Pony Galaxy Welcomes You
Hi, Thanks for visiting my horse and pony website, my name is Eniola Odurinde. As you have surely noticed, there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of horse and pony blogs out there. So what makes this one special? Pony Galaxy is packed with quality information which was written for you! I hope to share information and tips about horses and horse care with other horse lovers. All the information on this website has either come from my own experience and study, or reputable and reliable sources. So don’t worry, you can trust what you read!
Feel free to search or browse, and if you have a problem… Dont be afraid to ask!! I invite feedback, so please feel free to contact me, via the comment box on an article, or the contact page. More information can also be obtained on the About Pony Galaxy page.
Feeding the Pregnant Broodmare
In the first eight months of pregnancy, foetal growth remains minimal, and the mare can be fed as a gelding at maintenance. If she is worked early on during her pregnancy, she should be fed as a performance horse for her level or work. The final ninety days (3 months) of pregnancy require more energy, but not a lot more. Many owners tend to overfeed energy, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. The Table below shows a few possible feeding rations for a 550kg broodmare with an appetite of 9kg.
|Feeding Rations Of A||550 kg Broodmare with||Assumed Apetite of 9kg|
|Ration 1||Ration 2||Ration 3|
|2kg Oats||3kg Balanced Stud Cubes||5kg Stud Cubes|
|7kg Alfalfa||6 kg good hay||4kg poor hay|
Ration 1 is the least ideal feeding plan, as a diet of oats an alfalfa, although rich in protein and energy, is not balanced, and is not ideal for a pregnant mare. Micronutrient supplementation would be required. Ration 2 is the most ideal feed plan, as the stud cubes provide a well balanced spectrum of nutrients and the added hay provides lots of fibre. Ration 3The stud cubes give a very good balance of nutrients, but must be fed in greater quantity than in ration 2, as the hay quality is poor.
Intake % of liveweight
The mare’s bodyweight has been denoted as liveweight, as during pregnancy her weight will continue to increase! The diet proportions of protein and concentrate increase as she nears term of the gestation period, and hay decreases in the last month to make way for the higher energy and protein requirements. During a cold spell, a small mare uses proportionally more energy than a large mare, while in ‘average conditions’ a large mare will use more energy. Lots of water should be made available, as under drinkng can cause colic from lack if water in the gut, especially in horses on high roughage diets.
Feeding of the Lactating Mare
Late foaling mares will obtain all necessary protein, calcium, phosphorus and energy from good quality grass, despite a rise in protein requirement. If the grass is of dubious quality, or the foal is born in late winter or early spring, as typical in the thoroughbred industry, additional supplementation will be required. Poor quality grass would call for the feeding of stud nuts or stud cubes as these are high in protein.
Feeding the Stallion
Stallion diets should be roughage based, and if good quality, this can make up almost all of the diet. The best guide is to consider a stallion who stands at stud to be in light work and fed accordingly during the breeding season, as stallions can get excited and fretful with mares around, and may run up and down his field’s fence-line, or pace in the stable, using lots of energy. Therefore, the stallion’s character should be assessed when designing his feeding regime.
Feeding and Nutrition of Foals
The initial feeding is all down to the mare, and so long as her lactation diet is balanced and rich in the right nutrients, the foal will be well fed too. Within the first 36 hours of birth, the foal needs to drink colostrum. This is the first milk, and is very rich in proteins, including immunoproteins which protect the foal from disease. Without it, the foal will be susceptible to disease.
For the first 12 weeks of life, milk will provide all the foal needs, however, he will begin to eat grass and hay, and whatever else his dam eats. Creep feeding is also useful to ensure the foal gets enough nutrients. Technically, creep feeding is actually the feeding of a foodstuff from a creep feeder, however, as the name is commonly applied, it actually refers to a specially designed feed for foals, regardless of the feeding mechanism. For the first few weeks of life, the dam’s milk is enough for the foal, however, by the time the mare reaches 2 months, there is a great increase is the foal’s interest in other foodstuffs. At this point, the dam’s milk does not contain enough nutrients and energy to satisfy the foals needs. At this point, the introduction of creep feed is beneficial.
Creep feed should be provided in a way that allows the foal to obtain food, without hte mare reaching it. This can be done with a creep feeder. A hole about 18 inches wide should do it! A rough guide is to feed about 450g per month of age, so a two month old foal would receive 900g of creep feed per day. If not creep fed, the foal will find food from other sources – the mothers feed tub, hay, grass, weeds, but whatever he chooses, it will not have a balanced, or high nutrient content. Therefore, growth rates, and health will be compromised. Many studs now weight their foals, as keeping the growth curve even, and avoiding growth sports can help avoid metabolic or orthopaedic disorders.
Your foal should be well used to hard feed by now, and should be fed the same amount as post weaning, so that you don’t need to make feeding ration changes. Weaning in pairs is the best method to prevent stress, choose partners by age, temperament, size and social interaction. Take the mares and foals into the yard, put the foals intop one stable with their favourite feed prepared, and return the mares to the field. Usually, the foals don’t even notice the mare has gone! Keep a close eye on the weanlings, and the mothers, and look out for signs of mastitis in the dam, as no foal will be using the milk she produces, and it will take a while for it to dry up. Symptoms of mastitis:
- hot, swollen and painfull udder
- milk turning to watery fluid
- deppression, feverishness and lack of appetite
Feeding and Nutrition of Youngstock
After 12 months, growth rate slows significantly, and more dry matter can be fed, however, care must be taken not to feed to much of this due to the physical size limitations of the gut. Grain can be fed at 0.5-1.5% bodyweight, the remainder of the diet should consist of roughage. You should ensure that you feed a foodstuff specially designed for horses of that age, as the yearling still has a lot of maturing to do, and care must be taken to avoid nutrient unbalance, or deficiency as this can cause joint problems, or lead to increased susceptibility to disease in the future.
At this age, the horse has finished most of the growth (in height) but still has lots of maturing to do. Therefore, as before, it is still important to keep the diet well balanced, by feeding a specialist mix suited to your horse.
Below are some feeding plans for 2 and 3 year old horses:
Feeding Plan for 2 and 3 year old Horses in maintenance or light work (Ground work and a little lunging)
|Food||Plan 1||Plan 2|
|Forage||Good Hay, Grass||Poorer Hay, Grass|
|Suitable Forage Balancer||Yes. Amount decided by workload, condition, weight, breed and type||Yes. Amount decided by workload, condition, weight, breed and type|
|Beet Pulp||At your Discretion||At your Discretion|
Beet pulp has been left at your discretion in both plans. This is because beet pulp is useful for bad doers (horses who have trouble maintaining weight) but is not necessary, and will only cause your horse to become overweight, if he or she is a good doer.
Feeding of the 4 year old
By now, the horse will have been brought into work, and can be fed as an adult. It is still important to maintain a balanced diet, whatever the age, the horses diet should consist mainly of forage and a feed balancer, with beet pulp if the horse needs help maintaining condition, or competition mix if the horse is in hard work.
Hot and cold therapies are very good for treating injuries – but it is important to know which to use when, as using the wrong one can prolong the healing process!
It is important to keep you vet’s number at hand, and your first aid kit stocked up, but it is also very useful to know a few hot ‘n’ cold tricks! Most horse owners have probably used cold hosing at some point, but hot compresses, and cold packs are also useful!
Applying cold to a minor injury reduces blood flow to the area, which reduces haemorrhage and counter-acts inflammation, reduces pain and muscle spasms.
- Cold hosing – This is the most simple form of cold therapy, but should not be underestimated. It is an effective way of cooling the legs, and to maximize it’s efficiency it should be used as often as possible for 20 minutes at a time after a knock or bash. Mostt horses will tolerate a hosepipe well if given time to adjust. Move the hose slowly op the horses leg, beginning at the hoof and allowing the horse to get used to the cold.
- Ice cubes, or an ice block can be wrapped in a towel and bandaged to the legs to provide a form of cold therapy that does not require you to stand about holding a hose all the time! If you don’t have an ice block or cubes at hand, even frozen veg will work!
- Ice boots or Iced bucket – These are good for treating the feet, as ice filled shoes can be attached to the feet, or the horse can stand in an iced bucket.
- Cold therapy leg-wraps – These are specially designed to be put in a freezer before applied to the leg
- Specially designed Cold Packs – These can be left in your first-aid kit and prepared when you need them (preparation varies based on the product).
Superficial heat stimulates blood flow in the area, and increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that arrive there. Heat also relaxes muscle, and can be use to help enhance the elasticity of connective tissue (such as tendons and ligaments) prior to exercise.
Don’t use water from the kettle as it is too hot. Always test it on your own skin first, if you can’t bear it, it’s too hot!
- Poultices can be used hot to draw out infection, this is good for foot abscesses
- ‘Hot Hands’ which can easily be made to save a fortune on specialist packs or preparations. They are easy to make – just fill a latex glove with hot water from the tap (NOT the kettle) and bandage it to the area, but take care that it is not too hot!
- Hot compress – Dip a cloth or gamgee into hot but not bioling water, wring it out, and hold or bandage it in place.
- Specially Designed Heat Packs – These can be used just like cold packs (minus the differences in temperature, of course!).
- Hot water Bottles – These are useful, but they should only be filled a little, as they can become too heavy and slip down otherwise.
What to use when?
- Foot Abscesses – Poultices such as Animalintex can be used hot or cold, wet or dry to draw out infection. Standing the foot in Epsom salts before the poultice is used will help soften the foot and allow the infection to be released
- Kicks and bites can cause swelling and bruising, so cold therapy should be used
- Soft tissue abscesses such as puncture wounds may benefit from the application of hot compresses
- Tendon Injuries – In the initial stages (24-48 hours) cold hosing may help reduce inflammation. After 48 hours, hot therapy may aid the healing process by promoting blood flow – but can also do more harm than good, so only do this with your vet’s approval
The horses digestive system is very sensitive and can easily be upset. Therefore, it is vital to feed the right foods, in the right way. In this article, I hope to cover the very basics of feeding, and the golden rules of feeding.
Rules of Feeding
- Feed little and Often – Horses Digestive Systems are designed to take in small portions of food on a very regular basis. By riding the horses, and stabling them, we interrupt this process, however, we must try to follow this process as best we can.
- Diet Should consist mainly of Forage – This is extremely important, as cereals are actually not good for your horse. They provide fast energy, but this, again, can lead to problems such as fizziness, excitability, azoturia, etcetera.
- Make any Changes Slowly – Dietry changes should be made very slowly to allow the digestive system to adapt.
- Allow water ad lib – This is essential, however, during strenous work, water should be restricted, as working on a full watery belly, or large quantities of water immediately after exercise are not good.
- All horses should be treated as individuals, and therefore fed as individuals.
- As a general rule, most horses in light work, or on rest can be fed a low calorie balancer and plenty of hay. If the horse is prone to laminitis, or being overweight, restricted grazing, soaked hay and vitamin and minerla supplementation is the way to go.
- Feed good quality food only – Would you eat mouldy food?
- Stick to a routine – Horses thrive on routine!
Horses need a balanced diet, and balanced vitamin and mineral supplements can provide this, as can feed balancers. Forage should be the base of the diet, but one or another form of balance, as mentioned above, is important. On top of this, bad doers can be fed beet pulp, oats and/or boiled linseed (this is great for adding condition, creating a shiny coat, but is very bad fed in excess).
Mixes (such as course mix)
Mixes often contain oats, wheat, pulses and a plethora of vitamins and minerals.
Pellets or ‘nuts’ (such as horse ‘n’ pony nuts)
Balanced, like most mixes, but generally higher in fibre.
Oats (no example needed!)
Fed whole, crushed or bruised, this feed is high in energy, but not nutritionally balanced.
An energy rich oat alternative, which must be bruised or soaked to make it digestible
Chopped hay, oat straw, molasses and alfalfa create a tasty and rich smelling high fibre feed.
Horses love alfalfa, it is rich in protein, and intake must be regulated.
Meadow hay and seed hay are the two types available, both must be sweet smelling, low dust, with no mould or dampness.
This is effectively a cross between hay and silage; it varies in energy and nutrition, but is usually fed at a third the rate of hay, due to it’s increased energy.
Equine obesity carries many risks, such as joint strain, equine metabolic syndrome, laminitis and insulin resistance. It is very important that you are able to identify obesity, and reduce, and prevent it.
It is impossible to state how much your horse should weigh, because every horse is an individual.
You need to be able to recognise what is ideal for your horse.
The best way to do this is to use the 1-5 or 1-9 scale.
Below is the 1-9 scale.
- Very fleshy
Below is the 1-5 scale:
An emaciated horse is basically skin and bones with virtually no muscle or fat. The hip bones stick out, the ribs are starkly visible, and the horse has a ewe neck.
An ideal horse has a well covered, but not cresty neck. The spine is the highest point of the back, and the hip bones can be felt. The ribs cannot be seen, but can be felt, and the shoulder is free from fatty lumps.
An obese horse has a huge cresty neck, a flat fatty back, no evidence of ribs or hip bones whatsoever, and large fatty pads on the hindquarters, which cause the formation of an ‘apple shaped bottom’.
The Science behind it…
A horse or pony gets fat because he or she consumes more calories than are needed for exercise, keeping warm, and staying alive. To lose weight, a horse needs to use more calories than he consumes, so that he will use his fat reseves for energy and thus lose weight.
It was thought that horses need 2% of their bodyweight per day, but good doers only need 1.5 or even 1% of their bodyweight per day. When living out on grass, especially during the spring and summer and early autumn when pasture is rich, a horse may consume as much as 5% his bodyweight per day. Thereore, a 300kg pony may only need 4.5kg per day, but can consume as much as 15kg! No wonder so many ponies are overweight!
So, weight loss is primarily by restricting food intake, and increasing energy out put through exercise. Most horses have an increased enthusiasm for work once they have lost weight as they no longer feel lethargic.
To lose weight, a horse should be fed a low- calorie balancer such as TopSpec Anti-lam or Baileys Lo-Cal balancer, and should have restricted feed, as well as daily exercise. Turnout in a ‘starvation paddock’ consisting only of bare earth, with hay that has been soaked for 12 hours is a method of encouraging weight loss, as soaking hay removes lots of the soluble sugars, and thus calories, while still providing filling fibre.
Feeding a low calorie balancer, exercising daily and turning the horse out in a fairly short paddock with a grazing muzzle is also another method of encouraging weight-loss, as the muzzle prevents the horse from taking in too much grass.
Top Tips to keep the weight off:
- Asses your horses body condition on a fortnightly basis to spot changes
- Ensure his diet suits his level of exercise
- Consider factors such as time of year, grass quality, horse breed etc
- Use a weigh tape regularly, as (while this does not give an accurate indication of weight) it allows you to tell whether he is gaining or losing weight.
- Swap your feed to a low calorie balancer
- Prolong eating time by using two small holed hay nets inside each other and split meals as much as possible throughout the day
- Gradually increase workload to increase the amount of calories burnt. Try to avoid rugging up during colder conditions, as this will increase the calories he burns keeping warm.
The subject of insurance is often a tender one, with so many different terms and types that you don’t know here to start! But it doesn’t have to be this difficult, as in this article I will explain which level of protection you need in a simple easy-to-understand manner.
The bare minimum
If your horse inflicts damage on someone or their property, or causes an accident, they could claim compensation from you, therefore, the minimum cover advisable is Public Liability insurance.
This usually offers financial protection of at least £1 million in the event that your horse causes damage and someone claims from you. If you are a member of a society or charity such as British Horse Society or World Horse Welfare, public liability comes as part of the package, but you should always check the details, and be sure to check the financial limit.
In the event that you are involved in an accident, do not admit liability, contact your insurers, and they will advise you.
A Big One…
An important policy inclusion for most horse owners is Vet Fees. This package will pay out in the event of large vet bills – Think colic surgery (about £5,000) or MRI scan (£600 or more).
There is usually a maximum amount you can claim, and most companies require you to pay an excess (a part of the cost you have to cover yourself). Many insurers also pay for transport and livery – you will be surprised how quickly these add up.
Pre-existing conditions will be excluded – therefore if your horse has a chronic or degenerative condition, you will have to pay for that yourself. If this is a major problem, and it ends up generating huge bills, you will find yourself paying insurance and vet bills – which defeats the point of the cover.
Some insureres also require a lengthy health inspection process to be carried out by your vet before they will cover you. You need to ensure your paperwork is in order when you come to claim, as the insurer may not pay out.
A wise addition
Personal Accident insures you or anyone riding your horse with your permission is covered for death, injury or permanent total disablement – sounds dramatic, but horse riding does bring about dangerous consequences…
This type of cover is advisable if other peple frequently interact with your horse, as if someone is injured while handling him, you could be liable. It is also a good idea to declare any existing medical conditions of anyone who is interacting with your horse to ensure you are properly covered.
Other Levels of cover…
Permanent Loss of Use pays out if your horse can no longer be used for the activities you insured him for – for example, the horse can no longer be ridden, but your vet does not recommend putting him down. Most insurers will only pay out a percentage of the sum he was insured for if he can still be sed for breeding, and most companies won’t cover horses over the age of 15 for ‘Permanent Loss of Use’.
Death of Horse covers your horse’s death due to accident, illness or disease. This may also cover the cost of removal and disposal of the body.
Theft and Straying pays out in the event that your horse is stolen, or strays and is not recovered within a certain time frame – usually 60-90 days. To claim, the police must be informed of his disappearance.
Saddlery and Tack covers the cost of replacing lost, damaged or stolen tack. The cover can be ‘New for Old’ or ‘Standard’ (insurer pays out tack’s used market value).
Trailers and Horse Drawn Vehicles covers fire, theft, accidental damagge and public liability (whe the vehicle is not in use). When in use, cover should come from the towing vehicles insurance. Most insurace companies require you to fit the vehicle with a security device when not in use, and you may be required to pay an excess.
It is always worth negotiating with an insurer to try and get multi-horse discounts – if you want to travel with your horse, check that you are insured outside of the UK.
If your horse is older, insurance will be harder and more costly, and when a horse reaches a certain age, cover is usually reduced to only ‘Accidental external injuries’ for ‘Death’ and ‘Vet Fees’. The cheapest policy is not necessarily the best value, and do some research before choosing a company, as some have better records than others.
William Fox-Pitt, who had been in third after the show jumping, had 4 penalties added to his score of 40 to finish 5th with Parklane Hawk. He had been one of the grand slam hopes, having won Kentucky and Burghley in 2011, [and because of wet weather in 2012] his grand slam eligibility was transferred to 2013. The rail down slipped him into fifth, leaving Pippa Funnel as the only rider to complete the Badminton, Burghly and Kentucky consecutively since its inception.
Andrew Nicholson, second Grand Slam hope went clear with Nereo which was enough to boost him into third, but not sufficient to allow him to get his hands on the prize.
The overnight leader – Michael Jung, the German Olympic and World and European champion , and La Biosthetique Sam, had the final rail down sending his Badminton hopes down the drain. Jonathan Paget who had been lying in second moved up into first place.
Below are the final rankings:
1. Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise NZL (39.7)
2. Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam GER FBW (40)
3. Andrew Nicholson and Nereo NZL (40.2)
4. Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo GER (42.5)
5. William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk GBR (44)
6. Stefano Brecciaroli and Apollo VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve (46.8)