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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Friday, 25 March 2011

Hoof quality and treating

Some horses like some people can eat junk food and get away with it.  Others are ok for a while until it all catches up with them and some (like my Grace) have to watch what they eat 24/7/365.

It's not just about being overweight, there are at least two other common things to watch out for, before we even think about the heritable metabolic issues such as HYPP and EPSM.
  • Hind gut acidosis
  • Blood sugar/insulin spikes
If you over feed sugar and/or simple starches you risk your horse getting hind gut acidosis.  This is the first step to all sorts of other problems, one of which is laminitis.  Others are lack of performance, tiredness, lack of thrift and behavioural problems

As to treats, it is easy to assume that because the overall diet is low in sugar the odd carrot or mint doesn't matter.  And for some horses it doesn't.  But if you have a sensitive one then you could be causing the blood sugar to spike, which of course has a negative impact on the other side. And of course if the diet is already a bit high in sugar then too many carrots can tip a horse over the edge.

Plus sometimes I think it just isn't fair.  For example, my own Grace has to have a very low sugar/starch diet - sugary treats just set up the cravings all over again - it took me many weeks to wean her off sugar, why would I want to put us both through that again?

But I do use treats, but instead of sugary carrots and apples I feed herbs.  I try different things with her and she loves to get to choose.  Current favourite is lemon balm, but she likes a lot of things and it means she gets variety, low sugar and a positive contribution to her diet. 

Herbs are fun!

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

What are some of the herbs you've tried and how do you go about getting them? Oh wait . . . I don't think you're in the US are you? Hmm.

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