Equine Nutrition
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Equine Nutrition…Minerals, part one

So a friend recently asked me for advice about how to help her older mare with suspected Cushings. So I thought I would take the opportunity to describe my approach to equine rehab.

Leilja.injuryPart one…Equine Nutrition Basics.

Its a huge discussion and I start at the same place for any horse, Cushings or not. The photo attached is of obese Leilja, two years ago. Although not Cushings related, her weight put her at risk for hoof problems and tendon injuries. So an ideal weight is really important for healthy horses. The first thing most people do with obese horses is to withhold food or feed poor quality hay and nothing else. This doesn’t work well and although horses might lose weight (many don’t with this approach), the trade off is mineral deficiencies that cause disease. The truth is completely opposite. Horse are created to instinctively eat for minerals. If they don’t have access to the minerals they need, they will overeat whatever is in front of them…be it hay, wood, rocks, etc. So they simply get fatter and more mineral deficient. That leads to all sorts of medical problems, Cushings, IR, immune deficiencies, etc, etc…

So the very first thing I do for any horse needed rehab, no matter if it is weight loss or an injury, is to pump them full of minerals and probiotics. I generally start by providing free choice minerals and probiotics to get the GI tract back into assimilation mode. I put these out in bins and I keep the bins full allowing the horse fill their tank as they see fit. It can be startling sometimes to see a horse down several pounds of one or the other, but its what they need. Not only does this method replace minerals, it does so without adding calories to the diet. To read more, check out Dynamite’s Blog on the topic: http://dynamitesblog.com/winter-conditions-free-choice-min…/

More on minerals later…

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