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My journey with Abbey & other horsey bits 'n' bobs

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Feeding, stable management and horse care

#LoveYourPetDay

(Photo courtesy of: Poppy K Photography)

It’s been just over 3 years since I met and sat on this ponio for the first time. In that time she’s taught me so much.

We’ve had lots of adventures and faced some scary moments.  Here, as they say, are our best bits (in photos):

 

And of course I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning this little monster!

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Replacing the floor of a horsebox (van conversion)

My personal mission this last week has been to replace the wooden floor in my horsebox.  I’ve known it’s been rather squidgy for a little while now but with the metal base of the van being intact I’ve not worried about it too much.

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A number of factors came together recently meaning that this horrid job rose to the top of my to-do list:

  1. Abbey still isn’t travelling well and I’m sure that the stress of it caused her ulcers. Is it because she doesn’t like the floor? It’s another thing to eliminate before I restart the travel training (loading and short journeys daily).
  2. Urine-soaked wood will eventually start to compromise the van’s metal floor and that is going to be a lot harder and more expensive to fix
  3. I’ve got some time to do it (and the OH took a week’s holiday….I can’t think of a better way of spending Valentines than lifting horse wee soaked rotted wood….can you?!)

Continue reading “Replacing the floor of a horsebox (van conversion)”

Feeding Abbey’s Ulcers – Supplements

There is a dizzying array of gastric supplements on the market. If you’re like me starting my research, I felt overwhelmed and confused! However, it’s not as complicated as it first looks; most of them contain relatively few ingredients and these ingredients generally fit into one or two of the following categories:

Probiotics – these are the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, yeast such as saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Prebiotics – these are the foods of the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, FOS and MOS for instance.

Substances that are slimy – these protect the lining of the stomach and gut, protecting it from being scratched by food passing through and some stomach acid. Linseed oil, pectin and beta glucans are good examples.

Substances that have a neutralising effect on the stomach acid – calcium and magnesium, for example.

Substances that remove/destroy or help the body to protect itself from harmful toxins and ‘bad bacteria’.

For a list of the most common ingredients in gastric supplements and which categories they fit into, click here.

Continue reading “Feeding Abbey’s Ulcers – Supplements”

Feeding Abbey’s Ulcers – Common ingredients found in gastric supplements

If you’ve not read the previous post on supplements, here’s a quick reminder of the 5 categories of gastric supplement ingredients and how they work:

Probiotics – these are the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, yeast such as saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Prebiotics – these are the foods of the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, FOS and MOS for instance.

Substances that are slimy – these protect the lining of the stomach and gut, protecting it from being scratched by food passing through and some stomach acid. Linseed oil, pectin and beta glucans are good examples.

Substances that have a neutralising effect on the stomach acid – calcium and magnesium, for example.

Substances that remove/destroy or help the body to protect itself from harmful toxins and ‘bad bacteria’.

 

COMMON INGREDIENTS FOUND IN GASTRIC SUPPLEMENTS:

Apple pectin – a slimy one! Pectin acts as a barrier for the gastric mucosal membranes against excess gastric acid. (Source: https://forageplus.co.uk/the-egusin-concept-ulcer-prone-horses/)

Continue reading “Feeding Abbey’s Ulcers – Common ingredients found in gastric supplements”

Feeding Abbey’s Ulcers – Balancers

Following on from my post about chaffs, this post is about my research into balancers.

In my last post I concluded that the base of Abbey’s feed would be Simple System’s Organic Lucie Stalks, which is purely alfalfa (or lucerne as it is sometimes know in the UK). While this is a sound base and it’s calcium:magnesium content should have some antacid properties, it won’t supply all the minerals and vitamins Abbey needs. So Abbey needs a ‘balancer’.

With the ulcers and Abbey’s weight in mind I am looking for a balancer that delivers:

  • a range of minerals that balance those in her forage
  • vitamins – particularly vitamin Bs
  • some protein
  • some amino acids – particularly lysine
  • some ingredients that may help prevent Abbey’s ulcers returning in the future

It also needs to be low in sugar and starch and not contain any molasses or grain.

Continue reading “Feeding Abbey’s Ulcers – Balancers”

Feeding Abbey’s Ulcers – Revision Sheet

In doing the research on what to feed Abbey I realised I had forgotten most of my biology lessons from school and couldn’t remember what various ingredients were, nor how they are used by the body.

I did a ‘crib sheet’….here it is:

THE BIG STUFF

Amino acids – nitrogen-containing molecules containing an amine group. Most amino acids that a horse needs come from the protein they consume.  The horse breaks the protein down and rebuilds the molecules to make most amino acids and new/more proteins. The amino acids horses can’t make are: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Lysine is often in short supply in a hay/grass only diet. (See this article)

Continue reading “Feeding Abbey’s Ulcers – Revision Sheet”

Feeding Abbey’s ulcers – chaffs

Abbey and I are now well into her second treatment for ulcers and she’s doing really well. Her symptoms all disappeared within a week of starting the omeprazole and sucralfate, she’s back in work and we’re starting to go out and about.

However, she’s still on the vet’s recommended diet of (hay and grass) alfa-a and linseed oil.  This is very calorific in comparison with her diet prior to the ulcers (hay, grass, handful of Thunderbrooks Herbal Chaff and a general mineral supplement). Predictably, she’s gaining weight and fast.

Continue reading “Feeding Abbey’s ulcers – chaffs”

Horse Ulcers – A short guide

Heads up – I’m not a vet nor a nutritional expert. I am, however, a horse owner with a problem and like most crazy-horse-owners-with-a-problem I’ve extensively Googled it and joined all the Facebook groups! Here’s a summary of my findings (maybe it’ll save you a bit of time!):

Ulcers and Causes

Ulcers can occur in two parts of a horse – the stomach and/or the hind gut. A horse with stomach ulcers are said to have equine squamous gastric disease (ESGD) and/or equine glandular gastric disease (EGGD), depending on where in the stomach the ulcers are present. EGSD describes ulcers in the upper part of the stomach and EGGD the lower.  It’s quite common for horses to have both the stomach and the hindgut.

Stomach ulcers and hind gut ulcers are caused by stomach acid burning the sensitive linings, causing lesions known as ulcers.

Continue reading “Horse Ulcers – A short guide”

The hardest month

December is always a hard month for horse owners. This is my 8th winter with a pony and I’ve finally learnt to not to fight my urge to be indoors.

The short dark days, the cold wet weather and the mud sap my motivation. This year, for the first time, I resolved to take the pressure and give Abbey some time off.

I must admit, it’s been lovely. Only riding when I’ve been in the mood has really taken the pressure off and our relationship has been all the better for it.

The last 2 weeks the weather has been awful.  First we had snow, then the snow melted turning the paddocks into sludgy swamps and now we’ve had copious amounts of rain.

Continue reading “The hardest month”

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