Help Look What My Horse Is Eating! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-05-2015, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 350
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Help Look What My Horse Is Eating!

Hello everyone,
Meet Hunter! she Is a 13 Year old Quarab horse. I have owned her since February.

When I got her I gave her vaccines, and wormer. She had terrible worms to where she had scratched all the hair off on her behind. I have been worming her three months in a row, then am going to switch too every three months. She is a fat healthy made and gets all the hay she can handle. Has clean water, gets groomed and exercise pretty much daily or almost daily. And I have been feeding her vitamins.

The Issue

Recently she been starting to eat goat heads. (Little plants with yellow flowers that grow sharp pokey things) and mustered weed plant. I have been giving her green grass. But I can't possibly understand why she's eating the weeds and the goat heads.

Any advice would help thanks.

Hunter in the photos.
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-05-2015, 11:03 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: california
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I would go pull out the goat heads. she could get those stuck in her mouth,teeth throat.
take a rake and a hoe and get rid of them.
She is cute and fat. Maybe there is some mineral she is missing. I have never had a horse eat a goat head.
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-05-2015, 11:05 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Kansas, USA
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Yeah, I agree to go pull them out.

Also, I'd talk to your vet about worming. Doing it 3mo in a row sounds like a lot.

Keep going, keep moving forward. You'll get it together someday.
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-05-2015, 11:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Olds Alberta Canada
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Have no idea what a goat head is, but horses can get addicted to certain weeds.
My horses love to eat the flowers on thistles, or dandelions, because they are high in sugar, thus sweet
We don't have loco weed, but I know through reading, that horses can become addicted to logo weed, seeking that plant out, even when there is plenty of pasture
Since your horse was very itchy, I assume she had a heavy load of pin worms, as that worm crawls out of the anus at night, and lays the eggs in the peri anal region, which causes intense itching. Other internal parasites of the horse don't cause this. Have you had fecal egg counts done?
Pull the weeds out, make sure she has free choice minerals and salt
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 12:46 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Don't know anything about goat heads, so can't help there.

Instead of giving your horse random chemicals for deworming, get a fecal test done and see what your vet recommends your horse needs. Lots of people can get by on deworming 2x/year (which is to hit anything that wouldn't show up on a fecal).

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 01:11 AM
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Pretty girl you've got there!

I too don't know what goat head is, and never heard of horses eating mustard weed. As Smilie said, weeds can be a problem & horses don't always know what's good for them(I've heard horses won't touch capeweed unless starving, but my horse LOOOVES it!), but perhaps your local ag advisor, or vet or such will know whether goat head is a problem or not. Remember, a 'weed' is just a plant we don't want growing somewhere at the time - not necessarily bad.

Agree with getting professional advice & poo checks for the worming. Agree that the horse could be lacking in some nutrients, which may explain her eating 'weird' weeds. You say you're feeding her 'vitamins' but what vitamins? & are you supping minerals as well? And how do you know what vits & mins she needs/is lacking in? Not the best idea to just supp stuff without good reason.

Yeah, she does look rather fat, but if this is short term, no stress. If she's kept fat long term, that's when she's most at risk of it causing health issues.

And a couple other 'asides' from the pics... please do not tie up a horse solid to that kind of a fence, or anything else not strong enough to withstand a panicked horse! She may well be well trained & calm, but accidents can happen very easily(& terribly, when you end up with horses running around with sections of fence attached to them!), so ensure that if you tie solid, tie TO something solid, or use baler's twine or something that will break first, if there's an 'event'.

And it appears that saddle is quite a bit big for her, will be hurting her back. It appears that it is well over her shoulders - should sit behind her (extended) scapula - but it is already over her loins too far, so can't just be placed back further. I love western style saddles personally, but they are longer treed, for seat size, than English style, so often just not suitable for short backed horses, if the butt in the saddle is a med or large!
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
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I suggest having a fecal exam done so you know if your horse has worms, and exactly what kind as different species of worms have a different life cycle and the treatment is different. I would also talk to your vet about the weeds (have no idea of what a goathead is) they could contain something your horse feels she needs or she could just like the taste.
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 10:52 AM
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I have heard goatshead (Tribulus terrestris) is toxic to sheep if eaten in quantity. I haven't seen info for horses but would suspect if the fruits have dried that they could be a choking hazard as they could stick in the throat or elsewhere in the digestive tract. Most won't eat them at that point though. It is a weed that is easily controlled with better pasture management as it is easily crowded out by other plants (grasses). If you don't have many hoeing them out would work but if you can't get your animals off that area and start rotational grazing as well as doing other things to improve pasture they will just increase in number.Horses on native pasture eat a wide variety of plants, mostly grasses but they meet their mineral needs by eating a diverse plant base. Typically they avoid poisonous plants but if there is nothing else available they eat what is there. Make sure they have free choice hay to keep them busy if possible or keep them penned in an area with nothing growing if poisonous plants are a problem and there is not sufficient grazing to keep them from eating them. If what is available is what is seen in picks then you really should see if you can get an extension agent if in the US out to help with pasture management that would increase your availability of grass.
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 10:58 AM
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Meant to add if all she gets is hay and does not get a complete feed then adding a vitamin and mineral supplement could help.
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post #10 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Aug 2014
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What a lovely sweetheart mare. I agree with others that she is likely lacking in some vitamin or mineral. A REALLY knowledgeable person to consult is

Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS
Riva's Remedies, Founder & CEO
Animal Health & Nutrition Specialist
Homeopathic Practitioner
Medical Intuitive & Healer
Author & Educator
Rivas Remedies | Healing | Harmony | Heart (horses)

Marijke also does long distance testing with photos of your horse. She is amazingly and usually SPOT on with her solutions. :)

Here is more info on "goat's head"

Tribulus terrestris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tribulus terrestris is an annual plant in the Caltrop Family (Zygophyllaceae)
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