Way Of Horses Continued from Page 6.

the extra hay on her daily visit. 5. Grain. Commercial

“grain” products and supple- ments are used to make up for the nutrients which are lacking in the forage. These nutrients are pro- tein, carbohydrates, fat, minerals and vitamins. The boarding contract stated that each horse would receive five pounds of grain split between the morning and evening meals. I asked my friend to find out what type of grain was being used. She reported back that the grain was a 12% protein pellet from a reputable company, and was being fed the minimum amount recommended for a horse of Missy’s size and activity level ac- cording to the manufacturer’s feeding directions. Missy was observed dropping pellets and tilting her head to the side while chewing. This and the problem chewing hay indicated a tooth problem. At this point I recommended

we wait to see how Missy does after she has her teeth done by the veterinarian and the extra hay was added to her diet. It is possi- ble Missy may have to the 12% pellet amount increased or be switched to a product designed for older horses. 6. Water. Water is the most

important nutrient in the diet. The digestive system requires it to dissolve nutrients and help move feed through the intestinal tract. It is needed to carry waste products out of the body. Im- paction colic can be caused by a lack of water – very common in the winter when water sources are frozen and neglected. Again, my friend leaves it

up to the stable, so more investi- gation was required. When Missy is in her stall

she has access to an automatic water cup. The drawback to these “convenient” items is not being able to monitor how much water the horse is drinking – or even if they are drinking at all. Water cups are also neglected. Dead rodents, debris from the horse’s mouth and other dirt ac- cumulates in them, and unnoticed malfunctions can occur if they are not checked several times a day. Missy’s cup was working, but had an accumulation of grain and dirt in the bottom. The water source in Missy’s

turnout area, which she shares with two other horses, is a large 100 gallon tub. My friend told me it was thick and green with algae – she couldn’t see the bot- tom of the tank. This means a confrontation

with the manager of the boarding stable. I suggested my friend ask if she could hang two water buck- ets in Missy’s stall, which my friend would maintain (she goes out every day to see the mare) – not adding any work to the stable manager’s duties. The big tank is another

issue. My friend decided to ask if she could dump and clean it, then maintain it as needed. Luckily the stable manager agreed to both requests. 7. Internal parasite control.

The next question I posed to my friend was regarding deworming Missy for internal parasites. The boarding stable requires all the

horses be on a rotational schedule recommended by the stable’s vet- erinarian. That schedule is: an ivermectin product in the spring and after the first hard killing freeze in the winter; and one dose of a pyrantel pamoate or fenben- dazole product in the summer. That is a common rotational

deworming schedule, so Missy was probably in pretty good shape. I suggested my friend ask her veterinarian about conducting a fecal egg count to ensure the program was working. I also emailed her the link to the Amer- ican Association of Equine Prac- titioners Parasite Control G u i d e l i n e s . /Guidelines/AAEPParasiteCon- trolGuidelines_0.pdf 8. Hoof care. When evalu-

ating a horse for proper care the hooves must be part of the equa- tion. A horse in pain due to un- balanced hooves, thrush, cracks, laminitis, navicular, abscesses, white line disease, sole bruises or neglect is not going to thrive. I knew Missy was on a reg-

ular schedule with an excellent farrier, and that Missy had her feet cleaned and checked daily by my friend. So no questions needed to be asked regarding hoof care. 9. Vaccinations. Vaccinations are used to help protect a horse from infectious diseases. Which dis- ease to protect the horse from de- pends on location, use of the horse, exposure risk, and risk of reaction to the vaccine. Missy’s veterinarian gives her the core vaccinations recommended by the American Association of Equine Practitioners for the fol-

lowing diseases: tetanus, Eastern / Western Equine En- cephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE), West Nile Virus and rabies. Missy is also vaccinated for pro- tection against equine influenza during the summer when she is going to horse shows. nation-guidelines Being vaccinated is not a

factor in Missy’s weight loss, but the protection will aid Missy’s immune system in fighting off a disease to which she may be ex- posed. If she would happen to acquire a disease for which she was protected the severity and length of the disease may be de- creased. 10. Observation. Knowing

your horse may be the most im- portant aspect of care. Many times the horse’s owner “senses” when something is not quite right – before the spike in temperature, before the refusal of feed, before the first severe pain of colic. I asked Missy if she had any

premonitions or a sense of unease when she thought about Missy or watched her. She didn’t. Other than the slight weight loss the mare was acting normal. These 10 basic questions are

ones every horse owner should review on a regular basis. In Missy’s case getting her teeth floated and increasing her hay did the trick.

* Earn Professional Certification as Horse Trainer, Stable Manager or Riding Instructor. All courses are online. Visit www.equines- for informa- tion.

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