Horse Source

January 11th 2007



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Welcome to the latest Newsletter.  If you would like to read previous issues of my Newsletter, please go here

If you fancy exploring this site further, then you can go to the resources page which you can find here  where you will find links to all sorts of valuable information, such as articles, my blog (which is really a useful information resource), charities and much more.  If you refer others to this site, which you can do from that resources page, I will send you a FREE Screen Saver with beautiful pictures of horses from my readership. 


Video of the Week

A Relaxing Start to the New Year!



This Week's News

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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 here


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.

Get your free vaccination chart in my Newsletter dated Dec 21st 2006

To read the full article on the Wellington outbreak, click here


Third horse in county diagnosed with West Nile

A horse diagnosed with West Nile virus is the third to be infected with the mosquito-born disease in San Diego County and the second in Lakeside, health officials reported today.

For the full story click here

Get your free vaccination chart in my Newsletter dated Dec 21st 2006

Horse rescue image wins international award

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 here


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 pony.

Read this moving story about Rory (the horse) and get more pictures here

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  Now for this week's tips and advice

Feeding – 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.

Supplementary feeding

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 their diet.
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.



Roger Bourdon

Author of “Introduction to Horseback Riding”






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P.S.  Do let me have photos and a short synopsis for future "Horse of the Month"   features - I am sure your horse deserves the title!



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