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Video of the Week
A Relaxing Start to the New Year!
This Week's News
Barbaro Suffers Setback
Barbaro's owners, Roy and
Gretchen Jackson, met a setback in the Kentucky Derby winner's recovery
with a mixture of sadness and hope yesterday. Barbaro has been
hospitalized at the New Bolton Center since suffering multiple fractures
in his right rear leg at the May 20 Preakness. After five months of
progress, the horse started showing discomfort Monday in his left rear
hoof, which is recovering from laminitis.
A foot cast that was applied Jan. 3 by Dr. Scott Morrison, a podiatry
expert from Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., was
removed, according to a statement from the University of Pennsylvania's
School of Veterinary Medicine.
"Some new separation of the medial [inside] portion of his hoof was
found. This required some additional debridement [removal of the damaged
tissue] Tuesday night," the statement said.
Find out more about this incredible story click
Wellington-area businesses lose millions to outbreak of equine virus
The virus paralyzed Wellington's
equestrian community, turning it into a ghost town. Since the second
week of December, horses that were here stayed in their barns and horses
that weren't here didn't come in. The equine virus struck 13 horses
around the state and killed six. Wellington closed its horse trails and
organizers canceled horse shows, as owners worried about exposing
million-dollar animals to the deadly virus.
A horse image has won a prestigious international award, the
Netherlands-based Zilveren Camera 2006.
The image was taken by photographer Laurens Aaij, and was judged the
best news photo from 9147 entries.
To read the full story and see a full size image
of the photograph click
You don't foal anyone
pretending to be a dog
Just like his labrador friends, he wags his tail, fetches sticks and
rolls on his back to have his tummy tickled.
But the hooves and mane give away his real identity - as a Shetland
Read this moving story about Rory (the horse) and
get more pictures
Now for this week's tips
Ensuring A Well Balanced Diet
Horses are natural “trickle feeders”, browsing and grazing for much
of the time. Their digestive system has evolved to cope with a
fibre-based diet, where most of the digestive work is done by their
hind gut (caecum and large intestine).
A horse’s natural diet includes a variety of grasses of different
types and age (from fresh new growth to older rougher stalks), and
also other herbs and “weeds”. This usually means a fairly consistent
nutritional intake for much of the year.
Old pasture is ideal for most horses and ponies with only
supplementary hay requirements during the winter months. However,
the natural variety of grass and herbage is often lost in a modern
sown pasture where one or two nutrient-rich grass types and clover
may dominate. As a consequence, there are often seasonal increases
in grass growth (horses are then more prone to weight gain and
laminitis) and the need for extra feeding at other times.
The horse’s diet
Horses require a balanced diet that includes the right proportion of
nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats), vitamins and minerals
for proper digestive function. This should ensure the maintenance of
a good body condition, a healthy weight, the ability to recover
(repair) from injury and should provide energy for growth and work.
Carbohydrates, in the form of naturally occurring sugars, starches
and cellulose, are present
in grass and most supplementary feeds, and form the basis of the
horse’s nutrient needs. Sugars provide quick-release energy whilst
starches provide slow-release energy and cellulose is fairly
indigestible but important for roughage.
Protein and fats are present in smaller quantities in grass-based
feeds. They are important for body function, growth and repair and
as sources of energy, particularly for horses with a high energy
demand such as those in hard work, growing youngsters and mare’s
that are in foal or lactating (producing milk). They are included in
many supplementary feeds.
Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of a horse’s diet. They
occur naturally in grass and are included in supplementary feeds,
though the amounts may vary. Mineral blocks and licks are available
and can be used in the field or stable to ensure the horse has
access to the necessary minerals that may be lacking in the grass or
hay ration. This may be the only supplement required to the diet of
most horses that are out of work or in light work only. Balance is
essential – over supplementing with one vitamin or mineral can stop
or affect the uptake of others by the body.
When feeding a horse, consideration must first be given to the type
and quantity of grazing to which the horse has access. Grass is
often overlooked when considering a horse’s ration but
it is the sole (or predominant) diet for most horses. Whether fresh
(grazed pasture) or fed as conserved forage (hay or haylage), grass
is an important energy, nutrient and fibre provider.
Fibre and roughage (long feed)
Fibre is essential to maintain good digestive function. The primary
source of fibre roughage is grass. The fibre content increases
during the grazing season and is higher in the more ‘stalky’, mature
grass. Mature grass is also used for conserving as haylage or hay,
providing high-fibre feed for the winter months or when the horse
does not have access to grazing.
If managed correctly, grass can provide a balanced diet from spring
through to autumn. During the winter months the energy content of
the grass falls, this is why it is sometimes necessary to supplement
a horse’s diet with hay, haylage, grass pellets, chaff or oat straw.
Most horses in rest or light work will not require any supplement to
Concentrates (hard/short feed)
These are foods with proportionately high (concentrated) levels of
nutrients and energy. When fed they should not normally make up more
than half of the horse’s total dietary provision. Usually,
concentrates make up only a small percentage of the horse’s diet,
with roughage making up the majority.
These are cereals and grains, such as oats and barley. These are
often rolled, crushed, bruised or heat-treated to increase their
digestibility. They provide energy and nutrients for horses with
high energy demands such as those in hard work and competing
regularly. If fed to horses in light work or to ponies they may
cause the animal to become overweight or difficult to manage.