - genetically modified to accept & utilize herbicide & pesticide - and will not grow without those products!! SURPRISE!!! 

We have ordered some of our first seeds, but have not yet planted any of these yet.  Some aren't in seed form but in root form and get planted at certain times of the year after you receive them (Comfrey & Sun Chokes). Both Comfrey and Sun Chokes spread by rhizomes under ground and they will take off and go crazy from what I understand.  There are ways to prevent that - we'll have to use those procedures...

**********

This all takes time - to research and learn, to procure the seeds or starters, to plant or make, to harvest, then to learn how to store if necessary...  BUT we are learning.  I want good nutrition eventually for the ponies without always having to buy everything.  Will it always work?  NO - there are a lot of things that I can't produce or make.  BUT I am working towards doing more from our own land and spending less bringing in other feed stuffs.  IF I could produce more of our own natural forage, rather than buying and picking up or paying for delivery, I could then purchase higher quality supplements in bulk for all the critters that I can't produce here.

Just learning how weeds work and what brings them in has been interesting!  Some are quite beneficial - maybe not to look at OR for the critters to eat, but will hold the soil/sand against erosion and starts it well towards growing other things (biomass, green manure).

My head often hurts from all this research and learning.
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Paula Hoffman
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dcwolcott

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2017, 10:49:52 PM »

I did try beet pulp shreds once, and several horses liked them.  But one of my show stallions ate some after a rain, and the shreds got wet, and apparently must have fermented during the day in the heat.  He got so sick before I got home, I thought I was going to lose him.  After that, the ground got all the beet shreds, and I didn't feed it again to anyone.

I know people have used them very successfully, but losing an expensive show stallion was more than my heart could take -- besides I just loved that boy.  And here in Florida, it's our rainy season, and it would rain off and on during the day, but the temperature would never drop and would stay very hot.  I just decided for me, it wasn't worth the risk of having them bet wet and ferment while I was at work during the day.  So, no more beet pulp here.
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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2017, 08:46:23 AM »

O, no, Diane!  I'm sorry.

It's also so weird how we all have different responses when we feed different products.

***************

I remember when I was in Germany and went to my first riding stable there.  Essentially they were feeding straw, it was beautiful and gold and not dusty but so weird to see it in their feeders and not under their hooves!!  I was in shock, to say the least.  And the horses were short coated & glossy, round/fit and happy!

***************

Until we came down to NC, I'd never even heard of feeding Beet Pulp (1997).  Yet, I spent the bulk of my formative "horse years" in a state that produced a lot of the Sugar Beets that went into those bags.  We also had never fed Bran (wheat or oat) - in a wet mash.  While I had family in OH that bred raised & raced harness horses, we weren't involved and I have no idea to this day what they fed their horses - but I bet it was totally different than what we fed in CO, :) .

When we arrived here in NC in April 1997, I was told right on the first day, that our 3 Shetlands were too fat (and so was the larger pony mare, and small horse mare) and that there was a good possibility they would succumb to heat exhaustion/stroke (well we did go from -75* <blizzard w/ windchill> to 110* in 14 days - would have been shorter amount of time if had been pro hauler not dealing with breakdown on the highway, storm flooding in MN, young children or other animals at the time as well).  Then the coastal hay - when ours were eating a mix of meadow (CRP - Chanda knows what that stands for I can't remember)/alfalfa and no or very little grain.  I didn't force the ponies to lose weight - they sure weren't happy with the hay at first and to be honest - ALL the out of state ponies have had issues when introduced to the hays/forage around here over the years.

AJ - 2 weeks after arriving in NC - already trimmed down a lot



She has lost a considerable amount of round here already!



Patty stayed fairly round - even after bouncing in the single axle, home made stock trailer for 3500 miles, foaling 1 month earlier than expected just days after we arrived in NC, and having no milk to feed this foal at first.  She was also being ridden daily at this point - part of it on a lead line and part of it on a lounge line and part of it loose.



Stuffy is 11 months old here, we've been in NC for 12 days.  Even when she shed out in July (2nd pic) she was a decent weight even after losing a pretty big amount.



We arrived in NC with two other horses - a pinto ArabX and her solid chestnut yearling by a Paint stallion.  I don't have pics of them on the internet, weird.  Had never realized I didn't put their pics in albums anywhere (had some directly on previous websites, just not in photo albums).  They were pretty round, too, and lost weight nicely under the new feeding program(s).

So, I learned about Coastal hay - in an area where the hay producers knew what kinds they were planting and were willing to work with you if your horses didn't eat what they had.  Many grew more than one type and could swap them around.  Since we moved to this area of NC (50-60 miles north of where we were in 2004; another 20 miles NW in 2014/15), the hay producers only seem to know that they have Coastal OR aren't willing to share the type that they have.  When I recently went looking for different types of seed, I couldn't find the various numbers that they had "out" in 1997-2004 when I was further south.

I learned to feed different feeds, introduced beet pulp and bran.  Ours did well on the beet pulp but very, very bad on the recommended feeding program of bran 1x/week.  I treated for many colics during that time frame, especially the Shetlands, and finally associated it with the bran and quit and the weekly colic episodes went away!  Now, if I can get bran in smaller quantities, I will feed it as a mash for up to 3 days after a foal is born, but usually can't get it that way.  The mares seem to do well with it for that time frame and like it.  In my studies on bran, after I got into the internet, I found that bran has a tendency to clean out both the bad and the good of the gut flora and CAN bring on colic.  I haven't been too interested in re-introducing it...

Beet Pulp is funny.  I've seen it work well as a forage for horses - it's high in fiber and low in protein and fat - and I've seen horses gain a ton of weight on it.  I've also seen it go the other way!  Really depends on the horses.  You can get it here, now, w/o molasses (costs more), in shreds or pellets (costs more & more stuff added!).  When we first got here in April '97, after that initial heat wave, we made it up, covered it and left it in the cement block building we used as a tack/feed shed.  It would sit for 12 hours and then get fed - it never occurred to me to drain the water - so that was when I started feeding "soupy".  On the bag, at that time, it said it needed to "soak" for a minimum of 12 hours.  Now you get a bag, it doesn't state that for prep.  Then when the temps got really hot again, I would only set it between the morning and nite feeds and feed it at night.  When we hit winter, I took the 5 gallon bucket home and kept it by our washer, added extra hot water in the morning before taking it out to the ponies and then took extra hot water in 2 ltr bottles - to add to it as well when we fed.  I think it was the "hot" that they really liked!   ;D

Since it had never occurred to me to feed it drained/dry, the first time I saw someone do that with their full size horses, I went into shock!  I couldn't believe her horses would eat it that way (truly had no idea if mine would either, LOL.  Later experiments showed me that mine would more often turn their noses up at it if not fed soupy).  We did have one Arabian mare, that at different times of the year got A LOT of beet pulp (w/ molasses) and those were the times she held her weight well and looked her best.  If not fed beet pulp or the crazy large amounts not fed, she lost a lot of weight - while staying fit since she was ridden a lot.

Now, after learning more about fermentation, I wonder if the white scum on the beet pulp was from that (& OK to feed) and then when it DID go too much longer, the green fuzzy was mold (& definitely smelled BAD).  Either way, when I saw that - ours also went into our burn pile, into a compost pile or now out to the chickens' coops/runs (if they don't eat parts of it, they spread it into the deep litter and like everything else it composts down into lovely, usable compost).

I haven't fed beet pulp in the last few years - these are the years we've had weight problems (too light/way underweight) and I wonder if that is part of it?  The most weight loss has been since moving here - while having MUCH MORE fenced pasture - the grass is not the same in any way, shape or form.  The hay has been different and while I've fed thru the whole summer since there's been not enough grass to compliment the hay feeding, I've only fed 1x daily due to work schedules...  Lots to think about.
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Paula Hoffman
LP Painted Ponys
Cameron, NC

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Re: "Naturally" horse health care
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2017, 09:09:40 AM »

When my head is out of foal watch fog I will go into detail about my fodder program...
Please remind me if I forget!!😳
Paula...are you still having trouble keeping weight on your ponies?  If so I would love to talk in depth...if you want.
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