Friday, January 29, 2010

Kay well...

No riding today, none yesterday either. Mandy's Mud Fever looks better though. :)

What I HAVE been doing, is some of the less fun part of keeping horses healthy in the tropics.

Researching nutrition and how it applies to equine health here.

One of the things I've been looking into quite a bit is protein content as I have a sneaking suspicion that my horses dietary protein is wayyyyyy low. I had blood tests taken on Dec 31st and all three came back very slightly low on their RBC count. That could be due to a lack of iron but low protein can cause it as well.

I was going to pull blood at the beginning of February, but as I'm just really guessing at what's going into them, making nutritional guesses based on blood test results was feeling a little backwards to me.(especially as only the most basic of tests are available here)

Instead, I called up a farm supply place in Fort Collins, CO and ordered a Push Style Hay Probe(first try I found one willing to take my international CC AND send it through USPS rather than the ridiculously expensive UPS or FedEx  ) so I can send hay samples off for testing.  

It looks like this:

and I ordered it from HERE

Seeing as hay is the MAIN part of my horse's diet the nutritional content of the hay will help me figure out what else I need to feed them. GAWSH I hope this helps. Those probes aren't cheap.

Second level research.

Tropical Grasses. Ususally very low in protein. Between 3-5%.

some tropical grasses also contain high amounts of Oxalates which interfere with absorption of calcium. In my research I've learned that many of the grasses that I was told are good for horses here are high in these Oxalates. Para Grass and Pangola being two of them. Too much of these grasses will cause Big Head or Buffel Head disease.

The main grasses used as hay here are Star Grass and Bluestem(we haven't been able to buy Bluestem hay for about 6 months now) Stargrass is ok, but  have a feeling it's lower in protein than the Bluestem.

I have an Arab. She should be fat as a tick with the amount of hay she eats.(as much as she wants 24/7) All three of my horses are on free choice hay and non are fat plus...

Mandy is getting 2 qts daily of a 14% pelleted feed (a local feed that is the ONLY of TWO feeds available to buy that has no molasses)

I think Molasses is the devil. Even if it's turns my horses into DEMONS!
Biting kicking DEMONS I tell you.

Fred is getting 1 & 1/2 qts daily
Bree is getting 1 qt daily


every night the three get just over a 1/2 c stout each


Mandy and Fred get 1 c coconut oil and Bree gets 1/2 c coconut oil daily.

I just got the results of a Fecal Egg Sample I sent in yesterday.

Fred: 0
Bree: 0
Mandy: 200

We picked up Bimectin yesterday so deworming tomorrow morning. :)

Boy! ^  I wish I could get it for that price down here!

I found out about the wonders of Perennial Peanut about 4 months ago and how nutritionally it's an excellent substitute for Alfalfa which won't grow here.

Buuuuut even though I've been told it is growing in different places around the country we have been unable to procure any as of yet.

I don't get why the two hay farmers in the country aren't utilizing this most excellent resource to boost protein levels in cattle feed or horse feed.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this not so simple subject later. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feet! I've been wanting to do this post for a loooong time.

The planets finally aligned!

This morning we were scrubbing Mandy's whitel leg for the third day in a row and applying TAO and zinc cream so I grabbed the chance to sneak in a few hoof pics.

It's been  over three weeks since her last trim but we've been riding every other day for those three weeks so there's not a lot of extra growth and it's an excellent way to see how her feet are handling 9-12 miles of gravel a week.

Here's a front shot of her legs. She's not really that cowhocked, just standing lazy in the hind.

Front Right

Here I see that her coronet is still slightly off level and she's beginning to self trim that imbalance by chiping off on the inside front.

This is also the hoof that likes to grow extra heel and at a steeper angle, but it looks (to me) like that may be beginning to lower all on it's own. Still some chipping at the quarters, but nothing too major.

Here I think I'm beginning to see a leveling off of the heelbulbs.
(I'm also seeing flaky skin on the pastern and so just in case all four have been coated with zinc)

I do see some excess heel, but I'm uncertain as to whether we should trim it or let it wear off on it's own.

For comparison.

Lookit those lovely wide frogs.

You can see that she's still wearing off her toe quite a bit.

For comparison.

I won't go into as much wordiness for the rest but let the pictures speak for themselves.

Hind right





Hind Left





Left Front




Is that...the beginning of...frog slough???

Should I leave it? Trim it?

Poor little Mandy. :(

It's not weeping, there's already TAO on it so it looks greasy.

So that was my morning. I wonder what the rest of the day will hold?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ride # 7 Fred surprised us yet again...

He pulled off an absolutely lovely canter yesterday with pricked ears, and NO bucking. Looks like he's gotten into the swing of things. See! I KNEW he was a good boy at heart.

On my way down to tack up there was a woodpecker on my gatepost.

Caught Mandy in mid shake.

We went bushwhacking again!

Nom Nom Nom

Back up on the road to the river.

Unripe Cacao Pod on a tree.

We actually went down to the river.

I sent Juan across to take some pics and I waited with the horses.

You can see how steep the banks are...kinda.

Me Mandy and Fred all waiting patiently.

Yes, it's blurry, but good enough to see he's going forward willingly and is reasonably balanced.(I think)

I'm so proud of both him and Juan.

Dead Egret.

It was our latest ride to date.


I kind of look photoshopped here. No idea why.

Yep. Getting pretty dark there.

Monday, January 25, 2010

ride # 6 Pics from Yesterday.

Shorter ride than other days but still good. The horses were spooky and the parrots were LOUD.

On my way down to tack up at 3 pm.
Two Female Iguanas sunning themselves on the dog run fence.
(living dangerously)

Big Male in the Paddock

We always hose off on these hot days before we tack up.

Fred is looking very good these days.

She's come a long way from throwing a hissy fit at the sight of a hose.

Temp and Humidity when I went up to change.

We stopped to let them graze for a little while.

We try to take a different route every ride.

There were 100s of Amazons in the trees.

Sound effects of the jungle.