Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Senior Care Tips

The following is from Standlee Hay Company and is for all horses young and old:

Winter Tips for Taking Care of Your Horse

Imagine living in a field of grilled cheese sandwiches and milkshakes. That's literally what the summer months are like for your horse. It's easy to forget how much pasture grass can play a role in your horse's diet until the snow starts to fall. As winter sets in and the pasture grass starts to disappear, there's 3 key factors that will play a role in our horse's health: Water, fiber and essential nutrients


Often one of the biggest concerns of dehydration is impaction colic. This form of colic is mainly caused by your horse becoming dehydrated because it consumes less water. During the winter, horses consume less water because of cooler temperatures (no sweating), less water availability (frozen ponds, cold water, etc.) and a diet of hay (10% water content) instead of pasture (80% water content).
The first step is providing your horse enough water to drink. An adult horse (1000 pounds) in a cool, comfortable environment that is not working or lactating requires a minimum of 5 – 10 gallons of fresh clean water per day.
But here's the thing about horses: When it comes to water, their European roots start to show. Horses do not like ice in their water. During winter, many owners notice their horses becoming dehydrated, despite the fact that they've provided their four-legged friends all the H20 they can drink. When a horse drinks cold water, it causes their bodies to become colder. This means they have to expend additional calories to heat their bodies back up. Horses will naturally drink less water if it's too cold. Warming water using insulated or heated buckets will allow your horse to drink more. Research has shown that horses drink the most water when the water temperature is between 45 and 70ยบ F.


During the winter months, fiber plays an even larger role in a horse's diet. Fiber obtained from hay is necessary to keep the digestive system of your horse functioning properly which helps your horse keep warm during cold weather. Without enough fiber, horses literally become possessed beavers. They'll start gnawing the wood off anything from fence post to bedding in order to make up for their lack of fiber.
Horses should be eating at least 1.5% of their body weight in fiber per day. That means about 15 pounds for a normal, 1,000 pound horse. If the fiber is high quality, your horse can consume up to 3% of their body weight per day (30 pounds for 1,000 pound horse). That's why here at Standlee, we carefully manage every aspect of the growing and harvesting process to ensure our fiber is of the highest caliber.

Essential Nutrients

In order to stay happy and healthy, your horse also needs protein, trace minerals and vitamins. Pastures are often a great source of these essential nutrients for your horse, but during the winter, most pastures will disappear.
A common source of supplemental protein, vitamins and minerals comes from fortified grain concentrates. However, when choosing a product, it's crucial that you choose the feed that is intended for your type of horse. For example, if you have a pregnant mare, you should select a feed that is intended for pregnant mares, not "senior" horses. This is why each product page on the Standlee website lists the intended horse type for every one of our products.
The next critical factor in choosing a grain concentrate is making sure you are feeding the recommended amount. If you're feeding 1/3 of the amount recommended, your horse is getting exactly 1/3 of the intended nutrients. If you feel the amount of feed recommended is too much (i.e. your horse is gaining too much weight), you should feed your horse a more concentrated product. More concentrated products are called "supplement pellets" or "balancer pellets." They're designed to be fed at much lower rates but are still fortified to provide your horse with adequate nutrients.
If you're not 100% sure how much forage your horse requires, check out our improved feed calculator. We've carefully designed this free-to-use tool to take into account several key characteristics of your horse so you know how much feed you should be providing your four-legged friend.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Quiet Weekend

A fairly quiet weekend. We were able to enjoy the day off Monday. It was a busy weekend but I'm not exactly sure what all we did.

We had a load of hay scheduled to pick up this weekend and went ahead and put hay in to the big pen. We also put a bale out for me to dole out to the ponies. Luckily the ponies aren't going through the hay as quickly as the rest of the herd. It's amazing to realize the generosity of family. My hay guy is my uncle and he let us borrow his truck and trailer to haul a load of hay home. I'm still waiting for the bill but it's so much easier to use his trailer than to use ours, which only holds three and Mike is still trying to get it all fixed up. He had to put a hole new floor in it and didn't finish before winter hit. I'm hoping he'll get back to it but until it's needed and its' an emergency, I dont' see that happening. Such is the life. 

But because I'm tired of looking at white and brown, I figured I'd post some pictures from a few years ago when we went to the Black Hills. Of course all my pictures are old because my latest pictures are stuck on my phone or on a flash drive that I need to find again in my house, which is always a disaster.

But for now, hope you enjoy the pictures.

A few from the Sanctuary

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Back to January 2011. The three wearing blankets are all gone to greener pastures with the sun shining on them. Our South Dakota winters are tough on the older horses so we do everything we can to ensure they stay warm on those bitterly cold days.



Brego and Sam

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

General Upkeep

Life has been fairly quiet this week at the Sanctuary (knock on wood). No major illnesses, no hoof  injuries, no broken water lines. It's a good thing.

I keep checking the automatic waterer to make sure no one has destroyed it. I'm back down to three pens instead of five to care for horses. The big herd of now 11 horses, the mares with junior, and the ponies. It's pretty easy these days what with using round bales.

We had to put a round bale in last night for the mares. I probably should have put it in the day before but figured I'd make them eat up the last of the hay first. Rabbit and Junior powered through their grain. Normally Junior takes forever. I short changed him on a scoop of sweet feed because I needed to get in for the night and didn't want to have to go back out at 11pm. But he somehow powered through his grain and weight supplements quicker than I thought. Junior is looking AMAZING. He has always been a hard keeper and showed it. But I took his blanket off the other day to check things out and because it was nice out. Junior actually had a round butt! It's the first time ever I've seen a round butt on him. I was flabbergasted...and tickled pink! So my grain ratio and supplements are paying off.

Bo has also gained weight. He was on the thinner side going into winter but with his daily grain and weight booster, along with his blanket to keep him warm from the South Dakota winds, wind chills, and freezing rain/drizzle and snow, he's surprisingly put on weight. So I'm pleased with their progress.

Everyone is looking good these days. It makes me happy.

I've been checking Chaos's foot to see how its' going. I can't imagine him stepping on a nail and not having any ramifications. But there aren't any. I keep checking for heat or him getting an abscess but nothing. Dont' get me wrong, I'm not complaining but usually a situation  like that, where a horse steps on a nail, is either months of stall rest or possibly death. And he cheated both. After two weeks of stall rest and pen rest, Chaos couldn't handle any more. He's back with his main herd because he kept breaking down gates and fences. I figured after 11-12 days with gauze, vet wrap, and a boot, that he could go back and the hole should be mostly healed, not completely but enough to not cause major trauma or require me fighting him to put vet wrap and/or a boot on him. But I check every night for heat, swelling, or the possibility of an abscess. So far, nothing. Lets hope it stays that way.

We need to pick up a couple loads of hay. We brought home two loads (22 bales) back in October/November but it's time to pick up another couple of loads. I haven't paid for them yet, still waiting for a price but it wont' be a price gouge like last time. But still, it's a struggle to come up with the cash when there's no funds coming in, except for my meager paycheck that has to cover horses, daycare, utilities, gas for the car so I can go to work, and any other oddities that come about.

I need to start preparing for our upcoming fundraiser but I'm struggling on a location. We'll see if I get very far for the rest of the week. I'm guessing not. The venue might end up being the Sanctuary but I had hoped to get more publicity. We'll see. I'm no good at marking or PR work. I'm good at the grunt work and the daydreaming ideas. Anyone interested in helping? In any aspect of the Sanctuary? Don't even have to be local to help. Mainly, I need someone online to help push our events and advertise. Any takers?

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday: Our Wishlist Wednesday item are winter blankets. Those in the below pictures...well the greeze one on Zeke had the tail flap ripped off and a huge rip on the size. The blue blanket on Rabbit was destroyed and could possibly be put back together with someone who knows how to sew better than me. 

Either way, we are losing blankets faster than the snow melts around these parts. 

We did receive three amazing blankets from two followers but we could use more to ensure when the horses wage war on their blankets, that we have backups. Jim enjoys destroying his blankets. He's the oldest horse at the Sanctuary and should have a blanket but he keeps ripping each one to pieces. 

Any size, any weight, any color works perfect. New, used, it doesn't matter. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Senior Horse Tip Tuesday

I found this in my reading and thought I would share. It comes from thehorse.com and I can't take any credit other than to pass along the information.


When is an Older Horse Ready for Senior Feed?

If your older horse is struggling to maintain condition despite eating plenty of good quality forage, and your veterinarian has determined that there are no underlying issues that need to be addressed, you might need to consider senior feed.

Q. My horse will be 18 years old in the new year. At what age should a horse start on senior feed?
A. There’s no correct age to start using a senior feed. Some horses never need a senior feed even into their late 20s, while others benefit from a senior feed in their early teen years.
It’s interesting to look at what defines a senior horse. You can look at age in a couple of different ways. There’s the actual age of the horse based on birthdate, and there’s also physiologic age, which relates to physiologic function. Several researchers have used 20 years as a cut-off for determining that a horse is a senior. Most of us can think of a horse or a human who seems older than their years and vice versa.
Geriatric is another term more commonly thought of when think older people. Horses can be geriatric, however the term specifically relates to diseases of the aged.
I think when it comes to deciding whether you need to feed a senior feed physiological age is more important than actual age.
If your older horse is struggling to maintain condition despite eating plenty of good quality forage, you might need to consider adding a senior feed to his diet. I strongly recommend that your senior horse be seen by your veterinarian in this situation. I’ve had clients whose older horse dropped weight quite suddenly and it turned out to be because the horse was suffering from hock pain. He was not lame but after a lot of testing he did show slight lameness on flexion tests. After being placed on appropriate medication he regained the lost weight. Similarly, there could be a dental issue that needs attention. No dietary changes will be as effective as they otherwise might be if these underlying problems are not also addressed.
If your veterinarian has determined that there are no other underlying issues that need to be addressed, consider that it could be that your senior horse’s digestive tract is no longer as effective at utilizing the nutrients available in the current diet. While relatively little research looks specifically at the nutritional needs of the senior horse, what does exist suggests that, in some cases, senior horses might require slightly higher dietary protein, as well as some trace minerals.
When you look at commercial senior feeds you’ll find most utilize easily digestible sources of forage, such as beet pulp, and have slightly higher protein and trace mineral values than feeds designed for other adult horses at maintenance. Senior feeds are usually complete feeds, meaning they contain all the forage a horse needs and therefore are designed to be fed without hay. Some are not complete, though, so read the feeding directions. Which version your horse needs will depend on your horse’s specific needs and his ability to eat other forage sources. Make sure you feed the amount as directed by the manufacturer or your horse will likely miss.

Article written by:
Clair Thunes, PhD, is an independent equine nutrition consultant who owns Summit Equine Nutrition, based in Sacramento, California. She works with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the United Kingdom Pony Club. Today, she serves as the regional supervisor for the Sierra Pacific region of the United States Pony Clubs. As a nutritionist she works with all horses, from WEG competitors to Miniature Donkeys and everything in between.