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 Gunnar's Colic again!!!

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Wissy
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 10:35 am

TC, I'm not sure where it came from either.. my friend owns 4 fjords and all they get is oat and vitamins.. none are hot.. far far from it.. lol
I so confused.. wonder what I'm going to feed pony now.. I was never a fan of Hi fat and fiber.. but not sure what to feed.. wanted to stay with whatever the barn was feeding.. maybe I shouldn't do that.. maybe?

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 10:41 am

does he have free choice hay?, and is it good quality?, mabey he can go with no feed at all.... Mabey you can give him flax and boss..just a thought..
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 3:54 pm

Bay-Lee yes I thought about that.. and that's about what we are doing right now.. hand full of grain and flax and tsp of half salt.. yes he has good hay all day long as much as he wants to eat.. he's put out at 5am and out until 5 pm in the winter.. and 8 or 9pm in the summer.. so he's not in his stall very long .. he has all the water he can drink any time never ever without.. so we are very very diligent on everything we do for him and the other horses on property..

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 6:02 pm

years ago my father only fed oats with bran every day. The belguim's where fed a lot of oats when they where working always with bran and a little water to wet it down. I only ever remenber one horse that colic after we came home from a show. The pony's only got a hand full. The only hot horse we had, was one of mine and she came off the track. Did not matter what we feed her she was just ready for anything as long as it did not involve standing still.Had a lot of fun with her o to be young and foolish.

Mike McGowan vet in the valley recommends feeding oats. Last year at the Can Am I had a long talk with Dr. Bob Wright, Lead Veterinarian, Equine and Alternate Species, OMAFRA about Foxy and her white line disease. He also recommends feeding oats with a free choice mineral and a white salt block. Here is a link to a small write up on colic from him. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/horses/facts/info_digest.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 8:36 pm

Wissy, from what I understand Gunnar has been on Hifat/Hifiber for a while and his colic attacks have come when something new was introduced. The beetpulp this time and fresh cut new hay one other time. IMO the hifat/hifiber is probably not the cause of the colics and he gets such a little amount and has been in his diet consistantly.

I don't know a lot about oats only my horses never seem to digest it that well. I would see large quanities of what looked like undigested oats in their manure. I figured they were not getting the nutrition out of the oats so why bother.

With the amount of work Gunnar does in the run of a year he really only needs good quality hay and his supplements. He could probably go without any grain for most of the time. This would be ideal if he is in fact insulin resistant.
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 8:44 pm

LOL.. ok ok.. I'm bring Gunnar home and he's eating at the table with me.. no sugar but a well balance meal,absolutely no dessert.. Lots of veggies.. no meat.. I'll rub his belly every night and put him to bed at a decent hour and no tv after 8apm.. my god if he colics then.. I'm shipping him to Europe!!! and thats that !!!!!!!!!!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 9:14 pm

lol! Sorry, I did not mean to prolong the discussion. But you know how much I like the fuzzy guy. I know you and TE will keep him as safe as you possibly can. Colic is my panic button, :geek: I can't help it. :affraid:
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 9:19 pm

I have also heard from a vet that horses don't digest oats. They are like corn, probably very nutritious but it takes far too much for them to break down the outer shell to get those nutrients.

I have dealt with horses on oats and they were all pretty hot, possibly it was their environment ( small turnout area) and being warmbloods but they were not laid back horses. Being working 5 days a week.
Totally off topic but that's just my experience, and as I've said everyone has different experiences.

MorgansRgreat- Hit the nail on the head :)

I do think the horse needs a bit of grain as he is worked heavily in the summer time and needs the energy ?
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 9:34 pm

TC - you are right about the insulin resistance, I took the info off a site that needs updating but for the most part had valuable info.

Fjords are susceptible to insulin resistance. The vet who came for Gunnar when he colic was telling me about that. They are a hardy breed whose diet has to be carefully watched and they need plenty of exercise to keep their weight down.
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Sun May 10, 2009 10:39 pm

MorgansR.. we all love that fuzzy widdle boy.. just can't help it.. he just draws you in.. lol.. whatever we need to do we will do.. I'm just glad I don't have to go it alone.. TE and Nancy are right there everytime.. big hugs to both of them.. Gunnar is TE's baby. .. she knows him probably better than anyone..
He just better stop with colic.. my nerves can't take it..!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Mon May 11, 2009 11:27 am

I would remove everything but freechoice hay, freechoice loose minerals and salt from his diet. Gunner is a Fjord, therefore a really easy keeper (these guys are designed to thrive in harsh conditions with very little). 24hr turnout is also a big help when dealing with colic episodes. If you feel you NEED to feed him a little something extra a handful of oats or BOSS will do, but in my opinion less is more. I believe your doing him more harm then good by feeding him processed feeds. Instead of adding stuff to eliminate the problem, remove everything.

I worry about the calcium/phosphorius ratio with bran.....

I've never had any colic problems with the 5 horses we have here. Everyone is fat and all they get is the diet mentioned above (in the winter when its below -20 and storming then we'll feed them soaked BP with BOSS, but that's very rarely, maybe 10 times this winter.). Everyone has lots of energy.

Quote :
I do think the horse needs a bit of grain as he is worked heavily in the summer time and needs the energy ?
How will you know if you don't try him without grain to see if there is a difference?
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Mon May 11, 2009 12:45 pm

hmmmm BFHG is onto something..

When working at the vets, if an animal had an "allergy" or reoccuring illness to something, they would put it on lamb and rice to try and eliminate all the foods and ingredients it was getting in the pet food... (at that time, pet food didn't contain much if ANY rice or lamb so it was easy to compare results) Basically taking away everything it was getting and feeding something pretty bland with no additives to see if it would help. If it did, then they knew it was SOMEthing in the food they were feeding.

I tended to do this with the horses without thinking about it... If they became ill, Took them off grain and just provided hay... however, once the horse was better, back on the grain it went! lol

:scratch:

Process of elimination basically.

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Mon May 11, 2009 12:47 pm

well I'm going to try and eliminate all from his diet and see what happens.. well all except the hay and salt and equalizer.. I wanna make sure he doesn't loose any weight in the process .. will be watching him carefully..

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Mon May 11, 2009 1:33 pm

I meant to add...

maybe just ask your vet about trying that method...

Upping his hay may be in order... unless he already gets free choice, then you ahead of the game...

Playing with the diet sucks... As it is a balancing act that is almost impossible to perfect without blood work and hay testing.....

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Mon May 11, 2009 2:34 pm

he does get all the hay he wants.. I guess it's back to basics .. and elimination..

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Mon May 11, 2009 8:03 pm

I feed my horses sport horse or whatever omelene is called now and hay stretch. if gunnar colics when he has a change in feed you might what to cut back on how fast you switch his feed (even if it's like a tsp per feeding or something). or don't change it at all. he doesn't look like he's hurting for weight so i would not bother with beet bulp thats for sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Mon May 11, 2009 9:15 pm

Barefoot_Horsegirl wrote:
I would remove everything but freechoice hay, freechoice loose minerals and salt from his diet. Gunner is a Fjord, therefore a really easy keeper (these guys are designed to thrive in harsh conditions with very little). 24hr turnout is also a big help when dealing with colic episodes. If you feel you NEED to feed him a little something extra a handful of oats or BOSS will do, but in my opinion less is more. I believe your doing him more harm then good by feeding him processed feeds. Instead of adding stuff to eliminate the problem, remove everything.

I worry about the calcium/phosphorius ratio with bran.....

I've never had any colic problems with the 5 horses we have here. Everyone is fat and all they get is the diet mentioned above (in the winter when its below -20 and storming then we'll feed them soaked BP with BOSS, but that's very rarely, maybe 10 times this winter.). Everyone has lots of energy.

Quote :
I do think the horse needs a bit of grain as he is worked heavily in the summer time and needs the energy ?
How will you know if you don't try him without grain to see if there is a difference?

We did have him off grain for 1-2 weeks last summer because he coliced off rich hay. His energy level never came back up until he was back on grain. Plus the horse loses energy in the summertime when he is ON grain, if he were taken completely off grain ( which AS MENTIONED grain was not the problem) I personally have a feeling his energy level would decrease even more.

He was on beet pulp for 4 days.. on the 4th day he coliced.. he is not on beet pulp anymore, period.
If we start eliminating things (grain) we are playing a guessing game that does not need to be played, Why do we need to eliminate things(grain) from his diet which did not cause the colic?


1) The horse is not getting bran. We KNOW about the calcium.phosphrous level issue.. hence he is not getting bran
2) I wouldn't have JUST said that I personally think the horse needs a little bit of grain to keep his energy level up if I thought he didn't need grain.
I'm not saying he needs tons of grain, I am saying he should stay on the same amount WHICH he was fine on until his diet was switched ( Adding beet pulp).
3) Nothing is being added to his grain EXCEPT half salt.
4) He IS and always has been on free choice hay with plenty of turn-out.
5) He doesn't need to gain weight and beet pulp is out of the question ( the first post mentions that he coliced from beet pulp)
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Tue May 12, 2009 7:59 am

This is interesting... For myself personally... as getting more involved in the diet aspect of things is my next goal...(I have a pretty good general idea, but want to fine tune results of bloodwrok, and hay analysis....)

I am TOTALLY thinking outloud here...

Quote :
We did have him off grain for 1-2 weeks last summer because he coliced off rich hay.
My first question is, how do you know it was rich? Was this tested hay... ? I would so love to know the results! :) And if it was that rich, did it effect his hooves any?

Quote :
His energy level never came back up until he was back on grain.


Did his energy level drop because you took him off the rich hay? and put him on something more bland?

I only met Gunnar once.... and that was a few summers ago..he had LOTS of energy! lol

Quote :
Plus the horse loses energy in the summertime when he is ON grain, if he were taken completely off grain ( which AS MENTIONED grain was not the problem) I personally have a feeling his energy level would decrease even more.

This is really interesting...I am wondering what summer does to him to make him decrease in energy that much... I am totally assuming here, but if you work him more in the summer, that his grain amount might be increased to compensate?

Quote :
He was on beet pulp for 4 days.. on the 4th day he coliced.. he is not on beet pulp anymore, period.

Beet pulp is high fibre.... could it have been that he is sensitive enough to react to some belly cramps from loose stool wile he transitioned?

Quote :
If we start eliminating things (grain) we are playing a guessing game that does not need to be played, Why do we need to eliminate things(grain) from his diet which did not cause the colic?

I am going back to my 2nd question.....what ever happened to the rich hay? And what kind of hay is he getting now..?


Again,....TOTALLY using your experience as a learning tool for myself... 👅
Hope that is ok....

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Tue May 12, 2009 9:18 am

LOL I've been using this as a learning experience as well and want to find out as much info as possible . Our situation seems to be a mystery at times so analyzing it is very helpful!
I have had a lot of experience with colics ( working at a boarding barn), but not too much experience with diets but I am learning.

Anywho..

1) Ok, The hay he coliced off was FRESH off the field, baled and loaded in the barn the evening before. It was VERY green, made our hay look like straw. I suppose I am assuming that the hay was rich, I did not get it tested as it was not our hay. Usually when one sees lush green hay you would assume that it is rich.... possibly I am generalizing ?

Here's the situation (colic #2): We were at a friend's barn for 4 days, on the last day I stupidly ( I should have known better, at my work we ALWAYS mix new hay when introducing it) gave Gunnar my friend's fresh 2nd cut hay. He had diarrhea instantly and coliced 1-2 days after he came home.
The horse was not stressed during the trip, he was regularly worked, nothing changed except the new hay.

2) When Gunnar is away from home is a little more lively .. lol At home he is a different horse.. ask Wissy why she bought 2" spurs last summer ;)

I think you met Gunnar the when we were penning.. he was very unsure of the cows lol . I hack a warmblood once a week and she is the most laid back, bombproof horse around home but if you put her in that situation she would be very 'lively' and then one could generalize from that situation that she is a hot horse, even though it is not the case.


3) In the spring/summer he is out of condition so most of those months are spent getting him in shape. The first two months ( May-June) he is fresh because he has had the winter off, the rest of the summer he settles into work and becomes lazy. If he was worked year round he would be lazy lol.
He really minds the heat and these are probably major factors in his energy level.
As mentioned several times , Gunnar's grain can not be increased! ;) He coliced the very first time as a 3yr old from being on too much grain. After that his grain was decrease and the last 2 gas colics were from hay and beet pulp.

I never thought about the loose stool being a factor? I've actually never heard of that being a factor only that it could cause dehydration leading to impaction.
There's no two ways about it he has a sensitive tummy :(
Can you give me more info on the loose stool factor?

4) Beet pulp is highly fermentable and high in sugar?... he gas coliced :). The vet told us that even if left in a cool place it will still ferment and should not be left sitting for several hours.

5) I think 1 answers the hay question. At home he is on a round bale , free choice. Sometimes he gets square bales, but that is usually a flake in the stall during the winter. Both the round bale and square bales from home are bought from the same person/ field. We have never got our hay tested but I have been more curious lately to possibly get it done as we buy from the same person so results should be fairly actuate?
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Tue May 12, 2009 10:03 am

1) Ok, The hay he coliced off was FRESH off the field, baled and loaded in the barn the evening before. It was VERY green, made our hay look like straw. I suppose I am assuming that the hay was rich, I did not get it tested as it was not our hay. Usually when one sees lush green hay you would assume that it is rich.... possibly I am generalizing ?


I was always told never feed fresh cut hay. Some of the weeds are poison to horses until they have dried for at least two weeks. Buttercup being one, horses will eat all around it in the field, however once it is cut and dried for a few days they will eat it after a week or so it is no longer toxic. If you are going to feed fresh hay it should be treated the same as any change in feed and interduced slowly.

Two years ago a friends horse also coliced from fresh hay out of four this mare was the only one to have trouble. Thankfully she pulled though and I still had some hay from the year before to give her. This mare is like your guy and colic's easy. Wissy you have seen her, she is the percheron they rescue .
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Tue May 12, 2009 11:14 am

Quote :
1) Ok, The hay he coliced off was FRESH off the field, baled and loaded in the barn the evening before. It was VERY green, made our hay look like straw. I suppose I am assuming that the hay was rich, I did not get it tested as it was not our hay. Usually when one sees lush green hay you would assume that it is rich.... possibly I am generalizing ?

Fresh hay...hmmm... yes, it could be rich to a horse that was not on pasture at all...(which Gunnar isn't, correct? ) However, fresh cut doesn't necessarily mean rich... because depending on WHEN it was cut, and what state it was in, it may have been pretty bland, especially after a day or two of drying...
Hay in general is usually mature healthy grass, not stressed, so sugar levels would be low... But it can even vary depending on a early morning cut compared to a late afternoon cut regarding what level of sugar it may have in it.
So yes, "green" hay may not necessarily mean "GOOD" hay... OR bad hay...

Quote :
Here's the situation (colic #2): We were at a friend's barn for 4 days, on the last day I stupidly ( I should have known better, at my work we ALWAYS mix new hay when introducing it) gave Gunnar my friend's fresh 2nd cut hay. He had diarrhea instantly and coliced 1-2 days after he came home.
The horse was not stressed during the trip, he was regularly worked, nothing changed except the new hay.

Second cut can be more stressed due to the whole issue of needed to regrow after the first cut... Later in the summer, growing circumstances may be tougher on the grass... making it stress more to regrow etc...so sugar levels could be higher as well. Not to mention, a different part of the year means different plants in the hay could be growing because it is their time of the season to do so..., like more clover for example?

Quote :
2) I never thought about the loose stool being a factor? I've actually never heard of that being a factor only that it could cause dehydration leading to impaction.
There's no two ways about it he has a sensitive tummy :(
Can you give me more info on the loose stool factor?
I was just thinking, that loose stool could mean stomach cramps as well as dehydration....

Quote :
4) Beet pulp is highly fermentable and high in sugar?... he gas coliced :). The vet told us that even if left in a cool place it will still ferment and should not be left sitting for several hours
.
beet pulp is the opposite, the sugar has been extracted .... It is the feed processing plants that ADD molasses to make it more tasty....but if you shop around, you can get it without molasses in it...
Yes it can ferment, but can swell very quick with hot water, (like in 10 minutes.... ) which allows you to feed it well before it starts to go sour. In the winter it can sit in the barn all day if it is cold out, without problem... In the summer, I would not let it sit all day. I would swell it and feed it within a couple hours.... or if there is a fridge handy or a really cool spot, let it swell in there all day... :)


Quote :
5) I think 1 answers the hay question. At home he is on a round bale , free choice. Sometimes he gets square bales, but that is usually a flake in the stall during the winter. Both the round bale and square bales from home are bought from the same person/ field. We have never got our hay tested but I have been more curious lately to possibly get it done as we buy from the same person so results should be fairly actuate?

Results are suppose to be very accurate... (If horse owners started being as fussy as dairy cattle owners when looking for a hay supplier...the hay farmers would be required to get their hay tested themselves, before any horse owners would buy it... ;)
Most horses do well on most hays, IME... But ones that are more sensitive to colic, or laminitis, I would definitely think a hay test would be in order... At least, if anything, it can start eliminating some of the causes, if the hay came back in great shape.... :) (peace of mind )

I am trying to think of what I would do for a horse like Gunnar if I owned him...
My gut tells me to
1)find out what is in the hay....
2)What his blood work says he has too much of, not enough of and what is just right....
3)Do a fecal to be 100% sure he does not have tapeworms (or ANY worms for that matter)...
4)I would definitly get him in a situation that required him to graze and move around as much as possible to encourage his digestive system to work at it's best...
5)I would put him on 1 month's dose of Probiotics to help heal any stomach issues he may have in the meantime....
and of course, depending on the hay and blood tests,
6)adjust his diet INGREDIENTS accordingly... (hay, minerals, vitamins etc).

Not sure if I am much help...I am only still learning as you are... :)

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Tue May 12, 2009 3:05 pm

Pink Lady - As I mentioned in my post... I STUPIDLY gave Gunnar the new hay. I knew better, it was a costly mistake on my part... :(

TC- The hay I gave him was glowing it was so green .. lol if that paints a picture for you. Again big mistake on my part.
At the stable I work at my boss is very picky , rightly so, about her hay. I have gained some knowledge from her of good and bad quality hay but have much more to learn of it's nutritional values.

Correct Gunnar is not on pasture. Here's another mental image.. take a balloon and blow it up.... there's a fjord on grass lol
Wissy and I have a friend who has 8+ Fjords and the paddock they are keep in is dirt .. it used to be grass. They have access to a small grass pasture during the summer. All her non fjord horses have similar large paddocks but theirs have remained grass.

If he were to be on pasture.. it would have too be mowed or previously heavily grazed on.
I think he has an ideal turn out for now. He is paddock is in the woods beside a brook, lots of space to roam. He is out for up to 10-12hrs in the winter... to 15hrs + in the summer time. He is happy and safe in his home and so are we.
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Tue May 12, 2009 3:49 pm

Sorry....I should have been more detailed...

"grazing' to me does not necessarily mean to be out on a pasture...not at all... Crazing to me is nibbling...most of the day,. head to the ground and moving.... It is the movement that is key to have their digestive systems working like they are built to do.... part of why we walk them out, AFTER they already colicked... Yes, to keep them upright... (Another myth in itself), but also to get things "moving" get the guts sounds we look for...and to pass gas, manure etc...

Standing at a round bale....(as much as I love using them...) is not the best...especially those prone to colic, and or hoof issues...

Being stalled....does just that..STALLS everything...puts it on hold.... even if it is just for 12 hours... that is half the time, not moving, to an animal that is made to move something like 22 hours in a day...

So for horse like Gunnar, dirt paddocks are best...but they still need to eat constantly... and move while eating...

This is again, why I LOVE love LOVE the "Paddock Paradise" idea...ESPECIALLY for someone with horses on a small acreage, especially for horses that need exercise, especially for horses that need some mental stimulation, especially for horse with digestive problems, especially for horses with hoof issues... It is a win win. I can't think of a disadvantage to the horse on this one... :scratch:



As for the stable boss... How picky is she? Does she get her hay tested?...I would be interested in knowing the outcome... :)

I remember a beef farmer once saying how he hates selling his hay to horse owners..."They pull handfulls out, they shake it, they look at it... they bend it, they smell it, they taste it, they tear it apart and let it fall to the ground...then turn their nose up at it..." lol
yet very few EVER have it tested...lol :scratch:

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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Tue May 12, 2009 9:18 pm

this is totally OT but have you guys had Gunnars thyroid tested? My horse has a swollen Thyroid but when it first appeared i did alot of research on it and an inactive or slow thyroid can cause a horse to be lazy and I'm pretty sure that the summer months/heat can cause them to be even more lazy. we gave Target half salt for about a month till the vet came and said he just has a swollen gland that will always be like that and not effect him.
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PostSubject: Re: Gunnar's Colic again!!!   Tue May 12, 2009 9:48 pm

I had read somewhere that is key for their systems to obtain small amounts regularly rather than large amounts several times a day. Which I suppose the paddock paradise would create? I must read more on that.
Two summers ago we tried leaving the horses out overnight and one of them ended up greeting the BO at her doorstep in the morning.. haha That was the end of that. How the horse got out is still a mystery, the gates and fencing were still intact!
Also at my work we used to leave some horses with allergies or injuries outside overnight. They would have to come in during the day and rest in their stalls as they would be exhausted. HC can tell some good stories of her horse's overnight adventures on pasture. As well as my boss, she lives on property and sleeps with her window open and she said she could hear them goofing around in the middle of the night. Again these guys would have to come in for 'naps' during the day. Maybe our horses are just lazy or were not able to adjust to the lifestyle ? But it was interesting and most of the time entertaining.

A paddock paradise would be awesome for Gunnar.... as he needs to be stimulated in all aspects lol

He kind of has a one now, but it is not in the maze or lane type, it is just one large area with many interchanging areas. He has to walk down a hill and along a small path to get a drink of water in a running brook. lol .. Nothing I know to what a real paddock paradise is.

At the moment the flies are keeping him and his paddock mate moving :D.. Again.. I am just poking fun.. I truly understand that it is not a solution to the problem.

hmm hey Wissy wonder if we could fence in that little hill beside their paddock, the one that looks like a table top?
Make a maze to the brook? Would that deter them from drinking offend?


My boss.. phf nope never gets the hay tested lol go figure eh? Totally fits the description you just said that the cow farmer said 100%.
I think they got it tested a long time ago but haven't done it in years.
I have been asking why they never got it tested and got the answer that because all the loads come from different fields and farmers they would have to test every load and never be able to have consistent results because it never comes from the same farmer. They are working on getting a contact with one farmer, so they get the same hay consistently.

The barn were I rode out for my university team said they got all their hay tested, $20 a round bale. I think it was.
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Gunnar's Colic again!!!
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