Horse Channel

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.

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