Parasites are becoming resistant to current deworming products. This causes de-worming products to be less effective. Horse health can be adversely affected by a heavy parasite burden (colic, chronic coughing, poor keeper, poor performance, unthrifty, internal organ damages, etc.).
These are just a few of the major contributing factors.
Performing fecal egg counts on a regular basis and tailoring your deworming program based on these results is the single most important thing you can do to improve your parasite control strategy. Treat with the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time, in the right horse.
Consult your veterinarian if there are any questions concerning your horse’s fecal egg count results and recommendations about your deworming program.
Testing your hay will help you to know what to put into your feed bucket. All hay is not created equal and will often vary in nutrients depending upon when it is cut, the weather, the soil conditions, and differences in fields. Hay analysis can give us specific nutrient values to work with and help us better balance the horse’s diet. Testing will allow us to understand the overall quality of the hay and how it fits into the total diet.
We must remember that calorie recommendations are just that – each horse is an individual and we need to feed them according to their body condition. I have included the calorie requirements below. These calorie requirements are designed for the horse’s total diet. We need to keep in mind that when looking at calories for the horse it is important to always keep age, work level, and breed in mind.
1,100 – Horse in moderate work requires – 23,000 kcal/day
Average “Grass Hay” contains – 909 kcal/lb
The horse will eat 1.5 -2% of Body Weight a day in forage or between 16.5 -22 lbs. of hay/day
This horse will not receive enough calories from hay alone. This does not include protein, vitamins, or minerals. In this example, it would be necessary to supplement this horse's diet with grain/concentrates to meet calorie requirements.
When balancing protein it is important to balance the total diet, not just the protein in your forage or grain concentrate. While balancing for total protein in the diet is important, it is really the amino acids that the horse requires. Amino acids are essential protein building blocks for nutrient absorption and utilization. It is important to check your feed tag for lysine and methionine as they are the first 2 limiting amino acids, which help to ensure good hoof quality, muscle maintenance and repair, hair coat, and overall topline condition.
(LBS of Hay x % of Protein) + ( LBS of Grain x % of Protein) )/Total LBS fed ( hay + grain) = Protein in TOTAL DIET
Horses that are fed forage only diets ( hay & pasture) are almost always found to be deficient in the recommended minerals and vitamins. Most forages have significant variations in their vitamin and mineral content leaving horses with the same inconsistency in their total diet. These deficiencies will typically manifest themselves over time into poor hair and hoof quality, as well as general lack of condition in the horse. These visible signs might be good indications that your horse has a mineral or vitamin deficiency or imbalance within their diet, but sometimes deficiency can go unnoticed for months or even years. Over time, deficiencies that are not addressed can cause your horse to be more susceptible to serious diseases, health conditions, and decreased longevity.
It is very important to remember not to rely on just forage to ensure a balanced diet for your horse. All horses require a concentrate or a supplement in addition to their hay.