Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nutrition woes

The Quarter's frogs look like CRAP again. This is so disheartening. Over the past year I've gotten the nutritional aspect of thrush hammered into me over and over and over again. Sometimes, if not most of the time, thrush is a side affect of what goes in the horse's mouth and not what goes on the horse's hooves.

Let me just say that again: Thrush is not only a product of the horse's environment, poor nutrition is a deciding factor

I put my horses on California Trace in April and started seeing results in May, it was working and I was happy. BUT my horses didn't like it and I had to mask the flavor with anise seed powder to get them to eat it. Since it's also pretty expensive and only available over the internet I decided to look for some other options.

I went looking for something local, found DuMor Hoof (which I chose over Farrier's Formula after looking at the ingredients), and they ate that for about two months.
I don't know if my horses are especially hard keepers or what, but all the frog growth they'd gained while eating California Trace was lost while they ate the DuMor- and that was with me spraying on oxine and dusting with No Thrush nearly every day. Basically the topical treatments just kept the thrush from eating the live frogs, it didn't helped the callused frog grow out at all. The only good thing about it was that the Quarters liked the taste. Basically it was a giant waste of money, time to move on.

While I was in Oregon somebody recommended the Figuerola products to me so I decided to try out Equinesaver.
They've had this for the past month, while their winter coats have started growing in nicely and they love the taste, I haven't seen any sign that their frogs are improving (still treating with topicals, mind you). Knowing that copper and zinc are super important for coat and hoof growth I took a closer look at the ingredients on the bucket. Holy crud! The amounts of copper and zinc in Equinesaver are miniscule at best, no wonder their feet haven't been improving!

So after kicking myself for taking them off something that was working, last night I bought some more California Trace and should have it by the end of the week.

The moral of the story is that I've decided I'm tired of taking wild guesses about my horses' nutritional needs and have signed up for Dr. Eleanor Kellon's NRC Plus course. The class runs from November 7 through January 9 if anyone is interested in taking it with me.


  1. Thinking seriously about it. I've been wanting to take that class for a while... I'll be in touch after my move. :)

  2. I am tucking all "feet" info away and trying to educate myself. I am a new horse owner (I have two now). So far, their feet seem healthy doing nothing. I put maybe a little Pro-Care Plus on every 10 days... Someone said if it aint broke don't fix it. So we will see. Thanks for this info.

  3. Dr. Kellon's stuff is very good. The third thing that makes a difference to frog health (and overall hoof health) is exercise - if the horse is barefoot, exercise on a variety of surfaces (including conformable surfaces like arena sand), and harder surfaces provided the horse is comfortable. This promotes circulation and development of the frogs and heels. If the horse is shod, exercise is less effective but still beneficial.

  4. I'm with you, might as well stick with what you know works. If they don't like the taste you can disguise it again.

    My daughter took Dr. Kellon's course and liked it. I'm sure you'll like it too.

  5. : ) Studied the NRC tables and feed calculation in school (have my aggie degree...can formulate for anything from household cats to chimpanzees...and horses), and think you'll find it wonderful! You also quickly learn how many unnecessary 'nutrients' are packed into so many of those tubs, as well as where the most valuable nutrients come from. : ) Oh, and my favorite, that for many species we don't even KNOW the minimum requirements for many nutrients!!! : P

  6. I don't know much about thrush (one saving grace of living in the desert), but I'm thinking about how women who suffer from yeast infections are often told to load up on beneficial bacteria (yogurt, etc.) Do you know if anyone's had luck soaking hooves in a solution that includes beneficial bacteria (stuff that would compete with the yeast??)

  7. Just glanced at the ingredients...DuMor has cane molasses. That could be the culprit if your horses are especially sensitive to sugars, although I am sure the quantity is very small.

    Any interest in Smart Pak? Smart Pak makes it really easy to make changes and I find the price reasonable when compared with buying buckets, but I am only feeding one Quarter. ;)

  8. CFS- we could compare notes :)

    Margaret- I haven't heard of Pro-care Plus, I'll look it up

    Kate- I've actually seen quite a few shod horses that have nice frogs. Something else is going on there I think... But you're right about the importance of exercise.

    GHM- I'm going to mix it in slowly with the Equinesaver I have left and see if they like. Fingers crossed.

    Sand- can I hire you? ;)

    Fetlock- You mean like yogurt? I haven't heard of anything like that but Pete's Goo (a popular thrush treatment) combines an antibacterial ointment with a yeast infection cream.

    Val- yeah, I wasn't so happy about the molasses so I was okay with it not working in the long run. Coriander doesn't need any of that. I've looked at Smartpak but none of their products come close to California Trace for mineral content. At least not to my uneducated eyes. Hopefully I'll be able to figure this all out come January.

  9. I love your blog header photo! My horses have good feet (my farrier said last time she was here), so I'm leaving well-enough alone for now. I do use a daily wormer though- seems to be so good for them overall.

  10. Maybe just try some whole flax seed. I know it's high in zinc, but I'm not sure about copper. I would also look at Uckele, they have some great supplements.

  11. Deanna consider yourself lucky :)

    Thanks Frizzle, I've added that to my list along with brewer's yeast, magnesium oxide and linseed that I've gleaned from Rockley's diet. It's possible that in January I'll have to sit down with my father-in-law and get a custom mix.

    I'm wondering if line breeding is part of why my horses are so sensitive to diet- no hybrid vigor there...

  12. Crap, the Quarters were doing so well! How frustrating for you. I hope this nutritional course arms you with all the information you need....and that you share it with your blogger friends. :-)

  13. Thanks Wolfie, it's been a big :(

    I'll definitely be sharing tidbits but I'll have to be careful I don't give the whole course away :)

  14. I JUST put Laz on CA trace..hoping for some good things to happen too :) As far as I know, he's eating it. I mix it w/ a little bit of Triple Crown L/S and Flax. I know they recommend not mixing it w/ other feed but my vet seemed to think it was OK and the selenium wasn't too high. When I compared the Sel with Uckele's that I used to feed out to CA; it was the same. Nutrition is SO SO tricky!!!

    @Sand-share the knowledge :)!!!

  15. Dr Kellon's NRC course is great but I wasn't confident enough to do all my calculations myself. I had my forage tested and had a bespoke feeding plan made for my horses. I now have a recipe that supplements exactly my hay and grass. I buy the ingredients cheaply and weigh and mix them up myself in 30 day batches. It's great: Now I know exactly what I am feeding. In the end it is economic as well and after a few weeks on your home made supplement you horses look like million dollar show horses.