Today, as horse owners our mind boggles with so many feeds, clever marketing, complicated supplements, juggling contradicting expert advice, spending fortunes on jars of this and that, scientific research papers, feed extra metabolic cofactors, balancing minerals, cutting out sugar till our horses are virtually eating cardboard and still they fall sick. Fructose is the culprit. Oh no, now it’s not. Sugar is the baddie. Starch is evil. A horse eating grass – OMG!
But still, they fall sick. Dairy grass is to blame. But my laminitis has never eaten dairy grass? The mineral iron is now wicked and must be to blame. But still, they fall sick. Don’t clothe them with rugs, make them exercise more, we coddle them too much. But still, they fall sick. They need more oil in their diet. No, they need less. No, it needs to be a certain type. Now I am confused.
Metabolic horses fed Jiagulan. Fed Alcar. Fed nitric oxide. Fed chelated calcium. Fed turmeric. Fed some chemical thing I can’t pronounce (but it’s backed up with lots of research). They seem to work. Cushing’s (PPID) continues to rise. Four-year-olds put to sleep with Cushing’s? Where did that come from? Laminitis continues to rise. We just diagnose it better though, don’t we? Pergolide and Metformin – keep popping the pills – that will sort it. Vets own horses with metabolic syndrome – if they can’t keep a horse healthy then who can? Oh well, carry on. More horses than not have ulcers. It’s ok, we have drugs for that too.
Cereal free. Molasses free. Obesity epidemic. Metabolic syndrome. Fat pads and swollen eye sockets. Facebook, forums, discussion groups, scientific research conferences, information overload! But still, they fall sick. Horse owners now need a PhD in nutrition to understand the jargon. Farrier’s remedial shoes. Barefoot remedial trims. Angles of rotation and theories abound. But still, they fall sick. How on earth did horses ever survive as a species before all this? How on earth did our grandparents keep horses before all this techno-babble? Well, the answer is simple. Mother Nature. There is a great old saying. It goes like this.
“Any fool can make things complicated, but it takes a genius to keep things simple”.
Mother Nature is a genius. She evolved horses to eat grasses, browse, herbage and drink clean water. And that’s it. No chemical processing, no pesticides, no fungicides (killing those precious hindgut microbes that control our metabolism), no high nitrate fertilisers, no bedding coated in weedkillers to nibble on.
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If you have tried a whole heap of the above-mentioned treatments but your horse is still sick then take your next bit of advice from Mother Nature. Feed your horse organic/ non chemically treated hay. Bed on shavings/wood. Don’t feed wheatfeed, oatfeed, chemically treated straw or genetically modified soy ingredients in your feed (highest levels of pesticides in these ingredients – we know – we’ve tested them). Don’t let your horse be subjected to local crop sprays and clean outfield water tanks afterwards. You can continue to feed the minerals, the drugs, etc, for now. Let’s try to take away the main non-natural parts of your horse’s diet and environment first. Try for a month or two and look for gradual improvements. If you like what you see – you know you are on the right track. At last.
All 7 horses in the Thunderbrook herd live on organic hay and a cup of Base Mix per day. That’s it. No supplements (not even our own). Formerly metabolic, laminitis, high ACTH levels, high IR levels have gone. Fat pads – gone. Barefoot and rock crunching feet. Happy to eat ryegrass (organic). When your mind is open and you are ready to question whether pesticides and chemical processing are the real baddies, then come and talk to us. If you don’t agree – that’s fine. There’s plenty more supplements and drugs to try, and it’s your choice. Please share – let’s open a few more questioning minds.
This blog is part of an archived library. These blogs were originally written from 2009 through to 2014, so some are over a decade old (apologies the exact dates have been lost on website updates). Research and informed opinions are a constantly evolving stream of work, so there will always be updates required to any older blog post, research paper, etc. For the latest information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01953 797050 for nutritional advice. Thank you.