Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Electrolytes for Horses
Electrolytes are probably some of the most misunderstood nutrients. They are a group of minerals, such as sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Electrolytes ionize or form a charge in water. They are essential for water and acid-base balance in plants and animals. Calcium and magnesium are also required for many other functions in the body. In most situations, the necessary electrolytes are provided to horses as part of balanced feeding programs.
Salt, or sodium chloride, is lacking in forages and grains fed to horses, so all horses need salt supplementation. In order to meet the salt needs of horses, most fortified commercial feeds contain between 0.5 and 1.0 percentage salt. It is also common practice to provide a salt or mineral-salt block to horses for free-choice supplementation. However, many horses do not consume enough salt from these blocks alone to meet requirements for sodium and chlorine.
Common grasses and hays contain two to ten times the potassium requirement for horses. And, potassium is 98-100 percentage absorbed in horses. Therefore, horses are constantly removing excess potassium by whatever means are available. In non-sweating horses, the potassium is excreted in the urine. Potassium is also excreted via sweat. When horses sweat, this becomes an additional means to remove EXCESS potassium. Of course, excess potassium does not need to be replaced. Adding more potassium in an electrolyte supplement actually places more stress on the system and can produce detrimental effects such as increased plasma potassium and hyper-excitability.
The other electrolytes are found in varying amounts in normal feeding programs. Therefore, electrolyte supplementation for horses is only necessary in situations where heat and humidity are high and/or horses are working hard. Large amounts of sweat, produced during hard work, are used to cool the horse’s body. Most equine electrolytes are formulated to replace lost sweat. Equine sweat generally contains about four parts chlorine to two parts sodium, to one part potassium. Most manufacturers use this formula to create sweat-replacement electrolyte supplements. However, this reasoning is incorrect since, as stated previously, horses typically consume more potassium than they need and sweat helps rid the body of excess potassium. Consequently, adding potassium to an equine electrolyte-replacement product is unfounded.
Another method used to formulate equine electrolytes is to mimic human electrolyte supplements. In nutrition, information from one species is often taken and applied to other species. In some cases, this works very well and is the best method available. In other cases, it is the opposite of what one should be doing. A great example is trying to apply human nutrition concerning electrolytes to horse nutrition.
Electrolytes are only needed to supplement minerals not found in normal diets. And, normal human and horse diets have some very important differences. As a wide generalization, humans are notorious for overeating salt. But, our typical diets generally don’t supply enough potassium due to lower intake of fruits and vegetables. Horses are foragers. As stated previously, forages are very rich in potassium, but low in salt. This is because plants use only potassium to maintain their water balance, while animals use both sodium and potassium.
In people and animals, most of the sodium is found in the blood and other extracellular fluids, and most of the potassium is found inside the cells. Carnivores (meat eaters) and omnivores (meat and vegetable eaters) obtain salt from the muscles and tissues of the animals they eat. Herbivores, like horses, get abundant potassium and need to constantly remove it through the urine. Consequently, people and horses have opposite needs for supplemental potassium and sodium.
Supplementing horse diets with an equine electrolyte product is not usually necessary if horses are fed a good, balanced nutrition programs. However, if used, electrolytes for horses should contain sodium chloride, possibly calcium and/or magnesium, and NO potassium. FORAGE FIRST® feeding programs containing GROSTRONG® Minerals for Horses provide all required nutrients including electrolytes.
Horses with the genetic disorder HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis) are sensitive to “normal” amounts of potassium in forages and must be provided special low-potassium rations. Horses with HYPP should never be given electrolytes with potassium, as this could cause a lethal reaction.
Electrolytes--The Bottom Line
Begin with a feeding program balanced around good-quality forage.
Supplement nutrients not found in adequate amounts in forages with a Fortified Feed and/or a comprehensive vitamin/mineral product that includes salt, the best of which is GROSTRONG Minerals for Horses.
If additional salt is needed after the maximum amount of GROSTRONG Minerals is fed, use plain, white salt to meet the requirement.
Do not buy electrolyte supplements that contain potassium (read the label). The potassium is not necessary and might be detrimental. These supplements are also a waste of money.
Never give supplements with potassium to horses with HYPP.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Compounding the frustration over the cold is the fact that I've ordered at least 3 blankets now for both the mini donkey and the baby, and none of the damn things have fit properly. Order blankets number 4 and 5 now...
Monday, November 28, 2011
A little ticked off. I put out an ad to get my pastures bushhogged, a guy calls a week and a half ago to give a quote, and I tell him I'm still collecting quotes. He calls today to tell me he wants to do it this weekend and wants to do it Sunday, and I tell him I hadn't made a decision yet because there were still 2 guys who were coming at the beginning of the week to see it. Then this asshole tries to bully me into giving him the gig saying crap like "Well I gave you a quote and thought we had a done deal, I already was making plans to come Sunday after the ground dried out" even after I repeated myself and said I still had appointments. I really am rather surprised that he thought trying to bully me by saying "we had a done deal" and "I made plans" when I never agreed to anything would possibly result in me caving and actually just giving him the job... on what planet does that actually work? You don't bully a potential employer and still get hired. Maybe it's because I'm not a redneck, but even rednecks I've dealt with before are more mannerly and decent about doing business with them.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Yesterday was hard! My body was so sore and tired already by the end of the short course, and that made it harder to hold my new position. Developing new muscle memory while old muscle memory continues to get in the way is tough! We did, however, conquer our issues with holding correct position, got plenty of well balanced and correct sitting trot and also some canter. We didn't quit when it was tough, managed to get three gorgeous, perfect strides, and we managed to go right back on the bit without a fight after he started getting a little fussy about the bridle on a loose rein. Haha, my trainer told me I got three blue ribbons for those three particular accomplishments. I LOVED it up there, and we can't wait to go back (though we're going to take the time to work very hard on our homework between now and our next trip). OH! And I brought home a new saddle! My Passier Grand Gilbert apparently doesn't have a large enough sweet spot and pushes me out of proper position because my thighs are too long, so I just brought home a gorgeous ALBION that fits both me and my boy :) So, day 4 ended on a very good note, then we packed up and hit the road for home. Stopped for sushi with my best friend in Atlanta, then came home to snuggle up with my awesome hubster :)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
My body feels a little beat up from how hard we've been working! The Turdinator decided to show up yesterday looking for a fight, but little did he realize, Sophie brought her boxing gloves. I think part of it was that he isn't used to being worked in specifically this way (and with me in correct position, actually asking him to really work for once), but the rest of it was that he was just being incredibly rude and trying to bully us into getting his way. Suffice it to say, he didn't get it. What he did get/become, however, was very good and correct, did not lean on me, and started giving me very nice canter departs on the bit and did not go splat when we came back down to the trot (though I did go splat in the saddle a couple times due to too much tension, HE did not and was such a gentleman about letting me reorganize without getting upset about it). Last lesson today, then we're going home!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Tasida was right. This IS Horsey Hogwarts. And officially, my inner thigh hurts. First lesson involved a lot of position correction. Mr. Go!-boy is a lot less inclined to lean on me now, and can't pull through me so easily, and I can now sit properly with my pelvic floor pointed down at the saddle and under me instead of tilting. Downside is that my saddle might be too small for me given this correct position, and now that I sit with my legs much longer, I had to let out a LOT of stirrup holes, ha! Looking forward to day 2 after I finish a little work.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Classy Lady had her foal, the one that she conceived without permission. Luckily, it's cute and doesn't look at all like its ugly mutt daddy, and is a black filly with a short sock on her left foreleg and a star/strip and broken snip on her adorable little face. I am somewhat of a fan :) We named her Bohemian Rhapsody and Queen as a barn name.
Ivan is back under saddle and progressing now that I'm not suffering from broken ribs anymore and since my quad tear in my right knee is healed enough that I can be more active. I do still have some discomfort from my rolled (left) ankle, but aside from that, we're good. We did a very long trail ride last Saturday at KC Ranch up in Double Springs, AL, close to the Bankhead National Forest. I woke up at an ungodly hour of 4:45 am, finally rolled out of bed at 5:05 am, hit the road by 6 am, arrived at my friend Jennifer's to collect her and her horse, Kiba, at 7:10 am, then arrived at 9:10 am and was in the saddle by 9:30 am. Rode till almost 1 pm, took a 1 hour break for lunch, then got back in the saddle and rode until 4:30 pm. All in all, he was very good, though he rushes when other horses leave him behind, and he tries to rush down rocky hills instead of picking more carefully through the rocks. I really had to reel him in a couple of times, but he was MUCH better when we weren't trying to keep up with the gaited horse pack. My lower back was slightly sore after so much time posting in the saddle during the first part of our ride, but aside from that we were pretty good.
We're supposed to use up the last of our lesson package with Deb this week, then I'm hauling him to NC to do a short course clinic with Sophie Pririe Clifton, who trained under the well renowned Paul Belasik, and who is the trainer that my friend Tasida goes to regularly. Hopefully things will go well, and we might do another short clinic (locally) after getting home with a trainer from GA. I'm hoping that this short course we're going to is going to be beneficial for breaking down some communication obstacles that Ivan and I have been having. The idea is that we'll have a better sense of direction and come up with some really good homework to work on for awhile, then come back for another short course clinic when we need new tasks. It's going to be intense, with a lesson when we get there, two lessons a day for the next two days, then a lesson before we leave. The Ivanator and I are really going to find out how much we REALLY know and a lot about what we DON'T, plus we're going to probably become acutely aware of how not in shape we are... Well, HE'S not too bad off, maybe a little roly poly around the tummy at the moment but not really fat, but on the other hand, I'M definitely not as fit as he is.
So hopefully, all new things will be good in the world of Ivan and myself, and we'll go from there. I'm hoping to be able to get new video footage of us at Sophie's along with some decent photos finally. I need to go ahead and start getting all my stuff clean and ready to go so I'm not scrambling on the night before. Speaking of the night before, my other half's birthday is being celebrated the night before (since it's actually on the day that I'm leaving for NC), so I've got to be prepared for that, too. I feel a little bad that I'm leaving on his birthday, but that IS why we're celebrating the night before. I just can't push it back by a day or I won't be getting my money's worth to be going so far, plus I can't stay a day extra because that will mean I'm there on Thanksgiving day. Anywho, I'll try to keep my blog up to date on our progress.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
The shortened version of how you should blanket is as follows, but please do visit her blog and read the whole explanation of all the terminology and why you should blanket when and with what, plus when you should layer.
55 and up: no blankets
54 to 45 and/or rain: turnout sheet
44 to 35: turnout sheet during the day, stable blanket at night
34 to 15: medium weight
15 and under: medium weight over stable blanket
Now with my kids, they get a turnout sheet 24/7 when it drops below 55. We have sufficient shelter out there, they get plenty of forage to cook in their bellies to keep warm, and when it drops in temperature, I start layering either underneath or over the top. I have fleece liners, turnout sheets, and medium/heavy weight turnout blankets (because I don't keep my kids in a stall at night anymore unless the temps are ridiculous and/or rainy).
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
August 01 2010, Article # 16762
Monday, October 31, 2011
July 01 2011, Article # 19029
Monday, October 3, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
The Horse | Carbohydrates 101 for Horses
March 01 2011, Article # 18816
- Acid detergent fiber (ADF) A measure of the least digestible carbohydrates in the feed, primarily cellulose and lignin.
- Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) A measure of fiber consisting of hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin.
- Crude fiber (CF) A crude measurement of fiber.
- Nonfiber carbohydrates (NFC) A measure of starch, simple sugars, and fructans.
- Nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) A measure of the easily digestible carbohydrates, including simple sugars and fructans. Horses sensitive to glucose should be fed a low-NSC diet.
- Water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) A measure of water-soluble sugars, including simple sugars and fructans.
- Ethanol-soluble carbohydrates (ESC) A measure of ethanol-soluble sugars, including mostly monosaccharides and disaccharides.
COMMON CARBOHYDRATES AND THEIR DIETARY SOURCES
Includes monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, xylose, and galactose) and disaccharides (two-unit carbohydrates, including dextrose and lactose).
Found in varying amounts in most plant-based feeds. Sucrose is table sugar. Lactose is found in milk.
A type of fructo-oligosaccharide; a short chain of fructose molecules.
Polysaccharide; a long chain of glucose joined by alpha bonds.
Found primarily in cereal grains, but also in varying amounts in forages.
Polysaccharide; a long chain of glucose joined by beta bonds. Indigestible by mammalian enzymes.
Found in most plant-based feed sources, but in higher amounts in forages.
Polysaccharide similar to cellulose, but in addition to glucose units it also contains other monosaccharides such as xylose and galactose. Indigestible by mammalian enzymes.
Found in most plant-based feed sources, but in higher amounts in forages.
A complex compound that gives strength to plant cells; indigestible.
Found in most plant-based feed sources, but is higher in mature plants (particularly mature hay).
A heteropolysaccharide, containing mostly galactose and xylose.
Found primarily in fruits and beet pulp.