While apples, carrots, cucumbers and celery are all great treats to feed to your horse, there are certainly some fruits and vegetables that should be avoided. Here is a look at a few of the vegetables to avoid along with more that are safe to feed to your horse.
Cabbage and Other Vegetables in the Cabbage Family
Cabbage is never safe to feed to your horse. The same is true of other vegetables in this same family, such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and kale. Just as with humans, all of these vegetables can create intestinal gas in your horse. Gas pains can escalate into life-threatening situations for your horse, including gas-related colic. Even if the condition is not fatal, it can cause intense discomfort for your horse.
Just as it can be a good choice for you to take vitamin supplements in order to improve your health, the same can be true for your horse. Some of the vitamins that you want to make sure your horse has in its diet include:
- Vitamin A: Necessary for vision, cell growth, proper muscle function and mucous membrane healthy. Found in fresh pasture and hay. An 1,000-pound horse needs approximately 15,000 IU per day. Vitamin A supplements are rarely necessary for horses, but may be needed if your horse lacks access to a pasture or good, green hay.
- B Vitamins: Necessary for metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Produced by the bacteria that live in the large intestine as well as in good-quality pasture and hay. Most horses do not require supplements, but they may be needed if your horse has poor-quality hooves. In this case, 20 mg per day of biotin may be helpful. B vitamins may also help to calm a nervous horse.
- Vitamin C: Helps to protect body cells and the formation of collagen. Synthesized from glucose by the horse’s liver. Supplements generally are not needed, but older horses may respond better to vaccinations if they receive a daily supplement of 20g of vitamin C.
- Vitamin D: Assists with absorbing calcium from the small intestine, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and joints. Produced naturally by the horse’s body when exposed to sunlight. An 1,100-pound horse needs approximately 3,000 IU of vitamin D per day.
These are just a few examples of the vitamins that your horse needs to be healthy. To learn more, contact your veterinarian.
Knowing your horse’s normal body temperature, respiration rate and pulse is important in helping to determine whether or not your horse is experiencing health issues. While there is a normal range of values for these bodily functions, you should check your horse over several days and at different times of the day in order to determine what is normal for your particular horse.
Generally speaking, the normal ranges for each are as follows:
- Pulse: 28 to 45 beats per minute, with the double “lub dub” counted as one full beat.
- Respiration: 8 to 20 breaths per minute
- Temperature: 98.5 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (36.9 to 38.3 degrees Celsius)
Keep in mind that outside factors can affect these readings. For example, you may see a slight increase in your horse’s internal temperature if it is a very hot day. Similarly, if your horse is anticipating a treat or if it is near mealtime, you may see a slight increase in respiration and pulse. Your horse’s level of stress at the time can also affect these readings. This is why getting several readings over a period of time is the best way to get a true idea of what is “normal” for your horse.
When caring for your horse, the type of feed that you provide is an essential part of keeping it healthy. This includes being sure to provide high-quality hay while also offering other feeding options other than hay.
As a horse owner, one of the most important things you can do to keep your horse healthy and happy is to give it ample time and opportunity to graze. Not only does grazing provide your horse with a more balanced diet, but it also helps your horse get the exercise that it needs to stay healthy.
As we continue to deal with the pandemic and stay at home orders, many are fully realizing just how important it is to be able to maintain a social life. Just as with humans, the same is true for your horse! In fact, if you want your horse to stay happy and healthy, it is absolutely essential that you find opportunity for it to enjoy a social life.
When caring for a horse, there are several steps you need to take to ensure it remains healthy. While most horse owners are fully aware that they need to make sure their horse eats properly, gets fresh water and stays safe from nasty weather elements, some may fail to recognize the importance of providing for opportunities for movement.
Heat stress is a concern for horses that are older, out of shape or obese. Young foals can also experience heat stress due to hydration. To avoid heat stress, it is a good idea to make some adjustments to your schedule while also being continually aware of your horse’s condition.
Perhaps the simplest and most important step you can take to keep your horse healthy during the summer is to ensure you are providing free and easy access to clean water throughout the day. But how much water is enough and how do you keep it clean?
How Much Water Should I Provide?
With the warmer summer months just around the corner, it is a good time to look at ways to keep your horse cool and safe from heat-related illnesses. In this three-part series, we will look at simple steps you can take this summer to keep your horse healthy.