Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman View Post
Was just out feeding and cleaning, and picking poop always lets me think things through
My neighbor comes to mind. 5 horses, three of them mares and two 2year old colts. Living on pasture, not irrigated, 160acres, together with about 25 cows. No shelter. They came out of the winter pretty skinny, cows even worse. Started gaining when grass came up. If you can call it grass, pasture is not maintained whatsoever. These horses see no vet, farrier, sweetfeed, or v/m supplement or salt ever. Yet they are all in healthy weight now, shiny as can be, and SOUND.
THAT makes me think.
I just read results of a study conducted by UC Davis, CA, I believe, that alfalfa free choice provides 100% of required nutrition for maintenance.
According to that it can't be all that bad.
Lots of people say only good things about oat hay, too.
So where do we do wrong, if this is all right?
160 acres is a lot of land to forage on, even out west where grass is sparse.
They're living as close to being wild as a domestic horse can live, is the only thing I can come up with.
There are many theories on the downfall of the health of domestic horses:
1. What we feed them because, even those of us that recognize them as livestock and not an 1,100 pound dog, feed and treat them like 1,100 lb dogs. I am guilty of the feed part of that thought.
2. Many domestic horses live in tiny acreage and/or are crowded into small dry lots with a big round bail and way too many other horses for such a small space. They don't have room to roam as nature intended. I feel thankful I have 22 acres of rolling hills for my four; it's closest I can afford to keeping them sort of "on the wild side".
3. GMO seeds. GMO's (hybrid) seed created to produce more hay and grain on less acreage and faster to feed the livestock we eat, so they will grow faster and thus end up in the grocery store meat cooler faster.
The seed for that hay and feed is NOT segregated for horses. Horses are second class citizens in the hard core world of money-making livestock and they can "just d*** well eat whatever's out there. Granted there IS horse hay but it's grown from the same GMO seeds as cow hay.
3.1 Same for pastures that folks so carefully re-seed for their horses because they think that old cow pasture they just bought looks too poor.
4. Then there's the adjuvant theory<---those binding agents in vaccines. Who knows precisely how safe they are from batch-to-batch or year-to-year and what the long-term effect is on the horse that had his shots his entire life? Like my 25 yr old with EMS, hind gut ulcers, lipomas, and melanomas in his ears.
5. Water sources - whether they are creeks, ponds or chemically treated city water. That sort of pollution generation hits our news channels once a summer.
We live in a lot more polluted world than we did even 25 years ago and it is showing in our animals. Your neighbor with the 160 acres is lucky as h*** she can still run her livestock as she did 40 or so years ago and they stay healthy. She is the exception, whereas that used to be the Rule
At least, that's my take on it - lol lol lol