ers use these tasty foods to encourage poor eaters to eat their feed stuffs or supplements. I like to offer a wide variety of them to my horses as nutritious treats.
During the seasons when all of the wonderful fruits - including ber- ries, melons, peaches, nectarines, etc - are so deliciously ripe and readily available to us, have you ever wondered if your horse would love some of these tasty treats too?
With the wide variety of fruits we have available almost all year long, your horse may welcome some new and healthful taste treats. Most fruits are full of vitamin C and other valuable nutrients. What better thing can you do for your horse on a hot day than to offer him a cool juicy slice of red ripe watermelon? It’s a nice change from the usual slice of apple. Make him a fruit salad and see what he likes!
Berries and fruits offer more than just pretty colors, as those col- orful pigments of reds and dark blues to purples mean they are a storehouse of some of the best known phytochemicals, such as beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene. These have a positive effect on our health as well as our horses’ health. Those colorful skins also con- tain flavonoids, which work as antioxidants in the body.
Some of the fruits you may want to try are:
Bananas – Full of potassium; some people feed them with the peel on. Some competition riders are feeding their horses bananas between events like some tennis players eat bananas between sets.
Apricots, Peaches, Plums and Nectarines – Offer just a cou- ple slices for flavor and be sure to take the pits out! All of these fruits are an excellent source of beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Apricots also are an excellent source of iron, and plums are a great source of vitamin K.
Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries and Blueberries
– Strawberries contain more vitamin C than blueberries, with blackberries and raspberries also containing vitamin C and potas- sium. Vitamin C is needed for immune system function and for strong connective tissue. Strawberries also add a bit of calcium, magnesium, folate and potassium.
Grapes – Grape skins contain resveratrol, which is a powerful an- tioxidant. Grape seed extract is used as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory agent so your horse may benefit from having a few grapes added to his bucket food.
Watermelon (rind and pulp) – This sweet melon is related botanically to cucumbers and squash, which are incidentally fruits, not vegetables. Watermelon is high in natural sugars and may not be a good choice for Insulin Resistant or laminitis-prone horses.
Pumpkin – Being that pumpkin is in the squash family, many feed their horses pumpkin and other squashes at Halloween and Thanksgiving time.
Oranges,Tangerines, and Grapefruit – All are full of vitamin C. Citrus fruits are a good source of minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and sulfur. The white part of the skins has naturally occurring rutin, which is great for hoof health and for the small capillaries in the hooves.
Mangoes & Papayas – Mango is a good source of minerals such as copper and potassium. It contains traces of magnesium, man- ganese, selenium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Papayas contain large amounts of antioxidants and folate. Papayas are the source for an enzyme called papain, which aids digestion and is used as a meat tenderizer.
Pears – The pear is an excellent source of copper, man- ganese, potassium, magnesium, and sele
contains traces of calcium, phosphorous, zinc. They are also a very good source of vi- tamin E, niacin (B3) and riboflavin (B2).
It also contains small amounts of vitamin B6. Pears also have abundant levels of vi- tamin C and vitamin K. This is one fruit none of my horses have ever liked - I am not sure why, since many adore them. By the way, seeds in pears and apples are fine for horses to eat.
Pomegranates – This unique fruit co
polyphenols and tannins, and its juice has higher lev-
els of antioxidants than red wine and green tea. I have seen horses eat the skin and all of fresh pomegranates that their owners had cut open for them.
Remember, each horse has his own individual tastes. Some horses will turn their noses up at some fruits, so you will have to do a few taste tests to see which fruits your horse may enjoy. Each is an in- dividual and will have certain preferences. Just feed a couple of dif- ferent fruits at a time so as not to overwhelm him. Consider making a smoothie of the fruits that your horse likes and adding it to his bucket food for a great taste treat!
Please feed these fruits in only very small amounts and remember that moderation is the key. When I make up a horsey fruit salad I am making it for 3 horses so each gets a thin slice of cantaloupe, a slice of watermelon, some berries, sliced apple, a slice of orange, some slices of peach, apricot, nectarine, and maybe a little papa- ya, a few grapes, and what may be getting too ripe in the kitchen. Don’t feed your horse any fruit with any hint of mold on it!
Please note: If you have an insulin resistant or Cushing’s horse, only a “taste” of a few of these would be recommended, as many fruits are high in sugars, including citrus, grapes and watermelons.
Unsafe Fruits – Avocados, tomatoes, persimmons and rhubarb
When in doubt do not offer it. But do try adding some new tastes and nutritional options to your horse’s menu by sensibly offering a variety of fresh fruits on the side, especially in seasons when they are readily abundant.
About the author:
Jessica Lynn is a writer and the owner of Earth Song Ranch, a licensed natural feed and supplement manufacturer based in Southern Califor- nia. Jessica has been involved in alternative health care, homeopathy and nutrition for almost 40 years. She personally researches, formulates and tests all of the Earth Song Ranch nutritional products including her high potency digestive enzymes and super strength horse friendly pro- biotics. Contact Jessica via e-mail at Jessica@earthsongranch.com or phone 951-514-9700. Her web site is: www.earthsongranch.com
Seasonal Considerations to Keep Your Horse Healthy--Summer
By Lisa Ross-Williams
The glorious days of summer are upon us which allow long trail rides under a canopy of green leaves. But, the dog-days of summer can present the special challenge of making sure your horse does not overheat.
Self-cooling is usually an efficient process
Horses are homeotherms meaning they are designed to maintain a fairly constant body temperature. They have various responses- behavioral, metabolic and physiologic-to help them when it?s hot. These include increasing their water intake, respiratory rate and sweating, and decreasing the amount of activity and food they eat.
However, certain conditions and situations hinder this natural process, and can cause over-heating and heat stroke.
* Climate. When the air temperature is nearly as high as a horse?s body temperature or when humidity is very high, sweating- the horse?s number one cooling mechanism through evaporation, may become inefficient.
* Dehydration as a result of excessive activity or inadequate water intake.
* Anhidrosis (inability to sweat)
* Sustained exercise (usually human initiated) in hot, humid weather.
Although most horses do just fine in the heat, even in humid weather, there are some other important factors that influence a horse?s ability to not overheat.
First is the human influence. Handlers can possibly push horses into prolonged and/or extreme work when it?s really too hot to be doing so. Horses know the right time to exercise and play and how much, and when to nap, preferably in the shade. The equine?s guardians are responsible for providing a safe and palatable drinking source; most horses will drink enough if the water is good.
Second comes the horse with health issues. Cushing?s syndrome can hinder the horse?s ability to properly cool himself. Horses with Anhydrosis lack the ability to sweat and therefore cannot utilize their most important cooling mechanism. Running a high temperature due to an illness or infection can also hinder his natural cooling abilities. Even being sedated on a hot, humid day can result in a heat related incident.
Heat stroke is an emergency and happens when a horse loses his ability to control his body temperature through thermoregulatory mechanisms. Unchecked, his body temperature rises to excessively dangerous levels, shutting down other bodily functions. A veterinarian?s intervention is necessary.
Initial signs include:
* Capillary refill time over three seconds
* Increased heart rate (normal at-rest pulse is around 35 to 42 beats per minute, slightly faster in youngsters, and 70 to 90 beats in newborn foals)
* Rapid breathing with flared nostrils (normal respiratory rate is 12 to 25 breaths per minute)
* Elevated temperature (normal is 99.5° to 100° Fahrenheit in adults and 99° to 102°F in foals)
As the condition progresses, the horse loses the ability to sweat allowing his body temperature to rise quickly. This is an emergency! He can become unbalanced and possibly fall down. While waiting for your vet to arrive, move the horse out of the sun, spray him with cool water and if available, place a fan nearby for air movement.
Tips to support your horse?s natural cooling ability
1. Provide shade so your horse has the option to use it if he desires.
2. Ensure proper salt intake which is crucial to sustaining normal hydration. Offer free-choice loose salt and add at least 2 Tablespoons to feed per day.
3. Limit exercise in hot, humid weather. If it feels hot and miserable to you, your equine partner probably feels the same.
4. Provide fans to increase air movement, especially in barns. Swamp coolers, which cool by water evaporation and fans, used in very arid climates, give an added bonus of evaporated cooling as well as air flow.
5. Run a sprinkler for short periods of time (remember to practice water conservation) or offer baby pools filled with water so horses can cool off with the moisture. Hosing a horse down can also help cool him but be sure to squeegee the excess water off or heat can actually be trapped against the body.
6. Ensure frequent hoof trimming as hooves grow faster in the summer than winter. If you live in a dry region, occasionally, perhaps weekly, allow the water tank to overflow to create a hoof ?spa?, allowing the hoof to absorb some moisture.
The take-home message is that many over-heating cases can be prevented by sound water management and horse keeping practices.
This article is an excerpt from the book, Down-To-Earth Natural Horse Care-Keeping Your Horse as Best Suits His Mind, Body and Soul. www.down-to-earthnhc.com
USDA to Grant Horse Meat Inspections
EWA (Chicago) – The Equine Welfare Alliance has learned from multiple sources that the USDA will announce a grant of horse meat inspections to the Valley Meats Company in Roswell, NM tomorrow. The plant has been involved in litigation with the USDA, accusing it of intentionally delaying a grant of inspections. The EWA has further learned that announcements will be made next week granting inspections to plants in Iowa and Missouri. Friday, June 28th, was a deadline set by the court for a response from the USDA in the litigation.
The House and Senate appropriations committees have both passed amendments to the 2014 USDA budget that would prohibit funding for such inspections, in essence banning horse slaughter in the U.S. The administration and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack have requested that they not be funded. If the USDA budget in the House and Senate receives a vote, EWA is assured it will pass in both chambers, and the plants would again lose inspectors and be forced to close at the end of October.
The inspections were first defunded in 2007, but all three foreign plants then operating in Illinois and Texas had already been shut down by state laws before the courts had decided on challenges to the defunding. Essentially the defunding simply kept the plants from moving to other states.
Funding was restored in 2011 when the House passed a defunding amendment, but the Senate did not. A four member conference committee then reinstated the funding by a three to one vote. Since the reinstatement several plants have requested that they be granted inspections. How soon any of these companies might begin slaughtering horses is unclear. Valley Meats still must obtain a water discharge permit in order to begin operations, and there is some question about other permits. The New Mexico Environmental Department is expected to hold a public hearing on the Valley Meats discharge permit within 30 days.
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The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 290 member organizations and over 1,000 individual members worldwide in 21 countries. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids. www.equinewelfarealliance.org
Ever wonder about Therapeutic Riding…what it is and what it consists of?
Therapeutic riding is used for people who have a physician’s statement that it is safe for them to ride, thus the disabilities served range from developmental delay (both physical and intellectual), cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders and conditions, multiple sclerosis and other degenerative diseases, post-stroke, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and many others.
A TR session is just like a regular riding lesson with modifications!
A leader might be assigned to lead the horse; one or two side walkers might need to accompany the rider – or an individual might be an independent rider. Almost all sessions involve some volunteers who may be spotters and help set up the arena.
The emphasis in twofold: to learn riding skills as allowed by the nature of each individual’s challenges, and to have fun and experience becoming an equestrian – thus creating a bond between rider and horse in exactly the same way as any of us enjoy riding and love our horses. This is a very powerful experience for people who may have to use a wheelchair, or be in special education classes, or have some other challenge that makes them different from “normal” people – either in their own experience or as visible to the outside world.
Lessons have group objectives and each individual has a set of long term goals. A lesson plan is created for each lesson. Lessons typically involve warm up for both horse and rider, then review of old skills, and then learning or practicing new skills – often a trail ride is incorporated, games and various exercise are used to reinforce the learning of the skills chosen
Disaster and Fire Season Precautions and Planning
Published in Natural Horse Magazine 2005
With all of us just witnessing the horror in the south from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I felt compelled to send this out just one more time as a reminder that many people never thought it could happen to them, and it did! In California we do not have the benefit of knowing that we are facing a natural disaster, with the benefit of a time frame to evacuate… earthquakes and fires just happen with no notice here!
Having been through one of the worst fires in Southern California history, just two years ago, and also through the Elfin Forest/ La Costa fires almost 8 years ago now, I am very aware of what needs to be done in preparation for fire season, and because of the recent fires in the past couple of days as well as the earthquakes, it makes me realize that I need to stay prepared in the event of an unplanned catastrophic incident.
Always keep at least a half tank of gas at all times in tow vehicle, as well as make sure that vehicle has regular maintenance and your trailer is ready and accessible to hook up.
Now is the time to check that your trailer is in good order, air in tires, floors checked for wear and welds, and make sure brakes have been checked, etc.
Trailer train your horses (I cannot stress this one enough) so they will get in no matter what and right away, even if you don’t have a trailer of your own.
Borrow one, rent one, but get it done - if your horses have to be evacuated, the emergency evacuation volunteers will only give each horse a maximum 10-15 minutes to get in and they will go to the next horse, leaving yours behind because you had not taken the time to get him to load! Many, many people in the Paradise fires had never gotten around to trailer loading and lost their animals in the fire simply because they would not get in
and they were left behind! Trailer train your horses!!!! Again, can’t stress that enough - so many people in the past fires wished they had, when it was too late, and too many horses were lost or died that shouldn’t have, if only their owners had taken the time to trailer train them!
Use a leather halter with cotton lead rope when evacuating, with metal id tag with their name and your cell phone number or contact number (the reason I say leather is that during a fire a nylon halter can melt on your horse’s face causing severe burns and disfiguration if he were to get loose). The name tag is for easy identification and they can be purchased at most pet stores and maybe online.
Hay Nets: Fill a hay net for each horse; it is easier to transport than bales of hay especially if you have limited space to haul items. A good hay net can hold more than 25 pounds of feed, enough to get you through until you can get your horses settled. Fill one for each horse you are evacuating.
Water: Bring at least a 5-gallon jug of water for your horses, and buckets; at least you will have enough for wherever you are going and can make arrangements for more.
Buckets: I bring 1 blue and 1 green large rope handle bucket for each horse, one for food and one for water.
Supplements and Meds: Bag up, in zip-lock bags, at least 7 days worth of supplements along with medications your horse(s) may be taking. I know with my 4-year-old she is on a special diet for a medical condition and she would get very sick without her “goolosh bags”! Don’t forget to bring the bucket or bowl you mix and feed these in.
Equine/ Small Animal First Aid Kit: I always carry mine in the trailer anyway, but it is great to have gauze, vet wrap, items to treat scratches and cuts - also betadine, and any other first aid items that you usually keep on hand at home including Traumeel (tablets, crème, etc.) and a homeopathic first aid kit too if you use one.
Also include Rescue Remedy and any flower essences or essential oils that will help to calm your horse (and you!), or other people’s horses, during an evacuation. Other items of value, if you use them, would be ‘bute’ or ‘Banamine’ along with syringes and needles, or in the paste forms, in the event that your or another person’s horse would need them during any emergency when there may be no vet available to get any. You might want to include a supply of probiotics and digestive enzymes/ aids to help prevent colic or colic-like symptoms due to the stress of evacuation and/or change in feed stuff.
Gear: If you have time and space,saddles, bridles, blankets, et al.
The safest place for your horses to be in the event that you have to evacuate without them is in an arena or their own “dry” pasture, that has no incendiary brush or tree limbs in or hanging over it.
Around here the horses that were left behind and that survived were the ones the owners did not turn loose, but left them in their own pasture, or arena, some with a sprinkler turned on and water troughs full along with a bale or two of hay in the middle depending upon the number of horses.
As many of us have witnessed watching hurricane coverage, there were horses who could not escape from their stalls inside of barns in Louisiana and Mississippi. Those horses were trapped inside their stalls, left standing in chest and deeper water, not able to escape, and rescuers were not able to get in to get them. I myself cannot imagine what physical, let alone mental shape, these horses were in if they in fact were finally rescued.
Do not turn your horse(s) loose with a halter on; instead, if you have to turn them loose, braid an ID tag (like a leather luggage tag) into their manes, or use a permanent black waterproof marker to put your phone number (preferably cell phone in the event of an emergency or contact number in the event of emergency) on their butts or hip, as they could end up any where during an evacuation and people could then try to contact you. Others have suggested a piece of duct tape with your phone number or contact number on it placed on their butts, but I don’t know if it would work (may not stick or stay on).
Board Facilities/Training Facilities: Owner’s who do not have their horses at home need to encourage the places where they stable their horses to have an evacuation/disaster preparedness plan. The facilities close to my home have them in place, owner’s know where their horses will be taken in the event of evacuation, they also have people to call, and they have a plan to trailer horses out as well in the event the owner cannot get there for what ever reason to get their horse(s) out. My friend Sally who owns Tapestry Meadows also offers seminars on trailer training, where they have several types of trailers hooked up and everyone who boards with her knows their horses will get in to whatever trailer is available to get them out!
Small Animals (Cats and Dogs, and Other Pets):
If for some reason you cannot take your small pets, make sure they have collars with ID tags as well as at least 2 weeks of water and food.
I would not recommend leaving any animal if the disaster was a fire or flood, as their chance of survival would be minimal. Make friends with your neighbors;someone in your neighborhood might be able to get your animals out if they know you have them and if you cannot get home to get them yourself. What you find during disasters is that people want to help if they can, especially with rescuing animals. Make sure a trusted neighbor has a key to your house so they could get in to get your pets.
Also have a sign in the window or posted on a front door as to how many pets you have and if they are cats, dogs, iguanas, parrots, or whatever, so that rescue people will know there are pets to rescue. Pets will hide during a disaster and rescuers may not know they are there - unless you have a sign posted, they won’t know to look for them, lessening their chances of survival.
People Things: HAVE AN EVACUATION/DISASTER PLAN AND A PERSON NOT IN THE AREA FOR ALL FAMILY MEMBERS TO PHONE TO CHECK IN WITH.
Most of all be prepared, be calm and help your neighbors if you can in the event of evacuation. Get their work numbers and share yours, have a neighborhood phone list with emergency numbers and cell phone numbers. Have a key to your truck and trailer hidden in a safe place that one of your neighbors knows about. If they have time, they can maybe help get your animals out if you aren’t there. Have neighborhood meetings on disaster preparedness. We do, and everyone in our neighborhood has a plan. We have a central staging area, we have emergency supplies and 5,000 gallons of well water storage.
We also make sure we have two weeks extra worth of hay stored at all times and enough dry food for at least 8 extra people, just in case - and propane to cook with, candles, matches, and extra batteries.
Your area, be it county, city or state, probably has Disaster Preparedness plans on line or they can mail them to you for more complete information and suggestions. The Red Cross would also be another source for written info to be prepared for a disaster such as fires.
Take care of your horses, cats, dogs and other animals, but more importantly take care of yourself! Get your valuables and get out - your life is not worth trying to save material things that can be replaced- your life cannot, and your family will be devastated! Everything you have is replaceable except your family and your animals!
About the author:
Jessica Lynn is the owner of Earth Song Ranch, a California licensed natural feed supplement business specializing in designing, manufacturing and distributing natural equine, canine and feline nutritional supplements. Earth Song Ranch also offers blends with wild crafted and organic herbs, herbal wormers, homeopathic remedies, nosodes, and educational articles.
Jessica has been involved in holistic and alternative health for humans and animals for well over 4 decades. Jessica breeds Arabian Sport Horses and shares the ranch with her Border Collies and cats! For more information please visit the Earth Song Ranch web site at www.earthsongranch.com.
Earth Song Ranch
PO Box 2616
San Marcos, CA 92079-2616