Horse Channel

Monday, November 15, 2010

Emergency Hay Assistance

Una Rescued by The Horse Shelter, Santa Fe NM
     In the past few years we've all heard stories of horses starving in pastures with no feed and horses turned loose in the Santa Fe Wilderness to "fend for themselves" in a place with little to no food or water and we've also heard of the heroic efforts of the area horse shelters and rescue groups who hear of these horses' plights and do everything in their power to find them in time to save them.  These horses' stories are both heartbreaking and beautiful.  The thought of any creature suffering at the hands of human beings is shocking but the realization that those horses who are successfully (and miraculously) brought back to health are still willing to love and trust human beings is simultaneously incomprehensible and heartwarming.  The people who run these groups and the volunteers who work there are very special people - and they can always use help!  If you'd like to find out more about the work some of these groups  check these links:,,

Moony Rescued by Walkin' N Circles Ranch, Edgewood NM
     There's another way to help.  Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) provides the Equine Protection Fund which offers assistance to equine shelters and rescue groups and to individuals.  The Equine Protection Fund will provide up to 2 months of feed for up to 4 horses for any individuals who cannot afford to buy food for their horses due to illness or loss of income.  This is an attempt to keep horses healthy and with their families.  The EPF will also work to find placements for horses that families feel they can no longer care for.  If you or someone you know would benefit from this program you can learn more and also download an application for help at

     We all want to help.  We all give as much as we can.  We all wish we could give more.  Thank goodness for groups like these.

A happy ending:

Noel and Her Family
Rescued by Hearts for Horses, Idaho
     A 23yo Quarter Horse mare, Noel was consigned to a slaughter auction by her owners after her usefulness as a broodmare had ended, and she was discovered to have heaves. Her hip bones stuck out and every rib could be counted. She was bought by Hearts for Horses at 30 cents a pound, with an eye towards her becoming a child's first horse. She has been aquired by a loving family and given to an adoring little girl for Xmas. Now, the black mare that was discarded is treasured, cared for with more concern than the most expensive race or show horse, her supplements measured so carefully by caring little hands. Noel's Black Beauty story has a happy ending, we wish they all did.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winter Tummy Warmer

     Horse lore states that more horses colic with changes of weather than at any other single time.  There are several theories as to why.  Some think that as the weather changes from cool to warm some horses don't drink enough water to keep up with their bodies' increased need.  Conversely when the weather abruptly changes from warm to cold they may not feel thirsty enough to take in the amount of water they need.  Some people think that in the winter months water in an unheated tank is just too cold for some horses to comfortably drink (those of us with teeth which are sensitive to cold can relate to this).  Whatever the theory, one thing everyone agrees on is that horses require a lot of water to keep their guts running smoothly and, in general, something that causes a horse to want to drink is a good thing.

     Bran mashes tend to have that effect and in the cold winter months they have the added benefit of just plain making our horses feel good.  Few of us have ever met a healthy horse who would turn up his nose at a nice, warm bran mash.  The Original Book of Horse Treats contains recipes for lots of horse treats including 11 different mash recipes for 11 different situations, such as Rejuvenating Bran Mash for Older Horses, Bran Mash Puree Supreme, Gatorade Bran Mash and my horses' personal favorite: Beer Bran Mash.  We carry this book as well as The Ultimate Guide to Pampering Your Horse which contains recipes for making your own horse liniments, shampoos and more treats.

     The following is a Winter Tummy Warmer developed by the  Standardbred Retirement Foundation of Blairstown, NJ.  They add Uva Ursi leaves because they are a diuretic and, with added salt, encourage the horses to drink a lot of water - especially in the winter.  In Eldorado Uva Ursi leaves are available at Rowan's Leaf.  Or you could leave them out if you prefer.

A nice warm bran mash sure would taste good about now.
   Winter Tummy Warmer

4     cups oats
3     cups bran
3     Uva Ursi leaves
1/2  teaspoon salt (add more if you like)
2     carrots sliced
1     cup brown sugar
1     apple quartered
       Hot water

Add enough hot water to all ingredients to make it moist.  Let steep until cool enough to eat.  Especially good for performance horses and horses who need to increase their water intake.

      Some horses, such as laminitis prone horses or horses with metabolic problems, can't tolerate sweet feeds or added sugars.   If you have a horse with either of these problems and have come up with a warm mash that meets their dietary restrictions please let us know.  We would love to print it for other people to use.  If you have any questions about whether or not any recipe would benefit your horse please check with your veterinarian before trying it.