What am I doing wrong??? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 22 Old 05-01-2009, 12:18 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
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The majority of the horses at my barn are fed sweet feed and we've never had problems with it. My horse gets a coffee can twice daily as well, with free choice hay (and grass in the spring & summertime). I wouldn't take your horse off the free-choice -- in my experience its the best thing for them. My mare has access to hay whenever she wants. Horses are supposed to eat little bits of food continually, not gorge themselves on meals of hay. With free-choice, the horse can eat more slowly, at a relaxed pace, making them less likely to colic. Its been proven as well that its better for a horse to eat from a natural stance, with his head down on the ground, instead of always reaching up into a hay bale. This helps with digestion.

You may want to re-evaluate his diet, as others have suggested, but I highly recommend keeping him on the free-choice hay.

There are tons of other factors that cause colic. Ask yourself...
- Is he prone to be stressed? Stress can cause colic. (Ie, is he nervous, spooky, spazzy, etc).
- Is he drinking enough water? If not, have some salt-blocks available (you can get large ones for the paddock) which will induce him to drink. You could also try mixing apple juice into water ... horses seem to like that.
- When he eats his grain does he wolf it all down or take his time? It's best that he always eats at a relaxed pace. You may want to put some large rocks into his feed bucket so he has to eat around them to get the grain.
- Make sure that you are giving him the right amount of grain for how much exercise he gets. Talk to your vet and evaluate his weight. If he's too fat with low muscle, he might need less grain and more muscle building.
- Do you have sand in your paddocks? This a high factor in colic cases. Make sure he is not ingesting sand.
- Are there any poisonous plants around your barn? This can also contribute to an upset tummy. You can probably find a guide online that tells you some poisonous plants to watch out for and remove from the fields (buttercups for example, aren't good for horses).

That's all I can think of for now. Hope things work out for you. Colic can be scary. *Hugs*

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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post #12 of 22 Old 05-01-2009, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North Carolina
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to answer some of the questions: my area is not what id call sandy...but it is just dirt, no grass and kinda dusty. yes, Major is a very nervous horse, to the extreme even but I have been working on keeping our time together a little less stressful to him...for instance I have been doing a lot of brushing, leading him around calmly. he does have a mineral block available. the only things that have changed at all this week is that I sprayed him with fly spray (witch I have not done all winter) and I let him drink water out of the hose 2 days ago. Wouldn't it have to be caused by something that has changed? I guess I just don't get how colic works...but then again it has been a very stressful day.
thanks everyone for you very helpful posts. so many of your posts seem to fit our situation so it sounds like I have a lot of changes to make. I think I'm gonna try all of your suggestions. I want to cross all my t's and dot all my I's...I'm afraid if this continues then it will kill him. It scared me to death to see him get so sick so quickly today!!!!
So here's the plan:
check him for worms
daily exercise routine
probiotics-although I'm gonna have to educate myself on these
monitor his water intake
do I need to cut out the sweet feed altogether?
did I miss anything?
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post #13 of 22 Old 05-01-2009, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ohio
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Yes I would definitely transition him slowly to a better feed. I know some love sweet feed but I would never feed it to any horse. Get a good complete feed like Purina Equine Sr or a pelleted feed. Make feed changes SLOWLY.

Also ulcers will cause colic like symptoms off and on so that is something to ask your vet about.

I do know spring is a bad time for weather colic as temps tend to go up and down quickly.

Sending good thoughts

weefoal is offline  
post #14 of 22 Old 05-01-2009, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Illinois
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being in NC you should be able to get Triple Crown if so look for Triple Crown Senior .... if he is an easy keeper try the TC 30% he shoudl be gettign plenty of fiber and calories from the free choice hay ..

Sweet Feed ferments and may be causing colic, it can also casue/irratate ulcers.

with the research that has been done showing the negative efffects of sweet feed I dont' understand why anybody would be feeding it anymore once they are aware of the research and dangers..

Watch some senior feeds and pellets they are just a sweet feed in desigusie :) Purina and Nutreana are two companies good for this.

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #15 of 22 Old 05-01-2009, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: British Columbia, Canada
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You can cut him off the sweet feed all at once, but you have to introduced the replacement feed slowly.

One thing to keep in mind since you have him in a paddock with other horse's is what do the owners of those animals do about parasites? You could have the best worming program but if the others aren't on a good schedule he going to have a high re-infestation rate.

Fecal counts are cheap, but again you need to know what others are doing.

Another thought that came to mind, if he's a nervous type are you sure the other horse's aren't driving him away from his food? He may not be eating as much as you think........

If it were me....... I would have him kept in a separate paddock. That way I could monitor #1 his water intake and #2 how much he's eating #3 would know that my worming schedule at least had a chance of working. If that wasn't possible I would ask the BO if I could make a enclosure within the paddock. Hot wire plastic posts and string is cheap.
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post #16 of 22 Old 05-01-2009, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Brooksville,Florida
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My horse just had colic Sunday and my vet said to take him off grain for two days, just feed soaked hay(coastal)to him, the 3rd day put him on bran mash for 2 days and then slowly start him back on grain starting with a half of scoop and increase slowly everyday.You giving him Bute that is just for pain, you should try to get some Banamine, that is for colic. I gave it to my horse Sunday after 2 hours of walking him and within 30 minutes of giving him Banamine he was fine, I believe he had sand colic.He also has alot of gas but he also has a clear fluid discharge with it and the vet said he has parasites.He was a rescue horse that was given to me, oh the joys

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post #17 of 22 Old 05-01-2009, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: MN
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From the sounds of things - your horse has gas and a low pain threshold. Think of when you get gas and how bad it can hurt. Our intestines are compact - a horse's instestines have room to move - hence the possibility of a twist.

My suggestion is to take him off the whole grains. A pelleted feed breaks down and digests more quickly - less work for the gut, less gas build up. Also - the more movement, the better. Stalled horses tend to colic more often.

I agree that bute is not intended for colic - different properties than the banamine.

Please remember folks - ANY gastrotestional disturbance in a horse is considered a colic. If you watch a herd for a week, you will see a horse now and then act sort of dumpy and odd. Chances are it's a gas bubble. The majority resolve on their own. Our rule of thumb is to take vitals, watch for 30 minutes, take vitals again. If the horse is not acting better or definitely worse - then we call the vet.
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post #18 of 22 Old 05-02-2009, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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Location: North Carolina
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I thought sweet feed was a normal part of most horses diet. I didn't realize it was receiving negative press. Why senior feed? Is it easier to digest? Major is only around 10...do I need to give him a supplement that may not be found in senior feed for an active horse?
I'm really upset to find out that bute is just for the pain. I was led to believe it was for colic. What if I had left him in the late evening thinking he was better and tomorrow found him worse or even dead!!!!! I didn't stay with him because I thought he was fine!!!! He seems to be...but im just saying..what if???
G&ks mom....i feed him in a stall. You make a good point about everyone being kept wormed. I'm going to buy wormer for everyone from now own. Just to be on the safe side. You said you have a horse that colics easy....how do you deal with that...what about being away from home?
mls: the first 2 times he got over it fine....but this last time was different. He broke out into a sweat that you cant get out of a horse with miles of riding. He got over it quickly...but still it was terrifiying. maybe I did overreact...but panic hit me. Plus, its better to get help now than wait until it kills him then wish I had done something.

a little personal note: Major means the world to me. We have certainly had our share of hard times and life isnt perfect but our relationship is special. I am one of those people that do everything for everyone else. I am a mother, a friend, a helping hand, a trustworthy person that will always pitch in....basically a nobody. If the kids didnt need me and people didnt need my help where would I be. With Major I am special. I have my horse. He is mine and only mine. He is beautiful and graceful...mine...my treasure. No matter how bad things get in my life...I find a great amount of happiness in knowing that I have him. He is my solitude...my comfort.
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post #19 of 22 Old 05-02-2009, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Illinois
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is he a harder keeper ??

You also need to watch what Senior feed you give him many of them are high in sugars and starches as well....

I really like the look of the Triple Crown Senior, no grain formula and wonderful nutrition profile with good level of fat

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #20 of 22 Old 05-02-2009, 06:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ohio
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Sweet feed as said above is full of sugar and empty calories. It has very little real nutrition. It would be like feeding your kids candy bars for dinner. While they would get a little bit of nutrition they would mostly be getting sugar and empty calories. And I swear horses fed sweet feed act like crack addicts trying to get to the feed LOL.

Be aware that most horses will at first turn up their nose at pelleted feeds but eventually they eat it and like it just as much. It just doesnt have that sugar smell they are used to.

Senior feed just mostly means mature horse that is done growing
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