– Use a prebiotic (fermentation product, not live microbes) or a potent probiotic (one that contains billions ““ at least 109 ““ colony forming units, or C.F.U.s) to keep the hindgut microbial population healthy.
– When feeding bran mashes, or any added feed, feed it every day. Consistency will prevent colic. Keep in mind, however, that bran (rice or wheat are most common) is very high in phosphorus in relation to calcium. Therefore, use a commercial product with added calcium or feed alfalfa to counteract the elevated phosphorus content.
– Provide fresh, temperate water. Never rely on snow to meet your horse’s water needs. Water should be kept at a palatable temperature to encourage drinking and prevent dehydration.
– Remember to provide salt. Salt blocks, free choice granulated salt, or adding two tablespoons of table salt to your horse’s meals per day (divided between meals) will keep his body in proper water balance.
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an internationally respected, independent equine nutritionist who believes that optimizing horse health comes from understanding how the horse’s physiology and instincts determine the correct feeding and nutrition practices. She is available for private consultations and speaking engagements.
Dr. Getty’s comprehensive resource book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse, is available at Dr. Getty’s website, www.gettyequinenutrition.com, as well as from Amazon (www.Amazon.com) and other online book retailers. The seven separate volumes in Dr. Getty’s topic-centered “Spotlight on Equine Nutrition” series are also available at her website, where Dr. Getty offers special package pricing, and from Amazon (in print and Kindle versions) and from other online retailers.
Dr. Getty’s website, www.gettyequinenutrition.com, offers a generous stock of free, useful information for the horseperson. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter, Forage for Thought; browse her library of reference articles; search her nutrition forum; and purchase recordings of her educational teleseminars. Plus, for the growing community of horse owners and managers who allow their horses free choice forage feeding, Dr. Getty has set up a special forum as a place for support, celebrations, congratulations, and idea sharing. Share your experiences at www.jmgetty.blogspot.com. Reach Dr. Getty directly at email@example.com.
By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.