Flaxseed

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Hi team

Post #2 of some of my favourite natural feed stuffs to add to your horse’s diet is Linseed Aka Flaxseed.

Why is it so good?

Linseed or Flaxseed has many nutritional benefits, the most notable being its high omega-3 content.

Omega-3 fatty acids enhance overall health in horses. This essential fatty acid is vital for growth, strength, behavioural balance, learning ability and motor co-ordination, as well as assisting most of the functions of the omega 6 essential fatty acid.

Linseeds contain all the essential amino acids, from which the body can manufacture the other amino acids required to make proteins.

Note -The only natural, un-supplemented source of omega-3 in the equine diet is fresh grass.

Linseed can help reduce inflammation, which can relieve symptoms associated with sweet itch and other skin conditions. It can also alleviate symptoms of allergies.

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it also helps in cases of arthritis or joint stiffness. It also boosts the immune system and can help regulate thyroid function, making it an ideal supplement for metabolic horses as well as aging horses.

Research conducted at the University of Guelph demonstrated that horses suffering from sweet itch, a common skin disease caused each summer by Culicoides insects (midges), improved dramatically following daily supplementation of their diet with one pound of milled flaxseed.

What else?

Other benefits of flaxseed supplementation include stimulation of the immune system, relief of arthritis and reduction of pain due to inflammation, an increase in the ability of cells to take up oxygen and scavenging of free radicals.

The oil shortens the time necessary for fatigued muscles to recover after exertion, and shortens healing time for bruises, sprains, and other injuries. It increases energy, stamina, and the feeling of vitality, and makes skin soft, hair shiny, and hooves strong.

If feeding Flaxseed Oil, always start with introducing a small amount of oil into your horses’ diet first and building up as necessary over @10 days.

Hind Gut Acidosis

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Hi team,

After last week’s post on laminitis I thought it a good time to discuss hind gut acidosis.

Your horse’s digestive system;

First your horse takes a bite. Then it enters the horses stomach. This stomach produces acid continuously which starts protein digestion and handily destroys microbial organisms your horse has consumed by eating off the ground. And let’s face it we’ve all seen them eat next to their own poop!

Second this pulverized food mass enters the small intestine for further digestion of all the good stuff like carbohydrates, sugars and starch. But NOT fibre.

Thirdly that fibre is digested in the hind gut. Your horses gut has a really unique gut that has a fermentation vat (caecum) for fibre digestion. This contains a huge number of special bacteria hungry to break down fibre also providing your horse with energy. It is located at the end of the horses long digestive tract therefore = hind gut

It’s all a fine balancing act. Optimum is for the starch and sugars to be digested fully in the fore gut. If they are not and reach the hind gut then they undergo fermentation.

Bacterial fermentation in the hind gut results in lactic acid production. This is the big problem as lactic acid causes the acid ph to lower killing the special fibre digesting bacteria.

This can cause all types of problems such as laminitis or colic.

 

What can you do;

Feed fibre, more fibre (notice a theme here folks)

Horses are ‘trickle feeders’ (Juliet M Getty, Ph.D, Feeding Horses Fundamentals). They require a continuous supply of small amounts of forage. This avoids problems with too much acid and no food to work on except the gut lining = AKA gut ulcers.

Feed your horse like a natural wild horse, able to graze small amounts continually.

Feed small meals of grain and concentrates, large amounts lead to the undigested meal flowing into the hind gut and upsetting the microbes and causing further acid production i.e. more issues, laminitis or colic!

 

What do you feed if your horse is at risk:

Fibre, pasture (not green or fresh), hay, chaff.

This is a huge problem currently facing those of you in parts of Australia where the is literally no pasture, and hay is about to run out. Get hold of meadow and oaten chaff, the more fibre the better.

If you have no hay feed natural feedstuffs high in fibre such as, wheat bran, wheat germ, French white millet cooked with linseed, sunflower hulls and beet pulp. Remember to start with feeding small amounts and increase a new feed slowly. Don’t shock your horses gut by introducing a new feed too quickly.

Feed probiotics and prebiotics, (yogurt), apple cider vinegar and if you really are looking at signs of trouble in the gut feed manuka honey and aloe vera juice. And get a vet to check your horse asap.

Feel free to send me a message if you would like an individual diet calculated specifically for your horse. Check out the website link .

Laminitis

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Look out for LAMINITIS

Hi team
I’m looking out the window this morning, soaking up the glorious SUN!!

It feels like I moved to a different city after being so wet for soo long.
Now I don’t want to rain on the sunny brigade (pun intended), but I want to warn you that today is the start of perfect grass growing conditions. Which is great as most of us (and our horses) are eagerly looking at that non-muddy patch of tasty new green grass just dying to move onto it and munch thru!
Beware – this is the time the dreaded Laminitis lurks, just waiting to strike!

In a nutshell (I like simple definitions for things) the green grass (high sugar/ starch) for some horses, especially those that have gone without much goodness in their pasture for the long winter, can go straight from the foregut (small intestine) thru to the horse’s hindgut without being digested very well.
In the hind gut the good bacteria that breakdown the sugar in the grass can’t keep up, causing fermentation because the bad bacteria multiply.

The very special conditions in the gut get out of whack – importantly the acid/base balance. Soo the acidity climbs. This can start a chain reaction of metabolic events you don’t want e.g. colic, diarrhoea, lamintis…🤒

In the case of laminitis, the bad bacteria release endotoxins into the bloodstream.
These activate enzymes in the foot which destroy the laminae inside the hoof. Inflammation happens, there is a reduction in blood flow and bones can move. Basically, everything inside the hoof becomes unstable. It’s extremely painful and a very long road to recovery (if it’s even possible).

Soo what to do?? Fibre folks, fibre!! Lots of hay, (old is best). Strip graze is best, graze for short periods of time if you can. If you have cows put them thru the fresh grass first. Exercise and low starch feeds.

And best of all herbs, there are some wonderful herbs and treatments for laminitis prone horses. I have had horses with laminitis and can attest to getting them back to health with a herbal prescription and a strict feeding practice. 🌿
And believe me, from experience, if you can prevent lamintis in the first place, do it!

Rosehips

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Hi there, as we move from wet and muddy in NZ very quickly into hard and dry ground; with grass growth going from none to green and lush and back to brown again, we need to take extra care to support our horse’s immune systems.
I will discuss a few of my ‘go to’, must have feedstuffs that I recommend for horses in the next few posts.

These are natural feeds and supplements that contain minerals, vitamins and ingredients that are more bioavailable to the horse than many processed synthetic feeds.
I believe that the use of natural health philosophies, such as feeding natural feedstuffs and herbs, in the long term can help our horses resist disease and in addition provide nutritional and immunological support that pharmaceuticals lack. The goal is prevention as well as cure!

Let’s start with my favorite = Rosehips
An awesome powerhouse that contains Vitamin C (it is the highest natural source of up to 2,000 mg per 100 gram), Vitamins: A, D, E (total vitamins 14), Biotin, Minerals: iron, copper, cobalt, calcium, silica (total minerals 18), carotene, flavonoids, pectin, tannin, fruit acids.

This beauty is a powerful anti-oxidant, with considerable protective and restorative powers due to its vitamins and minerals.
Its properties make it useful as
• Capillary stimulant,
• immune protectant,
• blood flow and tissue damage restorative,
• growth stimulant,

It is great for growth of hooves after laminitis attacks, used for horses with arthritis, or after respiratory infections. Also for rehabilitation after injury and disease, where high doses of vitamin C may be required.

I use rosehips as a daily staple in my horses’ diets to retain good health, excellent hoof condition and help fight infections.

Get your horse Rosehips today!
I use www.Herbalhorse.co.nz whom only source reputable growers and suppliers.