Forage for Thought: Do You Need to Analyze Your Hay?

by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.   Many horses rely entirely on hay for their forage needs. Is hay nutritious? Not very. Hay is dead grass; it no longer contains many of the vitamins, omega 3s and omega 6s, it once had as living pasture. It does, however, contain protein, carbohydrates, and minerals, and is a significant source of energy. But does it have enough to maintain health? Testing will help remove the guesswork out of diet planning.

Respect the Power of the Horse’s Instincts

I respect and honor the way horses are made—they are different—unique, really. In a suitable, native environment, they are quite capable of taking care of themselves. They are free to eat and roam and, well, be horses. Domestication involves removing them from their natural setting, but their instincts for survival remain unchanged, and those instincts are based on compelling physiological and mental needs. Make no mistake about this: when we ignore or deny those needs, we seriously imperil...

Placenta Retention can be Life-threatening

Most of us, as horse owners, try to be present at the birth of our foals. All too often, however, we arrive after the little one is here. We arrive to find the little guy nursing while the placenta is still dangling about the mare's hocks. The last stage of parturition is the passing of the placenta. It is very important to monitor this stage closely, as any complication here may also be life-threatening to the mare.


Dear Dr. Lowder: My 14 year-old bay Arabian gelding has a sarcoid about the size of a quarter on the left side of his neck. The veterinarian examined it and suggested either cryosurgery, injections or just leaving it alone. I've heard that even after aggressive treatment, they often return.

Chickens Around Horses

Dr. Lowder, My friends' 8 year old was recently given about a dozen "pet" chickens that they have let run loose to feed and roost in their horse barn. (For some reason they think this is cute, but that is another story...) I have read and been told that keeping horses and chickens in close proximity like that causes a health risk for horses.