The Natural Horse Vet Magalog

Page 16

Perfect Pastures Access to Needed Nutrients By Dan Moore, The Natural Vet®

Grass Muzzles for pasture horses - that’s crazy! Or is it? Grass muzzles are a hot item these days. I see them at almost every equine event I attend. Truthfully, I almost laughed the first time I saw one. Then I thought to myself “that is a great idea,” many horse owners today really need them. But why? For thousands of years wild horses have lived on grass alone and typically they ate all they wanted. There was no one to stop them, turn them out for only a few hours at a time or worse yet MUZZLE them. Today, colic, allergies, metabolic issues, laminitis, hoof and other health issues are often associated with eating too much grass.

if the horses that were there had access to them, be assured they ate the bark, fruit (or whatever) too! This is one of the reasons supplements are so important today - horses just can’t get all they need from the typical diets we give them, and the one or two species of grass they graze just doesn’t provide all they may need. There are most likely many ingredients or micronutrients that we have not yet discovered. I believe we will someday classify polysaccharides as “ESSENTIAL” polysaccharides, just like there are essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids now.

The need for the essential fatty acids like Omega 3, 6 and 9 are beginning to be more recognized by horse owners today. IN the wild, horses can pick and choose seeds and grass heads What is different about today’s grass or perhaps what is different from various grasses and plants to get the fatty acids they need - in our care they take what we give them - unfortunately, until about the horse? Obviously a lot has changed! If we truly look recently they have received very little. For at the way it was and “mimic” what’s natural, perhaps we can have healthier horses and avoid the most part, they just receive sugars (like “By being able to a lot of problems. from corn and molasses), which, as we know, pick and choose turns to fat but are not essential fatty acids. Today’s species of grasses are totally different what they needed, Today high fat is “in” but again we must be from the past. Most horses today on pasture horses received a only have one or two varieties of grass - usually careful. The easy thing to do is buy cheap fat balance of nutrients.” timothy, orchard grass with some degree of like REFINED or partially hydrogenated oils clover and fescue. In the wild, they had access (corn oil for instance). The problem with any to vast areas of grass and abundant species. refined oil is that all the “goody” is filtered Equally important was access to other plants and herbs. Today out and sold for other purposes. Hydrogenated oils are more they eat what they have access to in the spaces we confine stable and less likely to spoils or go rancid, which is why they them to. Most species of grass (and even grain) today are are used in almost every snack food, but they actually harden genetically modified - a controversy and discussion all in itself. and damage cells within the body ad make tissue less pliable. By being able to “pick and choose” what they needed, horses This can actually make a situation like insulin resistance or received a balance of nutrients. metabolic disease (which are often the clinical problems that trigger the need for fats to be supplemented in the first place) For instance, as I am sure you know, most horses will chew on to be even more of a problem. “Hardened” cells don’t respond tree bark. Of course it is bad for the trees - totally to insulin and other “metabolic reactions” like more pliable inconsequential in the wilderness, but in the back yard pasture, cells would. Over time “hydrogenation” causes premature aging chewed dead trees look awful! Simple sugars called because more and more insulin must be produced and the polysaccharides and amino acids like methionine and perhaps body’s cells become more and more damaged. tannins are probably what they are after by eating the trees. Regardless, if methionine is supplemented most horses have One of the main purposes of insulin is to regulate sugar. The better hooves. Supplementing simple poly saccharide sugars grain we feed our horses (corn, especially, and molasses) and (not refined complex table sugar or syrup) will often help the the “richer,” single variety grasses in our pastures (and snack gut (sometimes stop cribbing and help ulcers, too) - the gut foods for us) also cause more and more insulin to be secreted. being the source of almost all problems in a horse. With time, this causes “insulin resistance” - requiring more and more insulin to get the job done. The higher the resting One such simple sugar in particular is Arabinogalactan, insulin overall, the quicker all species age and subsequently obtained from the Western Larch tree. Another is Mannose die - period! High resting insulin is rarely detected because from the Aloe plant. The Native American Indians and usually just blood glucose is checked. Simply relying on blood “grandmas” everywhere have used these substances for glucose (sugar) levels alone is not enough - sugar or blood centuries. In other parts of the world they may have used Noni glucose can be normal but resting insulin levels can be fruit or Pomegranate or whatever was native to the area - and extremely elevated - even high enough to kill you or your horse.

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